Teaching Consulting as Part of an MBA

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The Mercy College MBA program taking job prep to a new level with a quickly expanding program.

It used to be a joke that “consulting” wasn’t a real job. However, that isn’t the case anymore. Mercy College is at the forefront of this movement in higher education that is actually teaching students how to be consultants. The MBA Program at Mercy College offers a unique learning opportunity called the Strategic Consulting Institute (SCI). In the SCI students do actual consulting projects for Fortune 500 companies, as well as municipalities and other nonprofit organizations. Projects have involved budget allocation, as well as creating a business model for doctors in response to the new Affordable Health Care Act. The work is real, and the experience is priceless, as students have a CV filled with top-notch experience.

Mercy College Graduate Business Chair Dr. Ray Manganelli said: “We are teaching our students to think beyond the books and to examine real problems for real companies. Our students are on the cutting-edge of current trends, and they can help any business find a solution to a problem they are facing.”

One of those companies is IBM. SCI students consulted for IBM on ways to better manage the allocation of IT funding. IBM Business Transformation Vice President Sal Calta said: “The Mercy College students brought fresh eyes and thinking to the project. They were able to present to the CIO a clear understanding of the problem as well as some tremendous new ideas.”

Another client has been the City of White Plains. There, the students have worked to find ways the City can better serve visitors to the downtown while still maintaining a high quality of life for residents.

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said: “As a City we are always looking to do better. We thought about adding a pedestrian plaza, but we needed someone to research it for us to see if it could work. It was a great experience working with the Mercy students. Mercy did the work pro bono which saved tax payer dollars but that being said the quality was very high. I don’t think a paid consultant could have done a better job. We were all impressed with the depth of the work and research that was done. I would not say ‘Wow that was good for a student.’ I would say ‘That was a great presentation.’ Their work is helping us plan for the City’s future.”

However, while the praise has been motivating, Dr. Manganelli said: “The best part is when the students graduate they can say to prospective employers that they have done specific work for specific companies. Experience is priceless! Students in the SCI build skills that translate into tangible career prospects in the lucrative, half-trillion dollar management consulting industry. Beyond the consulting process, students learn how to manage themselves, to present to a client and to collaborate on a team —skills that translate into any fast track career.”

SCI student Jorge Palacio said: “The experience has been like nothing I have experienced before. The learning is hands on, but at the same time, we are helping organizations. The SCI has taught me the value of my work and my ideas. I can’t imagine an MBA program without a program like this.”

Since its inception last year, the SCI has trained over 50 students, completed 10 assignments and secured several high-profile projects that are already in the pipeline. Students cultivate expertise in some of the most in-demand consulting areas, including IT, healthcare, engineering and data analytics. The extracurricular program is open to students across all disciplines. While faculty serve as guides, the actual consulting work is completed by the students who are the project managers and lead consultants.

Mercy College School of Business Dean Dr. Ed Weis said: “Our students have done recent projects for IBM, a Long Island neurosurgery consortium, the Association of Management Consulting Firms, Lernell, the City of White Plains and the Westchester County Association.”

Mercy College is one of the only colleges in the U.S. to teach consulting, and the only one with an institute devoted exclusively to management consulting. Mercy has the only business school that belongs to the Association of Management Consulting Firms, the recognized global association for the industry.

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Catherine Cioffi
Mercy College
+1 (914) 674-7736
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