Orfalea College of Business Students Pilot The Next Experts Program

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business is proud to announce the success of a unique pilot program between its students and business consulting firm TrustedPeer Inc. The program recently gave five business students exclusive career development sessions with professional consultants who lead the marketing industry. Cal Poly is the first university to partner with TrustedPeer Experts, a global network of business leaders from consulting, industry, academia and the public sector.

“These types of professional relationships offer significant rewards for students,” said Marketing Area Chair Lynn Metcalf. “The conversations with TrustedPeer Experts contextualized students’ learning, opened windows on new perspectives, and helped them think critically about the college-to-career transition.”

The pilot program was designed to simultaneously benefit students preparing to transition into the workforce and the consulting firm looking to expand its knowledge base. In early 2014, Orfalea College of Business faculty selected the cohort of five outstanding juniors concentrating in marketing and management that TrustedPeer called Next Experts: Kaulin Blair, Samantha Foster, Andria Posmoga, Taylor Sturtevant and Rose Tourmanian. Marketing Area Chair Lynn Metcalf collaborated with TrustedPeer to help develop the protocols and procedures of the 12-week program that took place during summer quarter.

According to Philip Bouchard, CEO of TrustedPeer, the student experience was crafted to mirror that of business professionals seeking executive consulting. The cohort of Next Experts participated in an intensive series of assessments, group video calls, one-on-one consultations and follow-up reports with the TrustedPeer Experts who best matched the students’ interests and needs.

Each expert brought years of experience leading marketing, advertising and branding efforts for global corporations. The TrustedPeer Experts who participated in the program were:

  • Nancy Schaefer, managing partner at Consumer Dynamics and former VP of Marketing for Kraft Foods.
  •  David Burk, CEO of the Electron Shop and creator of FleishmanHillard’s integrated marketing strategy.
  • Don Transeth, the founding Marketing Director for EA Sports at Electronic Arts who developed the tag line “Its in the game.”
  •  Bruce Lincoln, chief technology officer for Urban Cyberspace Company and a Senior Fellow Scholar at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.
  • Philip Bouchard, CEO and founder of TrustedPeer and a C-level executive at five previous companies.
  • Rick Bragdon, CEO of Idiom Brand Identity and the creator of hundreds of brand and company names.
  • Brian Morris, the executive producer of the “Can you hear me now?” campaign for Verizon Wireless and “Where’s the Beef?” campaign for Wendy’s.

While these senior executives usually offer professional guidance in everything from brand naming strategy to disruptive innovation to fellow professionals, they focused on their own career paths when advising Cal Poly’s students. The consultants discussed their career trajectories, critical skills needed in their particular industries, options like graduate school, and successful networking skills.

“The TrustedPeer Experts have helped me to see and learn more about the real life experiences in different advertising and marketing agencies,” said Posmoga, a marketing major. “Through their stories, I can see how their success and failures, mistakes and lessons learned have shaped them into the successful businessmen and women they are today.”

At the conclusion of the program, students provided essential feedback to enrich the program, which Cal Poly intends to continue in 2015. Based on student recommendations, TrustedPeer will recondition the program to allow the first class of Next Experts to help guide next year’s cohort of Cal Poly business students as they begin the program. This revised structure will build stronger connections among students participating in the program each year and enhance the value of the evolving network. This Next Experts network will also allow TrustedPeer to embrace the next generation of business leaders and tap into student insights regarding social media, entrepreneurship, personal branding and other emerging trends.

“Future business challenges will have to be solved cross-generationally, with students, government, entrepreneurs and academics working together,” said Bouchard. “Our philosophy at TrustedPeer and with this pilot program is to connect those segments, use technology to positively disrupt the consulting industry, and gain efficiency.”

Cal Poly will announce its new class of Next Experts in spring of 2015. TrustedPeer also aims to launch similar programs in various disciplines with other universities throughout the nation.


About TrustedPeer, Inc.
TrustedPeer® is the only option for on-demand access to world-class business experts and business knowledge.  Quick and easy access to highly qualified and rigorously vetted business experts insures immediate attention to your most critical business challenges. Search the world’s largest database of Common Problems and Best Practices specific to your industry and operational area. Visit www.trustedpeer.com for more information.