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Bay State College Management Students Provide Free Business Services to Local Organizations

By Meaghan Cayer on April 7, 2017
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Throughout the year, our Management students have been hard at work using their business knowledge and experience to help local organizations run more effectively. Learn more about their service learning initiatives below. 

Strategic Analysis for Local Businesses 

Putting a strategic plan together can be tough, especially for small businesses or not-for-profit organizations that don't have the resources to do it. This year, our Management Senior Seminar students set out on a mission to help local businesses with this complex task, free of charge. 

To start, each student found a local business whose mission connected with their interests and career path. The students then began gathering information about the organization through primary sources (employees, close competitors, customers), secondary sources (articles, websites, US census data), and in-person observation. Students parsed through all of this information and analyzed it to create solutions for the organization. The final product was a 40-50-page report, including a set of recommendations and an action plan, which was presented in person to the organization. 

The semester-long project was a perfect way to practice everything the students learned in class, while also helping the surrounding community. 

"You get to play CEO, that's the whole idea," says Management Professor Bill Koehler. "You're able to pull together all the different aspects of what you've learned in your time as a business student – marketing, finance, management, human resources, operations – and apply that comprehensive focus to an actual real world organization." 

Local Businesses Worked With This Year: 

Marketing Strategies for Local Restaurants 

Small business owners rarely have the time, and sometimes lack the skills or interest, to conduct in-depth research about their business – especially when they are so busy running their business on a day-to-day basis! Luckily, students from Management Professor Elena Swaim's Marketing Research class were here to help some of the small businesses in the area. 

"Our Marketing Research project last semester provided students with connections to local businesses, while also appealing to their interest in community service," said Professor Swaim. 

Students were able to use what they learned about marketing research in class to provide local small business owners and managers with vital primary research information about the organizations they run. Each group of students interviewed the local business owner and/or manager to learn more about their views and opinions of their business, then compared it to other sources like customer survey responses, the image of the business on the web and social media, and food industry review sites such as Yelp!. In the end, the teams presented the restaurant with a professional report detailing the findings of their research. 

"Our business partners were incredibly supportive and expressed appreciation for the students' time and efforts," said Professor Swaim. "The students were able to reinforce what they learned in class: the importance of developing and administering quality surveys to obtain important, usable data, how to use that data to reinforce positives or identify issues, and how to illustrate that information using charts and graphs." 

This semester, Professor Swaim's Strategic Management class is working with four different local businesses to identify current and future strategies they could implement. More details to follow! 

Local Restaurants Worked With This Year: 

Web Pages for Local Artists 

Students from Professor Christina Inge's Internet Marketing class reached out to the Duplessy Foundation, a non-profit organization in Boston which mentors local creative professionals, including musicians, visual artists and filmmakers. Using what they learned in class, the team of students created web pages and digital marketing strategies for a photographer, musician and visual artist. 

Local Artists Worked With This Year: 

Social Media Strategies for Local Nonprofits 

Students from Professor Christina Inge's Internet Marketing and Social Media classes worked collaboratively with local non-profits to help them create fundraising plans, enhance their social media marketing to engage in advocacy, reach volunteers and grow their mission. 

Local Nonprofits Worked with This Year: