Marian University business students capture district championship in National Student Advertising Competition

by News Release | May 12, 2020

Marian is one of eight colleges to advance to national finals

Marian team photoINDIANAPOLIS — After claiming the top spot in the National Student Advertising Competition’s (NSAC) Indiana-Illinois-Michigan district on April 9, students from Marian University’s Byrum School of Business team went on to be named one of the nation’s top eight teams during the national semi-final competition on May 7 and have earned the right to compete for the national title. This was the second time Marian claimed the top spot in the district since first entering the competition 11 years ago.

The NSAC requires students to review a client proposal, create a 20-page marketing campaign, and deliver a live pitch. The plan and presentation are judged by industry professionals, including marketing experts from the client company.

Marian University’s team advanced to the national finals, which will be held virtually this year on May 20. Marian will face Chapman University, East Tennessee State, Grand Valley State, Florida State, University of Missouri - Columbia, University of Oregon, and University of Virginia in the national finals.

"I can't wait to see how the next step unfolds for us in the competition, and wish I could be travelling with my team members to California to compete in person,” Rachel Moning ’20, said. “It'd be the ultimate graduation present!" Moning celebrated her commencement virtually with the rest of Marian’s 2020 graduates on May 2.

“This year we had many challenges,” Lori Rumreich, NSAC advisor and assistant professor of marketing in the Byrum School of Business, said. “First, our client was Adobe. It was daunting to think that our students had to produce creative work for a company that is known for their exceptional creative software.” Rumreich added that this was the first time in history for NSAC to utilize a business-to-business (B2B) challenge. “All previous competitions were designed to create consumer-oriented campaigns. In B2B, everything is different, from research, to understanding a very technical product and a diverse buying group, to creative messaging and placement. I am so proud of our team’s performance throughout the process. They really challenged each other’s ideas every step of the way, and that ultimately led to them come together with the best idea. Their campaign translates very well to the target market. It is a testament to their ability to draw upon everything they have learned throughout their four years at Marian and apply it to a marketing challenge where they are directly compared to the most talented students in the nation.”

Rumreich said that another reason that this win is extra special is because the students had to overcome the hardships imposed by COVID-19, right as they were trying to bring their plan together. “They were tears at times,” Rumreich said. “Our presentation team of TJ O’Neil, Rachel Moning, and Blair Kramer, along with our video and production expert Lucas Jirgal, are all seniors, so they were also dealing with the loss of their final semester and commencement celebration. We had a lot of ups and downs those final few weeks but in the end, I think faith had a lot to do with helping us all rise to the occasion.”

NSAC is hosted by the American Advertising Federation (AAF). Marian is part of District 6, considered a “mega-district” due to the large number of Midwestern universities that participate. The NSAC competition has been held annually for more than 40 years, with more than 150,000 students participating. The competition has three levels, starting with a multi-state district competition, then a semi-final round for the 18 district winners, and finally the national final featuring the top eight teams in the country.

Placing first in District 6 is a significant accomplishment in and of itself, Rumreich said. “We compete against some of the largest and most prestigious programs in the nation, such as Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Indiana University. It is just so competitive in District 6.”

Marian’s NSAC team this year included the following students, all marketing majors in the Byrum School of Business:


  • TJ O’Neil – Project Lead and Campaign Strategy, Presenter
  • Rachel Moning – Product Expert, Copywriter, Script production, Presenter
  • Blair Kramer – Art Director, Presentation Development, Presenter
  • Lucas Jirgal – Video and Technology Expert, Market Research
  • Logan Marsh – Creative, Strategy
  • Dallas Baker – Market Research, Social Media
  • J. Michael Schiefelbein – Creative/Plan Book Design, Video


  • Hannah Robinson – Creative Director, Plan Book Design
  • Dan Root – Digital Marketing, Video
  • Cole McDicken – Digital Marketing, Events
  • Hayden Strong – Evaluation Metrics and Analytics
  • Cameron Wolter – Digital Marketing, Events

“We are proud of our students and the momentum they are generating to advance the Byrum School of Business,” Greg Rawski, dean of the Byrum School of Business, said. “They are a great example of our vision of creating transformational business leaders”


About Marian University Indianapolis

Founded in 1937, Marian University is the only Catholic university in Indianapolis and central Indiana. In 2020, Marian is serving more than 2,400 undergraduate and 1,160 graduate students earning degrees in the arts, business, education, engineering, math, medicine, nursing, ministry, and the natural and physical sciences. The university’s high-impact, experiential curriculum is designed to provide hands-on, collaborative learning opportunities for students from 40 states and 23 nations. Marian climbed in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Midwestern rankings to be named #6 Most Innovative Regional University, #15 Best Value University, and #30 Best Regional University. Marian University opened its College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2013, making it the first new school of medicine in the state of Indiana in 110 years. Marian’s national champion varsity athletic programs include the 2012 and 2015 NAIA Football Championship, the 2016 and 2017 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship, the 2019 NAIA Women’s Volleyball Championship, and more than 40 USA Cycling national championships.

News Media Contact

Brad R. Wucher
Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing Communications
(317) 955-6307
Stokley Mansion, Room #1

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