This article is contributed by Dr. Rebecca Guidice, Executive MBA Director and Professor of Management
Cameron School of Business Executive MBA students typically expect to travel abroad to complete their International Residency requirement. But it doesn’t have to be this way and this August was a case in point. Two MBA students from the University of Surrey along with the Director of their MBA Program “crossed the pond” to partner with four CSB MBA students to solve a business issue for a local nonprofit organization in Wilmington – the Cape Fear Manufacturing Partnership (CFMP).
Introduced to the MBA Program through the Small Business Technology and Development Center (SBTDC), the CFMP consists of 42 local manufacturers with the mission to grow the manufacturing base in Southeastern North Carolina. With an unquestionable need to increase manufacturing in the United States, the lofty challenge presented to the MBAs was this: “How can we change the perception of manufacturing as a career to increase long-term interest in and pool of talented employees across New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick counties?”. While attention was centered on our region, strategizing on how best to address worker shortages in manufacturing is something also being experienced in the United Kingdom and elsewhere across the world.
Over five work-intensive days, the MBA students not only consulted the client and the SBTDC, toured the facilities of three regional manufacturers, and met with a regional economist, but also asked numerous questions along the way. This curiosity mixed with hundreds of hours of combined research and analysis resulted in an impressive set of actionable recommendations that were presented to a large audience, including members of the CFMP, at the end of the week. One of its leaders, Mr. Jim Flock, commented, “The suggestions they proposed will provide us with a framework to guide our actions going forward. I look forward to helping implement these strategies and moving our agenda to the next steps.”
The students left Wilmington not only with real-world international consulting experience but also with new friends, professional connections, and memories that will last well into the future.
From left to right: Chris Mahon, Bekki Guidice, Louis Perez, Randy Setser, Dorothea Anderson, Susan Kline, Jeff Jung, and Reshan De Alwis
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