The annual Business Solutions Center Kick-off Luncheon was held at the IMU Ballroom in Iowa City mid-December where 11 companies, 40 clients, 60 Tippie MBA students, and various staff/faculty gathered to kick-off the Strategic Business Consulting projects. Our clients came in from across the globe to meet our MBA student consultants-including a few client teams who made way to Iowa City on their corporate jets!
The kick-off event launches the semester-long real-world consulting projects every Tippie MBA student will do in their first year (the exception is those finance students chosen for Henry Fund — they forgo the BSC projects in order to be fund analysts).
At this luncheon, the student groups meet their client for the first time. They share lunch and get to know each other, and after eating, the teams buckle down and start immersing themselves in their client’s company. Learning the challenges they face and the intricacies of each company’s unique benefits and challenges. In particular: the challenge they have brought to this group of Tippie MBAs, who will help them solve it.
A couple highlights from this spring’s project list:
STIHL – STIHL Inc. manufactures the number one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment in America for homeowners and professional landscapers, as well as the number one selling brand of chain saws in the world. STIHL products include blowers, trimmers, brush cutters, hedge trimmers, augers and mini tillers, and are sold through servicing power equipment retailers from coast to coast — not mass merchants. STIHL now also boasts a line of 36 volt lithium-ion battery powered hand tools (lithium-ion is the same type of battery that’s in your cellphone; it’s rechargeable and lightweight). The line includes a hedge trimmer, handheld blower, string trimmer, and a chain saw. The STIHL Li-Ion batteries are interchangeable, so each battery can work in each of the products. STIHL battery powered tools offer users an innovative option in environmentally responsible outdoor power equipment with low noise, no exhaust emissions, and unrestricted freedom of movement. www.stihlusa.com
The Tippie Team will perform a market analysis for STIHL’s lithium-ion powered products, and assess the best way for STIHL to bring the Lithium Ion products to market. To help the team get a “grip” on their project, the STIHL team brought samples for the team to test out first hand while working on the project!
Best Buy – As consumers move toward a desire to manage energy use in their own homes, Best Buy will explore how they can best meet the customer’s needs within this market. What will this business look like in a few years? How will it affect Best Buy’s business and delivery model? Will cloud computing come into play? What interfaces will it use? Will social media be involved?
These are just 2 of the 11 companies that Tippie MBAs will consult for this spring semester. Stay tuned for more blogs throughout the semester from students sharing what their first consulting experience is like!