Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. At the efactory and Missouri SBDC at MSU, our programs work closely with a variety of initiatives to engage with students and connect them to real-world learning experiences. These efforts impact nearly every grade level and academic discipline.
Each year our center works closely with business clients and Missouri State University classes on course projects. Our programs worked with more than a dozen Missouri State University classes last year, pairing hundreds of students with local business clients for hands-on projects. These semester-long projects allow a group of students to take a deep dive into a particular area of need identified by the business client.
Course Projects in Action: Developing a Strategic Plan for the Missouri Association of Manufacturers
The Missouri Association of Manufacturers (MAM) is a membership-based organization focused on promoting, preserving, and advancing manufacturing across Missouri. With a small team, the organization is always looking to leverage time and other resources in the smartest way possible. When it was time for a new strategic plan, Executive Director Michael Eaton was excited to learn about the opportunity to partner with MSU to get a top-notch product while also providing valuable experiences for local students.
Students worked with MAM to develop a clear vision for the future, articulate the value the organization brings, and create a plan to grow their membership. Students conducted extensive research and interviews in order to understand challenges faced by the organization and its members, identify new opportunities, and create a playbook for growing association membership.
At the conclusion of the project MAM leadership immediately began implementing plans and recommendations from the students’ playbook. Today, membership is growing and is nearly perfectly aligned with the strategy and projections prepared by the students.
“As the new Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Manufacturers, I wanted manufacturers around the state to know, the Association was establishing a renewed focus on bringing value to the Manufacturers of Missouri,” said Michael Eaton, Executive Director of MAM. “Working with MSU student team was incredible, professional, and helped the Association address our strategic objectives of growing brand awareness, value and increasing membership through clarity of the manufacturing landscape in Missouri to telling us how we were going to accomplish our goals. We trusted the plan, implemented the strategies, and work it daily. Over a year later, we are ahead of the projections and timeline developed. Spot on! This team and the plan they developed is one of the most valuable tools we use. “
Course Projects in Action: Developing a Go to Market Strategy for Didion Orf Recycling
Didion Orf Recycling is a northeast Missouri metal recycling corporation established in 2001. After more than twenty years of successful metal recycling, the company was looking to transition their image, services, and revenue model. Today, Didion Orf wants to be known as a technology-focused company that offers a full suite of electronic recycling services. The company’s need for an innovative go-to-market strategy made them an ideal client for a course project partnership.
Graduate students in a 700-level Marketing course at Missouri State University were paired with Didion Orf as their client in the spring 2022 semester. They were tasked with two primary objectives: 1) Help Didion Orf shift their image from metal recycling to technology recycling and 2) Help Didion Orf increase technology recycling to reach $1 billion in annual revenue.
The students spent the semester conducting research, developing strategies, and ultimately presented their findings to Didion Orf leadership in May 2022. The presentation was accompanied by a physical report, detailing more than fifty pages of recommendations, financial projections, and more. Didion Orf leadership walked away from the course project with a roadmap that detailed steps to transform their image, increase awareness, and reach their revenue targets.
“Working with the team of students from Missouri State was very beneficial for us as an organization. The team’s professionalism and commitment in helping us with our marketing challenges was impressive to observe,” said Stephen Harrison, Chief Operations Officer at Didion Orf Recycling. “With the in-depth analysis the team performed Didion Orf was able to gain actionable data that was quickly translated in to real life results. We continue to refer back to the student’s findings as we build our structure to support a world class experience for our customers. I highly recommend this program.”
Be Part of a Course Project
The examples above are only two of the dozens of course projects our team manages each year. Other examples of projects include a partnership with the Accounting Department, where students can engage in capital budgeting and cash flow analysis, creation/improvement of internal reporting mechanisms, or using regression tools to develop reporting and/or predictive analytics. Our projects with Industrial & Organization Psychology students allow a company to focus on your workforce, your most essential and valuable asset. Students can take a deep dive into job analysis and position descriptions, helping to ensure your selection process is enabling you to hire the best candidates.
If your business is interested in working with students and receiving valuable insights, we’d love to help! Submit the form below to let us know you’re interested in learning more about future course project opportunities.