You are here: Home / News Release Archives / 2013 / September / Smeal Summer Course in Italy Examines Marketing of Luxury Brands

Smeal Summer Course in Italy Examines Marketing of Luxury Brands

Over the summer, 22 Penn State Smeal College of Business students spent six weeks in Florence, Italy, learning about marketing in the context of Italian luxury brands with Lisa Bolton, associate professor of marketing, and Carolyn Todd, instructor in marketing.
September 30, 2013

The Marketing 399 class at the Piaggio Museum in Italy.
Carolyn Todd and her MKTG 399 class at the Piaggio Museum in Italy.

Over the summer, 22 Penn State Smeal College of Business students spent six weeks in Florence, Italy, learning about marketing in the context of Italian luxury brands with Lisa Bolton, associate professor of marketing, and Carolyn Todd, instructor in marketing.

Smeal’s international faculty-led summer programs give students an opportunity to take unique classes in an international setting with Smeal professors. Classes focus on foundational concepts through a global lens.

“In this Marketing 399 class, students learned a lot about pricing,” explained Todd, “in the sense that there are brands that are considered luxury but are affordable to most people. In that way, they learned the difference between affordable modern luxury and prohibitively expensive classic luxury.”

The class incorporated field trips paired with each lecture to give students a close-up view of Italian business and culture, including pasta producer Casa Buitoni, the Dievole winery, the Gucci Museum, and Vespa scooter manufacturer Piaggio.

MKTG 399 in Florence: Field Trip to Casa Buitoni
Casa Buitoni

Keegan Carroll, a junior in Marketing, said that Casa Buitoni was her favorite field trip destination from the class.

“We got to see different parts of their castle in Tuscany, the production center and how they make things, and we got to try the food,” she said.

Carroll said she also learned a lot about the global nature of these Italian brands.

“I assumed that since they were Italian luxury brands that everything would be made in Italy, but I found out that Buitoni is owned by Nestle and all the U.S. products are made here in the U.S.,” she said.

Students were also granted access to a men’s fashion trade show that was not open to public. Todd explained that this gave students a view of the business-to-business side of luxury brand marketing.

In addition to the course credits, students on the six-week program in Florence offered a condensed study abroad experience of living in another culture. According to Carroll, being in Florence for six weeks was just enough time to get immersed in the culture.

“I was also able to take a lot of weekend trips,” she said, which included Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, and the Alps.

According to Austin Jaffe, faculty-in-charge of global programs, there are several destinations available for students looking to complete a six-week faculty-led program internationally.

“We’ve created a culture of sending students abroad and getting faculty involved,” said Jaffe.

Recent News
Businessweek ranks Smeal MBA Program No. 2 in ROI 17 Nov

The Penn State Smeal MBA Program ranks No. 2 in return on investment according to the latest Bloomberg Businessweek rankings.

Smeal Names Four New Members to Its Board of Visitors 31 Oct

The Penn State Smeal College of Business has named four new members to its Board of Visitors. Joining the board are Jon Grosso, ’89, executive vice president and director of stores for Kohl’s Department Stores; Ron Morgan, ’93, co-founder of MorganFranklin Consulting; Stephen Reeves, ’81, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Enviva Holdings; and Salomon “Sal” Sredni, ’87, chief executive officer of TradeStation Group, Inc.

Deysher Named Alumni Fellow by Penn State Alumni Association 27 Oct

Bryon Deysher, a 1977 graduate of the Penn State Smeal College of Business, was one of 21 Penn State alumni recognized in early October as Alumni Fellow by the Penn State Alumni Association. Deysher is president and chief executive officer of Methods Machine Tools, Inc. and a member of the Smeal Board of Visitors.

Price-Fixing Whistleblower and FBI Informant To Deliver Shoemaker Lecture at Penn State 15 Oct

Mark Whitacre, the corporate whistleblower who revealed price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and spent more than eight years in federal prison for tax evasion and fraud, will deliver a lecture entitled “When Good Leaders Lose Their Way” from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 6 in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

Penn State Executive Programs Receives Gold Award for Junior Achievement Partnership 14 Oct

For its work with Junior Achievement USA, Penn State Executive Programs has won Chief Learning Officer magazine's highest executive education partnership award. The 2014 Gold award for Excellence in Academic Partnerships recognizes academic institutions that have partnered in the past year with an organization to teach its employees about a key business issue.

More Recent News... More Recent News...