Opportunities for Experience: The Business Solutions Center at Tippie

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Kick-off Spring 2013 (4x6)

BSC Director Mark Winkler (MBA ’01)

Every year Tippie provides students the opportunity to engage in real-world consulting projects, enabling them to test their skills for clients and see the impact of their decisions. Coordinated through the college’s Business Solutions Center (BSC) by director Mark Winkler (MBA ’01) and assistant director Jan Fasse (MBA ’00), cross-functional teams comprised of 4-7 students take on a 17-week project during the Spring.

Here is a brief overview of the companies participating in these projects:

ACT has demonstrated their support for the full-time MBA program by hiring three students to full-time roles in the past two years. They completed a project with Tippie last year and are engaged in a new project this year. Both projects enabled Tippie students to work closely with ACT staff in analyzing confidential industry data in order to refine strategic objectives. Their work was then reviewed and commented upon by senior executives.

Allied, based in Des Moines, has this year’s project sponsored by a current executive MBA student. This is the second time in the past five years that Allied has participated in a project. This year’s project is critical to reducing Allied Commercial’s cost to serve, while improving the customer and agent experience.

Allsteel has been a major supporter and regular client of the business solutions center, providing many internships and jobs for our MBA candidates and graduates. This year’s project is focused on providing an analytical framework and process for improving their win/loss ratio on  bids.

ICAD – The Iowa City Area Development project is part of our community relations and development strategy supporting non-profits.  The project is focused on completing a feasibility study and requirements for a commercial kitchen accessible to start-up food entrepreneurs and local food to table initiatives supporting local producers.

ICAD

The Tippie consulting group for the ICAD project

Integrated DNA Technologies- Integrated DNA Technologies is a high growth local company, and is participating with the business solutions center for the first time.  The challenge placed before the team is confidential but has to do with providing a roadmap to reduce a major cost element without sacrificing customer repeat business.

Principal— this Iowa based firm has long and deep ties to the University of Iowa and has been a repeat client for the business solutions center.  This year’s  project is part of a major initiative designed to inform clients of best route (build vs. buy) technology and assess the impact on business performance and results if they go ahead with a major capability upgrade.

Starcom-Building on last year’s student led trip to Chicago and visit to Starcom, this is the first year the company is working with the BSC. This project is designed to support a major corporate initiative known as “The Year of the Millennial.”

TIAA-CREF has made use of the BSC multiple times. This year’s consulting team has been challenged with evaluating current conditions and recommending improvements to ongoing efforts to attract, develop, and retain Millennial segment customers.

Starcom 2014

The Tippie consulting team for Starcom

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Cheeni Rao

About Cheeni Rao

Srinivas “Cheeni” Rao is a 2014 MBA candidate. A graduate of the University of Chicago as well as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is the founder of The Iowa Book Doctors, a publishing services company that edits and ghostwrites manuscripts for publication. He was a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick in 2009 and is an accomplished novelist and playwright.