PFSweb president's class teaches business students in-demand skills

Posted February 24, 2011

Imagine a class with no textbooks and no cookie-cutter answers, where students can experiment and bounce ideas off experts in the field, gaining valuable skills in the process.

PFSweb president Mike Willoughby and Mike Winegeart, assistant professor of international business, are working to create this classroom environment. This semester, they are co-teaching a digital marketing class in which students can work with experts in the fields of e-commerce and online marketing, one of the few growing areas in today's economy.

From the start, the class has given students an unusual learning experience. In one project, students were given a $100 gift card and told to create an identity for themselves online and purchase something. Some of them returned their items or called the company to test the customer service department. Students then reported on all areas of their online shopping experience, noting the positive and the negative.

"What makes this class different is the hands-on aspect," says Winegeart. "On the technical side, students have to be up to speed in online skills. And on the more fun side, they're working with fashion merchandising. They're learning really valuable skills in a growing field."

Experts from PFSweb serve as guest speakers each week, teaching students about driving customers to a website, product merchandising, establishing trust online, and integrating social media. PFSweb is an e-commerce solutions provider that has partnered with companies such as Lego, Volcom, The Home Depot, Sephora, Sunglass Hut, and Roots.

Throughout the semester, students will be brainstorming and developing U.S. marketing strategies for Roots, a Canadian apparel company. At the end of the semester, they will present their solutions to a Roots executive.

To learn more about ACU's College of Business Administration, visit