SBI Live: Students Solving Real-World Business Problems

Posted on 3/13/2020 11:15:47 AM

The Small Business Institute class allows motivated undergraduate and MBA students to team up and work with real clients on real consulting engagements. Groups of students with specific skills and interests work in teams with the client’s organization under the supervision of two experienced faculty members, Stephen Osborne and Joette Wisnieski.

SBI Team Spring 2020 - Renda Broadcasting - Brooke Evans, Kathleen Mest, April Murdick, and Lauren Farrell.

SBI Team Spring 2020, Renda Broadcasting: Brooke Evans, Kathleen Mest, April Murdick, and Lauren Farrell

Interested students go through an application and selection process and need permission to register for the course. For spring 2020, there are 28 student business consultants. Their majors include accounting, finance, management, MIS, and marketing, as well as MBA.

Businesses and organizations requesting assistance from SBI are selected based on their business assistance needs and their compatibility to the SBI format. There are six businesses receiving assistance from the SBI in spring 2020.

SBI Team Spring 2020 - IRMC - Christopher Zele, Justin Cress, Sarah Pluchinsky, Joelle Neatrour, and Tessa Matulis.

SBI Team Spring 2020, IRMC: Christopher Zele, Justin Cress, Sarah Pluchinsky, Joelle Neatrour, and Tessa Matulis

The Indiana Regional Medical Center serves Indiana County and beyond. It is listed as first place in the Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania and is the second largest employer in Indiana County. A previous IRMC SBI project was a National Project of the Year winner.

This semester, the IRMC SBI team focus is a competitive and peer research and analysis. The team is developing and implementing a study that will assess IRMC relative to regional peers and competitors for the purpose of supporting their Baldridge Quality Award Application. The research involves both primary as well as secondary.

SBI Team Spring 2020 - Indiana Area School District - Neil Papageorge, Alexis Nash, Amber Pferdekamper, and Breanna Barnes.

SBI Team Spring 2020, Indiana Area School District: Neil Papageorge, Alexis Nash, Amber Pferdekamper, and Breanna Barnes

The Indiana Area School District serves over 2,800 students and is centered in Indiana Borough with the high school just outside of the Indiana Borough border. The IASD SBI project is to conduct strategic planning research and recommendations.

The team is conducting a very comprehensive project to identify the job skills and attributes of the future. The results are to provide a foundation on which to develop the “Curriculum of the Future” related to demographic trends, emerging global and regional job skill and attribute requirements, economic development of the region, etc.

SBI Team Spring 2020 - Johnstown Galleria Mall - Mackenzie Maust, Cabell Camp, Andrew Konieczny, Majid Alnahdi, and Tyler Vicari (absent when photo was taken).

SBI Team Spring 2020, Johnstown Galleria Mall: Mackenzie Maust, Cabell Camp, Andrew Konieczny, Majid Alnahdi, and Tyler Vicari (absent when photo was taken)

The Galleria Mall/Zamias Services was founded in 1957 and is one of the original shopping mall developers in the country. Since inception, they have developed over 30 million square feet of retail place and are one of the largest privately held retail real estate companies in the country. The SBI Team is conducting analysis to develop strategy and provide recommendations based on industry trends, regional demographic trends, competitor and peer analysis, customer analysis, and market analysis for the rapidly changing mall industry.

Renda Broadcasting, based in Pittsburgh, owns 17 radio stations in five markets, including four stations in Indiana. It is managed out of Indiana’s studios and headquarters facility at 840 Philadelphia St. The Renda Broadcasting team is researching account manager attributes such as knowledge of marketing/advertising; current advertising in terms of needs, media, and content; and where clients get their own news/information.

SBI Team Spring 2020 - FORYA - Vanellsa Acha, Ryley Deems, Hayley Kocyan, and Evan Vink.

SBI Team Spring 2020, Forya: Vanellsa Acha, Ryley Deems, Hayley Kocyan, and Evan Vink

Forya is a blend of premium ingredients bottled in four ounces, providing proper nutrients to keep you healthy, strong, and energized. Forya comes in three flavors: strawberry, mango, and mixed berry. The Forya team is researching companies that can bottle the product, studying the market and competitors, and developing product positioning/entry strategies and a market plan to launch the product in summer 2020.

Nanomagnetic Electronics is a service, manufacturing, and research and development company designed to bring new technologies to improve human condition. NME developed the first intrinsic electronic readout Arrhenius sensor. The NME team is conducting competitor analysis, developing competitive strategy, and researching different applications and uses of the product.

SBI Team Spring 2020 - Nanomagnetic Electronics - Taiyi Ma, Alexis Zimmerman, Rebecca Shellenbarger, Jordan Hawker, Brian Everett, and Yiting Shu.

SBI Team Spring 2020, Nanomagnetic Electronics: Taiyi Ma, Alexis Zimmerman, Rebecca Shellenbarger, Jordan Hawker, Brian Everett, and Yiting Shu

Since its inception, many SBI projects have received national awards. The SBI can provide services to assist businesses in areas such as:

  • Business planning/strategic planning/feasibility studies
  • New business venture/new product/market development; market analysis, strategy, implementation
  • Competitor analysis
  • Operations and quality review
  • Industry and market research (secondary/archival, survey, focus group)
  • Promotional material (brochures, logos, social media, etc.)
  • Cash flow analysis/proformas; new product/business /feasibility analysis; product cost analysis
  • Operations guidelines, employee handbook and policy manuals; job analysis/descriptions

Small Business Institute

Eberly College of Business and Information Technology