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Gain real-world experience

Immersion Quarter

During your fourth quarter in the program, you participate in Immersion Quarter, which combines classroom learning with onsite immersion at a company partner.

Students walking together and talking

Through Immersion Quarter, you have the unique opportunity to work with a team to tackle a company’s real-world challenges and provide solutions that make a lasting difference.

This experience gives you an inside look into the inner workings of an organization and allows you to apply your strategic thinking skills in a professional setting. The partner company benefits from your passion, fresh perspectives and forward-thinking ideas.

How immersion quarter works

Working in a small team with fellow students, you spend 10 weeks working on-site focused on solving a marketing challenge or issue identified by company leaders in the project scope. You have the support of IMC faculty who work with you during strategic checkpoints to move the project plan forward and meet the goals sponsors have set.

You use qualitative and quantitative data from the company to develop insights and a plan to address the project scope. At the end of the quarter, your team presents its recommendations to company leaders, which often includes senior-level executives.

Some projects are in the Chicagoland area, and other projects are in different places across the country. For out-of-town projects, students relocate to that city for Immersion Quarter.

Students in discussion in a conference room

What you learn

Some of the skills you practice, develop and demonstrate during Immersion Quarter include:

  • Brand planning and strategy analytics
  • Competitive analysis
  • Customer insight
  • Digital/mobile marketing
  • Public relations and corporate communications
  • Primary and secondary research
  • Media strategy and management
  • Social media analysis
  • Team communication
  • Content marketing
  • Shopper marketing
  • Strategic thinking
  • Project planning and management
  • New product marketing

Leadership Strategies Program

In addition to the project work, you participate in a three-day Leadership Strategies Program at the very beginning of Immersion Quarter. This program develops skills that help make your project more successful, including interpersonal communications, team-building, conflict resolution,  client management and presentation skills.

Past sponsors

Examples of past sponsors include:

Column 1

  • 4A's
  • 4C Insights
  • Allstate
  • Arc/Leo Burnett
  • AutoZone
  • Brand New Media
  • Burger King
  • Chrisad
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Discover Financial Services
  • FCB
  • FedEx
  • FleishmanHillard (Hong Kong)
  • FuelX
  • Gap
  • General Mills
  • Goodby Silverstein & Partners
  • Google
  • Guaranteed Rate
  • HP
  • Ingenico Global Collect (Amsterdam)

Column 2

  • Jellyvision
  • Mike’s Hard Lemonade
  • Mondelēz
  • Munchery
  • Nordstrom
  • Optum/UnitedHealthcare
  • P&G
  • Qiagen
  • Salesforce
  • SapientNitro
  • Starcom Mediavest
  • The BRIEF Lab
  • The Marketing Store
  • Tim Hortons
  • USAA
  • V Auto
  • WBEZ (NPR Affiliate)
  • Zenith Optimedia
  • Zoro

Success stories

Some recent Immersion Quarter student project team accomplishments include:

student team working together on computer
  • Designed a comprehensive brand activation plan to position the leading internet hardware manufacturer as a thought leader on emerging technologies
  • Crafted a comprehensive and insightful client engagement, advocacy and customer retention plan for a top healthcare brand, incorporating Voice of the Customer (VOC), customer transactional and Net Promoter Score (NPS) data
  • Created a vision, developed a three- to five-year plan and launched in-store ideas using emerging technologies to redefine the shopper experience for the world’s largest quick service restaurant (QSR) company
  • Embraced a new data management platform (DMP) for a major fashion retailer and used it to drive deeper insights in the customer segmentation and targeting strategies
  • Developed a digitally focused strategic plan to grow fundraising revenue generated from a younger audience for a national public radio station
  • Delivered an immediately implementable strategic plan designed to focus resources on the best potential customer segments and drive high-quality leads for the sales force at a high-profile marketing tech startup
  • Created an actionable integrated marketing plan, including a market size analysis, for a diagnostic test invented and manufactured by a top global pharmaceutical company
  • Assessed the efficiency of the digital media plan and harnessed new marketing technology to reduce media spend by 20 percent while maintaining effectiveness
  • Developed go-to market marketing plans for the worldwide launch of two new products for the leading CRM software firm

Rama Sawhney (IMC14)
"I did my Immersion Quarter at Salesforce. Our team was responsible for helping shape a brand strategy. I spent the first few weeks understanding how Salesforce markets and connecting with various departments. Not knowing that my project would lead to a full-time offer, those connections resulted in great success, and I now lead a global customer success campaigns team that helps drive demand and retention."Rama Sawhney (IMC14)

Senior Manager, Customer Success Marketing at Salesforce