Marketing Club Brings Home Awards

By DERRICK TARUC, Staff Writer

Updated: Monday, April 19, 2010

Justin Rezvani and James Ruvalcava, president and treasurer of Cal Poly AMA respectively, receive an award.

Courtesy of Cal Poly AMAThe Cal Poly chapter of the American Marketing Association, a club that barely existed last year, recently won two national awards in New Orleans, coming in fourth in the Northwestern Mutual Sales Competition and earning an honorable mention for the UNICEF Top Video Competition.

James Swartz, faculty adviser and chair of International Business and Marketing Department, said the wins show how Cal Poly students can go toe-to-toe with students from “powerhouse” schools and still win big.

“Our students can hold their own against anyone in the nation,” said Swartz. “We outhustle, we outwork and we out impress . . . such that people’s heads turn and say ‘What’s that school again?’”

Justin Rezvani, club president and a fourth-year marketing management student, and James Ruvalcaba, treasurer and fourth-year finance student, competed against 50 teams in the five-day conference held April 7-11.

“We basically went through a whole selling cycle in under seven minutes: developing the sale, developing the contact, developing why the product needs to be used, and closing the sale—all within seven minutes,” said Rezvani. “And we were being judged by executives from Northwestern Mutual Financial.”

The product that they “sold” was the Lifesaver bottle. The bottle is a hand-held water filtration system that filters bacteria, viruses, cysts, parasites, fungi and all other microbiological waterborne pathogens, according to the Lifesaver Web site.
“It filters out every type of bacteria known to man,” said Rezvani.

The $200 bottle was donated by the corporation to the club to be used for the competition.

Placing fourth, or even participating in a competition, seemed unlikely just a few months ago, considering the club had not been chartered since 2002.

“The club just restarted this year,” said Rezvani. “The chapter was dead from last year. In January, we only had six people in the club.”

Rezvani took it upon himself to resurrect the club.

“I came on as president and I just built it myself,” said Rezvani. “And then I started getting new board members involved.”

Rezvani began rebuilding the club in fall quarter and it was rechartered by late 2009.

“In the fall we didn’t have any members,” said Swartz. “They went from zero to 30 members in less than a year.”

Now the group is a nationally-ranked organization.

Along with placing fourth, the Cal Poly AMA also received an honorable mention in the UNICEF tap water project video competition. Their video, filmed and edited by Desiree Duzich, vice president of the Cal Poly AMA, competed against 150 videos.

Swartz said he expects the four upstart clubs in the IBM Department to continue this year’s success next year.

“In our department, we’re not only satisfied in being good,” said Swartz. “We’re interested in being our best."

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