Oct. 25, 2007
Tippie MBA program to open student/faculty-staffed business consulting center
MBA students at the University of Iowa can soon work with real-life clients through the Tippie Business Solutions Center, a student/faculty-staffed consulting center headed by a former partner of Accenture.
The center is currently lining up its first clients and will begin work in the spring semester, said Richard Boulger (photo, left), the center's director and an executive-in-residence in the Tippie College of Business.
"These are real projects with real clients solving real problems, so it gives our Tippie MBA students on-the-job experience in a protected atmosphere that allows them to learn," said Boulger, who recently retired after a 25-year career at Accenture. He also helped set up a similar consulting center when he taught at the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management.
Curt Hunter, dean of the Tippie College of Business, added that the center will provide more than real-life work opportunities for Tippie MBA students.
"This will also serve as a valuable outreach program for the Tippie College of Business and the University of Iowa, as well as an economic development tool for the state," said Hunter, who oversaw a student-staffed consulting center as dean of the business school at the University of Connecticut.
"The center will provide an affordable resource of talented and energetic MBA students and expert faculty to help Iowa businesses grow and prosper," he said. "The majority of our clients will be from Iowa and this is a wonderful introduction for our MBA students to the state's business community. It will be a way for students to see and experience first-hand the many career opportunities they can pursue here."
When the Tippie Business Solutions Center is fully operational during the 2009-10 academic year, it's expected that all MBA students will participate during the spring semester of their first year in the program. Boulger expects the center will line up about 15 projects a semester and students will work in teams of three-to-five people.
"It will be like any consulting project, with students defining the scope of services, estimating costs and writing reports," said Boulger. "The clients will be any business that needs assistance. They could be small, locally owned businesses looking to expand, start-up companies trying to get off the ground, or Fortune 500 corporations that want to work with a new set of fresh eyes."
Boulger said the projects will need to be short so they can be completed within the semester. He expects projects will require about ten hours of work a week per student, and students will receive a grade and academic credit for the work.
He said the services the students will provide are the type that clients could find at any consulting firm, including risk measurements, market expansion analysis studies for growing businesses, or profitability studies for struggling businesses.
"Our MBA students are highly talented, experienced, and low cost, so a center with students making up the service team will be appealing to clients," Boulger said.
Gary Gaeth, associate dean of the Tippie MBA program, said students in the Tippie Business Solutions Center will be working with someone who has a demonstrated track record of success. Boulger retired from Accenture in 2003 after a 25-year career leading major consulting engagements in multiple Fortune 500 companies.
"Richard was a top partner at the country's largest consulting firm, so he knows how to establish a center like this, forge strong relationships with clients, and build teams that will allow our students to learn to their fullest potential," Gaeth said. "We're lucky to have someone with his skills and record of ongoing success teaching in the Tippie MBA program."
With Accenture, Boulger managed large-scale implementations of SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft systems and managed multimillion-dollar IT budgets while serving as outsourced director of corporate applications for a Fortune 500 company.
Boulger worked at the University of Arizona from 2004 to 2006. He is a graduate of the University of California-Davis and holds an MBA from the University of Michigan.
The Tippie School of Management offers three MBA programs designed to enhance professional education: a full-time MBA, MBA for Professionals and Managers (MBA-PM) program, and the Executive MBA in Iowa City. The Tippie College of Business, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), is consistently ranked among the top business schools in the world, where students receive a comprehensive management education that will help them succeed in today's competitive world.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500