The Center for Excellence in Service strives to deliver flexible, wide-ranging, and multifaceted solutions to the service strategic challenges that many businesses face. The CES accomplishes this through utilizing its talent base of world-class faculty and MBA students.
The MBA Consulting Project involves a team of 2-5 students, supervised by a marketing faculty member, working on a company specific project for one semester. The deliverables include a mid-point presentation, as well as a final presentation and white paper incorporating all requirements made by the client. These projects are done mostly on campus, with visits to the company as necessary.
Please contact us if you are interested in hiring a team of MBA consultants.
Fall 2015 – McKeldin Library Repositioning Project
McKeldin Library is the largest library in the University of Maryland’s library system. Given recent changes in the way students and faculty find and use information, the McKeldin leadership team is repositioning the library to better communicate its services to its users. Libraries have traditionally been associated with books. Today, they are also spaces in which students gather not only to study but also to collaborate in new and innovative ways of learning.
Three teams of Smith MBA students, enrolled in the MBA Consulting Program, are engaged in this project. Each team will use primary and secondary data collection techniques to learn about the library’s current positioning, and will apply tools learned in their MBA program to develop a set of recommendations for repositioning the library. They will also develop a marketing plan supporting the repositioning. The faculty advisors are Janet Wagner, director of the Center for Excellence in Service, and Judy Frels, director of the Smith Online MBA.
The Washington Center Service Blueprinting Project
The Washington Center (TWC) is the largest independent nonprofit academic internship program in the country. The goal of the project was to improve the application experience for undergraduates interested in TWC’s internships and seminars.
Four teams of MBA students used participant observation, a research technique in which they posed as applicants to the program, to evaluate the process by which undergraduates from around the world apply to TWC, are accepted, and apply for financial aid. Each team completed and evaluated all the steps in the pre-internship process, and made recommendations for improvement. The project culminated with PowerPoint presentations to TWC’s staff at its new state-of-the art residential facility in Washington, D.C. Donald Kandel, TWC’s Vice President of Administration and Chief Financial Officer, and Carmenchu Mendiola, Vice President of Communications, were the project champions. Mr. Kandel is a graduate of the Smith School’s EMBA program.
IHAS Integrated Marketing and Communications Plan
IHAS Inc. is a healthcare service firm that has provided managed care and case management services in the Washington area for 22 years. The firm recently launched a new managed healthcare service, MyCareAdvocate, targeted to self-paying clients on a pay-per-hour basis. In spring, 2010, Mr. Clyde Burke, President of IHAS Inc., approached the Center for Service Excellence at the Robert. H. Smith School of Business to engage an MBA student consulting team in developing an integrative marketing communications plan for MyCareAdvocate.
The team was comprised of Pauline Batiller, Brad Husser, Mai Theravuthi, and Aswani Valiveti, all first year MBA students at the Smith School of Business, supervised by Professor Janet Wagner, Director of the Center for Excellence in Service. The team performed research on the managed healthcare industry, using key word search on databases such as IBIS World, Mintel, and Hoover’s, as well as on websites of government agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. Results indicated the need for a service that caters to individuals or caregivers with crucial or burdensome healthcare challenges. Changes brought about by the new healthcare reform bill further underscore the timeliness of such a service entering the market.
Preliminary interviews with stakeholders of MyCareAdvocate (physicians, registered nurses, social workers, managed care providers, previous customers of MyCareAdvocate, and employees of IHAS, Inc.) helped identify the target customer as high net-worth individuals who have the willingness to pay for a service that provides case management services, negotiates on behalf of the client with insurance companies and healthcare providers, and forms liaison assignments between the customer and various healthcare service providers, such as physicians, hospitals, medical equipment suppliers, insurance companies, and rehabilitative care services. The team identified vital collaborators, such as medical practitioners (particularly private practitioners), nurses, hospitals, and home health agencies; direct competitors that offer similar services, and indirect competition from health insurance companies, corporate benefits departments, and do-it-yourself websites.
SWOT Analysis revealed the advantage IHAS, Inc. has by virtue of its prior experience in the industry, in launching MyCareAdvocate. In the integrative marketing communication plan, the team provided recommendations pertaining to the communications message, website development, logo and brand management, and design of ad materials. To capture the personal nature of the service, the team recommended a tag line, “Your personal healthcare ally.” The team also had recommendations regarding customer relationship management and metrics to tie the strategies adopted to the results obtained in terms of new customer enrollment and revenues.