Every Monday at 11 a.m., nine students gather in Strickland 124A. The University of Missouri’s National Agri-Marketing Association, an assembly of agriculture majors, begin with their executive summary. Using terms and knowledge understood by marketing professionals, such as “competitive market analysis” and “SWOT,” NAMA works through their weekly meeting. However, this year, they have an advantage.
For the past six years, NAMA ran without an adviser. This year, Jamille Palacios Rivera, agricultural economics professor, joined the team in that role.
Under the direction of Palacios, the team that was once down to only four members is recruiting underclassmen that can stay on the team for years to come. Palacios teaches New Products Marketing, an agricultural economics class where students develop marketing plans similar to those required for NAMA. Palacios is able to offer the team expert guidance as they work.
“I like that it provides students with opportunities to develop professionally as they work on developing and presenting a marketing plan for a real new ag[riculture] product,” Palacios said. “When I was interviewed for the teaching position, the college expressed interest and support to NAMA and the need for an adviser.”
NAMA is a competition team. Students create a full, professional-level marketing plan on the agricultural product of their choice, and then give an in-depth presentation at the Agri Marketing Conference & Trade Show in Kansas City in April. Professionals involved in the agri-marketing industry then judge the presentation. Winning teams receive money for their chapter, recognition at the conference and a traveling plaque, which at one point travelled to Mizzou. In the 1990s, MU’s team received first place three years in a row, and officially holds the record for the most consecutive wins. However, when the coach of those champion teams moved to Kansas State University in the early 2000s, the program dwindled. In 2009, a group of students revived the group, but operated without an adviser until the 2015 fall semester, when Palacios took over.
With more than 750 extracurricular organizations for MU students to choose from, it is easy for smaller groups to get lost in the shuffle. According to their website, NAMA is “a professional organization on campus that focuses on preparing our members for a job in marketing after college through hands on experience in all aspects of marketing — from market research to creating action plans.”
Although many campus organizations look good on a resume, NAMA is unique in that it “allows students to meet with professionals in real time and work on real world projects,” said Madison Williams, NAMA president . In addition to presenting at the Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade Show, NAMA members can also attend both professional and student-oriented workshops and professional development seminars. Also included in the three-day conference is a career fair for all the students participating, with potential employers both within and outside marketing fields.
The NAMA team seeks to rebuild its competitive edge while helping students to build professional rapport.
“Many other great ag econ schools have NAMA teams competing annually,” Palacios said. “We should not fall behind. We are looking for daring, do-ers.”
Students of any major are welcome to join NAMA, with interests ranging from numbers and research analysis, to building teamwork and oral communication skills.
“I decided to join NAMA because I wanted to be involved in something that would prepare me for the business world,” said Maria Kuhns, MU freshman. She said she hopes to build research and presentation skills and manage her own business someday.
The future of NAMA is definitely hopeful.
“Cal Poly is looking to win for a third year and take away Mizzou’s title, but we’re not going to let them,” said Drake Meyer, NAMA officer.