MBA Students Present Capstone Projects

April 24, 2020

Most MBA students in the School of Business finish out their degree by completing an actual consulting project for a company or organization under the direction of a faculty mentor. This semester, students in the capstone had to adapt to the virtual world as meetings in the Salerno Center for American Enterprise quickly turned into meetings over Zoom.

Working in teams, students in the class prepared presentations for companies in the Rochester area, including non-profits and locally-owned businesses. The capstone program accepts clients of any size and student projects can include business plans, marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, startup plans for new ventures, and transition plans as companies pass from one generation to the next. The capstone course provides students with consulting experience, allowing them to put their knowledge and skills to the test, solving real business issues.

Team TipSee presented their analysis and recommendations to small business owners at the TipSee Light Co. Launched in 2010 by a husband and wife team, TipSee Light Co. sells attachable flashlights that can clip onto a variety of objects including canes/walkers, grill utensils, pipes, paint brushes, and hats. The MBA students’ goal was to help the business increase sales by improving their social media presence, updating their website, and developing a public relations strategy. They were also tasked with creating a three-year plan to transition the business as the current owners look towards retirement.

“We helped them consider several options, including transitioning the business to their children, selling the business, and selling the intellectual property of the business for another business to add to their portfolio,” said Aaron Resch, team member.

A separate team of students worked with Venture Jobs Foundation (VJF) to find the best online tools to grow a new and specific portion of their investment portfolio, Anchor Jobs. VJF’s new chapter invests in established entrepreneurs and businesses who have potential for larger earnings. The group was tasked with finding the best options online for VJF to use to evaluate potential investments that will help the community. They evaluated both pre-investment and post-investment functions in several platforms to see if they met the Anchor Jobs requirements.

One team of MBA students devoted their time to Greentopia, an organization that creates energized placemaking to economically and environmentally impact the Rochester region. The focus of the project was on the Green Visions program, a workforce development initiative in Rochester that employs young adults and teaches occupational skills. This program centers around creating new community gardens, and teaching local youth about the entire growing process, from planting to selling produce and flower bouquets at markets. From start to finish, the youth gain a wide variety of experience in different aspects of a job.

Another group worked with 441 Ministries, an organization that partners with local churches and other like-minded organizations to create more holistic development in the Beechwood neighborhood of Rochester.

“It is a real pleasure to mentor the St. John Fisher College MBA capstone teams,” said faculty mentor, Derek Vanderlinde. “The teams' enthusiasm and creativity as they work to provide action plans that address their clients’ issues represents their MBA preparation at its best. The goodwill generated by the relationships and the usefulness of their finished products serves the community and Fisher with distinction.”