Establishing field-based consulting experience for MBA students: Lessons learned by a small-sized university

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Most major universities expect MBA students to take a full-course load each term. Also, as a condition of graduation, MBA students must work full-time in small teams on focused-based consulting (FBC) projects for large-sized corporations. After being given the assignment and deadline, team members work tirelessly to complete their project. Such experiences facilitate the transition of major universities’ MBA students into the real business world. On the other hand, most MBA students at small-sized universities work full-time for a company during the day and take one or two courses in the evening each semester. Despite these constraints, Indiana University Kokomo (IUK) (Kokomo, Indiana, USA) was able to successfully develop and implement a required MBA-level FBC course (C599). In addition to having a positive influence on IUK’s MBA students, this course has had a significant impact upon the economic development of small-sized firms in northcentral Indiana. This paper chronicles the “trials and tribulations” the School of Business encountered in creating and executing C599. After presenting representative comments from client companies and MBA students, six implementation problems with C599 are discussed along with subsequent modifications. Finally, suggestions for small-sized universities like IUK who want to develop and implement their own MBA consultative course are presented.

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