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Carlson MBA Enterprises - A Student's Perspective

If you have checked into Carlson's full-time MBA program, likely you've heard of the Enterprise programs - Brand, Consulting, Funds, and Ventures. They're a uniquely Carlson way of providing experiential learning to students. But what does that really mean? What do the programs entail? As a second year MBA student, here is my perspective.

All of the Enterprises work with a variety of companies - local, international, start-ups, Fortune 500s. Although your program director does the back-office work of arranging projects, the student teams are in charge of communicating with the client throughout the course of a project. The scope of the project may be undefined, so you work with the client to define it. You work with your team to map out a research plan, set milestones, and schedule weekly check-ins with your client. There are typically at least three formal meetings for each project - a kick-off meeting, a midpoint presentation or discussion, and a final presentation. And because these projects have real-world, real business implications, you are not only helping your client but expanding your knowledge and work experience at the same time.

So what might a typical project look like? Well, for my first project in Brand Enterprise, my client was a five-star resort in Maui. The resort had recently renovated their villa offerings and was looking to find out who their potential customers are and how to reach them. Over the course of initial discussions with the client, the scope evolved into understanding their typical consumer, their decision set, and what the overall awareness and perceptions of the resort was to the general public. In order to solve the client's problem, our group undertook different types of research. We started with secondary research, getting to know the hospitality industry and best practices. Then we moved on to primary research, which was divided into two parts. We drafted and, with the assistance of the client, distributed on-site surveys for current guests to complete. We also wrote a lengthier survey and worked with a third-party vendor to distribute the survey to a targeted segment of the US population where we received hundreds of responses. In the end, we were able to provide valuable data to the client and present actionable recommendations for next steps.

All of the Enterprises have first-year MBAs start with a seven week project, like the one I talked about above. This year, as a second-year MBA, I'll participate in two 14-week projects. As a first-year student, my team had limited marketing research experience, and most of us had no background in marketing. With the supportive, knowledgeable staff here at Carlson, you always have someone to turn to for guidance. But equally impressive are the talented, motivated classmates that you get to work with. The Enterprises are not only great at building your resume and helping you transition to a new role or career, but they're also a great opportunity for getting to know your awesome classmates even better than before.

1 Comment

Awesome description of the Enterprise Program. I didn't know there was opportunity to participate in multiple projects of varying lengths in 1st AND 2nd year. Did you visit the resort?

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