Applying Theory to Practice: Consulting Projects and Field Studies
Columbia MBA students have a wide selection of consulting projects, field studies, case writing, and independent study opportunities. Students in the past have taken advantage of Columbia Business School's reputation, connections, location, and access to a wide selection of organizations and industries both in New York City and around the world. Projects can be integrated into elective courses, both within and outside the social enterprise concentration, and in extra-curricular and club activities. These opportunities allow MBA students to learn from and apply their business skills to real world situations in areas relevant to business school courses and individual career interests.
Lab and consulting courses are also currently being offered. Please see the courses section for further details.
Students take a trip to Brazil in 2007 to study alternative energy models.
Student clubs that currently offer extra-curricular consulting projects include the Small Business Consulting Program, which consults to local nonprofits as well as small businesses, and the International Development Club. Also, the Social Enterprise Program through the International Development Consulting Project Travel Fund provides support for international pro bono projects.
Organizations looking for pro bono consulting assistance can contact student clubs via the links above, or contact the Social Enterprise Program for referrals to specific professors. Students typically look for new projects at the beginning of the academic semester. A project description summary is usually requested, and 1 page template is available here (.doc).
The following completed projects illustrate the range of organizations that students have worked with, the type of issues addressed, and the impact and benefits these projects have on students and the organization.
International Development Club (IDC)
IDC was formerly known as Managers for International Development Initiatives (MIDI). Read about completed projects and current projects. Also see an article about past projects from the World Resources Institute's EnviroLink newsletter
Sprinkles in India
A student team developed a demand forecasting model for nutritional supplements to combat childhood anemia caused by iron deficiency, for the Sprinkles Global Health Initiative and Population Services International.
Microfinance in Madagascar
A student team worked on a project for the Bank of Africa in Madagascar, initiated by the United Nations Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development.
A student team assessed the impact of a workshop that aims to create a common action and agenda around "business social ventures."
The team helped identify key factors to the success of HealthStore's medicine outlets in Kenya.
Students worked on marketing and management issues with a private equity portfolio company, that sells cooking gas and a safer type of storage.
The team examined the micro-franchise model for low-cost reading glasses in India.
Business Education in Kigali
The team traveled to Kigali to help Rwanda's new School of Finance and Banking reach self-sustainability.
Solar Trade Corporation
A team constructed a financial valuation model to assess the investment need to scale-up production of solar drying systems for coffee in Costa Rica.
A team conducted market studies for an ecotourism company operating in a nature reserve in southeastern Amazonian Peru.
WRI's Digital Dividend Project - case studies
HealthNet Uganda, DoctorAnywhere.com in India, Aptech's Vidya in India.
See case studies
The team helped Acumen Fund explore expansion strategies for a new micro-drip irrigation technology by assessing four potential export markets.
This consulting project assisted Per Scholas, a leading nonprofit, to determine a sales and pricing strategy for its revenue generating business.
The team helped Investors' Circle assess options to develop a new sustainable business venture fund for its national network of angel investors.
National Academy Foundation
The team developed an expansion and replication strategy assessment for this national network of high school career academies.
Research Initiative on Social Entrepreneurship (RISE)
Student teams complete independent study projects, work on case studies, and conduct survey research. Visit the RISE website for further information.
Lab and other courses
New York Philharmonic
Zev Greenfield '05 worked on a financial forecasting and strategic planning independent study project with Professor Ed Henry.
New Visions for Public Schools
Madeleine Tregidga '05 describes working on a small schools proposal for the Social Enterprise Lab.
Women's World Banking
A team analyzed the remittances market and developed an institutional strategy for the International Microfinance Lab.
Lower Manhattan Initiative, Seedco
Turnaround Management consulting projects with Seedco's Lower Manhattan Initiative (LMI). Read article in Hermes, Spring 2003
Consulting projects with Seedco were offered as a lab course called Resources for Renewal. Read article in the Bottom Line
Small Business Consulting Program
A team developed a business plan for a moving company, part of the Developing Justice Initiative sponsored by the Fifth Avenue Committee.