Eller Business Consulting Team Partners with Nonprofit Youth On Their Own

Oct. 29, 2020


A team of graduate students in the Eller Business Consulting (EBC) program recently partnered with local nonprofit organization Youth On Their Own (YOTO) to perform a comprehensive technology assessment of YOTO’s current information system.

Youth On Their Own—a 501(c)(3) dropout prevention agency—strives to eliminate barriers to education and empower Arizona’s homeless youth to stay in school. For over 30 years, they have supported this demographic by providing financial assistance, basic human needs and one-on-one guidance.

The EBC student team—comprised of Team Lead Tzu-Hui (Emily) Wu ’20 MBA/MIS, Philip Chan ’19 MS MIS, Sree Charan Shatdarsanam ’20 MBA/MIS, Corey Corbin ’20 MBA and Alex Rondeau ’19 MS MIS—was responsible for providing recommendations for future system improvements that would support YOTO’s sustained growth. The assessment resulted in a three-phase implementation plan, allowing YOTO to reclaim full ownership and control over their database as well as migrate to a new system structure, in the form of an online student portal, to support their organization and staff.

According to the YOTO website, this new portal has been crucial to their ability to support youth in the community during COVID-19, even though it was conceptualized months before the pandemic began. Because of the portal, students can now apply, make service requests and contact YOTO staff online, instead of relying on in-person school liaisons, per the model used before the pandemic.

“The project was challenging but our students delivered a tremendously valuable product which YOTO began implementing immediately,” says Cortez Smith, a member of the EBC Team. “The Eller Team really enjoyed the opportunity to apply their formal school training and past work experience to a cause which will have a positive impact on the local community.”

The Eller Business Consulting Program provides an opportunity for Eller graduate student teams to work directly with companies on semester-long consulting projects. Projects are unique to each company’s real-world business challenges and opportunities in the areas of finance and accounting, general management, management information systems, marketing, operations, strategy and growth and more. Sectors include consulting, consumer goods and services, defense, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, public and nonprofit, real estate, senior living and technology.