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Real-life work experience for these MBA students helps meet needs of local business

Career Track MBA students Zack Betts, David Rule, Dakota Bruneau and Riley Clayeux presenting on behalf of Team Oui Chef
Career Track MBA students Zack Betts, David Rule, Dakota Bruneau and Riley Clayeux presenting on behalf of Team Oui Chef

Local businesses and nonprofits recently reaped the benefits of Boise State’s commitment to serving the community. As part of the College of Business and Economics’ Career Track MBA program, students in Assistant Professor Daniel Rush’s seven-week Managing Successful Projects class applied their project management coursework to plan and execute projects for clients of their choice.

Organizations like the Meridian Library District were thrilled to receive the support.

“The group that worked with me was excellent,” said Maria Ricks, a youth services librarian in the Outreach Department of Meridian Library District. “The Meridian Library has been looking at how to translate some of our virtual recordings and videos to make them available to more people.”

Ricks collaborated with MBA students Lannzia Dammrose, Sachit Dhungana, Natalia Green and Cameron Schwabe who researched different programs that the library could use to help with the translation process, analyzed costs and created a video with subtitles in French.

Teams did extra work to develop deliverables for their clients, including a sticker design for Excel Driving

Another student team comprises Raitchele Arnell, Austin Smith, Jacob Stagge and Josh Gilege who built a marketing and outreach plan for Excel Driving. They prepared sticker designs, social media posts, an advertisement and more. The team also suggested that Excel Driving’s website be a platform to feature the driving school’s alumni that includes a top 20 American Idol constant, the band Steady Rush and collegiate athletes.

“The students helped me tremendously with some great marketing ideas to put a fresh look to my business webpage to help increase clientele for my driver’s training company,” said CEO Chad Arnell. “Their talent in graphic arts and marketing ideas for social media gave my business a boost of adrenaline. It puts a ‘brand’ of trust, accomplishment and professionalism to our company and some new life to our online presence as we complete 20 years in business in the Treasure Valley.”

Josh Harlow, Joseph Lopeyok, Clare O’Brien and Nusrat Nasir Tania selected a composting program for Boise State, which has the potential for long-term impact and aligns with the university’s focus on sustainability.

Clare O’Brien, a student in the Career Track MBA program

“We believed this could be a good opportunity to highlight what this could be like and demonstrate the feasibility,” said O’Brien, the team’s lead. “It was rewarding to work on this project knowing it can have a real impact on the Boise State community and foster a more sustainable campus.”

During these projects, students worked on deadlines, made budgeting and resource decisions, worked with project management software, and communicated with business leaders. The assignment culminated with in-person and Zoom presentations. Each team presented budget and resource allocation documents, project schedules, statements of work and key deliverables for the companies. The audience included students, COBE faculty and clients.

“This cohort of MBA students really tackled the challenge of working with businesses and nonprofits to understand and meet their unique needs,” Rush said. “All teams did a good job with their project planning and assignments, but what was exceptional is that every team took on extra work to develop additional deliverables for their clients, including marketing strategies, Tableau dashboards and even a video advertisement.”

Integrated learning situations like this are crucial to ensuring students leave the MBA program with a working knowledge of how to manage projects and people, benefiting the community at the same time.

“This has been the closest experience to a real-life work environment I’ve experienced in school. We were able to help an actual business accomplish something important, and I know I’ll be glad we had the opportunity when I enter the workforce,” said Sam Pence, a student in the class.