Our teams have helped organizations explore new business opportunities, launch new products, explore new markets for existing products, develop pricing strategies, improve managerial effectiveness, create effective marketing campaigns, and much more, including:
Priority is given to projects that involve accounting, information technology, supply chain, finance and human resource related issues since these types of projects are less requested compared to market research or business plan writing.
Businesses and organizations propose a project by submitting an application. A fee of $6,000 per project is charged and used to offset program costs. Submissions are due three times a year. Please see the Schedule page for application deadlines.
We often have client companies submit more than one project. Submitting several projects that appeal to a range of student interest areas increases the likelihood that a student team will select one of the projects.
Our students are required to complete your project in order to graduate. Therefore, the scope of your project must be limited to what a student team can reasonably complete in approximately 500 hours (one semester). If you change your mind regarding the final deliverable or you wish to expand the scope of your project part way into the project, a professional consultant can issue a change order and bill you accordingly for the extra work. Our student teams are unable to do that since our students are hoping to graduate at the end of the semester. To minimize project scope creep, the MBA team will create a Letter of Engagement at the outset of the semester to detail the specific deliverables. Also, companies with larger projects typically participate in multiple semesters. For example, it is common for a start-up to complete a business plan in one semester and then return later for a marketing plan.
Students who participate in the MBA Consulting Program enroll in BA 795, the MBA Culminating Experience, which is designed to allow students to apply many of the skills they have learned in the SDSU MBA program.
MBA students will graduate having a solid foundation in theoretical concepts and managerial skills needed to lead business organizations; an ability to analyze environments in which managers make and implement business decisions; and an ability to formulate, communicate, and coordinate strategies to solve business problems and pursue opportunities.
SDSU’s graduate business program ranked 86th in the nation, putting it in the top 50 for public business schools and in the top 10 business schools in California. Graduate students bring substantially more work and educational experience compared to undergraduate students. Graduate students typically have 2-5 years of work experience before entering graduate school at SDSU where undergraduates’ professional experience is often limited to an internship. The average age of a graduate student at SDSU in the MBA program is 27. Because of their age and work experience, graduate students tend to be more mature than undergraduate students.
Graduate students, like undergraduates, review secondary research to assist companies but in addition they also conduct primary research such as focus groups, interviews, surveys, etc. The MBAs analyze the data, draw conclusions and make recommendations back to the client based on this primary research. This type of research is especially helpful when little to no secondary data is available such as with start-ups whose product and/or company often are still be in the concept phase or for existing companies seeking to develop new products.
Teams are created that are best suited for each project, but we always try to have at least some breadth of talent, experience and major area on each team.
The operational standard used by the College of Business Administration for this type of course is roughly 10 to 12 hours per week per student during a regular 15 week semester (150-180 hours). This time will be spent either in class, or working directly with the client or on some other project-related activity.
This time will be spent doing a number of things, which could include: meeting with key employees from the client company to complete the project, observing the operations of the organization and collecting data, reading up on the client business and industry in the library, working alone at home on a portion of the project, meeting with the other team members to work on the project, working in the computer labs on campus to complete the project, etc. The students decide where and when they will work outside of class time.
No, this is not intended to be like an internship, where the student would have a set schedule of hours that they work, as would the permanent employees of that organization. Since the team of students is the equivalent of a team of consultants for your organization, we expect them to act and be treated like consultants. The students must decide when, how, and for how long they actually spend time on-site at your company.
During the first several weeks of the semester, the team meets with the company contact and draws up a Letter of Engagement (LOE). The LOE details the specific outcomes or deliverables, the milestones and reporting mechanisms, the intended use of the project results, as well as details of engagement. The LOE represents what the students and the company both expect will be delivered by the end of the semester. Both parties show their consent by signing this document.
Each team will have a student project manager who has overall responsibility for keeping the team on track and coordinating the work of the team. Another important task of the project manager is keeping the client apprised of the status of the project through progress reports. Clients are encouraged to establish in the Letter of Engagement, the frequency and content of these reports.
Each project team will work with two faculty advisors. Typically, there is one lead advisor, the course’s Lead Instructor and an additional faculty member, the Co-Advisor. The role of faculty advisors is to act as a "sounding board" for the student and their project plans and proposals, and to provide limited guidance in the project’s execution. The projects are intended to be designed and implemented by the students and not by their faculty advisors. Faculty advisors must approve the project team’s letter of engagement, overall research plan and final written report. Clients typically interact with the Advisors at the Kick-off Event and the Final Presentation but primarily with the students during the semester.
As explained above, the team of students is to behave like a team of independent consultants. You will meet with the team as necessary during the life of the project to provide guidance as needed. As the primary contact person, you are likely to meet about once a week for the initial few weeks, but the meetings may become less frequent as the team becomes familiar with your organization, its personnel, and with the problem or project under study. We want to encourage you to spend a sufficient amount of time with the students to help provide them with a first-rate educational experience.
Confidentiality of corporate partners' nonpublic information is important to all participants. All teams are prepared to sign a NDA restricting disclosure of confidential information if required by the company. We may request a copy of the NDA in advance of approving the project. Please submit a copy of NDA prior to the Kick-Off Event. Our office will coordinate its execution before this first client meeting.
Once a client has been assigned a student team, they will be invited to the Kick-Off Event for an initial client-team meeting. The Kick-Off Event is typically held in the evening from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM and students are required to attend. Client attendance is strongly recommended. The Kick-Off meeting includes a brief welcome and introduction of faculty and the clients. Thereafter, clients will meet with students in small groups at round tables in a ballroom setting. Clients will be asked to present their company and project to their student team (no formal public speaking required). Clients are encouraged to email the Program Coordinator, Angelica Bouras, any additional project information and/or company or industry information prior to the Kick-Off Event that the students may find helpful to understanding your project in advance of this first meeting. Beverages and light refreshments as well as complimentary parking are provided by the College of Business.
There is a fee of $6,000 for each project selected. Participating companies will be invoiced $3,000 at the onset of the program and another $3,000 at the conclusion of the program. Payments will be due within 30 days of each invoice.
Participating organizations are also expected to cover significant expenses for items that might be required for the students’ project. For example, the sponsoring organization would be expected to pay for things such as a software program that was required for a project but wasn’t currently available at the sponsoring organization or the University, extraordinary travel that was beyond the students’ ordinary means but was required by the project, and so on.
If you would like to submit an application to be considered for the SDSU MBA Consulting Program, please visit the Application page.