BUIES CREEK – The Campbell Business MBA program, in partnership with the North Carolina Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC), has successfully launched its capstone MBA 790 – Strategic Management “live case” seminar course. Teams of Campbell Business MBA students put the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed in their coursework to use in a “live case” consulting project focused on assisting local privately held businesses. Working through a well-established consulting process design and devoting two sessions for an intensive consulting boot camp workshop, the students establish a trusted advisor relationship with their business owner clients to examine aspects of business performance, market opportunities, and management issues.
“The MBA 790 course is important student learning and worthy community outreach initiative offered through Campbell Business,” said Campbell Business Associate Dean for External Relations & Professor of Business Shahriar Mostashari. “The pairing of client companies with Campbell Business MBA student teams mentored by faculty and SBTDC professionals throughout the semester is a win-win proposition for graduate students and area businesses alike. Students hone their consulting skills and in return businesses receive the much needed expert advice.”
Acting as consultants, the students work to identify critical issues, analyze and understand the business model, and generate viable recommendations to improve the firm’s competitiveness and profitability for their clients. The culmination of the course is a written case report of the consulting project recommendations delivered to clients and a formal presentation to peers, Campbell Business faculty, and a select group of business professionals at the newly established internal “Campbell MBA Challenge.” Students are also evaluated on their consulting competency and overall project performance by their client-companies.
To enhance the overall consulting experience, the course features a novel and unique three-pronged instructional support group. The course design and implementation is a result of a collaboration between Dr. Mostashari and Dr. Mike Seibert, the SBTDC regional director, who co-teaches the course. Campbell Business Librarian Dan Maynard has developed an extensive and interactive report template that the teams utilize for their professional report. Finally, SBTDC advisors act as team mentors while guiding students through their consulting process. This multi-pronged team approach should deliver an excellent, grounded experience for the Campbell Business MBA students while ensuring a worthwhile work product for the client organizations.
“MBA 790 is truly the flagship course for our MBA program,” said Campbell Business Business Operations/MBA Director Somer Johnson. “The final consulting project allows our students an opportunity to apply all of the core business knowledge, critical thinking, and problem solving skills they’ve learned and developed throughout their time in the program to the problems and challenges faced by a real world business. This not only benefits the companies they are consulting with, but also benefits the student as they are able to apply theory to practice, making this a very valuable and worthwhile part of their MBA experience.”
The first cohort of 25 Campbell Business MBA candidates, comprised of six teams assigned to a client-company registered with the SBTDC, are currently working on their consulting projects. MBA 790 represents the bookend experience to the initial MBA 700 course in the program in which students take two individual assessment instruments, learn about innovation and the Design Thinking process, and then apply both team-building techniques and Design Thinking to craft a business model scenario as part of a culture-building exercise. The Campbell Business MBA program focuses on developing students through engaging experiences applying the today’s business concepts and processes in a collaborative environment.