April

Plugging in to Success

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Sam Bradley has spent a lifetime navigating electronic data interconnection and telecommunications for some of the world’s largest manufacturers. He has traveled the globe developing new products, promotional packages and private label programs for photonics and electronics players that serve Fortune 100 clients.

“It’s exciting,” says the Alvernia assistant professor of business, who has tracked technological trends and written portfolio analyses for CEOs and board of directors at a range of corporations. “One of the products I helped develop even won the Fiber New Product of the Year Award from Optic Product News,” he says.

Today, the accomplished marketer who turned his passport in for a lesson planner, and traded his suit and tie for comfy khakis, is focused on helping eager Alvernia students understand how global business works in the real world.

During his 25 years in industry, Bradley learned many lessons he instills in his students. “I know business occurs in an ever-changing environment, so I want to give students firsthand experience solving problems based on real examples, not textbook pages,” he says.

“Many of today’s business leaders work on a global stage, and students must learn to be open to and respectful of different cultures. I always emphasize that there is no right and wrong — only different,” Bradley says.

But Bradley doesn’t just set out to help his students become the next Carl Icahn or Steve Jobs, he grooms them to become engaged citizens who are interested in making a difference in their communities and the world around them.

“Success in business — and in life — is about serving others,” says Bradley.

Dress rehearsal
One way Bradley helps students accomplish both is by partnering with nonprofits in need of marketing support. Some of the organizations he’s worked with include Hay Creek Historical Association, Reading Aquaponics, Dayspring Homes and the St. Francis Hospice.

“With these clients, students act as a consulting group for the community partner, developing targeted marketing plans tailored for their organizations so they can actually be put to use,” he says.

“For example, with the St. Francis Hospice, our focus for the marketing plan was to develop a demographic profile of families that would typically need this service, determine communications strategies to inform the target market and develop fundraising programs,” Bradley says. His students work independently in three to four different teams to come up with individual proposals.

“Students learn real-world problems do not have perfect solutions, which helps them prepare for the transition from college to life in the working world,” Bradley says.

At the end of every semester, each team presents its plan to a judging panel consisting of representatives of the nonprofit, and one faculty member.

“The competition is very effective for student motivation, and the community partners receive three or four independently developed marketing plans,” Bradley says. In other words, everybody wins.

Beyond promoting real-world learning, Bradley says one of his main goals is to help students value the benefits of serving others and having the courage to do what they know is right, no matter what the consequences. This is why he became involved in Alvernia’s NetVUE project, which enables students to discover and embrace more deeply what it means to be citizens of the world and servants of the needy.

“Students, in some cases, select a career because they want to make money,” Bradley says. “Through the NetVUE program, I advise these students to rethink this decision and instead, to use their God-given skills and talents to make the greatest contribution to society.”

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