封面故事

当工作变得有趣:美泰积木

Alexa Gromko

罗文·奈特22年拍摄的视频. 茱莉亚·富勒制作.

“想象一下, 如果你愿意, 当你进入大楼时,一个多层的风火轮轨道, 完成多个环去环,” shares course co-instructor and CC Economics and Business Professor Dan Johnson. “这只是中庭.”  

在美泰总部. 图片由泰丽·韦伯提供.

It was a historic first for both CC and the Mattel Company: a cohort of twenty students and two professors embedded for nine days at the iconic toymaker’s headquarters in Los Angeles, learning from company experts about the toy-making process from concept through creation. 芭比娃娃,风火轮,美国女孩和托马斯都在这里 & 朋友来了.

来自多学科背景的好奇本科生, 谁习惯于快速学习很多东西, 来到半学分/四分之一实习的半街区时,我睁大了眼睛, 他们的惊奇感起了作用.

“当我沉浸在美泰的大厅里时,我真的觉得自己又像个孩子了,24岁的Olivia Xerras说, an International Political Economy major and Journalism minor who played with Barbies growing up. “We listened to different presentations each morning from different departments, 我们参观了工厂, everywhere from marketing and finance to the people who put the hair on the Barbie doll’s head.”

“当我们参观了汉德勒团队中心, 这是我见过最酷的办公空间,25岁的阿雷斯·基德补充道, 计算机科学和历史双学位. “这是风火轮团队在办公桌上摆弄玩具的地方. 他们培养乐趣. 他们鼓励玩耍,空间非常开放和自由流动.”

阿迪·施维特曼24岁 and 伊莎贝拉·哈格曼,24岁 pose with the Barbie dream house inside Mattel headquarters. 丹·约翰逊提供.

Ryan Bañagale参与指导了这门课程, approaching it through his lens as a CC professor of Music and director for the Crown Center for Teaching.

“As someone who’s very invested in introducing students to the creative process, 我想让学生们看到产业, 雇主, 以及重视CC之外的创造力的组织,Bañagale说. “我们欧洲杯竞彩创意的一些看法也发生在美泰身上.”

每天,学生们都会体验一个课程模块. 消费者洞察, 他们了解了美泰公司是如何收集有关儿童及其游戏模式的数据的, 以及父母和他们的消费模式.

“你如何规划和整合这些见解?约翰逊继续说道. “我们开设了金融、营销、品牌战略和零售合作伙伴等模块. We even stocked shelves at a Target store, learning why product placement is so important.“购物者认为理所当然的每一个细微差别都是事先研究过的, which is why toy displays are different at Walmart and Toys R Us because the shopping experience is different.

美泰公司还为学生们组织了一个伙伴计划, pairing each with a recent college graduate who shared not only what working for Mattel is like, 而是他们的就业途径.

“学校什么时候提供过这样的服务?Khidr问. “When do you get to go to a corporation like this – especially one as popular as Mattel? 我觉得这是个绝好的机会.”

Khidr figured he’d end up in a programming job after graduation, but that’s now changed.

“这门课程塑造了我大学毕业后的职业规划. 他们向我们提供了公司的详细情况. 它是如此庞大和复杂, 从生产到营销, 有很多我不知道需要的角色,他说. “The marketing and branding really appealed to me as something I could do in the future.”

“为他们工作是我的梦想,”Xerras补充道. “他们需要的是有创造力的、见多识广的思想家,我认为Block Plan培养了这些人.” 

Johnson和Bañagale从许多CC申请者中筛选了这门课程, 他们称之为“文科导向”, 强化微实习街区.“他们专门挑选了来自不同学科和年龄的学生, 高度重视多样性和包容性, 因此,这群人可以通过彼此的立场来看待这段经历.

美泰总部的CC教授Dan Johnson. 照片由约翰逊提供.

“我想知道经济学专业的学生是如何看待这个问题的, 或者心理学专业的学生, 或历史系学生,约翰逊说。. “We asked the students each day how they might learn from their different eyes, ears, and lenses.” To this end, students engaged in reflective exercises in individual journals provided by CC的创意和创新计划.

One goal was to encourage the students to voice their experiences in ways that were differentially powerful. CC学生给美泰带来的是新鲜的眼睛, 新鲜的耳朵, 一种全新的体验, without having their culture baked in and without being acclimated to how Mattel does things. Their aim was to bring new insights to Mattel’s finance, retail, and marketing departments.

Another goal was to get students to spark their own potential in any professional field out there. Bañagale表示:“这个美泰积木是一种催化剂,让一切成为可能。. “Students sometimes get tunnel vision within their major because they focus on the methodologies of that field. 我们想看看不同的学科是如何制作玩具的. It invited our students to move in different directions and to realize their degree is much more than its major. 它是关于伸展和成长的能力,即使在毕业之后.”

The strongest takeaways for Johnson were “how very powerful a very short time can be; how transformative for students; how impactful to their futures. 有so学生的个人成长和专业发展.”

And for Mattel’s Jesse Ross, Vice President of Talent, the experience was equally impactful.

“It was truly inspiring to collaborate with the talented students from 科罗拉多大学. Witnessing their eagerness to learn about how Mattel operates reinforced my belief in the power of diverse thinking,罗斯说。. “知识的交流不仅对他们有价值, 也丰富了我们的思维和过程. Working together was a testament to the endless possibilities that arise when different perspectives come together to create something extraordinary.”

在美泰总部. 图片由泰丽·韦伯提供.

Bañagale表示,现在的目标是如何进一步发展这种关系. “与实地研究相比,这门课程是独一无二的, 出国留学, 或者其他社区参与体验. 我们在现场整整呆了九天. 有很多东西要吸收.”

“我们多久能再来一次??约翰逊问道. “我们能提供多少合作伙伴?? This is something CC would uniquely do well: instructors who know how to do this kind of work, students who spend weeks on one subject — no other institution in the world can do it like we can do it.”

The micro-Block culminated with final presentations surrounding Mattel’s upcoming 80th 周年纪念——纪念里程碑的激动人心的想法. Ultimately, students were asked how Mattel will face the future with respect to the past. 你如何带领一家拥有近80年历史的公司向前而不是向后?

“美泰正在努力在承认传统的同时保持前瞻性. 那些行之有效的传统、模式和习惯. 人们倾向于依赖那些好用的东西,”约翰逊说. “创新者建立在他们已知的基础上,同时逐渐进入他们不知道的领域.”

“我们都有不同的技能, 不同的专业, 不同的背景, 所以每个小组都有不同的观点,Xerras说. “我们只有很短的时间来整理演示文稿. 它考验了我反应敏捷、组织有序和注意力集中的能力.”

“这是一个挑战,”Khidr补充道. “这基本上是我们所学到的一切的高潮. But I loved it so much—being put in those pressure situations where you have to show up. I truly came away believing all the employees liked the ideas we proposed and feel we definitely were able to provide some value for Mattel.”

Bañagale和Johnson说,学生们传达的信息、品牌和目标都是一致的. 他们完全达到了预期的学习效果.

CC学生在Mattel: Tobin Spiller ' 26, 阿雷斯·基德25岁, 艾登·英格斯隆24岁, Aditya Yadav ' 25, 伊莎贝拉·哈格曼,24岁, 凯·菲泽,24岁, 阿迪·施维特曼24岁, 安娜·阿马赫,25岁, Isabelle Wagenvoord, 25岁. 丹·约翰逊提供.

约翰逊说:“他们非常有思想、有洞察力、有创造力。.  一位高管表示,他们已经在研究其中一个想法了, 这显示了学生们有多正确. Another said to a fellow exec, ‘are you texting this to in the toy development division? 因为我们得马上做这件事!’”

“在我看来,这是一个巨大的胜利,”Xerras说. “能够向两位教授学习——他们都是不可思议的领导者. 我从来没跟他们上过课. And having the opportunity to learn from them and from the Mattel leaders was really exciting.”

学生们还会见了校友,探索了L.A.,并在课程中享受不同的实地体验.

For a cohort of college students who started their journey during a global pandemic, this Half Block served as an intense space to interact with other students with whom they may not have otherwise had contact. 他们还结交了新朋友.

“To witness a group of 20 students being strangers come together as a cohort and watch them become a close and supportive team was powerful. They’ll continue to cultivate that connectivity with an increased network both on campus and off,Bañagale补充道. “The beauty of the experience is that it is proof of the concept that these sorts of courses will benefit our students and demonstrate the kinds of classes we offer going forward.”

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