Consulting is a common activity in organizational life. Projects that involve consulting processes and skills can range from major re-structuring of multi-national corporations that take many months to achieve, to the provision of help on a one-to-one basis over a couple of hours. The person providing the consulting may not wear a consultant’s “badge,” particularly if he or she is employed by the organization within which the activity takes place. Whatever the project and whether the consultant is an external “hired hand” or an internal staffer, it is possible to describe a structured consulting process, a set of skills and some effective practices which, if put into effect, will lead to good results for the client. A parallel benefit, if it is sought and captured, is learning for the consultant. This course explores the consulting process, skills and practices, and their application within the complexities of organizational systems. At the heart of the course is a practical consulting project with a “real” client who will be expecting good results from the work. This project, with its inherent accountability for “results,” is the major engine for learning throughout the course. Spring 2015 projects: (1) improve inventory management and re-design shop layout (Elma Liquor); (2) budget review and recommendations (Enterprise Charter School); (3) design and implementation of a strategic growth planning system (Newbird); (4) plan for business growth and improved hiring (SLC Therapy of WNY); (5) redesign of website, development of social media strategy and design of customer and employee surveys (Twin City Ambulance); (6) market analysis and development of a marketing strategy (Joe’s Deli); (7) strategy to improve profitability (Dance Spectrum); (8) strategy to increase enrolment, supported by redesigned website and development of a mobile app (Lord of Life Adult and Child Care Services); and (9) improve marketing effectiveness (Buffalo Roadhouse Grill).
Five projects: 1. Creating marketing tools to reach potential corporate sponsors and the general population (Journey’s End). 2. Creating an economic impact model to support funding requests and plan future projects (Albright Know Art Gallery). 3. Conducting a leadership needs assessment to support improved leadership training (Roswell Park Cancer Institute). 4. Identifying a target market for a new for-profit venture based on accent improvement (Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center). 5. Conducting a SWOT analysis of the organization’s business plan (Westminster Economic Development Initiative).
Corporate Champions is a coursework-integrated, corporate partner supported, applied learning experience for first year MBAs. Student teams are mentored by a corporate partner through an applied organizational behavior (OB) project which contains components of OB, leadership and communications team deliverables.