Altria’s Brian Quigley discusses the responsibilities and benefits of Altria's role as a corporate sponsor.
Corporate support plays a crucial role in ensuring McIntire’s prominent position at the forefront of business education. Vital contributions from longstanding Richmond-based partner Altria provide funding for cutting-edge classroom technology and invaluable, real-world experiences and foster a meaningful connection to the School, which includes recruiting for future employment with the Fortune 200 company.
Brian Quigley, President and CEO for Altria Group subsidiary U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, says that the corporation has built strong relationships with faculty and students in its ongoing efforts to assist with McIntire’s legacy of developing of future business leaders. His personal involvement in Altria’s relationship with the School began when he was a guest speaker in Professor Carrie Heilman’s marketing class more than a decade ago. The practice of on-Grounds visits like Quigley’s initial McIntire speaking engagement continues today, as the company seeks to offer students more experiences that provide real-world context, firmly supporting student learning with pertinent, contemporary examples.
“Our partnership has helped with significant financial support to fund top-of-the-line technology and equipment at the McIntire School—including the construction of the digital media studio in 2007—which has had a positive effect on student work and their ability to create winning campaigns,” says Quigley. “Specifically, Altria’s collaboration with Professor Heilman’s ‘Promotions’ class was instrumental in the students’ outstanding performance and first-place finish in the American Advertising Federation’s 2016 National Student Advertising Competition.”
Altria’s enduring association with McIntire gives students a means of using the company’s recent marketing efforts in the classroom for theoretical and practical study. Seminars, workshops, and competitions sponsored by Altria have facilitated additional ways for students to develop problem-solving strategies for influencing and selling in the corporate environment, plan for quantitative and qualitative sales campaign issues, refine leadership skills, and understand the nuances of consultative marketing.
Beyond complementing McIntire’s dynamic classwork with authentic, illustrative case studies and innovative technological tools, Altria extends internships to suitable candidates that “give them the chance to build on their experiences with firsthand, real work responsibilities,” says Quigley. “We truly look at this partnership as an investment in the success of McIntire students.”
So while the relationship has yielded long-term careers for McIntire graduates within the company, Altria’s mutually beneficial connection with the School both enhances McIntire’s programs and expands the corporation’s ability to recruit top-notch candidates. Yet Quigley says that hiring students is not the end goal: The priority is guiding them along their path. “Ultimately, if we can provide students with experiences that give them a clearer vision for where they see their career taking them—even if it isn’t at Altria—it has been a success.”