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A Strategic Experience for MBAs

For Oregon MBA students, tackling real, high-level business projects for clients is one of the most rewarding and resume-building experiences of their graduate studies. Each year, MBA students spend their final 20 weeks in the program diving deep and immersing themselves in real issues for actual businesses or organizations. Known as Strategic Planning Projects, or SPP, the experience is the capstone of the Oregon MBA program in which students put all the skills and knowledge they’ve learned to the test.

A wide-ranging list of businesses or companies partner with the Lundquist College of Business to provide projects that align with student’s career aspirations and the MBA program’s specializations in sports business, sustainable business, finance and securities analysis, advanced strategy and leadership, and innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We look forward to finding out our SPP and partner company from the moment we join the Oregon MBA. Not only is it wildly important to have SPP serve as a practicum experience where we can apply skillsets and complete data analysis, but SPP offers us an important final piece to our network, allowing us to work with companies that we all wish to work at one day or are within our desired industry,” said Emily Watts, MBA ’21. “There is no better way to grow and strengthen our professional network than to provide valuable business solutions to our partner companies.”

As in past years, second-year MBA students were matched with SPP company partners at the beginning of January. MBA students have worked with every kind of business over the years—from global giants, to national brands, to start-ups, local governments, and product companies. Participating companies are diverse and offer a range of complex business problems for students to tackle over the next five months.

Here’s a snapshot of the clients working with our 2021 MBA students:

  • Amy’s Kitchen
  • B Lab
  • Brooks Running Company
  • City of Troutdale
  • CMD Creative Agency
  • Coeur Mining
  • United States Olympic Paralympic Committee
  • Wasserman/The Collective
  • Yogi Tea

Projects for these companies can include marketing plans and analysis, product-line expansion, cash flow accounting, supply chain optimizations, sponsorship activation, financial modeling, sustainability reporting, and more. MBA students work in teams alongside faculty experts, advisors, and clients to complete their projects. By the end of spring term, just before graduation, students present their recommendations to key executives at the firms or organizations. Companies often go on to implement the students’ recommendations, which adds to the sense of accomplishment for students.

“In the current remote environment, it’s been thrilling to watch industries change quickly and all at once,” said Ashley Gilbert, MBA ’21. “Plus, SPPs for MBA students this year are providing new opportunities. We can all say our technical skills have increased as we’ve become more adept at virtual collaboration. We’re like problem solving Swiss Army knives, eager to apply what we’ve learned to modern business challenges.”