In partnership with DiversityInc, Sam's Club (owned by Walmart) gave scholarships to full-time sophomores and juniors enrolled at Hispanic-serving institutions to help pay for their education. Thirteen students on five teams and their schools split a $100,000 prize—$15,000 for the students and $5,000 for the schools. The student teams were awarded the prize at DiversityInc's 2011 special awards dinner in Washington, D.C.
Sam's Club executives Michael Moore, vice president, candy and tobacco, and Richard Ezell, vice president, fuel and auto, announced the winners. "Our goal of this case competition was to help ease the rising costs of education and give students the opportunity to build bridges for their communities. The Latino community—and the talent within it—is very important to Sam's Club," they said.
"The future workforce of this nation is in jeopardy, and the amount of talent that goes to waste is a crime," said DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti during the presentation. "There are a few programs, like Rutgers Future Scholars, and a few companies that are actually changing this statement by creating opportunity for young people who otherwise would never realize their full potential." Visconti, who sits on the board of a Hispanic-serving institution, New Jersey City University, noted that he has a strong gratitude for the generosity of Sam's Club.
The 2011 HSI Scholarship winning student teams are:
Otero Junior College: Vernon Ward and Georgia Gonzalez
This plan provided very detailed recommendations for targeting the Latino market via various outreach channels: providing budget, research and strategies for marketing, advertising and increasing traffic. This plan also touches on training and incentives for supervisors and managers.
California State University – Fullerton: Susan Carmona and Shaun Vasquez
This plan utilized ESRI Business Analyst Online, which is a demographic tool, to segment and identify key market segments with Latino consumers likely to shop at Sam's Club. This team decided to use California as a market and develop a strategy that can be blue-printed for other communities.
Universidad de Puerto Rico Recinto de Carolina: Teddy Gonsales, Kaileen Nieves, Cabrea and Benjamin Del Valle Colon
The recommendations from this plan centered around utilizing Sam's Club's strengths, such as its market position and financial position and doubling marketing efforts to the Latino community through social activities.
University of California, Merced: Lauriano Bucio, Stephanie Badillo and Jocelyn Delgado
This plan recommended that Sam's Club focus on: Brand Essence, Vision, Persona, Positioning and Proof Points, including voting, sports, cultural events and educational empowerment for the Latino market.
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona: Samantha Pearson, Brenda Trujillo and Kirren Dolan
This plan centered its recommendations on a Sam's Club marketing plan and advertising campaign through leveraging technologies. This plan details advertising strategies, roll out and cost by month.
The Sam's Club HSI Scholarship Competition asked teams of students to develop a marketing plan that would help Sam's Club build its relationship with the Latino community. The plans were judged by a team of DiversityInc and Sam's Club executives. More information on the Sam's Club HSI Scholarship Competition, produced in partnership with DiversityInc, is available at www.hsischolarships.com.