Luke Avery, Erik Brooks and Susana Arvelo – Daniels PMBA students and winners of the competition

Friday afternoons are not known for being times of great productivity and hard work, but Daniels students participating in the twelfth annual Cable Apprentice Competition on Friday, March 9, at the Comcast Mountain West Office dispelled this notion.

The Cable Apprentice Competition—a Rocky Mountain Cable Association-sponsored event that provides students with real-world, cable business case studies for intensive research and analysis—included three teams of Daniels graduate students. The students worked for weeks to prepare proposals on how the cable industry can redefine its brand, market position and customer value propositions in response to the rapidly changing video landscape and the consumer demands of the elusive millennial market.

The students—many of whom are part of the cable industry’s target millennial demographic—presented their recommendations to a panel of local industry experts including Rich DiGeronimo, executive vice president of product and strategy at Charter Communications; Rich Jennings, senior vice president of the Mountain West Region at Comcast; and Jason Johanning, president and founder of J2 Media Consulting.

The first group of students, a trio of MS Marketing candidates—Katerina Arzhayev, Alex Cheng and Brionna Simons—recommended a hotspot-sharing solution called “XG.”

“As millennials, we carry over 10 years of professional experience and today we will simplify the digitally disruptive land of entertainment,” said Simons during her team’s presentation.

The second group of presenters, PMBA students Luke Avery, Susana Arvelo and Erik Brooks, offered an idea called “Spectrum Wave”—a fully-integrated, secure modem with ‘Alexa’ type voice controls to connect home devices and create a comprehensive broadband experience.

A team of full-time, Denver MBA students Will Anderson, Aaron Eddy and Jack Rosenberg presented their ideas last. They recommended building a product ecosystem around the modern-day smart home through the integration of “Internet of Things” technologies.

“Millennials are a challenging target demographic. We are cheap, disloyal and demanding. But the truth of the matter is, meeting [millennials’] demands is going to be essential for [the cable industry’s] long-term survival,” Anderson said.

After deliberation from the judges and text votes from audience members, the competition’s $4,500 cash prize was awarded to the team of PMBA students for their “Spectrum Wave” idea. In addition to the money, the winners also have a preferred opportunity to secure a local paid cable industry internship.

Since the competition’s inception, 16 participating students have obtained permanent jobs at area cable industry companies following successful internships at organizations such as Charter Communications, Comcast, Sand Cherry Associates and Starz.