Words by: Gabs Cawili, Psalm Choco, Andrea Ebdane, Alexa Thea Garcia, and Lia Javier
Art by: Ali Fordan, Sam Julian, Triste Norberto, and Rachel Ogsimer
We are living in the age of the new normal: an age that demands for adaptation and innovation. Every semester, UP JMA holds a university-wide application process introducing students from various disciplines to the world of marketing. In this process, applicants are met with different tasks to develop their marketing competencies, promote relevant causes through actionable solutions, and build meaningful connections. With this, shifting the application process to an online setting was one of the many ways UP JMA has adapted to the new normal—providing new experiences, while offering the same excellence through our thrusts: Academics, Service, Socials, and Sports.
To develop the applicants’ skills in Integrated Marketing Communication and event-mounting, the organization traditionally conducts various Marketing Activities for the applicants; then at the end of the semester, they hold their own event. This semester, UP JMA introduced the Marketing Education Program (MEP) to equip applicants with the skills needed to execute relevant and innovative ideas in the business world despite remote learning.
The MEP modules included a Political, Economic, Social and Technological (PEST) framework analysis analysis, a market segmentation, a "big idea" pitch for prominent companies in the country, and their very own event pitch. Despite the outputs being grounded in marketing concepts, applicants from non-business courses were also able to navigate their way through the modules with ease. The different prompts of the MEP, as well as the Zoom talks given by JMA members to further acquaint the applicants on what concepts to apply, ensured that the learning process was as smooth and immersive as possible given the current online limitations such as connectivity issues.
Despite these setbacks, they were able to deliver substantial outputs and successfully pitch their big idea presentations in front of a panel of judges. When asked about her experience working in her group, Asianna Taulava, a Sports Science sophomore shared: “Doing the MEP taught me people skills—how to be more considerate, how to be more empathic, [and] how to be more accepting of other people’s ideas. It’s not really your idea that’s going to win the pitch—it’s going to be a combination of everyone’s ideas.”
The MEP modules also taught applicants how to apply marketing concepts in their classroom learnings and in their everyday lives. According to Aly Castillo, a Public Administration freshman: “One of my key takeaways is that empathizing with and analyzing your market is one of the most important steps in order to efficiently sell your product. I also learned how important it is to always think out of the box and step out of your comfort zone from time to time to make the most out of the opportunities given to you... I also gained a brief understanding of creating big ideas, which must be succinct in capturing the essence of a marketing campaign,” she shared.
To immerse the applicants in the UP JMA’s passion for service, traditionally the applicants help out in the events for our main beneficiary: the Kids Integrated Development through Schooling (KIDS) program, and through internships in various teams such as University Relations and We Champion. Even amidst remote learning this semester, these initiatives have continued to fulfill their duties and responsibilities to their communities.
When asked about what University Relations does, Angela Gregorio, an intern under this team shared: “UnivRel works towards building and strengthening the connections within UP by catering to the active needs within the internal community.” Even as an applicant, she saw the purpose of being part of the Creatives sub team, as she created publication materials for their online seminars and series. The other applicants were split between the sub teams: Marketing and Finance, whose interns drafted and revised emails to company partners, and Logistics and Programs whose interns wrote and translated the script of their current COVID-related webinars for IskaLinga and contacted the partners of the entire team.
When asked about We Champion, Bettina Cuenca, an intern under this team, shared: "Education would be the word to encompass We Champion's function, goal, and vision as they supply proper information beyond the UPD community.” The entire body works towards providing fact-checked news and updates through podcasts, webinars, and bi-weekly digests. Sofia Mateo, a We Champion intern claims, “So far, we made a [publication material] about the types of vaccines the Philippines is targeting. We researched thoroughly in order to collect facts to inform our readers.” The interns also summarized We Champion's podcasts and webinars to be put in bite-sized brochures and digests for their partner communities. Sofia added, “We were also able to learn from the best people who push us to become better servants.”
To welcome freshies into the remote academic year, JMA introduced its first ever online freshie initiative—Discover Diliman: Made Digital. Traditionally, Discover Diliman is an event where JMA members introduce first-year students to life as an Isko or Iska. Facilitators talked about the best food spots, routes of the UP jeeps, terms students should know, and different events in the university, to name a few. They did this while touring students around the campus. However, because of the global pandemic’s quarantine regulations, the freshie initiative was launched via Zoom instead.
Much like everything else in 2020, the online platform was new territory. Setting up a comprehensive online campus tour while encouraging freshies to forge a level of companionship among strangers would be a challenge, especially given that they are only meeting online. Through this year’s Discover Diliman, UP JMA managed to translate as many real-life experiences as possible online. There was a full program, talks on student life, collaborative games, and even a full campus tour—albeit carried out through pictures and two-dimensional maps. In an interview, Seth Eliserio, a Business Administration and Accountancy freshman said: “I was able to really understand more about how everything in UPD really works, like the different facts and terms we should know. They also gave us tips on how to survive college online that I found really useful at the start of the semester.”
On a more personal level, UP JMA also achieved its objective of developing students socially. Richia Chua, another Business Administration and Accountancy freshman claims: “Looking back, a lot of the friends I’ve made were people I was with in Discover Diliman. Some of them I’d talked to because of the initiative, and some unknowingly. Even if I don’t talk to all of them, I have a bit of facial recollection when I see a few of their faces and remember being in the same group as them.”
To exhibit creativity and showcase good sportsmanship, UP JMA holds a night of different games and contests every semester through Talent Night. Last Halloween, the first ever online Talent Night was held over Zoom. In the spirit of friendly competition, each of the five Committees of UP JMA, together with their assigned applicants, produced a skit based on various horror movies. Over the course of the event, each committee was able to exemplify their competitive nature and creativity.
Amidst this semester’s eventful app process, the applicants were able to participate in what may have been one of the most unforgettable nights they've had in JMA so far: Talent Night. When interviewing Maxine Alcedo, a UP JMA applicant, she mentioned that she "never expected to see how lively and energetic the organization was, when they performed and constantly rooted for one another in the spirit of good sportsmanship and zeal."
Aside from the good vibes the event gave off, it’s events like these that make applicants feel at home with UP JMA. In the process of creating the skit alone, Maxine said: "working with the members and seeing how everyone helped one another to bring forth somewhat of a synergy was the true value in being part of the event." Even if the night was held through something as limiting as a simple Zoom call, everyone was able to utilize tools such as screen sharing, backgrounds, and sound effects to harness their creativity as a committee.
All in all, the application process enriched the applicants with newfound marketing knowledge, a deeper sense of community, a greater appreciation for newly formed friendships, and a strengthened sense of camaraderie. Now, as the application process comes to a close, we look forward to welcoming the applicants who will soon start their journey as members of the organization—carrying with them the same UP JMA excellence.