Small Business Institute – 2018/19 Project of the Year Competition

Another year and we have two more national awards to celebrate for the Cal State Fullerton Small Business Institute and their CSUF Consulting program! Congratulations!

3rd Place – Undergraduate

  • Project – Keller Williams Realty
  • Category – Undergraduate Specialized
  • SBI Director – Professor John Bradley Jackson
  • Supervising Faculty – Professor Scott Sorrell
  • Course – Marketing 462, Marketing for Entrepreneurs
  • Students – Chris Huynh, Donny Ritcharoen, Gabriel Palacios, Savannah Holliday, Victor Casanova & Zachary Hultgrien

1st Place – Graduate

  • Project – Saigon City Marketplace
  • Category – Graduate Comprehensive
  • SBI Director – Professor John Bradley Jackson
  • Supervising Faculty – Professor Lorenzo Bizzi
  • Course – BUAD 591, Business Strategy Capstone
  • Students – Ken Chen, Gaby Garcia, Mary Haynes, Yumi Kim, Ashwin Nandha & Vicky Tryon

Message from CSUF Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson

Professor Scott Sorrell with his team of student consultants after they finished their award-winning project for Keller Williams!
Professor Scott Sorrell with his team of student consultants after they finished their award-winning project for Keller Williams!

Our student consulting projects challenge the students to leave the classroom and apply what they have learned. Many alumni have told us that the student consulting project was the highlight of their academic experience.

Consistent with the University Strategic Plan, the student consulting process is a High Impact Practice (HIPs) that deploys experiential learning. Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience, and is more specifically defined as “learning through reflection on doing”. More than “just hands on doing”, the students reflect on the consequences of their actions.

The student consulting projects provide great value to the clients while offering a tremendous learning opportunity for the students.

About the National SBI

The mission of the Small Business Institute® is to be the premier provider of professional development for those engaged in experiential student team consulting and related entrepreneurship education, research and activities.  SBI is the link between business, education and community.

Experiential Learning Project of the Year Competition

SBI is a national organization dedicated to Student Experiential Learning. The quality and impact of SBI student consulting is evident through student production of case projects.  The SBI sponsors an annual Project of the Year competition to reward Higher Education programs on their successes in providing client value through student consulting projects.

The SBI encourages all institutions of higher learning to involve students in experiential learning through practical small business consulting projects.  Supervised by a Lead Faculty, these projects provide students with real world experience and make lasting impressions in their client’s business operations.  Through experiential learning, students learn about business, gain a sense of achievement, and earn respect. SBI oriented student consulting projects culminate in a final written case report and presentation to the client. The SBI Project of the Year competition was developed to recognize outstanding student work in small business consulting.

Any institution of higher learning may submit projects that meet SBI guidelines.  The work must be original student effort without outside assistance from anyone except the Faculty Lead.

Teams are evaluated on a 100-point scale. Teams were judged on the following criteria: Problem Definition and Analysis (25 points)• Definition of problem and key issues (25 points)  • Qualitative and Quantitative(25 points)    • Analysis of company & industry (25 points)

CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship (Small Business Institute)

As part of the Small Business Institute at California State University, Fullerton, CSUF 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 mentor 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.

Beginning in 1991, the CSUF Consulting program has helped thousands of businesses develop comprehensive strategies for achieving specific business goals. Since its inception, this program has won dozens of awards (see below!) from the national Small Business Institute for the services it has provided to businesses in many industries and of all sizes.

At the beginning of the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters, CSUF Consulting teams form up to work on dozens of consulting projects for businesses looking to improve themselves. Each team is augmented by a professor and all undergraduate and some MBA teams have mentors with relevant industry experience.

The first task for these teams is to meet with their client to discuss the client’s goals for their report. This initial meeting is where the scope of work is determined and from there the teams get to work. Each project has a specific focus and they include one or more of the following:

  • Marketing
  • Overall Strategy
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Operations
  • Startup
  • Human Resources
  • Leadership

During the semester, teams will have at least half a dozen interviews with their client and will conduct primary and/or secondary research for their projects. Since our team members are current graduating seniors or MBA students at Cal State Fullerton, they are being immersed in the latest research and knowledge in the particular fields they are doing consulting projects in and they are applying this knowledge, with the guidance of a professor and mentor, to their client’s project.

By the end of the semester the projects will have been completed taking anywhere from 100 to 500 or more hours for each project and resulting in reports of usually 100 or more pages. But quantity isn’t the point; these projects are full of creative thinking and solutions for clients. And in addition to the written reports, clients receive a presentation on their team’s findings and discuss the team’s recommendations.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *