Client Company Participation in BMGT 463 (pro bono consulting)
Many entrepreneurs believe that, regardless of formal education, there is no substitute
for on-the-job learning. The Entrepreneurial Experience (BMGT 463) at MSU's Jake Jabs
College of Business & Entrepreneurship (Jabs) offers students real-world entrepreneurial
experiences in projects assisting start-up companies. As a client company of these
student-consultants, your business can have a student team (likely two members), which
takes on a specific challenge in your business and brings knowledge from this course
and other business education to bear on it for a period of 13 weeks. Students receive
three hours of academic credit for the course and no monetary compensation for their
work. The client receives free labor focused on the issue of its choosing, resulting
in a deliverable which summarizes findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
While the specific focus of the project undertaken by the student-consultants depends on the pressing issues of your business, the course is an opportunity for students to learn methods and processes for: gathering qualitative and quantitative information; scoping and estimating work and creating and executing project plans; practicing sound project management; and delivering and communicating professional-quality work.
Companies that have participated in the Entrepreneurial Experience course include EnviroZyme, Golden Helix, Inc., InfoGears, LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals, Inc., RightNow Technologies, TEXBase, Inc., and PrintingForLess.com. Historically, engaging the students quickly in the client company produces better outcomes. The more that clients can commit to spending time during the first three weeks of the course with students, helping them to understand the issues facing the business and the expectations for the content and quality of their work, the more likely it will be that they will receive deliverables imminently useful to their business. Candor in expressions of expectations and feedback throughout the engagement will help to develop the students and will be welcomed by the professor.
Working with Clients (Businesses & Organizations)
The content and direction of the project depends primarily on the client company's initial identification of needs. We encourage clients to identify a specific, meaningful challenge or gap in business strategy or operations that can benefit from research (primary or secondary) and exercise of basic business skills. In previous semesters, students have investigated competitors' advertising and marketing behaviors, created customer databases, researched regulatory issues, identified and validated markets for new products, and compiled intelligence on companies as potential partners for bringing new technologies to market. Results from previous projects have been incorporated into client-companies' marketing materials, commercialization plans, funding proposals, and conference presentations.
Students in The Entrepreneurial Experience are usually undergraduate seniors who have chosen to minor in Entrepreneurship and Small Business with a major concentration in marketing, accounting, finance, or management. Students from other MSU colleges, e.g., Engineering, Agriculture, and Arts and Architecture sometimes enroll in the course. Students possess basic business education, including familiarity with financial reports, marketing and financial concepts and tools, and customary approaches to research and analysis.
For more information or to participate as a client, please email JJCBEDeansOffice@montana.edu.