• Bringing Real Business Challenges to Classroom

10/31/2011

Management students at Sawyer Business School have the unique opportunity to test their business skills with a consulting project.

The semester-long project is completed during the Senior Capstone Project Course, which is required for all undergraduate management majors.

The students work collaboratively in small groups (usually about 4-6 people), with each group focusing on a different client problem. The students research their topics and meet periodically with their clients, who are high-level business executives. They also interview industry experts to gain outside perspectives.

Then on November 18, the students will offer feasible solutions to their clients in the form of professional written and oral presentations.

Throughout the course, students receive guidance and mentorship from a faculty member. This fall, Professor Jodi Detjen is teaching two of these capstone courses.

Detjen’s students are enthusiastic and eager to develop new skills and network with business executives.

Matthew He, an Accounting and Management double major, is working on a mergers and acquisitions project for Circor International. Circor designs, manufactures, and markets products used in the energy, aerospace, and industrial markets.

Matthew hopes his clients will become long-lasting business contacts. “As a senior, you really want to network and meet new people,” he said. “This class is a really great opportunity to reach out to these professionals and have a connection with them."

Matthew, who considers the course “fun and interactive,” especially enjoys working with Detjen. “She brings a lot of energy to the class,” he said.

Tyler Murphy, a Management major, is also working for Circor. His group is developing a framework for assessing employee engagement. The project is challenging because there is no existing framework in place, but there is also a “ton of opportunity because the window is wide open,” Murphy said.

Murphy has taken on the project manager role for his group, and he is looking forward to testing his skills. “This is the most realistic environment I could have to actually see how I can do as a manager,” he said.

Stephen Gaudet, an Accounting and Management double major, is working with UBM Channel. His group is assessing new social media platforms for the company, which provides channel-focused research and consulting, events, media, and custom solutions for the technology industry.

The project offers him a chance to explore his two career interests – accounting and business consulting. “This offers a glimpse of what business consulting is really like,” he said.

He also likes the idea of having a positive impact on a company. “The end product could actually make some tangible difference to a company. It’s not just reading about a case study and figuring out what they could have done,” Gaudet said.

The students consider the course an investment in their futures. The real-world experience enables them to expand their skills, knowledge, and contacts, which will be instrumental in their careers.

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