Sweet Servuction: Discovering the Business Behind a Corn Maze

By Ali Fisher

Halloween is a time filled with costumes, candy, and corn mazes. The Dean’s Student Leadership Council decided that visiting a local maze would be a fun first outing to work on team building and to have a little fall fun.

As we approached the line for the corn maze, we noticed a sign, “Corn Maze – Your Future Business.” Until that Saturday, the idea of owning a corn maze had never crossed my mind; however, when accompanied by a group of business students and a wait time of nearly 45 minutes, the conversation quickly went in that direction. Here’s what we determined after reflecting on our experience:

Your experience as a corn maze customer is a result of four components, known as the Servuction Model.

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Other customers. By separating customers into smaller groups, it exposes consumers to two things —emotional behavior and bottlenecks. Before explaining that this buildup of people creates unnecessary time constraints, let’s examine the three types of emotional behavior exhibited from customers at corn mazes:

  • Emotional Involvement: These consumers are invested in the experience, actively engaging to prolong activity, and enjoying suspenseful areas throughout the maze.
  • Emotional Expressiveness: These are consumers who might scream, yell, or maybe even laugh outwardly to perceived scary and suspenseful events. Other consumers in this category may regret spending money on such childish activity and express regret in superficial emotion.
  • Emotional Intelligence: These consumers might as well give you a tour of the maze. They know when and where a service personnel is going to jump out and attempt to scare you. They can easily control their ability to be scared, but may take the fun out of the experience.

cornBottlenecks. Have you ever gotten stuck behind a group of slow individuals just when you were starting to figure out the right path? These are the bottlenecks. And this buildup of people is bound to impact your experience, according to the Servuction Model. They slow your experience right when you are on the edge of your triumphant finish. Is that the dilemma of the owner of the maze, or is it your problem? The company might want to consider making wider paths, admitting fewer people into the maze at once, increasing acreage and therefore expanding the maze, or reviewing the maze patterns to filter consumers in different areas using service personnel as key influencers.

Servicescape. This refers to the environment designed for the service. It includes two features — ambient conditions and physical evidence.

  • Ambient Conditions: Includes features such as the lighting, temperature, smells, sights, music, etc., by providing fog lights, ghost music, and increasing the specific aromas such as apple cider, the servicescape adds to the service experience of the consumer.
  • Physical Evidence: Encompasses features like signs, symbols, and artifacts. Objects such as the ticket booth, the website, and the design on the tickets need to clearly convey and enhance the maze operations; otherwise, discrepancies between the message provided and the message received may be a result of the servicescape.

Servicescape varies between corn mazes, but overall the components should seek to clearly align with the mission of the corn maze. Use this as an opportunity to set consumer expectations from the very beginning.

Service Personnel. This is what keeps people coming back and spreads positive word of mouth for a corn maze. If employees are not in character and do not scare customers, then they do not effectively accomplish the service paid for by consumers. Do they live by the mission of the organization? Do they live up to the level of fear one could expect when experiencing the maze? Service personnel not only interact with the consumers, but serve as an important source for product differentiation.

Organization and Systems. The rules, regulations, and processes implemented behind the scenes determine whether or not consumers will have a positive experience. This includes the proficiency of finances and how they are managed, whether or not human resource areas are controlled, the level of organization in the company’s systems, and performance standards that are in place. These components are not visible to the consumer, though they have a significant effect on consumers’ service experience.

With these four concepts in mind, consumers form perceptions regarding their corn maze experience. Are they satisfied, based on their expectations coming into the corn maze? As an owner, if you create a positive service experience,influential word of mouth, and buzz marketing campaigns, you can increase revenue as a result of increased customers.

Through this experience, I learned that business principles can be applied to everything – even corn mazes. With the right team and the right tools, any venture can be a successful one.

Special thanks to Marketing Professor, Doug Hoffman, for showing us all the power of servuction.

Happy Halloween, Business Rams!

Internships: More than Copy Machines and Coffee Makers

By Courtney Grogan

The cool, fall breeze signals the beginning of football season for many people. For me, it means continuing the internship of a lifetime. This will be my second season working with the Denver Broncos.

CourtneylinkedinAt the end of my sophomore year, I was browsing CareerRam for a summer internship. I thought it seemed too good to be true when “Denver Broncos Marketing and Promotions” appeared on my screen. After submitting my resume, I soon forgot about the job, thinking that it would be a complete long shot. After a couple of months, I received an email asking if I was still interested, and would I like to set up a phone interview for the job. I wondered if anyone would say no to that. That afternoon, I had a phone interview with the Promotions and Marketing Coordinator and nervously waited for a response for over a week. After a long finals week awaiting a phone call from the Broncos, I finally received an email asking me to be part of the marketing and promotions team.

The 2012-2013 season was a legendary one for the Broncos. It was Peyton Manning’s first season with the team, taking them all the way to the playoffs. Many said that the team was Super Bowl bound; the only team standing in the way was the Baltimore Ravens. It was -10 degrees on the field during that game, but everyone was so excited at the prospect of advancing in the playoffs that they didn’t mind. The game did not go as eager fans had hoped. The devastating loss to the Ravens that night was one of the top five worst days of my life. Seeing the team and staff work so hard all year, only to have it end so suddenly, was difficult to experience. We all left the stadium in silence and hoped that the following season would be better.  The experience showed me what it is like to work for an organization where everyone is completely invested in its success. The same principle can be applied to any company, sports related or not.

So far, the 2013-2014 season has been shaping up to be another big year for the Broncos. I was chosen to do the Coca-Cola Coin Toss at each game, which involves escorting a special guest as well as an alumni player out on to the field for the coin toss. Staying professional and keeping my composure is a huge part of my internship.

Terrell Davis signing an autograph for a fan

Terrell Davis signing an autograph for a fan

A lot of people ask me if I get player autographs and pictures, but I think the best part is being able to see behind the scenes and talk to players as people and not celebrities. Meeting and escorting Broncos legend Terrell Davis during the NFL season opener versus the Ravens was a huge moment. The Broncos won the game and gave the organization the redemption it had been craving for eight months.

The College of Business Job & Internship Expo is this Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 18 and 19.  I encourage you all to go out and talk to companies that you might not usually consider. Internships can be more than making copies and getting coffee for the office. Your personal interests can lead you to a rewarding internship that makes you look forward to going to work each day.

8 Reasons to Attend the College of Business Job & Internship Exposition

By: Annie  Burnham

Welcome back, College of Business Rams! I hope your summer was relaxing, productive, and that you set and met some short-term goals. Now that the new semester has started, setting a few more short and long term goals (even if they are just in your head) is important to your success this semester.

One of your long term goals is probably to get a job after graduation. Well, there’s no time like the present to start working toward that goal. And here’s one of the best ways you can start – the College of Business Job & Internship Expo.

This event will be held on September 18 and 19 from 4-6 p.m. in the foyer of Rockwell West. The event is taking place two days in order to split up the concentrations. Marketing, Management, Master of Management Practice, Master of Business Administration, Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise Master of Business Administration students are invited to attend the Wednesday session, and

Computer Information Systems, Accounting, Finance, Real Estate, Master of Accountancy, and Master of Science in Business Administration for Computer information Systems, and Financial Risk Management, students are invited to attend Thursday. Register with the Career Management Center today.

Now, why should you go to this event, you ask?

The Career Management Center has eight good reasons students should attend.

  1. You can increase your network. 80% of jobs are found through a personal or professional connection. What better way to start making those connections than in an environment designed to cultivate those relationships? LinkedIn is a great vehicle for these relationships to be formed as well. The COB Job & Internship Expo hosts more than 50 employers and a number of great contacts that are looking for someone like you.
  2. It gives you a reason to dress your best. Your professional appearance makes a difference. Put on your nicest business attire to make a lasting impression. It is always better to be a little overdressed and show that you want to make a good impression rather than look like you decided attend this expo last minute.
  3. It is an opportunity to learn about a variety of companies. Take every opportunity to attend company or industry meetings, conferences, and events. The Job & Internship Expo provides you with a unique opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with a number of recruiters who can tell you firsthand what working with their organization is like. Come prepared with questions and research companies beforehand.
  4. Get a job/internship.  More than 50 employers will be in attendance. They are all seeking College of Business students. Start the career process early and meet with a number of companies one-on-one.
  5. Employers want to meet you. This one goes with No. 4. These employers will be prepared to conduct on the-spot interviews with the candidates who offer the best value to their organizations.
  6. Get a professional photo. Have your photo taken by a professional photographer to use on social media sites like LinkedIn. This is another reason dressing your best will be important. Your selfie in the bathroom mirror should NOT be your LinkedIn profile photo.
  7. Gain experience in career fair settings. Careers fairs can be intimidating – start early in college and learn the best ways to attract employers attention. You can also watch others interacting with employers and take some mental notes.
  8. Discover new companies and opportunities. Chances are you will not have heard of every company that is in attendance. This is a chance to find some companies that you might want to research later on about employment opportunities.

Although you might be a few semesters away from graduating, it is never too early to start thinking about what you want to move on to next. The Job & Internship Expo is a great way to meet new people and learn about opportunities to take advantage of now.

The Sweetest Comeback Ever

By: Annie Burnham and Natalie Hansen

The beloved Hostess Twinkie is back. Two empty boxes later … We’ve got the skinny on the new baby cake.

Annie: Last Wednesday, Natalie and I (Annie) went on an adventure in search of a box of Twinkies. What started out as a simple trip to Walmart turned into a desperate search for just one box of Twinkies. And we did it for you, College of Business students.

On Monday, July 15, Hostess Brand LLC, now owned by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co, returned Twinkies to store shelves. As we looked around Walmart, we couldn’t even find a Hostess display. What kind of welcome back party was this for the beloved Hostess delights?

Finally on a tiny shelf at the front of the store, we found the Hostess products  . . .  and no Twinkies.

A Walmart employee, noticing our distress, came up to us and said, “All of the Walmarts in town are sold out of Twinkies. We’re waiting for another shipment.”

All of the sudden, this wasn’t a simple work assignment – this was a quest to find a box of Twinkies. Were we going to find any Twinkies in this town?

Our second attempt to find Twinkies was at a King Soopers — another disappointing stop. We were informed that the store was also sold out, having just taken down a large Hostess display that had been emptied by Twinkie-lovers of Fort Collins.

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Our last stop was the Safeway on Mulberry Street. We walked quickly toward the bakery, hoping that there would be Twinkies around the corner. Our excitement when we spotted the Hostess table was a measure above ridiculous. We were tempted to load our arms full of boxes and carry them over to the cashier, like pirates who had finally found their buried treasure. We felt a bit like Tallahassee did at the end of Zombieland, when he at long last got his hands on one of the crème cakes.


Instead, we got two boxes so everyone in the office could partake of the “new” Twinkies.

Upon our return we were greeted with cheers and open palms . . . Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration. But our pilgrimage around town to find a box of Twinkies was entertaining to tell.

Now for the moment of truth: the Twinkie taste test.

Natalie: The consensus around the office was that these new, improved Twinkies tasted like … Twinkies. I only ate one Twinkie (three) for the novelty factor, and I don’t feel like I ever need to eat a Twinkie again.  Not surprisingly, most of us also felt like we’d swallowed a brick after consuming two or three of them. Though the little cakes still taste like you remember (and still bring the sugar headache and crash you remember), we observed some changes.

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Upon opening a new box of Twinkies, you may notice a few differences. Namely, the yellow sponge cakes are a bit smaller. A recent CNN Money article by Chris Isidore states that the weight of a 10 pack of Twinkies is now 13.58 ounces, down from 15 ounces. This also means that the treats now have fewer calories.  Isidore notes that a Hostess spokesperson has stated that the weight was actually changed by November 1st of last year (right before production halted on November 16th), so this isn’t a new development.

What is new, however, is that Twinkies are now one step closer to making the urban legend about them lasting forever true. Hostess has changed up the recipe, and the cakes now last 45 days, as opposed to the old 26. Candace Choi at USA Today mentions that Hostess is also offering to freeze their products before shipment, so that retailers may stamp on their own expiration dates.

Some changes that Hostess has made have not been well received. According to another CNN Money piece, only a portion of the 18,500 positions that were lost when Hostess went bankrupt last year will be returning – just about 20 to 25 percent. While Hostess used to employ their own truck drivers, distribution will now be outsourced to independent trucking firms. Only 1,800 workers will be used in each factory to produce the Hostess products, where 2,500 were used before. This has left many with questions on the new management’s decisions.

However, it’s apparent from our excursion to find a single box of Twinkies that Hostess products are flying off the shelves. The public has missed their Twinkies. For now, the “Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever” campaign seems to be working. Disappearing from the market for a while may have been just the boost that the decades-old brand needed; the “new brand” uses the exact same packaging and style.

Not all of the Old Hostess products are available yet; according to Hostess’ website, we will have wait a little longer to get back SnoBalls and Zingers. Time will tell if Hostess’ downsizing will be outweighed by a marketing campaign rooted in nostalgia, and if the brand as the whole will be able to remain in the market for years to come.

Save the Date: July 24th come visit our table at The Lagoon Concert Series

By: Natalie Hansen

One of the best things about Fort Collins is that most nights of the week, you can find live music somewhere around Old Town.  The Lagoon Summer Concert Series is a free event entering its 18th year of bringing local musicians to campus. Each Wednesday from July 9th to August 14th, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., a different genre of music is featured, including everything from country to 80s pop. If you are in Fort Collins this summer, the Lagoon Summer Concert Series is a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy music, without spending money.

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Photo by Annie Burnham

The stage is set just west of the lagoon, making it a perfect spot to relax in the shade away from the heat of the Colorado summer.  Evenings during the summer are normally a bit breezier, so concert goers should be able to kick back and take in the show.  There is plenty of space in the grass to bring a group of friends, your dog, a blanket, and a picnic dinner. Free parking is available after 4 p.m. nearby in the parking lot behind Morgan Library, but you can also access the event by walking or riding a bike – another chance to soak up the sun before classes start again in six weeks.

You’ll also find a variety of local organizations sponsoring tables during the concert series, as well as some of the colleges here at CSU. The College of Business, Extension, and The College of Agricultural Sciences will be hosting tables on Wednesday, July 24th. From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., we will be out enjoying the sunshine and music from the Tumbling Dice, a high energy country band from Denver. The group promises to be a hit with dance and music lovers of all kinds and will be a fun way to unwind in the middle of your week. We also have some surprises in store for those of you planning to stop by the concert – we’ll have swag, popcorn, and even a photo booth to capture some of your summer memories.

We’re looking forward to seeing you by the lagoon!

A Sendoff to the Class of 2013

By Tim Pate

College of Business graduates enjoy commencement

College of Business graduates enjoy commencement

This week’s post (by virtue of the title alone) runs the risk of being a bit sappy and sentimental, so I’ll do my best to keep it professional. You all have probably shed and seen enough tears for all the graduation hullabaloo,  and I don’t intend to contribute to the melancholy any more than I have to. That being said, here begins my blog post reflecting on my time as an undergraduate student at Colorado State University.

Two weeks ago, I sat in my room, putting the final touches on a school project, when I realized that the work I was completing was not just another college project – it was the final project. When it was done, there would be no more. For some reason, this simple fact hit me harder than all the well-wishings and congratulations I had received from family and friends in the preceding days and weeks. And suddenly I began to cherish that last project – I began to enjoy it.

This insignificant experience gave way to my realization of how representative my final project was of the conclusion of my college experience. Under any other circumstances, that project would have been just another part of college life – another small hurdle on my way to the finish line. On some level, I think that’s how I’ve viewed too much of my college experience. The classes, the events, the involvement, the mishaps were all part of a means to a grander end.

What this last project taught me was that I need to remember to take the time to appreciate those stepping stones that lead to the ultimate finale. Those awkward roommate situations freshman year; the nights spent in Old Town; the class presentations; the once-in-a-lifetime extracurricular events – all of these things were special in their own right.

Looking forward, I know that I will have the opportunity to take advantage of more small moments that culminate in something big. Life in the real world appears a bit daunting – I’ll admit that – and I know that I’m going to fail a few times before I find what works for me. However, I’m going to try to do my best to make my failings and my successes count and to take the time to acknowledge them individually.

There are a lot of naysayers out there who don’t believe in the potential of our generation. I think they’re wrong. I think that we’re going to make a difference that probably none of us can even foresee at the moment. But I hope that whatever happens along the way, we do our best to appreciate the little things that lead to whatever changes we make. I’m going to try to start appreciating those mundane class projects like I did the last one.

Congratulations to the Class of 2013!

The Inaugural Global Finance Summit

by Annie Burnham

Panelists respond to questions at the inaugural Global Finance Summit.

Panelists respond to questions at the inaugural Global Finance Summit.

Last Friday, the Department of Finance and Real Estate held its inaugural Global Finance Summit. The event drew 180 people to Colorado State University’s Center for the Arts for an impressive lineup of 10 speakers. Student moderators asked panels of speakers questions in three sessions. Each session had a specific topic: the global economy, moderated by Zachary Lund and Eric Ziola; alternative investment strategies, moderated by David Ferguson and Jason Page; and corporate finance challenges, moderated by Amy Sunderman and Jessica Blakeman.

The keynote speaker was Alice Schroeder. Schroeder spoke about the various interactions she had with Warren Buffett in writing her book, The Snowball. She recounted the life experiences and life-wisdom of Warren Buffett and talked about his business acumen (strong negotiation tactics), family relationships, and personal traits.

The event was great and very educational. Although many topics were covered, the opinions shared were very enlightening and everyone seemed to enjoy the event. After each of the three sessions, participants gathered for networking and snacks in the lobby outside the theater.

As a member of the audience, I felt that the event achieved all the Department of Finance and Real Estate had hoped. For those six students who participated as moderators, this was a wonderful opportunity to engage with some brilliant minds in finance and economics. The moderators all agreed that the first ever Global Finance Summit was a success.

Student moderators asked expert panelists questions.

Student moderators asked expert panelists questions.

Zachary Lund, senior business administration major and a member of the Colorado CFA Society Global Research Challenge team that placed first in Denver last month, was one of the first moderators. He and his co-moderator, Eric Ziola, asked questions pertaining to the global economy. Lund mentioned that he and Ziola “prepared by organizing questions, coordinating with the speakers via conference calls, doing research on the subject matter, and practicing discussions about the subject matter.”

Eric Ziola, a senior studying finance and real estate, said, “It was an unbelievable opportunity, and I know that some students were approached by employers in the industry.”

Events such as this one tend to invite employers to meet prospective employees among the CSU business students. Ziola offered advice to younger CSU business students: “Take part in every opportunity and event related to your field while you are in school, because the chance to talk to industry professionals will disappear once you enter the ‘real world.’ There are barriers preventing access to these wonderful industry professionals that the college breaks down for you.”

“Students should understand that opportunities like the GFS are extremely valuable and present the opportunity to get real world insight in order to bridge the academic value of the college experience with its actual application in the business world,” Lund echoed. “These opportunities do not happen all that often and should be capitalized on by students.”

Top Three Reasons to Attend the College of Business Career Expo

By Annie Burnham

Tomorrow, February 6, the Career Management Center is hosting their semi-annual College of Business Job and Internship Expo. From 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. join more than 50 different companies for networking in the Rockwell West Atrium. Why, may you ask, should you take advantage of this? Because graduation will be upon us before you know it and looking for potential jobs now will save you a lot of stress later. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, here are the top three reasons why you should sign up to attend the Career Expo tomorrow:

  1. Distribute your Résumé: You have the potential to get your résumé submitted for dozens of jobs. This will require you to do some research tonight and tomorrow morning. The Career Management Center has a list of the employers coming, so go ahead and browse the ones that appeal to you. See what positions they have open that you can fill. You might have to tailor your résumé a bit for specific positions but the fact that you prepared ahead will demonstrate your attention to detail.
  2. Networking Potential: Not only will this help with your possibilities for careers but also it will allow you to explore different options to meet your needs and interests. The more network connections you have, the more likely you are to get a job after graduation. The saying “It’s all about who you know” nine times out of ten is correct. Be confident and assert yourself. What do you have to lose?
  3. Free LinkedIn pictures: You will already be dressed up to present yourself to companies, so you are bound to look professional in your LinkedIn profile picture. This will help your page viewers see that you are able to present a professional image of yourself. Updating your LinkedIn page often is a good plan to increase your chances for landing a job.

The Next Step

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By: Katie Kershman

Here it is – finals week and the end of another semester. For me it marks the last week of my undergraduate career. Like many of my fellow graduating seniors, I’m excited, (no more late nights studying!) nervous, (still don’t have a big kid job) and a little nostalgic. The nostalgia has been most prevalent this week. I’ve spent four years living and breathing everything CSU. Fortunately I know I will carry the green and gold with me as I take this next step. As such, I’d like to share on insights Professor Lumina Albert provided me that I’ll keep with me on my next journey.

“People may urge you to ‘Follow your heart’, but following your heart is not always the best thing to do. Sometimes following your heart may lead you to do impulsive things that you end up regretting forever. So, I would like to re-word that piece of advice as ‘Follow your aspirations’.”

Unfortunately, I don’t know where my next step is going to take me. I’ve had the opportunity to learn some of the paths of my fellow seniors and find it very encouraging. What is the next step for you? What guidance have you found particularly inspirational? Keep checking back with us as we move into the summer and introduce a new set of freshmen at the College of Business! My trusty colleague will be taking over to keep things interesting.

Concentrations – An Overview

By: Katie Kershman

When I first came to CSU I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I wanted to get a business degree, but I didn’t realize how many options there are in this field! I got lucky and fell into the correct concentration – marketing, but I doubt that happens for everyone. The College of Business website offers a comprehensive breakdown of each of the concentration options offered at the college. It can be a bit dense to shuffle through, especially during this part of the year, so I thought we could simplify the process for you. There are six concentrations: accounting, computer information systems, finance, management, marketing, and real estate and a unique minor program offered at CSU’s College of Business for undergraduate students.

Accounting

  • Track the financial activity of a firm
  • One of the fastest growing fields in the nation
  • Strong focus in gathering and analyzing data
  • Average Salary $46,042.42
  • For more information visit:  Accounting at Colorado State

Computer Information Systems

  • Solve business computer, software and networking problems
  • Industry is fast-paced, challenging, and unpredictable
  • Requires strong communication skills
  • Average Salary $52,121.05
  • For more information visit:  CIS at Colorado State

Finance

  •  Identify and make decisions in financial planning, control and analysis of a firm
  • Industry is ever-changing and at times very stressful
  • Strong Mathematical and analytical skills
  • Average Salary $45,371.43
  • For more information visit:  Finance at Colorado State

Real Estate

  • Develop, finance, manage and market land
  • Industry is in high demand for professional services in property development, brokerage, appraisal and lending
  • Average Salary $46,750.00
  • For more information visit:  Real Estate at Colorado State

Management

  • Make strategic decisions and oversee employees
  • Industry is rapidly evolving and reflects the current state of the global economy
  • Requires excellent communication and decision making skills
  • Average Salary $39,622.50
  • For more information visit: Management at Colorado State

Marketing

  • Create the ‘face’ of a company
  • Industry is rapidly changing and expected to grow 12% between 2008 and 2018
  • Problems solving that blends analytical and creative skills
  • Average Salary $39,883.10
  • For more information visit:  Marketing at Colorado State

Business Minor

  • Survey of business processes including Accounting, Finance, Marketing and Management
  • Supplement to  your chosen career field
  • Open to any student at CSU
  • For more information Visit: Business minor at Colorado State