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Management 652

MGNT 652
Business Consulting

1. Catalog Entry

MGNT 652
Business Consulting

Prerequisite: MBA Status or permission of instructor

Credit hours (3)

This course will be organized on four levels.  First, it will examine the consulting industry to understand the context and some key factors affecting business consulting, firm strategies, and key events.  Second, it will move to the firm level where we will examine the management issues associated with running a consulting firm.  Third, it will proceed to the project level where we will cover the life cycle of a project and a thorough understanding of all its phases.  Extensive field work is required.  Finally it will wrap up with the individual level and the career implications of landing/creating a consulting job including ethical challenges and lifestyle implications.

2. Detailed Description of Course

The primary learning goals of the course are:
• Introduce students to the history and context of the consulting industry
• Have students understand consulting as a career choice
• Learn how to be competent buyers and consumers of consulting services as well as sellers
• Be effective project managers and understand the life cycle of consulting projects
• Introduce students to requirements for starting up their own consulting business
• Have students understand the competitive dynamics of the consulting industry

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course has an application focus.  In support of this, a semester-long field case experience will be provided with a business client.  The majority of activities in the course will be incorporated in this comprehensive field project: Client and in-class presentations, student development of a client deliverable in the form of a data-based diagnosis and solution action plan, cooperative consulting team management and interaction, and meeting and project management.  The course will also include role-playing/simulation of consultant-client interactions, in-class presentations on relevant topics of local/regionally-based consultants, case studies, audio-visual presentations and content lectures.

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

Upon completion of this Course and the following goals students will be able to:
• Consulting Industry
    a) Understand size, dynamics, and history of consulting industry
    b) Analyze consulting firm strategies
    c) Understand roles and functions of consultants
    d) Evaluate consulting firm services as a client
    e) Investigate trends in consulting industry practices and services
    f) Understanding global expansion opportunities in consulting industry
• Consulting Firm Management
    a) Understand how consulting firms are organized
    b) Understand consulting business operations
    c) Identify consulting firm competencies and services
    d) Identify elements of the consulting firm’s business model
    e) Understand the role of knowledge management for consulting firms
    f) Understand career opportunities within existing consulting companies
    g) Understand the steps to starting up a boutique consulting company
    h) Understand resources required for starting up a boutique consultancy
• Consulting Project Management
    a) Understand consulting firm contracting process
    b) Write an effective project proposal
    c) Practice costing out, scheduling, and prioritizing project activities
    d) Understand process for Identifying and articulating client problems
    e) Use effective data collection techniques
    f) Conduct, interpret, and organize diagnostic data analyses
    g) Develop feasible client solutions
    h) Identify client constraints to problem solving
    i) Create client commitment to solution recommendations
    j) Practice client relationship management
    k) Understand consulting team member roles and management
    l) Mange team and client conflict
• Consulting Career
    a) Develop approaches for addressing ethical challenges in consulting
    b) Conduct self-assessment of personal fit with consulting career
    c) Understand consulting lifestyle

5. Assessment Measures

Essay exams may include covering the content of the course readings. Written and verbal consulting case analyses may be required to test simulated application of consulting diagnosis and solution recommendations.  A personalized consulting career plan may be generated to provide opportunity to student to investigate their preferred options in a consulting company and industry.  A group field case study project with an actual client may allow practice of all skills/knowledge provided on consulting projects.  The field case study elements that may be evaluated include: a written consulting contract, a kick-off plan for the client, a client project wrap-up meeting presentation, a written client meeting log, a client evaluation of services provided, a class presentation covering the entire project, and a peer evaluation of team member contribution.  

6. Other Course Information

None

Review and Approval
April 1, 2008