Published on September 4, 2012 by Kara Kennedy  

Samford University's Brock School Professor Darin White's MBA class recently completed an international sports marketing project examining Aon plc's sponsorship of one of the most well-known sports team in the world -- Manchester United Football Club from the United Kingdom. Ten students spanning the globe from China, India and the United States were chosen to participate in this project.  White's MBA class conducted a multi country study to ascertain brand impact, top of mind awareness, and affinity transfer. 

"We were given this opportunity to examine the most noteworthy sports sponsorship relationship in the world," said Darin White, professor of marketing.  "This was a unique opportunity for Samford and its MBA students.  It is a sign of the ever-changing business climate when a class at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., can conduct research like this.  Especially because this sports sponsorship relationship has been covered broadly by the media around the world." 

"This was a great opportunity for Aon to partner with one of the top international business schools, as we got a chance to work with future leaders of the next generation's work force," said Patrick Pierce, director of sponsorship marketing for Aon. "While the sponsorship with Manchester United strengthened Aon's global brand, it also gives us tremendous opportunities to talk to clients and prospects about how our two organizations emphasize the importance of talent and teamwork to a successful business, and how we can empower results for them on two of the most important issues facing global businesses today; risk and people." 

According to White, the class had a real passion for the project and spent many hours working overtime to ensure that they produced a quality product for Aon. 

Student Derrek Smith added, "Having the opportunity to work on a market research project that involved Aon and Manchester United, one of the largest corporate sports sponsorship between two global giants, speaks volumes to the quality of the M.B.A. program. To be selected to lead this project by Dr. White was a true honor and an outstanding learning opportunity. Whether it is Brock School of Business, Cumberland School of Law or one of the other top schools at Samford University, this university is truly providing a top level learning environment and real world skills training.  Aon's selection of us to conduct this research seconds this statement." 

Another student participant, Sarah Yeager, went on to say that the project gave her the opportunity to apply theory to a real world situation, and that the experience has allowed her to practice skills that she has not before now had the opportunity to use. 

Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is the leading global provider of risk management and human resourcing consulting and outsourcing solutions.  According to Forbes magazine, Manchester United Football Club is the most valuable sports team in the world.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.