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D.K. Hardin Center for Market Research

The D.K. Hardin Center for Market Research is committed to expanding the learning environment beyond the realm of the classroom so that students can benefit from real-world business practices. Students don’t just sign up to show up—they are immersed in a multi-faceted experience that includes coursework, internships, consulting groups and hands-on participation in client projects.

Established in honor of industry leader David K. Hardin and funded through an endowment from his estate, the D.K. Hardin Center’s approach reflects Mr. Hardin’s belief in the importance of marketing research.

Students who participate in a Hardin project are poised to benefit from Mr. Hardin’s philosophy as they, guided by highly qualified faculty, work to develop real-world solutions to real-life marketing problems for businesses and non-profit organizations in the community.

What is Hardin’s mission?
The goal of the D.K. Hardin Center for Market Research is two-fold: to establish a marketing research center of excellence that honors Mr. Hardin's memory and to provide a valuable resource dedicated to enhancing the learning experience of the academic community while serving the needs of the business and non-profit communities.

Who was David K. Hardin?
As longtime chairman of Market Facts, an international market research firm headquartered in the Chicago area, Mr. Hardin’s focus was singular: to help his clients make better business decisions using actionable information uncovered through marketing research methodologies. Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Hardin embodied the same enlightened values, strong ethics and progressive spirit that are the essence of Elmhurst College. It was through an endowment from his estate that the award-winning D.K. Hardin Center for Market Research was established in partnership with the College’s Department of Business.

For the Academic Community
No matter how deep a student’s working knowledge of marketing research may be, nothing can match the value of hands-on experience. D.K. Hardin Center provides students with real-life marketing problems and then guides them through the delivery of real-world solutions.

Hands-on research opportunities. The D.K. Hardin Center undertakes a variety of marketing research studies and projects each term. On behalf of The D.K. Hardin Center, faculty and students have worked with both small and large businesses and non-profit organizations in a wide range of categories—from youth ministries to manufacturing, from a local “life consultancy” company to a major Chicagoland zoo. Students learn how to address client issues, capture appropriate data, analyze that data and then make recommendations for next steps.

A multi-disciplinary approach. Hardin research projects enable students to broaden perspectives far beyond a typical marketing course. They work with various departments within Elmhurst College, expanding their learning experience even further.

For the Business Community
As the D.K. Hardin Center seeks to provide hands-on learning experiences for students, businesses and organizations are invited to submit their marketing challenges. The result is win-win: Students gain valuable, practical experience while businesses gain a partner dedicated to providing actionable solutions.

A collaborative approach. When a client brings a project to the D.K. Hardin Center, they enjoy a collaborative approach to problem solving, analysis and recommendations. Each term Department of Business faculty and students look forward to developing true partnerships rooted in healthy give-and-take and mutual respect.

An economical, expert resource. With the D.K. Hardin Center, you have access to our highly qualified faculty and staff in the Department of Business, who use their expertise and experience to guide students in meeting business and marketing objectives.

Award-winning leadership. The D.K. Hardin Center is a recipient of the AABE, Award for Business Excellence, in the educational programs category, sponsored by The Business Ledger.

For more information, contact Sherry Smoak at (630) 617-5543 or ssmoak@elmhurst.edu.

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