The Quality of Education:
05 | Business Students Put Their Expertise to Work
TThe Small Business Institute selected a business plan constructed for an Orange County firm by five Fullerton MBA students as the best case in a national competition that elicited entries from 200 universities. The 500-page plan, for Santa Ana’s A-1 Foam and Fabrics, was created as part of the capstone course required of all Fullerton MBA students.
The five-person teams combine expertise in areas such as finance, marketing, operations and human relations. Clients are chosen from a list compiled by management professor Michael Ames, who directs the College of Business and Economics’ Small Business Institute. Ames screens applicants to make sure the assignments are challenging and draw on students’ full range of skills.
Students spend from 400 to 1,000 hours on the project, even though most are working while going to school. The results benefit businesses, which pay $695 to $1995, depending on revenue for a consultation that would ordinarily cost $25,000 to $50,000. Kim Jorgenson of Costa Mesa’s Plums Café and Catering, told the Orange County Register, “Their (students’ forecasts) were right on, and they gave me big-picture reinforcement of things I was thinking. They helped me prioritize what to do first and what could be done later.”
Since the U.S. Small Business Administration (USSBA) initiated the program in 1972, Fullerton teams have won 63 regional and national prizes