Each year, business students at Trinity put their classroom learning into practice.
Teams from the organizational consulting classes work with various business and nonprofit “clients” to develop operational improvement plans, strategic plans, capital and fund raising plans, and marketing plans; create social network pages; and assist with fundraising campaigns. As the capstone course for all business majors, the class helps students explore and experience the ambiguities that are inherent when working with real business issues and businesses.
At regular intervals over the course of the most recent experiential learning project, students presented project updates to a panel composed of members of SCORE, the Trinity Business Network, and other professionals. Teams were also supported by Team Mentors and Subject Content Specialists so that their work met their clients’ needs. The final meeting on December 5 gave the students the opportunity to present final outcomes to their clients, mentors, and the broader Trinity community.
“Hands-on learning in this setting is an excellent way to transition into the workplace, and being able to work with other students has truly been a blessing,” said senior Sarah Jongetjes of Delavan, Wisconsin. “All of my business professors at Trinity have worked together to prepare me for this project and beyond. [The project] is special in that we work closely with our classmates within Trinity's community, but we also learn from professionals outside of Trinity, including clients, the SCORE panel, and team mentors.”
One team worked with Global Green Products to prepare a two-year financial and marketing plan. During his closing remarks on the project, accounting major Joseph Blom ’14 of Pella, Iowa, said that working with the company was an amazing learning opportunity and that his team appreciated that Global Green trusted the students with company information and shared their enthusiasm for their business.
Dr. Rick Hamilton, assistant professor of business, oversees the course and loves to watch the students “grapple and grow” with the issues that naturally occur in these projects.
“One of the great things about working with the Trinity community is to watch how all of us can come together to create wonderful, practical, and worthwhile experiences in which students grow and mentors to touch lives,” Hamilton said. “We can see the community improve through shared efforts.”
Several local business people served as panelists, including John Zeilstra ex ’71, partner at Evenhouse and Co. P.C. During the presentations he said, “Imagine how good it would be for the country if the method Trinity was using to prepare its business students happened more commonly across the nation.”
Rick Powell, a “client” of the City of Palos Heights team, is a financial advisor and a member of the Palos Heights Business/Economic Advisory Council.
Following the students’ presentation, Powell said, “We asked you to do some specific things for this project. All of those requests were fully met and done well. I would give you an A+ because you exceeded each goal. You went above and beyond all of our expectations and provided some great new ideas.”
Businesses partnering with the students included:
Amato Hair: An analysis of the business practices of a high-end salon
ACA: An analysis of the effects of the Affordable Care Act on community businesses
Global Green Products: An analysis assisting the company, which is a developer of environmentally friendly polymers for the oil-drilling and fracking industries
City of Palos Heights: A thorough and creative evaluation of how the soon-to-be completed Cal-Sag Running Trail can assist the branding of the city
Ruminate: An evaluation of the business and marketing practices of Ruminate Magazine, a Christian publication in Colorado
Sunshine Gospel Ministries: An evaluation and business plan for Sunshine as it seeks to expand and enhance is micro-financing and business training ministry in Chicago
The Right Way Ministries: A financial, marketing, and donor support analysis for the ministry, located in Rivne, Ukraine
Students from the marketing management courses will present their projects in the Spring 2014 semester. To read more about the 2012 organizational consulting and marketing management business presentations, click here.