Starting the deep dive…

The projects are in full swing, and students are diving deep into the problems they are working to solve with the corporate partners! 

The students have established and agreed upon the scope of the project with the partners through an engagement agreement.  They began the problem-solving process by developing an issue tree to help them gain a deeper and more organized understanding of the problem at hand and what will be required to determine a solution.  The teams have also built a project plan, based on these issue trees that will help them to map out and track the progress of the project throughout the semester. 

We have been engaging with the various resources available at the University of Illinois to guide the students in their research process.  We have established a faculty mentor program in which each of the student teams is assigned a faculty member of the College of Business to serve as a mentor.  The mentors for this semester include Professors Mehmet Eren AhsenGopesh Anand, and David Guggenheim.  These mentors have expertise related to the project on which the students are working, and will meet with the students periodically throughout the semester to provide guidance.   

The class was also visited by Business Information Services Librarian and Professor Becky Smith, who presented to the class about the databases and research tools available to them through the University Library.  She worked with each of the teams to suggest strategies for their research. 

We are excited to watch and guide the student teams as they progress – these projects are already shaping up to be a success! 

And We are off at the races!

The clients are on board, the students are raring to go, and the race to deliver a solution to real issues that our partners are facing, is on. We kicked off the projects with an all hands on deck dinner meetup at the ihotel on February 6th.

After some welcome remarks, Andrew Allen, the director of the Magelli office of experiential learning at the Gies College of Business, explained the vision for such experiential learning courses and the important role of our corporate partners in helping achieve this vision. Barry Dickerson, the senior director of corporate engagement, who has been instrumental in engaging our partners, presented some thoughts.

Our partners, Caterpillar, Country Financial, Graybar and John Deere, gave short presentations on their projects followed by dinner. Since there is no free lunch :), we had the partners work with their respective teams and dig deeper into the challenges.

Some Asian/Italian fusion fare !

The students have submitted their engagement agreements this week and working towards an issue tree to help break down the challenge into finer chunks to investigate further. Stay tuned for bi-weekly updates on our blog …..