Applying Theory to Practice: Consulting Projects and Field Studies

Columbia MBA students have a wide selection of consulting projects, field studies, case writing, and independent study opportunities. Students in the past have taken advantage of Columbia Business School's reputation, connections, location, and access to a wide selection of organizations and industries both in New York City and around the world. Projects can be integrated into elective courses, both within and outside the social enterprise concentration, and in extra-curricular and club activities. These opportunities allow MBA students to learn from and apply their business skills to real world situations in areas relevant to business school courses and individual career interests.

Lab and consulting courses are also currently being offered. Please see the courses section for further details.

Student clubs that currently offer extra-curricular consulting projects include the Small Business Consulting Program, which consults to local nonprofits as well as small businesses, and Pangea Advisors, an initiative of the Social Enterprise Club. Also, the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise through the International Development Consulting Project Travel Fund provides support for international pro bono projects, as well as project opportunities to work on climate change with the Three Cairns Climate Fellowship.

Organizations looking for pro bono consulting assistance can contact student clubs via the links above, or contact the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise for referrals to specific professors. Students typically look for new projects at the beginning of the academic semester. A project description summary is usually requested, and 1-page template is available here.

Pangea Advisors

Pangea Advisors, part of the Social Enterprise Club, has staffed over 130 MBA students on more than 40 international pro bono consulting projects. Download the fact sheet.

Project examples

The following completed projects illustrate the range of organizations that students have worked with, the type of issues addressed, and the impact and benefits these projects have on students and the organization.

Pangea Advisors

Sprinkles in India
A student team developed a demand forecasting model for nutritional supplements to combat childhood anemia caused by iron deficiency, for the Sprinkles Global Health Initiative and Population Services International.

Microfinance in Madagascar
A student team worked on a project for the Bank of Africa in Madagascar, initiated by the United Nations Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development.

Ashoka-Grameen Dialogue
A student team assessed the impact of a workshop that aims to create a common action and agenda around "business social ventures."

Social entrepreneurship

Acumen Fund
The team helped Acumen Fund explore expansion strategies for a new micro-drip irrigation technology by assessing four potential export markets.

Per Scholas
This consulting project assisted Per Scholas, a leading nonprofit, to determine a sales and pricing strategy for its revenue generating business.

Investors' Circle
The team helped Investors' Circle assess options to develop a new sustainable business venture fund for its national network of angel investors.

Lab and other courses

New York Philharmonic
Zev Greenfield '05 worked on a financial forecasting and strategic planning independent study project with Professor Ed Henry.

New Visions for Public Schools
Madeleine Tregidga '05 describes working on a small schools proposal for the Social Enterprise Lab.

Women's World Banking
A team analyzed the remittances market and developed an institutional strategy for the International Microfinance Lab.

Small Business Consulting Program

Brooklyn Moves
A team developed a business plan for a moving company, part of the Developing Justice Initiative sponsored by the Fifth Avenue Committee.