Master of Business Administration (MBA) Program Consulting Field Projects

Video highlighting Consulting Field Projects at the Katz Graduate School

The University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School faculty has offered field projects for more than two decades. These MBA courses provide an invaluable opportunity for students to work in teams and apply concepts and methodologies that they have learned to real business problems of significant importance to the sponsoring companies.

The final requirement of these Consulting field projects is for each team to participate in the McKinsey Cup Competition. Teams present their project summary as well as their findings and recommendations to a panel of judges who evaluate each presentation based on its analytical rigor and content.

What are the Benefits of Consulting Field Projects?

Consulting field projects benefit students, faculty and the sponsor organizations. Besides providing developmental opportunities and consulting experience for University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School students, these courses can also help in building sustainable relationships with the sponsor organizations. From the sponsoring organization's perspective, consulting field projects permit organizations to receive consulting advice on business problems at a reasonable cost. They also give organizations an opportunity to help develop and mentor MBA students, and identify potential interns and employees.

What Qualifies as a Consulting Field Project?

Consulting field projects are offered as stand-alone elective classes for the MBA program (a project done within another course would not qualify as a project course). The intellectual content and learning of the project course must be substantial enough for awarding academic credit. For example, a pure data collection exercise would not qualify as a Project Course. To provide real-life learning experiences to the students, Katz Graduate School Consulting Field Projects must involve teams of at least four students. Consulting Field Projects must be sponsored by companies to ensure that the problem being addressed is important and relevant.

What are the Responsibilities of the Sponsoring Organizations?

  1. Defining the scope of the project in discussion with the faculty member
  2. Appointing a coordinator who will meet with the students regularly
  3. Sharing relevant data and contextual information in a timely fashion with the students
  4. Identifying executives who participate in the project presentations to make sure project is on track
  5. Ensuring that project fee is paid on time, and,
  6. Providing feedback about how the course went at the conclusion of the Project Course.

What are the Responsibilities of the MBA Students?

  1. Representing themselves and the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School in a professional manner
  2. Developing and making three presentations to the sponsor: an initial presentation defining the scope of the project, and interim presentation with the proposed approach and methodology, and a final presentation describing the findings and recommendations
  3. Keeping in regular touch with the coordinator from the sponsoring organization
  4. If requested by the sponsoring organization, keeping the analysis, and, recommendations confidential

What are the Project Fees to be Paid by the Organizations? How Many Credits Do Students Get?

Due to the calendar time generally needed for such courses, it is expected that the consulting field projects would be one semester long, and MBA students would get three credits. The extent of the work involved in the project would determine the team size, faculty credits and project fee. University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School faculty would estimate the associated work load, and determine the team size. Past experience indicates that faculty have used teams of either 4 students or about 12-14 students. The corresponding project fee, to be paid by the sponsoring organization, would be respectively, $7,500 or $15,000. Also, all major out-of-pocket expenses related to the project (such as travel outside Pittsburgh) will be covered by the sponsoring organization.

If your organization is interested in sponsoring a Project Course, contact Katz Lecturer Bud Smith (412-648-1547; budsmith@katz.pitt.edu).