April 4, 2017MBA Students Work on Unique Capstone Project with Italian Client
Six MBA students and their professor recently returned from Vicenza, Italy, where they toured the manufacturing plant of a leading designer and manufacturer of electric motors used in appliances, electric bikes and scooters. The trip was part of Ramapo’s Capstone program, which is the culmination of the students’ learning experience where small teams of second-year students, along with a faculty advisor, spend the entire spring term working as a corporate consultant.
The challenge? Determining whether there’s a market for electric bikes and scooters in the US. For an Italian company with little American presence, save for a few sales offices, launching a new product in a new market is no small feat.
Attitudes toward alternative means of transportation have been evolving since the introduction of the moped scooter in response to the gasoline shortage of the mid-1970s. Today, Millennials are leading the way with their penchant for the shared economy, social responsibility and having an asset light balance sheet.
Bike sharing programs are taking advantage of this trend and popping up in cities across the country. Increasingly, they appeal to anyone seeking a more active and healthy lifestyle, to say nothing of the convenience and lower cost of transportation. Will we soon see power assisted bikes on the streets of NYC? Might workers and students someday commute on an electric scooter? Stay tuned. The student’s final recommendations are not due until late April. Andiamo!
One of the unique aspects of Ramapo’s Anisfield School of Business is being surrounded by world-class nonprofit and for-profit corporations and the opportunities it offers for experiential learning. It’s one thing to learn from a textbook but it’s quite a different experience to formulate an opinion on a real-world corporate challenge.
Over the years, Ramapo has amassed an enviable list of corporate partners and challenging assignments, including BMW, Becton Dickinson, Braen Stone, Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, dressbarn, Hackensack University Medical Center, Home Depot, Nickelodeon, Pearson Education, Stone Systems, Stryker, Valley Hospital, and the Wyckoff Family YMCA.
Projects have encompassed everything from analyzing the effectiveness of a corporate health and wellness program, to measuring the return on investment of a multi-million dollar training and development program; devising an in-store merchandise restocking program to improving the voice-of-customer scores (VOC) for a big-box retailer; minimizing the impact of revenue leakage for a large hospital network to mitigating patient throughput declines caused by government mandated software deployments.
No matter what the challenge, students are called upon to combine their professional skills with their MBA coursework. The typical assignment begins with an assessment of the company’s corporate vision and competitive position, followed by the collection and analysis of primary and secondary research. Teams then formulate a set of key recommendations – conventional and nonconventional – which they must defend in front of their classmates and MBA faculty before presenting to their business partner. Lastly, each team outlines a change management strategy to ensure that good ideas don’t get lost in a sea of corporate bureaucracy.
Looking to challenge yourself while earning your MBA? Don’t underestimate the benefits of finding a school in a good neighborhood.