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Senior Benton Brown Aspires to Career in Higher Education

by Zaria Bonds (Class of 2019) on September 29, 2016

Millsaps College senior Benton Brown recently learned firsthand lessons about how colleges and universities use marketing to increase undergraduate enrollment.

Brown spent eight weeks as an intern at Royall & Company in Richmond, Va., a higher education marketing and consulting company for colleges and universities. It offers many services to increase student enrollment, alumni participation, and fundraising.

Brown, a New Orleans native, worked on multiple teams, including a strategic team that assisted with more than 20 schools around the nation. He created deployment calendars for email marketing and analyzed data to complete executive summaries for individual colleges, to name just a few of his duties.

During his time there, Brown presented original research on “How to market your college to underserved students using SMS text message” to the entire company, including executive staff members.

A business administration major, Brown plans to obtain an M.B.A at Millsaps after he graduates in May. His goal is to pursue a career in higher education enrollment management, and ultimately become a college president.

Brown said he was grateful for the opportunity to work closely with many nuances of higher education.

“Most importantly, it introduced me to a more advanced approach to marketing that is on the cutting edge of how colleges can recruit prospective students,” he said. “It also connected me with influential individuals in the world of higher education who have to make these key decisions every day.”

Brown credits the mentorships of Dr. Robert J. Alexander, vice president for enrollment and communications at Millsaps College, and Jonathan Ferrell, former director of admissions at Millsaps, for their support throughout the process.

“When I first mentioned to Dr. Alexander and Mr. Ferrell that I was interested in higher education, they told me that if I stayed focused and my career trajectory did not change, this would be an awesome opportunity,” he said.

Brown serves as the director of presidential ambassadors for the Millsaps College Office of Admissions, a resident hall director for New South, and a member of the Else School of Management Student Advisory Council. He is the chair and founder of Millsaps Retention Advocates, a program that pairs African-American students at Millsaps with African-American alumni who serve as mentors.

He is also a three-year starter and a four-year letter winner for the Millsaps football team. As a starting defensive back, he earned All-SAA honors in 2014, and enters his senior season with a team-leading 15 pass breakups in his career.

During his senior year, Brown will complete his honors project, which is focused on how CEOs manage and perceive diversity in top management teams.