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February 07, 2024 | Tom Ballard

UT, Knoxville students will benefit from new partnership with local agency

Boldsquare and the Department of Marketing at UTK are collaborating on the course that provides hands-on agency residency during the current spring semester.

Knoxville-based Boldsquare, one of the Southeast’s fastest-growing strategic communications and marketing agencies, has entered into a groundbreaking partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) to create a new undergraduate course that will better prepare future marketing professionals for work in agencies and beyond.

The first cohort of junior and senior students in the Department of Marketing at the Haslam College of Business to participate in the three-credit course will start their hands-on agency residency in the current spring semester. The course will consist of in-person academic theory and teaching from the University’s marketing faculty, asynchronous content including video segments featuring members of the Boldsquare team, and real-world client-facing marketing agency experience in both Boldsquare’s headquarters and the Skills Lab at the Haslam College of Business.

Independent research consistently shows that college students feel unprepared for a professional career after they graduate. The newly-created residency course provides a solution through a full agency immersion for students. The course offers a more effective and equitable alternative to internships, which many students can no longer afford due to cost-of-living challenges.

Course students will work on core projects for real clients in the commercial, cultural, and non-profit sectors, and will put to use skills developed in both the academic program and alongside the Boldsquare team, to solve complex marketing challenges. The course will give a solid grounding in core agency processes including understanding client briefs, project scoping, ideation, pitch development, utilizing client feedback, and project management.

Dylan Jones

“We see this as a new model for collaboration between universities and the marketing industry, that will benefit both students and the sector as a whole,” said Dylan Jones, Managing Partner of Boldsquare. “It’s too easy for agencies or marketing departments to complain about a lack of position-ready young talent. It’s our belief that marketers have to stop delegating full responsibility for their talent pipeline, and instead build partnerships with schools and universities to play an active role in the development of future leaders.”

The residency was piloted across 12 weeks in the summer of 2023 with a cohort of UTK marketing students, ensuring that a high-quality experience that met the expectations of faculty, Boldsquare, and course participants could be successfully engineered.

Founded in 2018, Boldsquare has been recognized on the Inc. 5000 list for the past two years as one of the fastest-growing privately-held organizations in the U.S.

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