Real Work for MBAs

A recent interview/article from the Wall Street Journal discussed how MBA programs are engaging students in increasingly larger projects for companies.  Dr. Pepper/Snapple recently turned over its Yoo-hoo chocolate milk drink brand to be managed by two students from UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business.  In return, the school received sponsorship for its Center for Customer Insights and Marketing Solutions.  The students gained invaluable experience that will make them more marketable.

At Whitman, we have focused solely on the experience to be gained by the student, and have so far not charged fees for projects.  In addition to working for corporations, we have also had the opportunity to collaborate with non-profits who may not have been able to pay a large consulting fee.   We have completed multiple lean six sigma projects with Crouse Hospital such as improving the process flow for instrument sterilization and decreasing the turnaround time between minor surgeries in the physician’s office building.  Last fall we conducted a large marketing research project for the Onondaga County Public Library system to help them better understand the impact that the library has had on patrons’ lives.  This spring a group of the students conducted research for the Girl Scouts to understand the types of outdoor experiences that scouts and troop leaders desire.  They also did a parallel analysis of alternative uses for several of their current camp properties.  In all cases it was a win-win situation – our students gained valuable real-world experience and the organizations benefited from having highly talented teams of students assist in solving their business problems.

Amy McHale