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December 2013

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Management Students Consult for Local Clients

Dr. Marshall’s Pattie’s consulting class, Management 467, wrapped up the semester with presentations to their clients.  Many of the students may choose a career in management consulting; these projects gave them hands-on experience with real-world companies through analyzing current practices and suggesting ideas for improvement.  This course gives students applied management consulting experience, teaching students how to best use human capital in firms, and how to establish and maintain relationships with consulting clients.

The class had a wide variety of projects, with a myriad of different clients.

botkin rose groupBotkinRose PLC: Review the structure and composition of the administrative staff.  Is the staff being managed efficiently?  Should the firm consider hiring a non-lawyer office manager to supervise and manage the administrative functions?

Summary: The consulting team advised the firm to hire a non-lawyer administrator. This would give the attorneys more time to concentrate on billable hours. The team analyzed the amount of time the lawyers spent on administrative tasks, noting that their time could be spent more productively. The student consultants did a competitive analysis, which revealed that 86% of comparable law firms do employ a non-lawyer administrator, who handles human resources, finances, and day-to-day administration for the firm.

After the presentation, Attorney Mark Botkin said, “I was very impressed with what you’ve done; it was a very professional job.”

augusta county library consulting teamAugusta County Library: The library is interested in conducting a survey of primarily nonusers to determine why they do not use the library and also what would entice them to use the library, even just our online/mobile services.

A survey of current users would be helpful, too.  The client needs to know what services are used, what other services are needed, and how patrons hear about library news (papers, radio, social media, etc.). 

Summary: The Augusta County library was interested in conducting a survey of primarily nonusers to determine the reasons residents were not using the free library resources. Based on survey feedback from over 800 Augusta County residents, the student consulting team advised the librarians to better market their resources to the surrounding areas. Survey results revealed that many residents are unaware of the services offered by the Augusta County Library. Recommendations from the student consulting team included mailing marketing materials to residents, such as flyers and brochures, and developing a greater online presence through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The student consulting team was confident that if the librarians marketed services to a broader audience, then the library would gain a greater number of patrons.

At the close of the presentation, librarian Diantha McCauley commended the students on their project. To the student consulting team, she said, “This is wonderful. It is nice to have actual evidence—you did a very good job.”

Other team projects included the following:

Harrisonburg City Schools: Develop recruitment/attraction marketing material using video technology. These 2-3 minute YouTube style video clips should accurately capture the work culture.

Shenandoah Valley Airport: Determine how to best reach the faculty and staff of James Madison University to create general awareness of the services and increase utilization of the Airport by this population.  The client is also looking for data on most frequent destinations by JMU faculty and staff to be used in negotiating fares with the airlines and potentially even attracting new airline service.

Ntelos: Develop training modules based on:

  • SzunShu Art of War for Manager/Business, ensuring it is aligned with the client’s  Commitment to Excellence Leadership strategy
  • Art of Woo – Selling your Ideas, ensuring it is aligned with company values and mission
  • Content development to support the client’s products and services

Develop train the trainer best practices, including engaging learners, motivating employees and development of behaviors. 

Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission: 

  • Personnel Manual Update – the existing personnel manual is currently being updated.  This project would include doing research for the staff committee that is updating the manual to ensure that pertinent policies are included and meet legal requirements.  Also, included in this project would be updating the job description section of the manual. Deliverable – completed personnel manual along with updated job descriptions
  • New Employee Hire – Assist with the job recruitment and hiring process of new employee.  Develop a job description for new position and advertise position.  Review and screen resumes.  Develop a set of interview questions and participate in interview process.  Deliverable – assist in the hire of new employee
  • Board member Orientation Packet – develop a board member orientation packet that contains pertinent information for new board members; i.e. bylaws, charter, agency brochure/materials, board roster and meeting schedule, etc.

Deliverable – produce a set of board member orientation packets