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School of Marketing

Tri-Star Marketing Student Development Program

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Tri-Star Program


This program is designed to reward and honor undergraduate students within the School of Marketing for their efforts in three different areas during their studies at Southern Miss. Students in the following programs are eligible to participate: Marketing, Merchandising, Healthcare Marketing, Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Sport Management.

Students can earn stars and certificates in the following areas:

  1. Applied Marketing Experience Star/Certificate
  2. Engagement in the Marketing Community Star/Certificate
  3. Research in Marketing Star

Students who manage to obtain all three stars listed below will be awarded a School of Marketing Tri-Star Marketing Student Certificate! Ready to apply for a star? 


Applied Marketing Experience Star

These comprehensive and immersive experiences allow students to connect what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world situations.

Requirements: Complete at least ONE of the options below.

  • Internship/Field Experience: Successfully completing a verified internship with an organization. This can be completed for credit (3-hour minimum) but must be in addition to any core course requirements of the student’s program. If completed for credit, a B or better must be earned. If completed for non-credit, at least 120 hours must be logged and a letter of recommendation from your supervisor is required.
    • Taking internship/practicum course (Ex. MKT 392, MER 392, SM 392, and HTM 392)
    • Doing internship with the organizations or non-profit organizations.
  • Study Abroad: Successfully completing a business focused summer or semester abroad program. Summer programs are for credit (3-6 hours), and a B or better must be earned. Semester abroad students typically complete 12-15 credit hours per semester, and a C or better must be earned in all business courses taken.
    • Choosing one of the studies abroad programs (Asian, Italy, and London).

Engagement in the Marketing Community Star

These activities encourage students to develop their position within the marketing community.

Requirements: Complete at least THREE of the activities below, with total of at least 100 hours.

  • Student Organizations: Being a leader or an active member in a student organization and working on activities related to Marketing field. A recommendation from the advisor is required indicating the hours logged and the scope of activities.
  • Student Ambassador Program: Serving as a College of Business & Economic Development Student Ambassador for at least one year. A letter of recommendation from the program advisor is required. (Accounts for 40 hours max)
  • Professional Marketing Organizations: Being an active member in a local, regional or national professional marketing organization (beyond student organizations). A recommendation indicating the hours logged and the scope of activities from someone in leadership of the organization is required.
    • Working on the activities that are related to Marketing field for the organizations outside of USM
  • Service Learning/Volunteering: Completing marketing related tasks for a non-profit organization. Several service-learning courses are offered in the School of Marketing, so this can be for credit but must be in addition to any core course requirements of the student’s program. If taken for credit, the student must earn a B or higher in the course. For non-credit or volunteering, the student must log 50 hours and a recommendation from someone in the organization’s leadership indicating the hours logged and the scope of activities is required.
  • Career Development Workshops: Participating in at least two career development workshops (Marketing related). Hours must be logged and approved by the workshop coordinator. A typical workshop earns between 2-8 hours.
    • Discovery of Internship, Networking, etc.

Research in Marketing Star

Requirements: Complete at least TWO of the activities below

  • Marketing Research Presentation: Presenting student-led work at a research symposium or academic conference. A recommendation from the student’s mentor (USM faculty member) is required.
    • Participating in conference presentation (Ex. UGS and academic conferences)
  • Directed Research (Independent Study): Working with a research faculty on a marketing research project. Research hours must be beyond what is required by the student’s program. This can be done for credit (1-3 credit hours), where a B or better must be earned. If non-credit, at least 40 hours must be logged and a recommendation from the student’s mentor (USM faculty member) is required.
    • Taking directed research class (Ex. MKT 492, or HTM 492)
  • Marketing Research Workshop/Training: Attending at least two research focused workshops / training, with a total of at least 20 hours. These are available through USM, as well as other marketing organizations. Hours must be logged and approved by the workshop coordinator. A typical research workshop earns between 4-12 hours.
    • Participating in the marketing research workshop – provided by USM or outside USM (e.g. SPSS, NVivo, R, etc.) Contact SoMKT professors if you need help with research. 
  • Honors Thesis: Successfully completing your thesis research. A recommendation from your thesis advisor is required.

Ready to Apply for a Star? 

Students can only be awarded each star ONCE during their studies at USM.

The requirements for every star are different, but in general, there are two fundamental steps:

  1. Participate in star-eligible activities or programs. View the checklist to be sure!
    Contact the program committee via email if you aren't sure if the activities you are participating in are star-eligible. 
  2. Submit your paperwork!
    1. You must submit paperwork for each star you are applying for.
    2. Submission date will be announced near the end of each semester.
    3. Required evidence that the task has been completed and met standards. These are listed under each individual activity.
    4. Reflection Paper discussing how you applied your skills while earning the Star, and how the experience helped you grow professionally. The paper should be no more than 3 pages (double-space, 12pts times new roman).
      NOTE: If you’re applying for two Stars, you will need to complete two separate reflection papers.

Guidelines for the Reflection Paper

(Required for all star applications)

Overview: The 'macro' question that you are answering in this paper is "SO WHAT?" So what that you did this internship? So what that you were engaged in the marketing community? or So what that you participated in research-related activities? Who does it affect? How might it be useful? How did your experience connect to your academic work? How did you grow intellectually and/or personally?

Remember that since your internship/marketing community engagement/research was a highly individual experience, your paper will also be unique, addressing those specific topics and questions that concerned you. 

Therefore, please include a short description of what you actually did (daily during your internship, during the community engagement activities - however many they may be - or when you are working on your research or honors thesis), and then demonstrate your analytical ability in your reflection on your experiences. Finally, proofread and spell check! This is crucial because this shows how serious you are.  In some cases, mistakes even prevent the content from being understood.

Reflection Paper Sample Outline

  1. Description of Internship/Marketing Community Engagement Activities/Research (brief) and to include:
    • Responsibilities during your internship or marketing community engagement,
    • Significance of your research area,
    • Skills learned,
    • Project description,
    • Problems encountered, and
    • Your expectations/goals: how and why they were or were not met
  2. Analysis of Internship/Marketing Community Engagement Activities/Research in terms of the following:
    • A brief overview of the (organization's mission/work and how your project contributed or related to that/why you have selected the community engagement or research activities you were engaged with),
    • What you learned or changes you experienced, and
    • Ethical considerations/issues
  3. Relationship of Internship/Marketing Community Engagement Activities/Research) to academic literature. Set your experiences during the (internship/marketing community engagement activities/research) in the context of at least 2 concepts from your courses. Write about what you learned in class and how it applied to the context of the (internship/marketing community engagement activities/research). 

Questions? Email

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