Testimonials – Marketing Managment Course: Sharon

To:  Dean of Business School:

Recently one of my peers asked me what I was learning in Professor Heller’s marketing class. The student was planning their schedule for the next semester and had inevitably heard that Heller’s class was more difficult than other management courses.  He was certainly surprised when I recounted that, with only three hours of class each week since August I had learned: (i) the marketing concepts and skills required to use databases to analyze and retrieve valuable business information, (ii) calculate pricing cost/benefit analysis for several companies and conduct a break-even analysis, (iii) conduct business SWOT analyses,(iv) and practice segmenting, positioning, and targeting various company products … all before midterms.

Professor Heller conducted his classroom differently than any other professor I have had.  Initially, I was weary of his process, but after two weeks I recognized within myself that I was a different student in Heller’s class.  Professor Heller utilized a combination of weekly assignments, pop quizzes, class attendance and participation, and tests for Marketing Management.  The pop quizzes held students accountable for weekly textbook reading assignments and ensured that class time was not wasted defining terms or outlining basic processes. Marketing is the only course this semester that I have consistently completed all of the textbook readings before EVERY single class! Heller simply had a way of motivating students to adopt practices that would ultimately make them more successful in every class.

One of the primary motivation techniques in Heller’s course was his grading system.  On the weekly assignments, it was not uncommon to receive 5-15 points of extra credit if one went above and beyond the scope of the assignment.  The first time I received a 110, I was so motivated to do even better on the next assignment.  Each Thursday, I looked forward to getting my assignments back to see what grade I received and read the positive comments.

As a student, I most appreciated that Professor Heller strived to make our limited classroom time as valuable as possible.  He didn’t use lecture slides from the book or repeat class worksheets.  Instead, he used his experience in the hotel industry as well as his connections with leading world businesses such as Coca-Cola to foster class discussions about real-world marketing scenarios.  I learned basic marketing concepts best by applying them to these classroom examples and learning from and contributing to in-class discussions with my peers.  Once, I had a research study meeting for another course that conflicted with my marketing class time. Frustrated that I could not reschedule the study meeting, I emailed Professor Heller to ask if I could instead attend the Monday/Wednesday 8 am course. As I woke up early on Monday morning and walked towards the Management building, I expected to the class attendance to be sparse since Monday 8 am courses are notoriously under-attended.  To my surprise, the classroom was filled to capacity.  My experience in the 8 am course provided to me that students recognized they could not make up for the knowledge they would acquire by attending Heller’s lectures.

I cannot express how much valuable, real-world knowledge I learned in Heller’s course compared to other management classes I have taken.  As a student, I work part-time at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Following our class assignments on project Gantt Charts and RFPs, I approached my boss and explained that I had acquired a new skill set that might be valuable for some of our office projects.  She was immensely impressed by my knowledge and assigned me to two new projects. Students certainly value their education when they recognize that the knowledge they are acquiring are used in the business world; Heller always tried to parallel classroom knowledge to actual business applications. 

Professor Heller was dedicated to his students’ success in Marketing 3300 as well as after graduation.  Following mid-terms, Professor Heller emailed students that were succeeding in the marketing course to offer his time for career planning meeting(s) and course feedback.  Heller wanted students to know that he was a resource for letters of recommendations and advice about potential internships and careers.  Professor Heller also stressed that he appreciated student investment in the 3300 class.  He viewed students as shareholders in his course and their education, so he often solicited student feedback on his teaching style, lecture slides, assignments, quizzes and tests. 

Georgia Tech is known as a leading research institution, and so often students feel that professors consider their research as a priority over teaching their students.  Professor Heller certainly emphasized that students came first as he was always available to answer questions and provide assistance.  Whether students needed him to come early or stay late, Professor Heller continuously displayed dedication to ensuring student understanding and success.

Heller provided much more than textbook definitions and examples.  Professor Heller brought 20+ years of experience owning and operating hotels into the classroom and used his expertise as well as his connections with premier Atlanta and world businesses such as Coca-Cola and UPS provide students real-world marketing management scenarios through ;lecture slides and weekly assignments. As a third year student, I have not completed a course with a professor as dedicated to student learning and student success as Professor Heller.  Without a doubt, I am a more knowledgeable, strategic, and skilled student and have more to contribute to the business world due to my time as a student in professor Heller’s Marketing 3300 course.