Marketing Strategy for a Non-Profit Organization:
A student was paired with a local non-profit that provides food, shelter, and job training to homeless individuals. The non-profit wanted to expand their donor base and increase community awareness of their mission and services. The student conducted research on the non-profit’s target demographics and did a competitive analysis of similar organizations. They then developed a comprehensive 12-month marketing strategy focused on digital/social media campaigns, community events, direct mail appeals, and promoting volunteer opportunities. The strategy included detailed tactics, timelines, budgets, and KPIs to measure success. The non-profit was able to implement many elements of the plan and saw increases in both donations and volunteer sign-ups.
Business Process Improvement for a Manufacturer:
A manufacturing client that produces furniture components needed to streamline their production process due to increasing order volumes. The student conducted on-site observations and interviews to document the current workflow across departments. They identified inefficiencies such as excessive handling of materials, bottlenecks between work stations, and lack of standardization in processes. The student proposed a new layout of the production floor, implemented kanban pull systems for materials, developed visual management controls, and standardized work instructions. A simulation of the new process showed a 30% increase in throughput. The recommendations were presented to leadership, who approved moving forward with several of the proposed changes.
Talent Strategy for a Growing Tech Startup:
A fast-growing software startup was struggling to hire enough top talent to sustain their growth trajectory. The student conducted market research on compensation benchmarks, analyzed the startup’s employer brand versus competitors, and interviewed hiring managers. They found the startup was underpaying for senior roles and lacked an appealing company culture story. The student created an optimized job framework with new salary bands and career paths. They also developed an internal culture book highlighting company perks, impact of the product, and employee stories. A new hiring process focused on assessing culture fit was put in place. As a result, the startup saw applicant volumes triple for open roles and was able to bring on the needed talent.
Supply Chain Assessment for a Retailer:
A specialty retailer wanted help optimizing their global supply chain due to risks exposed during COVID-19. The student mapped the end-to-end flow of goods, conducted a risk assessment of each supplier/region, and analyzed inventory and order data. They found the retailer was overly reliant on one manufacturing partner in a high-risk country with long lead times. The student proposed diversifying the supplier base, regionalizing inventory storage, and implementing a demand forecasting system. Process improvements like standardized PO management and automatic reorder points were suggested. The recommendations enabled the retailer to weather future disruptions better while reducing costs through improved planning and inventory turns.
Merger Integration Planning:
A manufacturing client was acquiring a smaller competitor to gain market share. The student was tasked with creating a pre-close integration plan covering the first 100 days post close. This included developing new org structures, identifying critical role replacements, creating integrated policies/procedures, and consolidating IT systems. The student conducted interviews to understand culture/priorities of both companies. They then proposed phased workstreams to onboard talent, communicate changes to all stakeholders, and achieve cost synergies. Key risks were outlined along with mitigation plans. This high-level roadmap enabled the leadership team to hit the ground running on day one of ownership to minimize disruption.
As these examples show, capstone consulting projects provide valuable experience developing solutions to real business problems faced by clients. The projects allow students to apply the strategic, analytical, and client-facing skills learned in their program to complex, open-ended consulting engagements. By partnering with organizations, students are able to have a meaningful impact while gaining experience that prepares them for future careers in the field.