They’re Number One! FIU’s AMA named “International Collegiate Chapter of the Year.”

There were 300 chapters fiercely competing but only one won the title.

At the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) 33rd annual International Collegiate Chapter Conference held in New Orleans on March 24-26, the title of “International Collegiate Chapter of the Year” went to Florida International University (FIU). This is the second time in six years that the chapter received the highest honor.

FIU’s “International Collegiate Chapter of the Year” of the American Marketing Association

With the theme of “Get in the Game: Marketing to the Wii Generation,” the conference drew more than 1,300 attendees, including 26 students from FIU’s chapter, an organization in the College of Business Administration.

“Winning this title is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said chapter advisor Tim Dugan Birrittella. “I am always ‘ama’zed by the quality efforts of our students. We compete against many other traditional dormitory schools. Most of my students work full time, attend school full time and find time to commit to AMA.”

In fact, FIU’s team was up against schools such as The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, British Columbia Institute of Technology and Texas State University-San Marcos.

Under the direction of past president Giancarlo Russo and current president Juan Zambrano, the chapter excelled in six criteria to win the title: chapter planning, membership, fundraising, communications, community service and professional development.

“The reason I love being a faculty advisor is because I get to work with extraordinarily talented and committed students,” Birrittella said. “This group is most deserving of the top award.”

Recognition continues for the Chapter of the Year.

AMA members returned to campus with nine other awards.

Competition Results
Nintendo Case Competition Honorable Mention
Northwestern Mutual Sales Competition
  • 1st place ($500) Jeff Zelaya
  • 5th place ($50) Jonathan Santana
Outstanding Marketing Week Honorable Mention
Best Use of Conference Theme in Exhibit 3rd place
“AMA Saves Lives” (philanthropy project increasing awareness and participation in organ donation)
  • “Best Event”
  • 2nd place for number of social media posts
  • 3rd place for number of donor registrations
  • $100 prize in best video category

The Northwestern Mutual Sales Competition marked only the second time the chapter entered this event; yet Jeff Zelaya, a marketing major, placed first.

“Almost 80 percent of marketing students end up in sales positions,” said Nancy Rauseo, who teaches sales and marketing courses and helped prepare the FIU team of Zelaya, Jonathan Santana and Luis Garcia. “This competition allows students to put their classroom learning into practice and gives them exposure to the talent beyond FIU.”

Before New Orleans, each student chose a product or service to represent, prepared a buyer profile and a plan of how they would conduct a sales call, and had several practice sessions.

Rauseo did “an amazing job of coaching” and helping the contestants refine their presentations, according to Zelaya.

“She continuously gave us feedback and believed we would be victorious, and that meant a lot,” he said.

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