Presidential Annual Report


Brandcenter team wins international award

Inspiring innovators

While students hailing from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter have wowed local and national business leaders and colleagues since its inception, January provided them with the opportunity to shine on the international stage, and they surely didn’t disappoint.

Competing against more than 160 teams in The Innovation Challenge — which pits the world’s brightest graduate school teams against one another to find creative technology business solutions — a team of four Brandcenter students, known simply as “Brandslam,” stood above the rest.

With a proposed tool to simplify and help small business owners take advantage of cloud computing technology, Brandslam rolled through the AT&T division of the challenge and took home first place in the final round, beating out touted teams from places such as Harvard and Dartmouth, capturing the $20,000 grand prize and a chance to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

Team leader Jennifer Clinehens (creative brand management), Ryan Dowling (creative technology), Cody Pate (art direction) and Katlyn Williams (copywriting), along with Don Just, a Brandcenter professor and the team’s faculty adviser, were quick to point out, however, that this was a win for the program, not just for them. They hope the win will serve as a springboard for getting the message out that VCU and the Brandcenter, which has been ranked the top program of its kind in the country by multiple sources, are truly exceptional.

And, to further emphasize that distinction, Clinehens also added that, while Brandslam took home top honors, two other Brandcenter teams reached the semifinals in the competition, giving the program three of the top 15 spots in the challenge.