Beyond the Classroom: MBA Field Projects Yield ROI for Clients
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Each year, Eller MBAs take on business projects for real-world clients. “These are the kinds of unstructured problems that don’t have clear-cut right or wrong answers,” explained Dan Bens, associate dean and director of the Eller MBA Program. “There is no answer book in the real world, and an important part of the MBA program is learning to make good decisions in an environment of ambiguity.”
Two spring field projects — one with economic consulting firm L.E. Peabody & Associates and one with fine artist Diana Madaras — illustrate the breadth of clients the MBAs work with, as well as how much value the MBAs can bring to bear on ambiguous business challenges.
“Even though all classes have an emphasis on applying the concepts to relevant, real-world scenarios and cases, this particular experience places you in an unpredictable, unfamiliar situation and forces you to pull all of the lessons across the subject areas together and provide an innovative solution to a client’s unique problem,” said Jennifer Wood, Eller MBA ‘12.
“The project allowed us to put what we had learned in our first year of the program to use, especially the business communications class,” said Casey Thompson, Eller MBA ‘12. “The communications class prepared us to present our recommendations clearly and concisely to the partners of L.E. Peabody.”