California State University, Fullerton

Student Consulting Program


Our Student Consulting Projects are intensive, semester-long projects undertaken by groups of business students under the supervision of their professor and, for Undergraduates, with the assistance of a coach from the professional world. Projects can either focus on a specific discipline (e.g. Operations, Finance, Marketing, etc.) or they can take the business' overall strategy into consideration.

What follows is an overview of this program. If you have any questions, comments or inquiries about our program please contact our Case Coordinator, Ms. Charlesetta Medina, either at cymedina@fullerton.edu or (657) 278-8243. She is very passionate about this program and will happily answer all of your questions. If she is not immediately available please leave her a message with your contact information and she will get back to you as soon as possible.

Purpose and history

The Center offers strategic consulting to businesses looking to take their firms to the next level. We assist our clients by helping them identify where they would like to take their business and providing direction on how to get there.

The Small Business Institute (SBI) at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) is hosted by the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics (MCBE) and is managed by the College's Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE). The purpose of the SBI is to strengthen the small business sector of Orange County's free enterprise system through increasing the effectiveness and impact of small business teaching, consultation, and research at the University.

The principal way the SBI does this is by offering student consulting to fast growth businesses in Orange County. The students are MBA students or graduating seniors majoring in business. The students form consulting teams and work like apprentices, closely supervised by a select group of experienced faculty experts.

In addition, many undergraduate teams are coached by volunteers -- Entrepreneurs in Residence, Executives in Residence, and members of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). Faculty grades students on the practical results they achieve for the client. It is a win-win process where all involved gain a better appreciation of what it takes to succeed in Orange County's challenging small business arena.

The SBI is a non-profit program, mandated to be self-supporting. To continue this award winning outreach, our program relies on affordable client fees, donations from alumni, community entrepreneurs, and supporters of entrepreneurship. In addition, volunteers serve our organization by giving of their valuable time and energy.

Student Consulting Process

How student consulting works-- Roles, Benefits and Responsibilities

The Small Business Institute (SBI) at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) is hosted by the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics (MCBE) and is managed by the college’s Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE). The SBI offers student consulting to fast growing businesses in Orange County.

The students are MBA students or graduating seniors majoring in business. The students form consulting teams and work like apprentices, closely supervised by a select group of experienced faculty experts. In addition, many undergraduate teams are coached by volunteers -- Entrepreneurs in Residence, Executives in Residence, and members of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). Faculty grades students on the practical results they achieve for the client. It is a win-win process where all involved gain a better appreciation of what it takes to succeed in Orange County's challenging small business arena.

The SBI is a non-profit program, mandated to be self-supporting. To continue this award winning outreach, our program relies on affordable client fees, donations from alumni, community entrepreneurs, and supporters of entrepreneurship. In addition, volunteers serve our organization by giving of their valuable time and energy.

Roles That Make Student Consulting Successful

Successful student consulting depends on contributions from five key roles: client, student consultant, faculty supervisor, volunteer, and SBI staff. Each role receives benefits from the consulting process and has responsibilities to it. All must work together as a team to achieve the best results. Each team member has the right to professional treatment during the consulting process, and must be allowed the opportunity to earn a sense of achievement, self-respect and the respect of others.

Your Role as a Client

Benefits

As a client for the student consulting process, you will be matched with a student consulting team. The objective of the team’s consulting project is to help you make lasting improvements in your venture’s operations. During the consulting process, your student team will be supervised by an instructor. The instructor, and possibly a volunteer, will provide your team with expert coaching. Through the students, you will have full access to the CBE Center for Entrepreneurship's resource network. Involvement in student consulting offers you four potential benefits. By doing your best to be accessible to your consulting team and to provide them with needed guidance, you will have the opportunity to:

(1)Receive practical recommendations for improving your venture. They will be summarized in a final presentation and detailed in a written report.

(2)Learn how the students did their research. In the future, you can use the same methods to tackle your business challenges.

(3)Obtain a fresh, independent view of your venture, and new ideas helpful to your business.

(4)Hone your “business I.Q.” – ideas, analysis and evaluation -- through interactions with your student consultants, the instructor and the volunteer.

Responsibilities

To earn the above benefits, you must live up to your responsibilities to the student consulting process. You have five responsibilities:

(1) Reach agreement with your student team and their instructor concerning the work they will do for your venture. Early in the semester, formalize the agreement in an engagement letter signed by all parties. The student team will prepare the engagement letter. The wording will be subject to your edit and approval.

(2) Set a mutually agreeable schedule for completion of each major step of the project. The schedule must include your timely contributions of information and necessary permissions to access key operations of your venture. You will need to deliver your contributions with sufficient lead times to make it possible for the students to both fulfill their promises to you and meet the course deadline dates set by the instructor.

(3) Invest the time and resources necessary to allow the students to serve you well. Early in the semester, the students will need your authority to access venture data, and to interact with your employees, customers, and so on. For students to provide practical solutions, they will also need to know your budget. Without timely support from you, the students will start late and yield fewer results for you. It is good practice to make yourself accessible via cell phone to student inquiries, and to schedule regular weekly or biweekly status meetings with the student/s.

(4) Practice consistent professionalism. You are a role model for the students as well as a client.

a. Keep appointments that you set with the students. Start on time. During appointments, keep your focus on the discussion at hand. Avoid interruptions.

b. Ask the students for an advance copy of the agenda for each meeting. Following the agenda, prepare for the meeting. Have ideas, data and questions ready when they arrive.

c. Listen to the students. Be open to questions. Their comments and questions will be a major source of fresh ideas for you. Ask your own questions to help you understand their reasoning, and to get them thinking about possible next steps and consequences.

d. Encourage the students to enlist the advice and help of their volunteer, instructor, and other relevant resources to develop practical recommendations based on fact, not conjecture.

e. Insist that the students, instructor and volunteer adhere to the CSUF Small Business Institute Code of Ethics.

(5) Be reliable – Always be there when you say you will. To the best of your ability, always do what you say you will do. Supply the students with what they need by the dates you promise. Before you make a promise, be sure you can deliver. For example, check with your staff and professional advisors to make sure they can give you what you want by the promised deadline. Have their support lined up before you commit. Reliability includes:

a. Attendance - Attend all scheduled meetings with the students.

b. Promptness - Arrive on time to all meetings. Never keep your team waiting.

c. Design a plan that works your project responsibilities into your schedule throughout the semester. Plan ahead. Do not wait until the last minute to provide the students with information they needed earlier. Adhere to the project schedule. Require status meetings at critical points to assure that the students' final recommendations are based on full, prior consultation with you, the instructor, the volunteer, and other key resources.

d. Seek assistance from knowledgeable sources when necessary. When stuck by a student request, ask for help. Be open to comments. Be prepared to learn from your experience and to act on information gained.

Contact for more Info
For more information about our stellar Student Consulting Program please contact our Case Coordinator, Ms. Charlesetta Medina, at cymedina@fullerton.edu or (657) 278-8243.

Ms. Medina is a veteran of our program and is very passionate about this whole process. She is the perfect person to have a conversation with if you have any questions or reservations about the process. But, just like everyone at the Center for Entrepreneurship, she wears many hats and may not always be available when you call. If you give her a call and she is not present please leave a message with your contact information and she will get back to you as soon as possible.

Awards

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS - 11 Times
TOP TEN - 22 Years

Awards from Past 22 years
2013 The Ticket Group - Undergraduate National Champion !!!
2013 Loutech - Graduate National Second Place!!!
2012 Gantec, Inc - Undergraduate National Third Place !!!
2012 Eddie Nash Foundation - Graduate National Third Place !!!
2011 Fortis Resource Partners - Undergraduate National Champion !!!
2011 Connection III Entertainment Corporation
- Graduate
National Third Place !!!
2010 Redline Detection - Graduate National Champion !!!
2010 Waterfront Hilton Resort - Undergraduate National Top Ten
2009 trueAnthem - Undergraduate National Second Place!!!
2009 KARCO - Graduate National Fourth Place !!!
2008 The PM Group - Undergraduate National Third Place !!!
2008 Morning Sun Shirt Company - Graduate National Third Place !!!
2007 Restaurants on the Run - Graduate National Champion !!!
2006 RSI Insurance National Second Place!!!
2005 Plum's Café & Catering - Graduate National Champion !!!
2004 A-1 Foam and Fabric - Graduate National Champion !!!
2003 Apex Design National National Top Ten
2001 Cool Jet - Graduate National Champion !!!
2000 Summit Events Productions National Top Ten
1999 Mark Optics National Top Ten
1998 Lulu's Dessert Factory - Graduate National Champion !!!
1997 Controlco Systems National Top Ten
1996 MR Mold & Engineering - Graduate National Champion !!!
1995 Alton Geoscience - Graduate National Champion !!!
1994 National Video Subscription - Graduate National Top Ten
1993 MS Com Telecom National Top Ten
1992 Danbru Wire & Cable National Top Ten
1991 Orange County Fence National Champion !!!


This site may contain links to Web sites not administered by California State University, Fullerton, or one of its divisions, schools, departments, units or programs.
California State University, Fullerton is not responsible or liable for the accuracy or the content of linked pages.