MBA Students Provide Solutions that Work
When local businesses have a problem, they turn to Otterbein’s MBA students for solutions. The solutions are so good; the business implements them more than 90% of the time, creating a strong competitive advantage. So competitive, in fact, we can’t describe the solutions to you without violating non-compete clauses.
Now that’s a business solution!
The MBA Capstone class, taught for the past decade by adjunct faculty member Tom Voight, takes an unstructured problem and structures it for delivery to a client in a fixed timeframe, he says. Students learn and apply a consulting methodology to define the expectation and scope of the assigned project. Each team member builds and refines management skills while also learning how to negotiate and refine his and her own skills as a member of a team.
Knowledge from previous MBA courses – human relations, marketing, ethics, accounting, statistics—comes together and is applied to the Capstone project. Projects have been done for a variety of organizations, such as the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, Westerville and Worthington Chambers of Commerce, The American Red Cross, Cardinal Health, The Scott’s Company, and Wendy’s International.
George Kuntz was a recipient of the Capstone services and experienced that team expertise. Kuntz, vice president, Pharma IT , Supply Chain Solutions at Cardinal Health, Dublin was impressed with both the creativeness and the specific output his company received when working with the MBA students this past year. He was so impressed in fact that he signed up for another project. And this year he has some added challenges for the students.
“I’d like to see how the students can help us think about change and using technology to engender that change curve,” Kuntz says. “Innovation is so important to corporations. We’d like to see what alternative views students can offer beyond those generated in our corporate culture.”
Voight echoes Kuntz’s comments about the creativity of the students.
“I enjoy helping/coaching the students discover how to use their education in a valuable, real, and needed strategic situation,” Voight says. “The students have an incredible ability to adapt and they discover a tremendous amount about teams.”
And Voight knows from whence he speaks. He spent 40 years as an educator and project manager, and consultant. His breadth of experiences makes him an excellent ‘coach’ for the student Capstone teams. He has worked on small, medium, and large projects in manufacturing, financial services, retail and food services.
Tristan Haas will graduate with his MBA this December. As the Capstone experience project leader, he’s the one on point with the client. And, he is the one managing his creative team of MBA colleagues. And, he loves every minute of the experience.
“I love it!” he said when asked about his experience. “This has been challenging – to work with the client, to get the information when it’s needed, and to keep everyone on task,” he says. “The most interesting thing I learned is from Tom, who has been a consultant for many years. In his experience, about 10% of clients want what a consultant offers and are able to implement it fully. That really surprised me!”
The Otterbein MBA Capstone defies these industry odds with a 90%+ implementation rate!
Surprise and discovery are key in the Capstone project. Clients discover what others see in their organizations that they cannot and they may hear surprising information about how to be better at what they do. The faculty member becomes a coach, sits outside the work, and watches it unfold. And best, the students discover the complementary strengths of team members, and as consultants as they put all the theory of the MBA into a real project.