Senior Consulting Projects

Benefits to the Client:

Following are the Senior Consulting Project deliverables to the client:

  • A thorough, professionally written report with detailed analyses and specific recommendations.  The document will include problem definition, substantial fact-based analysis, recommendations, and implementation suggestions.
  • A team presentation to the client of the team's project findings, including thorough discussion and any needed follow-up. 
  • A Client Satisfaction Survey will be requested from the client, at the end of the semester, as an assessment of the teamwork and input to the team’s grade for their consulting project.

Client Selection Criteria:

  • The business problem or development opportunity described in the project application must be challenging to an experienced manager and must also draw on the skills and knowledge acquired by students.
  • The scope of the project must allow it to be realistically completed within the senior project's sixteen-week time-frame and must match the skills and capabilities of the consulting team.
  • The company/organization must designate (a) an executive-level project champion who can manage the client’s internal resources required to complete the project; and (b) a key contact person who will serve as the primary day-to-day interface with the student consulting team.
  • The organization is required to share their internal financial, product, and market data required for project completion.  Each student signs a confidentiality agreement.

Client and Student Team Expectations:

  • Clients should expect to have weekly contact with the student team.  That communication may be in the form of an email, in-person meeting, or a phone call.  Student teams will keep the client updated weekly on the status of the project, as well as what's coming up, so that both parties can be prepared.
  • Clients must understand that the students' time on the project is limited. Most students are taking between 15-18 hours and many work part-time or full-time jobs as well.   This project is one class of perhaps 4 or 5 classes the students are taking this semester.
  • Students are acting as consultants.  Students should not be asked do anything that an employee would do, such as counting inventory, making sales calls, etc.
  • Do not ask students to do anything inauthentic or unethical, such as pretending to be customers and going into a competitor's business.
  • All students sign and are bound by a confidentiality agreement that outlines the information shared by the client is not to be shared, and is used only in the performance of this project scope.
  • Clients are to provide students with requested information in a timely manner.  The more detailed information you provide to your student team (including financial statements), the better the job the students can do in performing an organizational and industry assessment, and in making recommendations for your business.
  • The information requested by the students is often tied to a deliverable in the class with a due date.  Timely receipt of the information from the client will assist the students with staying on schedule to complete the project.  Student teams need to respect the time constraints of their clients, and provide sufficient notice, with expectations on due dates for information requests.
  • As part of the research to be conducted, the student team will be developing and administering a survey.   The students may ask for your input on key areas of interest to you for developing survey questions that are most relevant to helping your business.   Students may also ask for your assistance in distributing the survey through an email list, your website, FaceBook page, etc. in order to reach more respondents.

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Types of Projects:

All Senior Consulting Projects should be completed in a framework that considers the impact on a company’s position and competitive strength in the marketplace.

Below are examples of past projects:

  • Business plan for a new start-up venture or product
  • Marketing plan and associated financials for a new product or service
  • Study evaluating the feasibility of establishing a business or new location
  • Strategic analysis of how to combat reduced market share from competitive entry
  • Reorganization plan following massive corporate downsizing
  • Short and long term business plan
  • Analysis of emerging technology
  • Business plan to guide the development & implementation of a new strategic business unit
  • A plan for the development & implementation of a direct marketing customer database
  • Development of a strategic, financial, and information system for an existing small business
  • A plan analyzing the feasibility and implementation issues of an advanced engineering training program
  • Analysis of major financial decision on whether to go public
  • A plan for analyzing outsourcing decisions
  • Feasibility and market analysis
  • Environmental Industry Analysis
  • Strategic growth plan

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About the Process:

The Senior Consulting Project course in the Foster College of Business is a 16-week project completed by a team of four to six students. Depending on the size of the class, anywhere from 12 to 25 projects might be completed during each semester. There are two semesters each year.  Project applications are submitted throughout the year and are reviewed on a rolling basis. Project selection is a two-stage process: The Consulting Project Committee provides an initial assessment of the projects to the business faculty; the approved applications are then presented to the business students, who make the final selection. Successfully chosen projects tend to be a function of project scope. In this regard, the committee gives greater consideration to projects that challenge teams to apply a range of program concepts and analytical frameworks. More meaningful projects also tend to include a primary data component in the form of a survey or series of interviews or focus groups.

Please be advised that the number of applications generally exceeds the number of teams. Consequently, even strong applications may not initially be selected. In those instances, your project will remain “active” and be presented to teams in the next semester.

Some company projects are deemed less suitable as a Senior Consulting Project but may still be a good fit for one or more classes or programs within the Foster College of  Business at Bradley University.  We will contact you with these additional opportunities.

Finally, the most successful projects are a true collaboration between the team and the client. A committed and active client liaison assures a positive outcome.

Purpose of a Senior Consulting Project:

  • To provide students with an authentic business problem or opportunity for analysis and recommendations.  This business consulting experience allows students to apply their skills and experience by identifying relevant issues, analyzing alternatives, and making recommendations.
  • To support local businesses by offering the consulting services of a team of four to six talented managers who combine their business experience with the lessons learned during their Bradley education.  This assistance benefits client organizations by contributing to improved strategies and enhanced operational effectiveness.

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Background:

The Senior Consulting Project is the capstone project for all Bradley University business majors. The program is designed to provide business students with an opportunity to apply all of the skills they have developed during their time at Bradley to a real world business situation. Bradley's senior consulting program has been in existence since 1972.

Small teams of four to six students from a mixture of disciplines (Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Management and Leadership, Management Information Systems, and Marketing) are brought together to serve as consultants for a local firm. The group works directly with a contact from the firm and is advised by one of the University’s business professors. The project lasts the full semester and culminates in a presentation of recommendations from the students to the client and professor.

The semester begins with the student team meeting the client.  The students then develop the project scope. This process familiarizes the student team with the industry and current trends and practices occurring within it. Following the definition of the project scope, the students perform the industry or market assessment.

Applicants may propose any type of business related project, as long as it contains specific deliverables from the team, some common projects include developing marketing plans, feasibility studies, and conducting customer surveys.

 

Contact Information

Bradley University
Foster College of Business
Turner Center for Entrepreneurship
Illinois Small Business Development Center
1501 W Bradley University
Peoria IL  61625
(309) 677-2992 office
(309) 677-3386 fax

tce@bradley.edu