Real-world opportunities are everywhere at Dean. During the fall semester, students Shayna Mango, Ryan Bell and Jared Kelly took a seven-week special topics course on market survey research in order to conduct survey research to benefit two major organizations in Massachusetts. Patriot Place, in collaboration with the MBTA Commuter Rail, approached Dean College to look for help collecting data from patrons who use the Foxboro MBTA commuter rail station located at Patriot Place. The goal was to gather data on how often the train was used, what people usually used the trains for and how it could be improved.
“This course was about market survey research and allowed us to learn about the creation and distribution of surveys as well as data analysis through hands-on experience,” explained Shayna Mango ’25, a Business Management major.
Representatives from Patriot Place, including marketing directors and project managers, trained students on their survey material and processes, while Dean faculty members Dr. Amy Matten, associate vice president of academic affairs and associate professor of Communication, and Dr. Scott Sibley, vice president of academic affairs, facilitated two weeks of traditional course content on market survey research. Students studied basic survey types and concepts through readings, lectures and hands-on assignments before embarking on the data collection process.
Over the course of one week, students passed out surveys to riders of the Foxboro MBTA station during both morning and night shifts alongside other Patriot Place employees. After a week of data collection, the class analyzed the data and presented their findings to representatives from Patriot Place and the MBTA.
“Many riders had to travel from Wrentham to the Foxboro station, because the Wrentham train hours were reduced to accommodate the Foxboro station train times,” said Ryan Bell ’24, a Communications major.
“We found that people were unhappy with trains coming only every other hour,” added Shayna. “The general consensus was that people wanted more trains and less delays.” After presenting their findings, the students were able to hear from the Patriot Place and MBTA representatives about their own thoughts on the data, providing valuable feedback and perspective.
This project helped students network with industry leaders, develop real-world skills and gain insight the role market research plays for an organization.
“The students were immediately able to see the impact of their efforts,” explained Dr. Matten. “They shared that this course and real-life project really helped give them a sense of how complex survey research is and all the effort it takes to clean and crunch data.”
“I was able to make connections with members of Patriot Place, Dean College and the Kraft Group,” Ryan said. “I also collected a slew of transferable skills that could be useful in the world of multimedia communication. Data collection techniques, teamwork and presentation conventions are all tangible real-world concepts that will prepare me well for any career path I choose.”
“This was a great experience overall, and it helped to improve my understanding of all the processes that go into market research,” said Shayna. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity and proud of everyone’s efforts!”
This course is just one of the many opportunities that Dean College students have to learn in real-world scenarios and produce tangible work that benefits local organizations. Made possible through Dean’s exclusive academic partnership with Kraft Sports + Entertainment, this course provided valuable experience for Shayna, Ryan and Jared.
“Learning from professionals at Patriot Place was a surreal educational experience,” said Ryan. “Collectively, we were able to play a role in creating a real-world business solution. The ability to connect with the Kraft Group was a major factor in my choice to attend Dean, so to be able to utilize that partnership last semester was gratifying.”