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DePaul Students Test Chicago Cubs Customer Service

A DePaul University business course gave students an opportunity to help the Chicago Cubs organization hit a home run for fan services this summer.

Students enrolled in the five-week hospitality leadership course partnered with the Chicago Cubs Service Excellence Program to become “secret shoppers” who tested the quality of all aspects of the sports organization’s customer service. They called and messaged Cubs representatives to see how well they answered common fan questions, evaluated Wrigley Field tours, and assessed events at Gallagher Way, a ballpark-adjacent green space where the Cubs host concerts, farmers markets, yoga classes and other activities. Students also spent an afternoon at the Cubs’ Wrigleyville corporate offices answering fan mail, coordinating season ticket holder correspondence and assembling premier tickets sales materials.

“The class gives our students a chance to gain real-world consulting experience,” says Andy Clark, director of the sports management program at the Driehaus College of Business, who taught the course. “They are learning firsthand how customer service, customer insights and business analytics come together to affect sales and fan engagement. Brad Nagel, assistant director of talent acquisition, and the rest of the Cubs organization have been terrific partners for this project.”

At the end of the five-week course, students presented their confidential analyses of service delivery outcomes, trends and recommendations to Cubs directors in ticket sales, marketing, business strategy and human resources.

“One of the main things I’ve learned from this class is how to work together in a large group to understand each other’s strengths and organize the project so that each student is able to have a meaningful contribution based on his or her skills and own experiences in a consulting project situation,” says Scott Baird, an MBA student who took the class. “Working in groups to accomplish a task is an essential skill in any career.”

His classmate, senior Mary Rossi, agreed that the course provided students skills “that we can take back to our careers, not only in sports, but in general business.”

“This was definitely one of the highlights of my university career,” Rossi adds. “Not many other university students can say they were able to work with the Chicago Cubs on a project for several weeks for a class. Great insights, experiences and a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at the business side of one of the greatest MLB teams.”

Learn more about the DePaul University’s:

  • Sports management undergraduate concentration
  • Hospitality leadership major
  • MBA in Hospitality Leadership