Chatham News

Chatham University undergraduates win national marketing competition with research on whether the number of a brand’s Facebook “Likes” influences consumer purchasing

Students Sarah Cornell and Hannah Esser were recognized as winners of the GfK’s first annual Next Generation Marketing Research Competition at the Advertising Research Foundation Re:think 2012 Convention this afternoon

By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist
March 28, 2012

PITTSBURGH (March 28, 2012) … This afternoon, Chatham University undergraduate business students Sarah Cornell and Hannah Esser were recognized as the winners of the first annual Next Generation Market Research Competition, hosted by GfK, one of the world’s largest marketing research organizations. The students presented their research and received the award at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) Re:think 2012 Convention in New York City. The competition is designed to challenge student researchers and allow them a chance to test their marketing knowledge by conducting original qualitative and quantitative primary research and prepare a comprehensive research paper on a critical industry issue.

The winning duo, Cornell and Esser, focused their research on the impact of social media with a final paper titled, “Like it – Buy it? Attitude-Behavior Relationships and their Implications for Social Media Marketing.” Their research examines the implications of brand pages on Facebook and whether the amount of “Likes” a brand page has influences the purchasing of a product.

“Hannah and Sarah presented a well-researched, creative project and GfK is pleased to honor them with this award,” says David Krajicek, CEO of GfK Consumer Experiences North America. “Through this competition GfK hopes to generate excitement and interest in the market research industry amongst undergraduate students.  This important initiative is a great way for students to become immersed in the daily life of a marketer, and truly become the next generation of talent for our industry.”

“Facebook is a fascinating global phenomenon that we use daily,” says Cornell. “Winning this award is not only a great feeling, but this project has been a wonderful learning experience. We’re appreciative of GfK and The ARF for giving us the opportunity to address a critical issue weighing on marketers’ minds today,” says Esser.

As the winners of GfK’s Next Generation Award, Cornell and Esser received a $1,000 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to New York City to present their winning paper at the annual ARF Great Minds Award Ceremony held today, March 28.

“It is a thrill to see such bright talented students as Sarah and Hannah work so hard toward a goal and then achieve such spectacular results,” says Debbie DeLong, assistant professor of marketing at Chatham. “The competition has expanded their understanding and expertise within the marketing discipline, and winning the grand prize will be a terrific highlight on their resumes. I appreciate so much the opportunity to advise their project work and professional growth along the way.”

About the Business Program at Chatham University
The business program at Chatham University understands the challenges facing women in the workforce. The curriculum is designed to educate women to be critical thinkers and creative problem solvers in a fast-changing global and technological environment. Required internships offer a valuable opportunity for hands-on learning and a personal evaluation of career options. Chatham businesswomen develop current knowledge and confidence to enter, succeed, and lead in a field of their choice. Management, accounting, business economics, and marketing are fields of study that can enhance a student’s education in other areas. Students with broader interests can combine these majors with a discipline outside the program in an interdisciplinary major.

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit

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