Students Immersed in Real Business

August 31, 2012

Enterprise Solutions Immerses Students in Real World Business

A required component of the Full-time MBA program, the Enterprise Solutions course creates partnerships between Daniels and organizations around the world, including Newmont Mining, Molson Coors, United Way and Frontier Airlines. Companies receive high-quality consulting services from Daniels MBA students in return for offering real-world learning experiences.

Enterprise Solutions is tailored to meet companies’ specific business needs. Under the guidance of highly experienced faculty, teams of students help companies solve strategic challenges, whether they plan to enter a new market, analyze the effectiveness of their distribution channels or need to create a marketing plan.

“On day one, Enterprise Solutions students are told that they are now a consultant for a company,” says Patrick Orr, senior director of graduate operations, whose team is responsible for organizing Enterprise Solutions consulting projects. “This is a consultancy class, not a research class. Students learn to listen, to find the issue within an organization and to identify what that client needs to be successful. Then, they deliver to their client executable recommendations.”

The course is offered in one of three program formats: Local Opportunities (LO), Domestic Opportunities (DO) or Global Opportunities (GO). In November 2011, students in the GO program worked on projects and traveled to Israel. One student team worked with Ofanim, an Israeli nonprofit that converts buses into mobile classrooms for after-school enrichment programs for at-risk youth. “It was great experience because we were dealing with actual issues Ofanim is having,” says Heidi Cortez, International MBA student.

“Working with a global organization presented interesting challenges, too. I think it’s easy to jump to conclusions about what an organization needs, but the course emphasized the importance of ‘feeling their pain’ before addressing any problems.”

MBA student David Mayer’s group worked with the Dizengoff Center, Israel’s oldest and largest retail shopping center, to research best practices of bricksand- mortar shopping centers worldwide in an increasingly online world. “I most enjoyed the layers to the project: the research to understand core business issues and potential solutions, and building a connection with a client in another country,” says Mayer. “Ultimately, I wanted to help this company succeed well into the future. Our team brought a lot of passion to the project.”

While the GO program takes students across the world to consult with clients—past trips have gone to Ghana, Tanzania, Peru, Rwanda, South Africa and Argentina—many students opt to work locally with Denver-based companies through Local Opportunities or with U.S.- based organizations through Enterprise Solutions’ newest program, Domestic Opportunities, which took its inaugural trip to Mendocino County, California, in winter 2011 to work with Mendocino Wine Co.

For Joseph Massimini, MBA student, the Local Opportunities’ project was an excellent exercise in client collaboration. “Enterprise Solutions honors the process as much as the outcome,” says Massimini, whose team worked with the Colorado Department of State’s Division of Elections to assess and improve Colorado’s voting system. “I think our greatest takeaway is a usable tool that will help each of us maximize people in any organization we work in.” “I’ve had a great experience with the students,” says Judd Coate, state election director from the Colorado Department of State. “The students are smart, GO Israel, Portland Trust engaged and know how to problem solve. They picked up on the situation quickly and have been able to provide insight on issues we’ve had a difficult time addressing.”

MBA student Felix Bernhoerster and his team consulted with Crestone Capital Advisors, a wealth management firm in Boulder. “I especially appreciate that our final recommendation to the client may actually provide some real value to the company going forward,” says Bernhoerster. Not only is Enterprise Solutions an invaluable resource for companies seeking new and innovative ideas to help solve organizational issues, the course is highly regarded among students. “I’ve had a blast thus far in my Daniels experience,” says Cortez. “The multitude of real-world, consultative opportunities like this course is one of the College’s greatest strengths.”