Business Consulting Service Fact Sheet
The School of Management at the University of Massachusetts offers to businesses in the area the opportunity to receive the assistance of a team of business students. The students are seniors majoring in business, and they receive course credit for their work; the business receives a research report on a problem specified by the business. Each research team consists of three students who each commit to work 8 hours per week on the project. The problem to be researched can be in nearly any business area including marketing, operations, accounting, human resources, government regulation, or strategy. The project must be an investigation leading to a recommendation, not simply the work of the business (for example, making sales calls).
How It Works
The consulting service takes place during the fall semester, which begins in early September. In July the business owner or general manager should contact Prof. Jim Theroux to scope out the nature of the consulting assignment. See contact information below.
When students meet for the first time in the semester with their professor, the class will be presented with a list of possible assignments from a variety of companies. Students are given a chance to express their preferences, so the teams are motivated to work for the particular company they select. Sometimes there are more companies seeking the service than there are teams of students. So it behooves the company to define its request in an appealing way to increase the likelihood of getting a team to select your project. While we cannot absolutely guarantee that a team will be available for your company, we can say that in the past there has been good balance between the number of student teams and the number of interested companies.
In mid-September, the company will meet for the first time with the student team. The meeting can be on the premises of the business or on the campus, depending on what makes sense for all the parties. The purpose of the initial meeting is to agree on the definition of the project, the scope of work, and the nature of the deliverables. Students will then draw up a letter of engagement that clearly specifies these matters and what is required of each side. For example, the company must assign a contact person who will work with the team, and may have to make other commitments of time or access to information. The letter of engagement will mention the way the project will be carried out and the nature of communication between the team and the company.
After the letter of engagement is signed by all parties, work begins. The project should be completed by the first week of December.
Businesses of any size are eligible, though sole proprietors do not usually attract student interest. The business must be attempting to make a profit. Non-profit businesses are not eligible in this course. There are other courses in the University for which they are eligible.
The business must be located with a 45 minute drive of the University.
If there are out-of-pocket costs of an unusual nature (for example, numerous overseas phone calls or a major mailing of a questionnaire), the company will cover the cost. Otherwise the service is free.
We look forward to working with you!
Isenberg School of Management
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003