Project-Based MBA Project Descriptions
The Project-Based MBA is built completely on building executive skill mastery - through real-world applied business projects. The descriptions below show the types of mastery you can expect as you complete each project and project sequence. Projects are completed on an individual basis - requiring individual mastery. The team projects are real-world projects you work with other professionals on to perfect your executive ability.
Project Sequence 1: Strategic Leadership: Learners develop strategy for real firms using external and internal analyses to inform a SWOT process. Learners develop detailed strategic plans and tactical reactions to help the firm realize its mission, vision, values and goals. Learners develop mission, vision, values and goals within an ethical exploration framework, and analyze the firm’s role and responsibilities as corporate citizens. Learners work in a team to explore strategic decisions for a real company.
Project 1-1: Ethics and Corporate Responsibility. Learners analyze business cases and decisions using multiple ethical models to explore their own ethical beliefs of executives leading global firms. Learners evaluate models of corporate social responsibility and the ways in which they might be applicable in their organizations.
Project 1-2: Creativity and Competitive Advantage. Learners evaluate mission, vision, values and goals statements for their firm to evaluate their effectiveness, and craft new statements that are based on competitive advantage. Learners explore creativity models to find innovative ways to solve business problems.
Project 1-3: External Company Analysis. Learners evaluate external impacts that may serve as opportunities and/or threats to their firm given its core competencies, mission and vision. Learners use a value chain approach to explore dimensions of social, legal, economic, political, and technological change, and to classify how those may impact the firm’s operations. Learners perform competitive analysis for their firm and industry to evaluate competitive position and to identify additional opportunities and threats.
Project 1-4: Internal Company Analysis. Learners use multiple approaches to analyze their firm’s internal capabilities and processes, and classify those as strengths and weaknesses. Learners evaluate their firm’s ability to manage and lead technological change within their industry.
Project 1-F: Business Level Strategy. Based on the mission, vision, values and goals of their firm, Learners use their findings from the external and internal analyses to formulate strategy that will maintain and build on their firm’s core competencies and competitive advantages. Learners develop plans for strategy implementation.
Project 1-Team: Team Strategy Project. Learners work in a team setting to solve a strategic problem for a real firm. Through the project, Learners demonstrate their ability to lead and manage teams, manage projects, establish metrics and milestones, facilitate meetings, present results effectively, provide feedback to peers, and evaluate team performance.
Project Sequence 2 - Consumers in Markets: Learners use quantitative tools to analyze markets, including price determination, consumer preferences, and other factors that influence markets and demand. Learners segment and target populations within markets. Learners develop marketing plans for new products/services in new markets, analyzing both national and international factors. Learners evaluate and develop customer relationship management programs for firms. Learners develop marketing dashboards to evaluate marketing effectiveness, establishing metrics and evaluating performance. Learners lead teams, negotiate, manage projects, and facilitate meetings. Learners present ideas to multiple audiences.
Project 2-1: Price Determination. Learners use quantitative tools to analyze observable data on specific markets and their influences. Learners interpret results to inform strategic decisions. Learners construct and modify models to precisely analyze specific issues. Learners gauge sensitivity of market variables to changes in their determinants, and use results to inform decision making.
Project 2-2: Customers, CRM, and Segmentation. Learners explore the consumer market with an eye toward understanding how that market can be segmented by demographic, psychographic, geographic and behavioral characteristics. Learners use segmentation techniques to develop strategies for targeting specific segments. Learners develop a promotion plan focusing on advertising to reach a target market. Learners develop a television advertisement to illustrate their understanding of the target market.
Project 2-3: Marketing Mix. Learners analyze consumer decision making and how internal, situational and social influences shape behavior in the marketplace. Learners explore the primary principals of marketing (product, price, promotion, and place) paying special attention to the deconstruction of the product’s components and basic pricing issues. Learners create a new product demonstrating understanding of how consumers make decisions in the marketplace.
Project 2-4: Global Market Analysis. Learners extend their environmental analysis capabilities by including international factors in the context of risks and opportunities. Learners analyze global currency and capital markets, social and cultural constructs, economic and demographic conditions, political and legal frameworks, and ethical and environmental realities. Learners explore business opportunities from the viewpoint of a firm owning a sustainable competitive advantage and evaluate techniques used to mitigate risks that may arise through their environmental analysis.
Project 2-F: Marketing Plan. Learners develop market analysis and a marketing plan for a new product or service, incorporating the components learned throughout the project sequence.
Project 2-Team: Marketing Project: Learners work in a team setting to analyze a marketing problem for a real firm. Through the project, Learners demonstrate their ability to lead and manage teams, manage projects, establish metrics and milestones, facilitate meetings, present results effectively, provide feedback to peers, and evaluate team performance.
Project Sequence 3 - Enterprise Performance: Learners analyze processes within firms to evaluate process performance, and make recommendations for process innovation to more effectively meet operational goals. Learners use balanced scorecard method to evaluate performance across the firm. Learners develop and interpret financial statements, balance sheets and cash flow for individual firms. Learners compare financial performance across multiple firms within an industry in both national and international aspects. Learners evaluate return on investment, internal rate of return, capital asset decision making, and funding sources. Learners develop a financial forecast (pro forma) for new products/services in new markets. Learners manage projects, set and measure performance metrics, and lead teams.
Project 3-1: Process Analysis and Improvement. Learners evaluate a process within an existing organization to determine the efficiency of current operations. Learners use lean and quality tools to evaluate the process, measuring its effectiveness, and isolating and proposing ways to improve the process to achieve organizational goals. Learners present recommendations to the organization and stakeholders.
Project 3-2: Measuring Organizational Performance. Learners identify and develop performance measures for a firm in the four areas of financial performance, customer performance, internal business processes, and learning and growth. Learners prepare a balanced scorecard analysis using at least five measures in each of the four areas to develop performance measures that stakeholders can understand and influence. Learners prepare an implementation plan based on the results of their analysis.
Project 3-3: Financial Analysis and Performance. Learners calculate and evaluate financial statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for a national firm. Learners evaluate financial ratios for the firm over time to evaluate firm performance. Learners identify solutions to improve the firm’s operating performance, given external market conditions and firm mission, vision, values and goals.
Project 3-4: Industry and International Financial Analysis. Learners analyze five national and international firms within one industry. Learners perform financial ratio analysis on the five firms to identify the strongest and weakest firms in the industry. Learners evaluate the strongest and weakest firms’ management, marketing and operations to isolate those factors that separate the two firms in each area. Learners make recommendations for the weakest firm to move to a position of strength in the in international arena based on their analysis.
Project 3-F: Financial Forecasting and Planning. Learners develop pro forma financials for a new product or service for an existing firm, or a new firm. Learners make research-based assumptions about the market, product, and growth, and translate those assumptions into financial projections. Learners calculate rate of return, and make a decision about the viability of the new product or service, given the financial results.
Project 3-Team: Finance Project. Learners work in a team setting to perform a financial analysis for a real firm. Through the project, Learners demonstrate their ability to lead and manage teams, manage projects, establish metrics and milestones, facilitate meetings, present results effectively, provide feedback to peers, and evaluate team performance.
Project Sequence 4 - Implementing Strategy: Learners develop optimal organizational structures to implement strategic direction of the firm in national and international contexts. Learners analyze the alignment of innovation and productivity with organizational cultures. Learners explore corporate governance and fiduciary responsibilities to optimize board interaction and leadership. Learners communicate vision and implementation plans to external and internal stakeholders. Learners develop management plans for new products/services in new markets. Through self-reflection, Learners assess their ability to manage projects and lead teams.
Project 4-1: Leading in a Global Environment. Learners evaluate leaders and leadership structures within an existing firm based on the firm’s progress toward achieving mission, vision, values and goals. Learners make recommendations for improving organizational performance through leadership.
Project 4-2: Organizational Structure. Learners make recommendations for optimizing the organization of leadership within an organization, given formal/informal power structures and mission, vision, values and goals. Learners determine if given structure is conducive to fulfilling strategy, evaluating empowerment and accountability mechanisms. Learners develop implementation plans for restructuring leadership with minimized impact on performance. Learners evaluate internal structure, culture, and power networks.
Project 4-3: Transformational Leadership. Learners align leadership structures to mission, vision, values and goals to create a culture and history of transformation and innovation. Learners influence culture and power networks to create an environment of change such that the firm is better able to opportunistically evolve given market opportunities and strategic plan.
Project 4-4: Corporate Governance and Fiduciary Responsibility. Learners develop frameworks for executive interaction with boards. Learners develop policies and practices for fulfilling fiduciary responsibility in an ethical manner. Learners structure boards to help firm realize strategic goals. Learners develop communication and decision models to maximize board effectiveness.
Project 4-F: Management Plan. Learners develop an operations and implementation plan for a firm entering a new market with a new product or service. Learners plan for leadership and management growth, and establish metrics and milestones to evaluate implementation progress and success. Learners make recommendations for adjusting tactical operations to better align firm with strategic plan.
Project 4-Team: Leadership Project. Learners work in a team setting to analyze leadership structures for a real firm. Through the project, Learners demonstrate their ability to lead and manage teams, manage projects, establish metrics and milestones, facilitate meetings, present results effectively, provide feedback to peers, and evaluate team performance.
Project Sequence 5 – Capstone Business Plan: Learners develop a full business plan for a new product/service for an existing firm, or for a new venture, including industry analysis, market analysis, marketing plan, financial plan, operations plan, management plan, and implementation strategy. Learners undertake primary market research to gauge viability and fundability. Learners present their plan to faculty and community business leaders as part of their final program evaluation.