Corporate Engagement Project Pairs MBA Students, Businesses for Research
What started off as an extracurricular activity has evolved into a fully realized elective allowing full-time MBA students to develop soft skills while providing analytical assistance to area businesses.
Originally known as the Business Solutions Group — an extracurricular activity — the group looked into ways full-time MBA students could provide research and analytical assistance to local businesses. The group was renamed the Corporate Engagement Project — it was also formalized as an elective class for full-time MBA students in 2013.
Each semester, teams composed of three to five FMBA students are assigned a semester-long project proposed by corporate partners. Students research and analyze the assigned project and present findings to a panel of enterprise executives and board members.
The CEP is considered a win-win for students and businesses. For corporate partners, the CEP provides opportunities for a dedicated team of graduate business students to investigate the needs of a corporation or nonprofit. Conversely, for students, the CEP presents an opportunity to develop skills that only come from practical work experience.
A Graduate Management Admission Council survey found interpersonal and intrapersonal — “soft” — skills make up the majority of skills employers most frequently seek in business school hires, but seldom find in applicants.
Skills include how an employee handles working with others, time/resource management, and professional network development.
In the ten years since the project began, 102 students have helped 22 corporate partners across 31 projects. It’s estimated more than 10,000 student hours of research and real-world experience stem from the CEP.
Past partners include the El Paso Chihuahuas, University Medical Center of El Paso, The Hospitals of Providence and, most recently, Wells Fargo.
The program surveys its corporate partners to track and adjust the CEP each year. Comments collected from past partners consistently praised the professionalism of the student teams along with the “wonderful and dead on” analysis presented at “corporate levels.”
Business entities interested in participating in the Corporate Engagement Project are encouraged to contact Bill Conwell at 915-747-7719 or email@example.com.