Ready to learn more about the student role in Eller Business Consulting projects?
Eller Business Consulting Project teams are made up of four to six graduate students. Teams are supported by Eller College faculty, who provide subject matter expertise. Eller staff provide students with project management support.
We have been actively engaged with the Eller program for over a decade. It is a pleasure to work with the Eller students each year. It is such a great laboratory to test ideas and concepts with some of the best and brightest minds. The students have saved us invaluable time and resources as they prove (or disprove) a business case for an idea that we are considering. It is an invaluable resource to Watermark as we continue to innovate in senior housing.
David Barnes, CEO and President, Watermark
Student Consulting Process
The student consulting process involves several steps and deliverables and is divided into four distinct components:
- Plan and organize
- Before the semester begins, the project is initially scoped with the executive director of Business Consulting, the faculty advisor and the client.
- Student teams are selected by Eller faculty and staff. A team lead is determined for each project based on the individual’s skills, desire to lead and a peer assessment that nominates the individual for leadership. Additional roles within the team are determined by the individual team.
- NDAs are signed.
- Students attend an all-day seminar at the beginning of the spring semester class.
- Finalize project objectives and questions
- Kickoff meeting: First opportunity to meet the client in person. The kickoff is a mainly student-led meeting designed to give the team the needed information to finalize the scope of the project into the project charter.
- Create work plan for the semester: Each team must lay out a plan for accomplishing the project objectives. In conjunction with the work plan, students also begin planning the research portion of the project. What information is needed? How will it be obtained?
- Create project charter: The project charter serves as the bounding document for the project. Students lay out the milestones, risks to completion, communication strategies and other elements that will enable them to successfully complete their project. This document is signed and accepted by both the student team and the client. Once this is complete the real work begins.
- Begin formulating weekly status reports to the client, distilling information gathered, clearly laying out any requests to the client and alerting the client of any risks or decisions to be made.
- Research and analysis
- During this segment of the semester, student teams are actively conducting project-specific research and analysis of data. Should the project require it, this is when interviews and surveying occur.
- Progress presentation to client: The purpose of the progress presentation is to obtain the client’s agreement for the direction of the project. The teams should confirm that the path they are taking is the correct one or, if the direction needs to shift, the student teams will need to secure the client’s agreement on the new path forward.
- Perform analysis of data collected through research, interviews, surveys or other methods to begin formulating recommendations.
- Finalize recommendations and/or client deliverables.
- Deliver final client presentation to present recommendations and/or deliverables.
- Write an executive summary.
BNAD 597A Consulting Projects
The Consulting Projects class is offered in the spring semester to first-year Eller graduate students. It is a required part of the core curriculum for MBA and MIS students.
BNAD 597B Advanced Consulting Projects
Advanced Consulting Projects is offered in the fall following BNAD 597A. The class is available to second-year MBA, MS MIS and select interdisciplinary graduate students via a competitive application process
BNAD 597A Consulting Projects is a first-year graduate core course. Occurring in the second semester of the first year, the consulting class provides students with the opportunity to develop and refine their skills in project and client management.
Additional industry or skill-specific, résumé-enhancing experience is an added benefit to the course. Skills practiced in this course translate directly to future success in summer internships and eventual careers.
More than the specific skills required to complete the project, students are able to enhance their communication abilities, teaming, adaptability to project challenges, presentation skills and their ability to handle real-world ambiguity to solve problems.
My career change from food and beverage manufacturing to healthcare consulting was a big one. The experiential learning project helped me develop credibility in healthcare and jump start my healthcare network.
Jason Marietta '16 MBA