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By Michael Oxman
By Michael Oxman

Reflections on Fall 2016 Sustainability Practicum

It was exhilarating to finish out my first semester at Scheller co-teaching (with Jay Cranman) our MBA Sustainable Business Practicum!

We had six consulting teams (4 students per team) assigned to Coca-Cola, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Novelis, Rubicon Global, Bank of America, and Points of Light. To provide structure and direction to the students in approaching their projects, we deployed a strategy consulting approach known as the hypothesis-driven methodology that is based on the The Mckinsey Mind1. The mix of business and sustainability themes in the projects further illustrated the value of sustainability in business and Ray C. Anderson’s refrain of “doing well by doing good.”

In implementing the project work, we also incorporated an additional dimension this semester by having each team assigned a consulting coach from Accenture and Jabian.  These coaches mentored the teams on the consulting process while leaving all content development and deliverable accountability to the students.  Each team worked through the consulting process, had regular interactions with their clients, designed deliverables, presented findings, and shared learnings with each other along the way.  By the end of the semester, teams provided recommendations and deliverables to their clients who helped us to evaluate the work for value/content, clarity, design, structure, and delivery.  Overall, the students’ hard work was well received as reflected in both the evaluations and in other comments that were offered such as;

  • “The team did an amazing job. They were a great team and we enjoyed working with them.”
  • “The project was a great experience for us and I hope the team felt the same way!”
  • “It’s been such a pleasure working with our GA Tech team...I’m thrilled to say that it all came together beautifully in the final presentation and I was very impressed and happy to be sending the report to senior leaders in the organization.

In the spring, we are teaching the same class at the undergraduate level with a new set of clients and issues for the students to address.

If your organization is interested in engaging with the Center and/or hosting a project team for our upcoming undergraduate business students during spring semester 2017, please contact .

Michael Oxman is the Managing Director of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business in the Scheller College of Business. 

1The Mckinsey Mind:  Understanding and Implementing the Problem Solving Tools and Management Techniques of the World’s Top Strategic Consulting Firm, by Ethan M. Rasiel and Paul N. Friga, 2002.

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