Sep 10, 2014

St. Edward’s University MBA Capstone Group Wins with Economic Impact Study for Austin Marathon

A group of St. Edward’s University students in The Bill Munday School of Business succeeded in helping Conley Sports Productions, the production company for the Austin Marathon, to develop an economic impact study for the Austin Marathon. The students also developed a tool for Conley Sports to use going forward to measure the impact of each marathon it organizes.

According to John Conley, CEO of Conley Sports, the study helps the Austin Marathon understand where it fits in the bigger spectrum of special events in Austin. Conley can use this data when looking for special considerations in planning from the Austin City Council and the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Conley stated that the city of Austin and local organizations are much more willing to work with special events if they have a strong economic impact. The impact study and tool for measuring future events will help Austin measure itself against other industry events in order to market the Austin Marathon as a major tourist race.

In the final semester of the St. Edward’s University Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, students are placed with a company or organization seeking to solve a business issue being faced. The students apply all they have learned throughout the program to help a business address a specific challenge, which could result in students developing a marketing plan, financial audit or economic impact study.

The four students who worked with Conley were given access to post race survey data that included spending figures on hotels, retail purchases, travel costs and meals. The team applied the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) multipliers to post-race survey data to arrive at their estimate of $22.4 million for the 2014 Austin Marathon.

Conley stated about the St. Edward’s University project team, “I was impressed with the caliber of students. I understand they were all MBAs, but they asked questions I’d never considered and helped shape the next iteration of our survey for runners. These students were a cut above.”

He also noted that the students were very organized and “got down to business” with well-run meetings, which he attributed to the leadership of MBA Program Director Stan Horner, PhD.  

“I really appreciate that they took a long-term view of things. Having a tool that could last me 10 years is enormously valuable,” said Conley. “It’s going to help me increase the out-of-town visitors, which is priceless. I’m very grateful.”