NAMA prepares students with real world experiences

Students who want hands-on experience in product marketing plus the added benefit of numerous networking opportunities need look no further than Mizzou NAMA. The student chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association is up and running again at MU after a hiatus of several years.

NAMA has two levels of participation, student and professional. There are 1,800 professional members and student chapters range from Minnesota to Texas. NAMA is an organization that can help students meet business people and learn the preparation that goes into marketing a product.

“When I was at MU, I started the ball rolling to make this an organization again,” Rachel Robinson said, a manager of equine business at OsbornBarr. “It is the go-to organization for agribusiness marketing.”

Robinson helped start NAMA back up again while she was in college. She is remains involved in the organization as a professional.

“I make sure that they’ve (NAMA) done everything to stay a recognized chapter. I also help plan events where students come and interact with agribusiness professionals, “Robinson said.  “These professionals look at their marketing plans and give them comments to help improve.”

Students are given the opportunity to participate in the NAMA annual competition, which was held in Kansas City this April.

Paul Redhage, the current NAMA National President, from Labadie, Mo., has been on the NAMA executive committee for six years. Redhage is an alum of the MU science and agricultural journalism program and is the strategic communications manager at FMC Corporation.

“The student chapters will put together a student marketing team that will work on a marketing plan,” Redhage said. “Those marketing plans, generally food and agriculturally related are presented at the annual April Agri-Marketing Conference. The student teams representing different colleges come forward and present them in front of professionals in the business industry.”

Marc Rosenbohm, a junior at MU majoring in agribusiness management, has been involved in NAMA for two years and is the Vice President.

“I got involved because they were trying to build a club from the ground up and start from not a really lot of anything,” Rosenbohm said.

To prepare for the upcoming competition, the student chapter brainstorms ideas for the following year right after the contest. Over the summer, the NAMA members continue to look for new products while keeping in contact with each member. In the fall the students meet  and select the best product. The group discusses who the product would target, if it could it be profitable and what benefits it has for the producer.

“After we pick the product, we start researching the target market and go through a financial model of it and predict how profitable it will be,” Rosenbohm said. “We decide how we’re going to market the product. We also work with people in the advertising industry to get estimate costs.”

Cody Begemann, a junior majoring in agribusiness, is NAMA president.

“I work with the club to keep it going and handle day-to-day operations,” Begemann said. “I schedule events, meeting times, and answer anyone’s questions.”

Begemann enjoys the atmosphere and friendships he’s made in NAMA.

“The biggest draw for me is that it’s a small enough organization that you become friends. It’s like a family and they love the work that it takes to make our final project,” Begemann said. “We’re just there to do the best we can and have fun with it.”

While the competition may help you learn how to market a product, the connections you make may be just as important.

“The best part is the networking,” Rosenbohm said. “ The people that are involved in NAMA professional are in other things besides NAMA. They’re highly involved.”

Sometimes alums will come back and speak to student chapter meetings.

“A huge portion of life is meeting individuals and exchanging ideas with and from a career development standpoint,” Redhage said. “Many times in life you will have the opportunity to advance in your career and that means networking with the people in the past.”

The NAMA competition was held in Kansas City, Mo., on April 16-19.  For more information, go to the NAMA Facebook page.