My first thought upon hearing the news was “Wow.”
After the shock wore off and I regained the ability to think clearly again, my second thought was “Wow…JMU has a trio of winning teams.”
Following a rigorous judging process, Rachel Krause (Team Captain), Nicole Behr, and Tara Goode have been crowned as Americas Regional Winners of the 2012 Google Online Marketing Challenge. Beating over 11,000 students from 86 countries and territories, Krause, Behr, and Goode earned the top spot in the Americas Region, which consists of North, Central, and South America. They join an elite group of two other James Madison University teams that previously won this same prestigious title in 2009 and again in 2011.
On their GOMC winners page, Google reported that 2012 was “the most competitive and diverse pool of teams yet”. Next month, I have the honor of accompanying our winning JMU team on a site visit to Google’s headquarters (a.k.a., The Googleplex) where they will receive laptops and other great prizes.
I am so proud of the JMU students for performing remarkably well in the Challenge. They are a talented, hard-working group that knows how to meet the bar when I raise it high. For example, this year when encouraged to take the Google AdWords Certification Exam at the end of the course, 8 out of 15 students took the exam and passed it. Other JMU accomplishments are below:
- 2008 – Americas Region Finalists (Katelynn McGinnis, Bethany Kent, Ryan Farrell, Renee Montmeny, and Julia Marchetti) and four out of five JMU teams ranked in the top 10% globally out of 1,600+ teams.
- 2009 – Americas Region Winners (Rachel Bruton, Meredith Rauh and Brandon Sockwell) and four out of five JMU teams ranked in the top 10% globally out of 2,100+ teams.
- 2010 – Five out of five JMU teams were ranked in the top 100 teams globally out of 2,440+ teams.
- 2011 – Americas Region Winners (Larissa Cookson, Lindsay Keller, and Molly Shea). Another team was recognized as one of the top five teams in the Americas region and the three remaining JMU teams were ranked in the top 100 in the world out of 4,000+ teams.
- 2012 – In addition to this year’s Americas Region Winners, the team of Zeke Lukow (Team Captain), Scott Garrett, Sarah Lucas, and Mallory Cain ranked as one of the top 15 teams in the Americas region and within the top 60 teams globally. Two other JMU teams were designed by Google as a “Strong Campaign” which means they ranked in the top 15% of teams globally. These students are Xin Yang (Team Captain), Meagan Evertson, and Katie Wurdack on one team and Sarah Carpenter ( Team Captain), Blaine Anderson, Jason Gannon, and Jacqueline Cheff on the other JMU team.
Because the Challenge is such an amazing learning opportunity, I plan to expand this experience beyond the JMU Marketing department. In September, I will be delivering a special workshop at the Marketing Management Association Fall Educators Conference to share with other marketing professors how to confidently and effectively implement the Challenge in their own classes. In the spring, I am offering the Google Challenge experience within MBA 678, a special topics course in Online Search Advertising within the Innovation MBA (iMBA) Program at JMU.