The Brierley Institute 

Projects in a Hands-On Learning Laboratory

The SMU Cox School of Business is known for connecting students with Dallas's corporate leaders and pushing innovation in experiential learning. The Brierley Institute's specialization in Customer Engagement opens even bigger horizons.

From the airline loyalty programs pioneered by Institute founder Hal Brierley, to today's digital personalization models, customer engagement programs can build success. At the BrierleyInstitute, you’ll gain expertise in this growing field by studying with thought leaders while working hands-on with top companies to tackle real-time customer engagement challenges.

The Brierley Institute at SMU Cox is one of the only places in the world where you can get live consulting experience as an MBA student.

Layton Cox

MBA '20

  • The Curriculum: Designed for the Real World

    Whether you plan a career in marketing, business analytics or consulting, the Customer Engagement curriculum gives you a competitive advantage. You'll learn to leverage digital and traditional media to build customer relationships, measure financial impact, and design experiences that engage customers and create value.

    Customer Engagement is a 4-course specialization within the SMU Cox School of Business Marketing concentration. Students with an interest in marketing, business analytics, and consulting as well as other analytic areas of study are encouraged to explore the courses as elective offerings. Covering the spectrum from loyalty to analytics, the curriculum connects theory and practice, and prepares you to be an influential player in a fast-growing field. Classes are taught by Hal Brierley, a pioneer in the customer engagement field, Marci Armstrong, a regarded professor, sought-after consultant, and director of the Brierley Institute.

    Advanced Customer Engagement Practicum
    In this capstone Customer Engagement course, you’ll work directly with a company to either evaluate and redesign an existing Customer Engagement (CE) program or to design and implement a new one. This course is a requirement to earn the specialization in Customer Engagement for those concentrating in Marketing.

    What we cover

    Considering CE opportunities from both the company’s and the customer’s perspective, you’ll articulate goals for desired customer behavior change, identify customer segments offering the greatest profit potential, evaluate the competitive landscape, develop a strawman Customer Engagement program design, conduct qualitative and quantitative research to measure customer receptivity, quantify the financial impact and build a business case (including a communications plan featuring digital/social/traditional media) for implementing the proposed CE program.

    Customer Engagement And Loyalty Practicum
    This course provides hands-on Customer Engagement experience through a consulting project for one or more corporations, applying concepts, metrics, strategies and tactics of Customer Engagement to drive loyalty and profit. This course is a requirement to earn the specialization in Customer Engagement for those concentrating in Marketing.

    What we cover

    Through the consulting project, you’ll analyze real-time customer data using regression and summary statistics.You will also calculate Customer Lifetime Value for individual customers, and then segment customers based on CLVs. In a final group presentation to corporate project sponsors, you’ll draw customer insights from your analysis and propose strategic and tactical recommendations for profitable growth.

    Research For Marketing Decisions
    Through lectures, interactive discussions and a hands-on marketing research project with a sponsoring corporation, you’ll gain a solid foundation in designing and executing effective marketing research—the formal process of gathering information needed by managers to make decisions such as: Should the company introduce a new product? What are the effects of a competitor’s action? What are the most effective channels of distribution? How do marketing actions affect brand awareness or sales revenue? This course is a requirement to earn the specialization in Customer Engagement for those concentrating in Marketing.

    What we cover

    Through the project, you’ll design the research, collect customer data and analyze the data using statistical methods relevant to your research problem. In a final group presentation to company leaders, you’ll draw customer insights from your analysis and propose strategic and tactical recommendations for profitable growth.

    Customer Engagement Strategy
    Highly engaged customers buy more, promote more and demonstrate greater loyalty. In this course, you’ll learn what Customer Engagement(CE)is and why you should care through a series of senior level corporate speakers who will introduce the latest strategic thinking and best practices from their companies.Based on what you’re learning week by week, you’ll conduct a hands-on Customer Engagement Review of your own company (or another you choose). The CE Review culminates in recommendations for improving how customers engage with your brand and company, creating customer relationships that profitably drive desired customer behavior and create powerful and profitable emotional connections.

    What we cover

    Components of the CE Review include customer experience, digital and social marketing, rewards/loyalty programs, metrics/financial analysis, personalization and listening to customers.

  • Learn from the Experts

    It doesn't get any better: You'll learn directly from visionary Hal Brierley and accomplished professor, Marci Armstrong. Hal served as the only outside consultant to collaborate with American Airlines on the design of the AAdvantage loyalty program, and went on to engineer over 175 loyalty programs. Marci Armstrong is a seven-time teaching award honoree, and a prominent customer engagement consultant.

    Read More About the Faculty

  • Dynamic Project Sponsorships

    Brierley Institute’s Corporate Project Sponsors present students with projects on current customer engagement challenges. The result: An opportunity to provide a fresh perspective and present recommendations that leveraging cutting-edge analytics and customer insights.


Take the Next Step

Interested in studying at the first academic institute in the nation devoted to customer engagement? Learn about our MBA program at the SMU Cox School of Business.

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