Published 07/09/10

A reverse mentorship

July 9, 2010

As part of a reverse mentorship,  a group of Bulldogs recently taught the CEO and executives from the Campbell Soup Company about t the power of social media.

“I use social networking sites on a daily basis,” explains Hannah Dalke '13 (Shrewsbury, MA), who was  one of the seven Bryant Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) members who took part in the program. “I am affected by social media all the time, and I believe the most successful businesses today utilize social media to attract customers. I think I can use my knowledge of the social networking world to help Campbell’s executives learn more about this important resource.”

Nearly 40 executives from Campbell’s, the world’s largest soup maker with products sold in 120 countries around the globe, took part in the program titled “Living in a Social Media World.” It was part of SIFE USA's "Top to Future-Top" forums that bring together high-level executives from SIFE partner companies and top SIFE student leaders for networking and relationship building opportunities.

Each student met with a group of five executives to lead discussions about preferred ways to communicate, favorite social media tools or online shopping sites, and the use of social media to research products or share feedback after a purchase. At the end, executives reported what they learned about social media and possible applications in their work.

John Centonze ’12 (Highland, NY) talked to the Campbell’s executives about how he uses Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. “These tools can help a business become more personable,” he says. “They can connect with customers and potential customers in real time.”

While Alex Russo ’12 (Plymouth, MA) says that many businesses acknowledge that social media is the fastest growing networking and communication tool, it also has a future that is difficult to predict. Currently Campbell’s uses Facebook and Twitter to increase exposure of their products and brands and to interact with and attract customers.

“We cannot simply rely on the social media that exists today, but we need to move ahead of the curve and devise new, enterprising networking devices,” says Russo.

As part of the program, the Bryant group also toured the International Tennis Hall of Fame and enjoyed lunch in Newport. Each student was armed with his or her résumé and business cards.

“This is an excellence chance for students to share their personal expertise on social media and network for possible future employment opportunities within the Campbell Soup Company,” says Management Lecturer Dave Greenan, who serves as a co-advisor to Bryant’s SIFE chapter.