The mid-Atlantic region's civic and business leaders have long recognized that William & Mary students have fresh, innovative perspectives when it comes to solving business problems.
Since 1996, major companies have worked with second-year MBA students at the Mason School of Business through the Corporate Field Consultancy Program. During a 13-week period, students tackle real problems affecting an organization, develop creative ways to resolve the issue and propose solutions to top leaders of the organization. Recently, TFC Recycling has joined the collaborative program to utilize the intellectual power of soon-to-be W&M MBA graduates.
TFC Chief Executive Officer Paul Stacharczyk said he chose W&M's Business School for a consulting project because of its high-quality reputation.
"We are very impressed with the quality of the program and the depth of knowledge the students bring to our project," said Stacharczyk. "Our goal is to identify the economic value our Recycling Perks program brings to communities, and we have a high degree of confidence the W&M program will provide us the outstanding results we seek at a tremendous value to both the students and our company."
Under the guidance of a faculty supervisor and two executive partner advisors, students work on a variety of assignments in areas such as corporate and operational finance, marketing, strategy, management and organization, logistics and transportation, human resources and information technology.
The program also exposes students to a unique cadre of advisers known as Executive Partners. These advisers - who once worked as full-time business executives - hail from more than 20 different industries.
Craig Connors, vice president of the PACE Program with Riverside Health System, said the program is a partnership with tangible benefits.
"For companies, it offers quality, insightful, open-minded evaluations of business challenges. The [student] teams' recommendations are actionable and practical,"he said. "Companies also get the added benefit of seeing top job prospects perform in real-life situations. It has been an excellent recruiting conduit for us through the years."
Last year, Wes Atwood '13 worked with his peers to build a robust sales channel optimization model for a new project their client had just launched. During the course of the project, Atwood said his team uncovered several additional opportunities for sales improvement to present to the client. In the end, they developed a flexible model for the business, identifying quantified strengths and weakness within the sales process, said Atwood.
"Looking back, the Field Consultancy Program was an exceptional opportunity for me to apply my business education to an actual business problem and provide the client with something of genuine value, " he said.
James Hewitt, director of the Corporate Field Consultancy Program, described the educational experience as a "robust complement to traditional coursework and a true test of a student's leadership capabilities."
"Students gain a unique opportunity to broaden their experience base in an industry, manage a project and meet a client's expectation," he said.
Often, W&M students exceed their client's expectations and, in turn, end up working for the company, Hewitt added.
The 2013 Field Consultancy Program began in October and runs through April 2014.