This piece was contributed by Rebecca Guidice, Professor of Management and Executive MBA Director within CSB.
The Cameron School of Business Executive MBA Program began and ended the summer with our partner and friend from across the pond - the Surrey Business School of Guildford England Together, two truly international residencies were realized. For both MBA programs, the objective of every consulting residency is to find synergy among graduate education, seasoned professionals, and a business seeking assistance from highly educated professionals to help address an important strategic issue.
This synergistic relationship occurred on each side of the Atlantic. In early May, twenty-seven UNCW MBA students and three Surrey MBA students along with several faculty and staff from each institution met in Prague, Czech Republic. These students consulted with Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth, an Eastern European manufacturer of stationery products. The strategic challenge was to develop a viable strategy on how best to maintain, yet tailor, its ESG-focused operating modality when entering Latin America. The team’s recommendations would also, where feasible, be used as a model for future expansions into African and Asian countries.
Then in late August, ten UNCW MBA students and two Surrey MBA students, along with several faculty and staff from both schools of business, met in Wilmington, North Carolina. For this project, students consulted with Precision Swiss Products (PSP), a US-based medical device contract manufacturer. The strategic challenge was to conduct an in-depth, foreign market analysis and accompanying risk assessment of several countries in Europe that the company was considering entering. The students were also charged with using their research to develop a set of recommendations on where to proceed and how best to approach those competitive markets.
Sounds like reasonable projects, right? Well, there’s a twist – the consulting project must be completed in five days! While yes, there is some initial independent research conducted before everyone coalesces in the selected location, the real work does not begin until the first day together. While the Cameron School of Business Executive MBA program has successfully used a five-day format for several years, it isn’t uncommon for the client and at times, graduate students, to doubt that a sophisticated and implementable strategic solution is possible in such a short time. The delight when the results are impressive is always rewarding for all involved.
Undeniably, unique and valuable things happen when MBAs from a wide range of professions share their unique experience, diverse talents, and advanced education to solve a strategic issue for a company. While the list is long, this summer’s talent pool included lawyers, engineers, military officers, project and operations managers, HR specialists, and healthcare providers to name just a few. The benefits of this collaboration and tenacity are probably best described by our graduate students and the client. For example,
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