PSU’s School of Business Administration is actively recruiting clients (for & not-for profit organizations) for its capstone program where senior business students provide business-related services free-of-charge to clients in the greater Portland metropolitan area. We have capacity for approximately 50 projects/year.
The course, BA495 Business Strategy/Capstone program (http://www.pdx.edu/sba/capstone),is an intense 11-week Course (Summer Term is 8 weeks) that is offered only to senior business students (roughly 750 students annually) offered year round (four terms). Student teams work with the client to prepare actionable, decision-making business documents based on the client’s specific needs.
We model the program as a consultancy where business majors (Accounting, Finance, Management, HR, Advertising, RE Finance, Supply & Logistics Mgt., Marketing) apply their academic business course work (taken over the previous two-four years) to a “real-world” project with a “real-world” client. The projects take place under the guidance of the course instructor who often has professional consulting experience & can address the issues that typically arise with consultant projects.
Recruitment Process & Project Elements:
• Application Process:
• Potential Clients all fill-out & submit a project participation application (can be done on computer) that provides an overview of the organization, project goals, and project activities & products/deliverables that the client would like to be prepared by the student team.
– Students, faculty, and client all sign an NDA prior to initiating the project. We have an NDA that has been developed by PSU Legal for this purpose.
– We want the students to be aware that the work they are doing may require the exchange of sensitive & confidential information that they must respect and not disclose to others not involved in the project.
• Project process:
– Students work with client to craft a proposal and then tailor a work scope based on the client’s specific needs & goals. Work Scope is modeled on a consultant scope with a task-list, work descriptions, deliverables/products, and schedule for work flow.
— Importantly, work will be scaled to fit w/in the 11 (8 weeks summer) week term.
— If client’s project appears greater than can be accomplished w/in the term length, the team will work with the client to design a work scope that focuses on what is most critical to accomplish w/in the time schedule. We focus on “critical path” as the guideline for project development.
– Student/client agree to a communication strategy that fits the client’s schedule & time.
— Regardless of the communication, client will receive a weekly work progress report.
– Deliverables/products: tailored to fit the project. Previous projects have done or are doing the following
— Finance plan: opening a paper copy store.
— Market plan: on-line version control for software coding.
— Business & operations plan: Pharmaceutical company
— New product development strategy: manufacture lactation device
— Market entry plan: apparel company
— Market forecast: jewelry manufacture
— International market entry plan: high-end clock manufacturer
— Market plan for on-line video involving athletic events.
— Go To Market strategy for on-board video recording cameras.
— Finance plan for a Theater & arts program
— Business expansion analysis & plan for adding a second food cart
– Client Responsibilities:
• We recognize that clients do not have unlimited time to spend with student teams, especially since clients are volunteering their time. Student teams tailor their communication strategy with the client in the work scope. Nevertheless, we do expect that the client will be available & communicate with the team. We also firmly believe that the more involved a client is with the project team the more they will get out of it.
• Class room attendance (minimum four times):
• Pitch: usually the second class of the first week client presents their project to the students who will choose between two clients.
• Financial: Students present a financial picture of the project they are working on.
• Competitor’s analysis: students present their analysis of the competition & the competitor’s environment.
• Final: Students present their findings & recommendation(s) to the client.
• Client availability outside of class.
• We expect that clients will be available to communicate with the project team outside of the classroom appearances in order to provide information on their business and to review & comment on the products delivered to the client by the project team
• The communication strategy in the work scope will guide the communication.
• Provide an evaluation of the project & students
• We will administer an evaluation at the project end as well as several times after the project is completed.
Two videos that explain our program and interview previous clients can be found that these following links:
For those organizations that are interested or would like to find out more information, please contact Bill Jones, Ph.D. (program coordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 503-725-9992.
Originally posted by Kirsten Ringen on May 29, 2012