10 of the Best MBA Programs
Just 20 years ago, a bachelor’s degree was enough to compete in the job market. Despite the rising costs of tuition, a bachelor’s degree doesn’t hold the same value as more and more people are getting them. This is why many people are pushing for a master’s degree. Those with a master’s will make more money in their lifetimes than one with a bachelor’s. If you’re considering a graduate degree in business, take a look at the 10 best MBA programs.
The gold standard of higher education, Harvard is the best business school in the country, but it’s notoriously difficult to get into. However, getting in is only half the battle. Harvard is a difficult and expensive college. Once you make it through you’ll have the best MBA you can get.
Cornell consistently makes it in the top 10 business schools every year. Located in Ithica, NY, Cornell is a great option to get your MBA. For those unwilling to move, they offer an online program through their extension school. Because of this, Cornell should be on your list of schools to get your MBA.
University of Chicago
Booth business school at the University of Chicago is a great option for those who love urban city life. Booth is in a relatively safer area of the city and is located close to Lake Michigan. Sometimes, the deciding factor in getting your MBA is the location of the school which is why this program attracts great people.
University of Pennsylvania
Wharton business school is known for its high profile alumni and its excellent curriculum. Located at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton attracts people from all over the world and for a good reason. The connections made there can resort to high profile careers and even positions at startups and getting the connection to start your own company.
Stanford has some of the most well-known alumni in the MBA industry. Many people choose to go to Stanford for the quality education and the sunny California location. However, many also choose to go for the connections you can make. If you’re looking to get into the startup industry this is the place to go.
University of Texas – Austin
While UTA isn’t as popular as Harvard, it’s one of the best options for business schools. Austin has a thriving startup culture and there are plenty of connections to be made there. The best part is the affordable tuition rate. It’s about half the price of other business schools.
Columbia is another one of those business schools that always makes it in the top 10. Based in New York, Columbia attracts worldwide talent every year. The program is highly competitive due to the number of applicants but don’t let that stop you from applying. After all, you could get in.
Duke is also a well-known business school located in North Carolina. Many alumni leave the school highly well trained, and due to the competitive nature of the curriculum, you can expect to leave this school ready to enter the job market. Duke also has a fantastic alumni program.
University of Michigan
U of M is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their business school has made it in the top 10 several years in a row, and they always make the top 20. Ann Arbor is a lovely college town with plenty of chances to network and make connections to benefit your future.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT is a school that everyone instantly recognizes. For those who are seeking an MBA in the technology field, MIT is the place to go. Like Harvard, MIT is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and because of this there are plenty of opportunities to network. MIT has a tough curriculum but it will prepare you for the job market.
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Is an MBA Still Necessary?
Two outspoken academic leaders offer opposing views on the relevance of a traditional business education.
By Jason Daley • Sep 24, 2012
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
It used to be that top corporations picked up MBA graduates as fast as schools could slap mortarboards on their heads. These young guns drove corporate reorganization, product innovation and marketing and implemented new styles of leadership. They were a symbol of a new culture, and anyone serious about a career in business aspired to earn those three letters.
Today, the power of the MBA is not so certain. Many in corporate America and academia say the degree that once defined bright, snappy leadership now symbolizes a discipline that has lost touch with the business world. They argue that MBA programs have become too focused on research, and that in-house training at large firms has more practical applications. They claim the programs have failed to create the types of leaders who can deal with globalization; some say they don't develop leaders at all, just functionaries. Other critics think a focus on profit and share value, rather than on ethics and sustainability, fostered the type of narrow-minded thinking that led to the fall of Enron and the last recession.
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Guide to the Business School Capstone Project - Types & Examples
- What is an MBA Capstone Project?
An MBA capstone project is the final step in many MBA programs. It’s here that MBA students put all that they’ve learned into practice by analyzing a meaningful and strategic business question. Often, this involves hands-on work within an existing company, but not always: MBA capstone projects can take the form of startup business plans and business simulations, too.
No matter their format or focus, each capstone project is likely to be the most intensive, and possibly the most rewarding, feature of an MBA candidate’s journey.
A capstone project is not the same as a thesis project, although they do share some qualities. Thesis projects are focused on theory and research, and based on the type of situations one would face in academia. Often taking the form of a large research paper, thesis projects can last the entire final year of an academic program, and some students may even begin before that, with the ultimate goal of contributing new knowledge to the canon of business research.
MBA capstone projects, by contrast, are more practical and similar to situations one would face in the business world. Here, students work in teams to answer strategic business questions. MBA capstones are hands-on immersions with real-world consequences, and they can have a major impact on an MBA graduate’s program experience, as well as their career.
To see some examples of MBA capstone projects, and to get a walkthrough of the general process, read on.
Stages of an MBA Capstone Project
Most MBA capstone projects take place during a program’s final year and can last anywhere from four weeks to a full semester. They often include some form of instruction (whether through prerequisite courses or scheduled advising) along with practical application.
While MBA capstone programs will vary in format from program to program, they generally include the following stages:
- Topic Selection
- Preliminary Research
- Project Execution
- Written Report
- Final Presentation
It’s not necessarily over after the final presentation, either: some capstone projects carry over beyond the MBA program, leading to successful startup businesses, offers of employment, or investment opportunities.
Choosing a Capstone Topic
Many MBA programs provide some structured options for choosing a capstone topic. This can mean students are allowed to select from a list of possible partnership opportunities; it can also mean that faculty advisors will work with students to find a topic that meets the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and goals. But in other programs, MBA students are given more freedom to choose both their topic and their partner organization.
In their capstone project, MBA students should select a topic where they can answer a meaningful and strategic business question: one that’s complex enough to warrant significant time and energy, but also realistic enough as to be achievable. These are not theoretical questions, though; each one is tailored to a specific real-world business.
Some examples of MBA capstone topics include:
- What are the short-term outcomes of a mutual fund’s impact-investing initiative?
- How do the diversity and inclusion efforts of multinational companies adapt to non-Western office environments?
- What is the market feasibility of a startup’s application in target demographics?
- How can a recently downsized organization recover employee morale while keeping the budget balanced?
It’s critical for the capstone topic to be specifically relevant to the partner company or organization. To this end, MBA students should heavily research the company’s strengths, weaknesses, and objectives before selecting their topic.
Similarly, MBA students should turn that lens on themselves, too: what problems do they want to explore in their business careers, what causes do they find interesting, and how can their own unique skill set be best put to use?
How an MBA Capstone is Graded
Some programs provide MBA candidates with a rubric for how their capstone will be graded, while others do not. Most capstones are graded through their ability to demonstrate key business skills (theoretical, practical, applied, and reflective) across functional areas (finance, human resources, marketing, and operations).
The final presentation is also a factor, as this is where the candidate demonstrates what they learned, or didn’t, through the course of the capstone.
It’s rare that an MBA candidate will fail their capstone project. After all, they’ve made it through practically an entire MBA program up until then. Even if the project is a failure from a business point of view, an MBA candidate will likely still be able to effectively analyze where and why the project failed, and what lessons can be learned from that failure going forward.
Examples of MBA Capstone Projects
Ucla anderson school of management capstone project.
The MBA program at UCLA Anderson School of Management offers three capstone options: the Global Access Program (GAP), the Business Creation Option (BCO), and Anderson Student Asset Management (ASAM).
In the GAP, students partner with high-growth global companies in a market-entry consulting project. Working in five- to six-person teams, students bid on partnership opportunities, perform five to six months of research, then travel internationally to the partner organization. Combining interviews, meetings, and research, the students develop effective strategic business plans to advance the organization’s growth, and present it to the organization’s executives, potential investors, and industry professionals.
Along the way, students are advised by faculty members who have directed, invested in, and provided consulting services to leading companies worldwide. In the last 20 years, over 3,000 students have completed the GAP, impacting 738 companies across 23 countries.
For students with an entrepreneurship focus, the BCO offers them the chance to launch a company. After taking two prerequisite courses to prepare their business plans, students will work in teams across two academic quarters. Through extensive research, development, and implementation, students will put strategies for every aspect of their business into practice. In three years, the BCO has had 47 teams and launched 24 companies.
The ASAM program is for current and aspiring quants who want experience as successful long-term portfolio managers. Guided by a faculty advisor and oversight committee, students in the ASAM program will select an optimal mix of equity, fixed income, and cash investments. Each four-member team manages approximately $200,000. Students will rotate work roles between that of an executive board member, strategy lead, risk manager, and programmer.
Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business Capstone Project
The MBA program at Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business offers students three different forms of capstone program: Global Study; Strategic Management of the Enterprise; and Management Game.
In the Global Study capstone, MBA students will take a four-week study abroad course in either Mainland China and Hong Kong or Germany. Previous topics of study have included bank lending in China; entrepreneurship in Asia; European economic integration; and operations management in Europe. Each class is complemented with tours of local companies and meetings with local business leaders. Upon completion of the international experience, students return to Tepper to give a final presentation.
The Strategic Management of the Enterprise capstone is an experiential learning course where students are matched with one of several consulting projects to solve business problems faced by partner companies. This is a more traditional capstone program, focused on the practical application of business skills learned through the MBA curriculum. Past clients have included Walmart, P&G, and Ameriprise.
Tepper’s Management Game capstone is an applied management experience. Student teams run a computer-simulated multinational manufacturing company for three years, acting as its executive committee. Taking place at the end of the MBA program’s curriculum, the Management Game capstone focuses on the unstructured nature of business problems and prods students to use all the functional skills they’ve learned so far. External-facing exercises include interaction with industry partners and are related to each student’s career choices.
Uniquely, the Management Game capstone is graded by external professionals on the merit of the results students deliver; students have the chance to receive direct feedback from corporate partners throughout the process.
Matt Zbrog is a writer and freelancer who has been living abroad since 2016. His nonfiction has been published by Euromaidan Press, Cirrus Gallery, and Our Thursday. Both his writing and his experience abroad are shaped by seeking out alternative lifestyles and counterculture movements, especially in developing nations. You can follow his travels through Eastern Europe and Central Asia on Instagram at @weirdviewmirror . He’s recently finished his second novel, and is in no hurry to publish it.
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Dr. Joshua Kim, the director of digital learning initiatives at Dartmouth College’s Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL), wrote “the rebranding of HBX to Harvard Business School Online is a signal that online education has well and truly arrived. For those of us in the online education game, Harvard Business School rebranding to embrace online is a great development.”
Femme-BAs: How the Foster School of Business Wins with Women
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MBA Capstone & Thesis | 2022 Guide
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Typically serving as the culminating experience in an MBA program, a capstone or thesis project bridges academic study and professional practice, applying the skills gained from an MBA to real-world business management and research. Thesis projects commonly take a more academic, research-based approach, while capstones focus on the practical side of business, often requiring students to identify and solve problems at real companies.
Capstones require students to synthesize everything they've learned from their MBA programs, serving as their best opportunity to demonstrate understanding of business principles and practices. Andrew Gold, an associate professor of management at Saint Leo University in Florida, puts it plainly: "The capstone is probably the single most important class in the entire program."
This page offers a general guide to MBA capstone and thesis projects. Below, find an overview of the key differences between the two types of projects, typical steps to research and writing, capstone project examples, and answers to common questions -- all accompanied by expert advice from an MBA faculty member.
What's the Difference Between a Capstone and a Thesis?
While a capstone and thesis serve similar functions, most MBA programs distinguish between the two projects. MBAs typically include practicum/internship components, enabling students to gain hands-on experience in professional business environments. Capstones build on this experience, requiring students to develop practical solutions to real-world business problems.
As Gold explains, "The [capstone] is intended to demonstrate that you understand and can apply what you have learned about the various disciplines in the business school and use some creativity to put together comprehensive analyses of complicated, real-life problems."
A thesis generally takes a more academic approach, requiring students to answer a question to contribute new knowledge to the field through a comprehensive research paper. Programs with an academic focus, preparing graduates for research and academic positions, might opt for a thesis over a capstone.
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The MBA Capstone
Broadly, MBA capstones require students to synthesize major program principles to address contemporary business issues, serving to assess overall knowledge and individual skill. As Gold explains, "In addition to demonstrating students' abilities to analyze complex problems, the [capstone] typically shows evidence of creative thinking, critical thinking, and the ability to examine a problem from a variety of functional perspectives." The following sections detail typical capstone components and processes.
The MBA Capstone Process
The MBA Capstone Format
Choosing Your Capstone Topic
Example Topics for Capstone Projects
Business plan for a startup venture, analysis of emerging technology threats, reorganization after corporate downsizing, gamification of sustainability behavior, feasibility and market analysis for a new app.
Completing Your MBA Capstone
- Collapse All
How to Research for Your Capstone
Capstone research often involves a literature review of existing information on a topic, along with original research into the company itself. To address a business problem, students must understand both the general nature of the problem and its specific impact on an organization.
Gold recommends students familiarize themselves with their capstone topics before contacting their organizations with questions: "Get as much information as possible from publicly available sources. Prepare questions in advance."
When conducting interviews, strive for courtesy and professionalism. "Understand that the people you speak with in the company are doing this outside their normal job routine, so make it as easy as possible for them to help you with the least amount of effort on their part," Gold adds. "Be specific with your requests and be very professional."
How to Outline Your Capstone
After conducting initial research, students should create an outline to organize their ideas and prepare to write their capstone papers. Exact organizational strategies vary depending on capstone subject, but most papers begin with an introduction to the company and/or business issue before moving into a more in-depth problem statement. The paper then states capstone goals and objectives, and it describes methods and strategies, a management plan, and a strategy for evaluating the effectiveness of the project.
Gold offers some practical advice for students: "Start with a high-level list of bullet points that will carve out each of the different sections of the project. Then start to narrow down each of the sections. Much of the outline will develop as you start to proceed with the project and there are a variety of templates online that you can also use as a guide."
How to Write Your Capstone
Gold recommends students begin their writing with high-level questions: "What is it that you are trying to answer? Avoid very simple yes/no-type questions, and instead ask questions like, 'How might we' or 'How can we,' that imply more complicated answers. As you hone in your question/topic for your project, then start to think about how you would go about answering the question."
Given that most capstone projects aim to propose solutions to business problems, students should ensure they clearly define the business problem, their strategies for addressing it, and their methods for evaluating strategy effectiveness. Capstone writing should always adopt a professional tone, suitable for academic or business communications, and students can work with faculty to ensure their work meets professional standards.
Capstone Project Workflow Tips
Make realistic goals, divide work into stages, delegate tasks efficiently, use past work as a guide, seek assistance when necessary.
Presenting Your MBA Capstone
How Is an MBA Capstone Graded?
The MBA Thesis
An MBA thesis functions similarly to a capstone in some regards, but the two projects maintain notable differences. While capstones address practical business problems, thesis projects draw on original research to contribute new knowledge to the field of business. This section outlines major components of an MBA thesis.
The MBA Thesis Format
Choosing Your Thesis Topic
Completing Your MBA Thesis
Presenting Your MBA Thesis
How is an MBA Thesis Graded?
Frequently Asked Questions About MBA Capstone
What is an mba capstone project, what are different types of mba capstones, is a capstone course hard, how long does an mba capstone project take, what is a great company for an mba capstone analysis project, what happens if you fail your capstone, is a capstone the same as a thesis, what is the difference between a dissertation and a capstone, is a thesis required for an mba, how long is an mba thesis, meet andrew gold.
Andrew Gold , Ph.D., is an associate professor of management at Saint Leo University in Florida and an adjunct associate professor at the University of North Carolina, teaching managing innovation processes and performance in the online MBA program . He received his bachelor's degree in finance in 1992 from Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business, with a focus on international finance and investments. He received his doctorate in 2002 from the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, with a focus on strategy and innovation management.
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REAL-WORLD BUSINESS CHALLENGES
In the Applied Management Research (AMR) field study, you’ll work on a team to address a challenge for a client organization. After a deep dive into research, you’ll present key insights and your recommendations. The Business Creation Option gives you the chance to work with a team of classmates to launch your own business. Students who participate in the Student Investment Fund (SIF) manage a $2 million fund, while visiting leading companies to learn about strategies and philosophies. The Anderson Strategy Group (ASG) is a capstone project that involves a commitment during your first and second years, and gives students focused on consulting a chance to work on and manage a project with classmates. Students who participate in the NAIOP Real Estate Case Competition earn capstone project credit through this six-month assessment of a local property, determining the highest and best use for real estate development. Finally, Anderson has partnered with XPRIZE and their Visioneers program to put students on the front line of designing XPRIZE competitions to address the world’s grand challenges.
Applied Management Research (AMR)
In this field study, you’ll work in a team to address a challenge for a client organization. After a deep dive into research, you’ll present key insights and your recommendations.
Business Creation Project (BCP)
BCP gives you the chance to work with a team of classmates to launch your own business.
Student Investment Fund (SIF)
Students who participate in SIF manage a $2 million fund, while visiting leading companies to learn about strategies and philosophies.
Anderson Student Asset Management (ASAM)
An investment fund managed by student portfolio managers dedicated to the pursuit of favorable risk-adjusted returns.
Anderson Strategy Group (ASG)
A capstone project that gives students focused on consulting a chance to work on and manage a project with classmates.
NAIOP Real Estate Case Competition
Students who participate in the NAIOP case competition earn project credit through this six-month assessment of a local property.1
In this field study, you’ll work in a team to address a challenge for a client organization. After a deep dive into research, you’ll present key insights and your recommendations.
Asg is a capstone project that involves a commitment during your first and second years, and gives students focused on consulting a chance to work on and manage a project with classmates., students who participate in the naiop case competition earn capstone project credit through this six-month assessment of a local property..
- Team determines best use for a real site in Southern California
- Case competition against USC + write up
- Fall & Winter quarter of second year
Visit Ziman Center
UCLA Excels in Local and National Real Estate Case Competitions
Los Angeles (November 20, 2018) — UCLA graduate student teams won the 2018 NAIOP SoCal Real Estate Challenge and placed second in the 2018 National Real Estate Challenge hosted by the University of Texas at Austin. Both case competitions took place on November 15, 2018, at UCLA and UT Austin, respectively.
NAIOP team (left to right): UCLA Anderson Professor Paul Habibi, Jeffrey Eigenbrood (’19), Daniel Polk (’19), Ben Morrison (’19), Robert Anthony (’19), Nicholas Marino (’19)
The NAIOP SoCal Real Estate Challenge team consisted of Class of 2019 UCLA Anderson MBA students Robert Anthony , Jeff Eigenbrood , Nick Marino and Ben Morrison , and UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture student Daniel Polk. The annual event, sponsored by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), presents a specific real estate case challenge to a team of students at UCLA and USC. In addition to providing a rich learning experience that requires participating students to produce high-quality professional work within a limited time frame, the competition is designed to showcase the talents and creativity of the next generation of real estate professionals.
This year, the NAIOP Challenge involved two undeveloped parcels on 11 acres of land located at the southwest corner of Del Amo Avenue and Newport Avenue in Tustin, California. The city acquired the property in 2007 and it has been vacant since that time. The site is a highly visible infill adjacent to the 55 freeway and near the massive Tustin Legacy, the 1600-acre former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station, which is currently being redeveloped. The site sits in an area of the Pacific Center East Specific Plan, which is a major employment center in Tustin that will continue to grow.
UCLA’s team proposed a project they titled Solana (Spanish for solarium or sunny spot) that was inspired by strawberry farming that had once taken place on the site. Solana is a natural extension of the nearby Tustin Legacy project, which involves the transformation of 16,000 acres of raw land into a massive master-planned commercial and residential community.
Video fly-through of the UCLA NAIOP “Solano – Tustin” Development
UCLA’s Solana consists of two select service hotels (305 keys), 240 multifamily units, 10,000 square feet of retail, 75 units of 80 percent affordable housing and more than 150,000 square feet of community space. “I am enormously proud of our NAIOP Challenge team,” said Tim Kawahara, executive director of the Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. “Our students proposed a very thoughtful project that provides both commercial value and community benefits to the City of Tustin.”
In its 21st year, the NAIOP Real Estate Challenge celebrates the rivalry between USC and UCLA and illustrates the robust real estate programs at both universities. The winning team is awarded the Silver Shovel, which is inscribed with all past winners’ names. In addition, a $5,000 contribution is made in the name of the winning school to the Challenge for Charity (C4C), benefiting the Special Olympics.
National Real Estate Challenge team (left to right): DaJuan Bennett (’20), Austen Mount (’20), Anne Sewall (’20), James Blake (’20), Robert Walls (’20)
The National Real Estate Challenge team from UCLA consisted of Class of 2020 UCLA Anderson MBA students DaJuan Bennett , James Blake , Austen Mount , Anne M. Sewall and Robert Walls . The challenge, held annually at the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin, is an invitation-only case competition for student teams from the nation’s top-ranked business schools. The case competition involves the analysis of a recent real estate transaction consummated by a leading global real estate firm. Judging panels consist of senior executives from leading real estate companies across the U.S., creating outstanding opportunities for learning, networking and recruitment.
This year, the case centered on a hold/sell analysis for a recently delivered, eight-story office building in “River Valley” (later revealed to be Austin, TX). The property had been a successful 80-percent leased development for the fund. Teams were given the following options: sell the building immediately; hold on to the property with the existing debt; re-finance the property at a higher leverage point (either 65 or 75 percent LTV instead of the 50 percent LTC loan in place); or sell the property and use the proceeds to pursue another office development in “West Hamilton” (later revealed to be Santa Monica, CA). Student teams were prompted to model the two investments to determine the quantitative benefits of each option, but also to look at the national office market, consider the impact of interest rates on cap rates and determine whether co-working and remote working would impact leasing either of the projects.
The UCLA team recommended holding on to the existing property and refinancing the building at 65 percent LTV. The thought process was, while the base case scenario provided was likely to occur, the team wanted to ensure a comfort level with the investment in a downside scenario, which made the pipeline investment and 75 percent LTV financing options too risky. Conversely, the team suggested that selling the property now or maintaining the 50 percent LTC loan were too conservative given the quality of the property and the strength of the “River Valley” market.
“The UT Austin McCombs School of Business National Real Estate Challenge is among the most prestigious real estate case competitions in the nation, so even to place is a huge accomplishment,” said Tim Kawahara. “The team’s success represents the caliber of students at UCLA Anderson and the strength of our real estate curriculum and programs.”
We pioneered practical learning with the Applied Management Research program
UCLA Anderson launched the first MBA field study program 54 years ago. The AMR program has worked with over 5,000 clients, including Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, microfinance institutions and startups. You’ll work with a team of peers on a two-quarter project that will solve an organization’s key business problem, while expanding your professional network and experience working in a new field, and inviting you to explore your career options. The AMR program takes place during fall and winter quarters of the second year.
Ballard Metcalfe (’19), Ariel Wang (’19), and Cris Erdtsieck (’19) analyzed how a Peruvian non-profit organization could maximize revenues and lower transaction costs while increasing client satisfaction and engagement.
Sustaining Effective NCD Screen in a South Africa community Requires an Ecosystem of Strategic Partners
Improving the Quality of Sustainable Coffee Production in San Martín, Peru
Prestigious Awards for UCLA Anderson Class of 2017 Field Study Teams
BCP Team KPOP Foods (clockwise from top left): Alex Kim (’17), Ryan Kennelly (’17), Mike Kim (’17), Theo Lee (’17), Erica Suk (’17).
Since its pilot project with two students and one team in 2004, close to 1,900 students have participated in the BCP Program. In the academic year 2021-22, roughly 350 students participated across the MBA programs, including 190+ students from the Full-Time MBA Program.
BodySpec (Class of 2014)
BodySpec provides individualized information to health-conscious individuals. We offer full-body scans utilizing dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanning technology.
Project Description: BodySpec provides individualized health information to health-conscious individuals. We offer full-body scans utilizing dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanning technology. These scans provide data about an individual’s muscle mass, body fat and bone density at a more granular, accurate and actionable level than any other body composition technology currently available in the fitness industry. Revenue will primarily be generated through scanning fees from individuals (an average of $90 per scan) and subscription fees from personal trainers to access client data.
Update: BCO project is thriving. They've hit many significant milestones and are enthusiastic about BodySpec and helping out current Anderson students.
SmartestK12 (Class of 2014)
To help teachers better understand their students, SmartestK12 transforms all assignments, assessments or classroom interactions into rich student data that allows teachers, parents and school administrators to track each child’s learning in real time and take actions to ensure academic growth.
SMARTESTK12 (CLASS OF 2014)
Project Description: To help teachers better understand their students, SmartestK12 transforms all assignments, assessments or classroom interactions into rich student data that allows teachers, parents and school administrators to track each child’s learning in real time and take actions to ensure academic growth. We feel that education is the foundation for human progress, and that each student deserves an education custom built to her or his needs. SmartestK12 aims to unleash the individual and create a sustainable, never-ending supply of future scientists, historians, mathematicians, authors, scholars and creative geniuses.
Update: The company is still up and running, rebranded as Formative for a new application the founders created that is proving very promising.
Sportifik (Class of 2014)
Sportifik is a web- and mobile-based league management platform that engages college students in recreational activities. Adopted by over 25 universities across the country, including UCLA, Stanford and UC Berkeley, Sportifik empowers university recreation programs with the ability to effectively coordinate sports leagues and tournaments and engage students in healthy and active lifestyles.
SPORTIFIK (CLASS OF 2014)
Project Description: Sportifik is creating a community of athletes and changing the way people participate in sports. We are providing amateur athletes and avid sports fans with the best means to easily organize and manage their sporting activities through a user friendly one-stop-shop mobile and web solution. Our platform will enable users to seamlessly partake in sporting activities in a fun and rewarding way while enabling them to meet members of their local communities who share a passion for the same sports.
Update: Still working on their startup and the project is ongoing in LA. They've raised a seed round, grown their user base and client base significantly. They’re still implementing the pivot they started during BCO and are looking to add another part to their project.
Student entrepreneur taps into UCLA resources to 'grow' his news website
No Guesswork, No Guilt: Goodbye Hangry, Hello officebites
AMR: Business Creation Option (BCP) Spotlight on GOshopping
Internet, Business and Intellectual Property Attorney Cohen Business Law Group
Investor Upfront Ventures
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Tepper School of Business
MBA Capstone Courses
Capstones are immersive, experiential courses at the end of your Tepper experience. Options include working alongside corporations or participating in a strategic management exercise.
Management Game is offered in the online format; Strategic Management of the Enterprise is available to students who can take classes on campus.
Capstones in Tracks
Students who enroll in an mba track complete their capstone course within that track. , "my capstone showed me that as a business community, we need to invest in bringing emerging energy markets to maturity. it’s exciting, because once the economic problems are solved through scale or incentive structure, there's an opportunity to really change the way the world works in 15 or 20 years.", zachary blustein, mba 2022 (he/him).
Management Game is an applied strategic and general management exercise. Teams of students operate computer-simulated companies for three years, acting as the executive committee of a multinational manufacturing company.
Explore Management Game
Strategic Management of the Enterprise
Offered in partnership with A.T. Kearney and select sponsoring companies, this capstone is an experiential learning course that sensitizes students to the real-world challenges faced by managers.
Explore Strategic Management of the Enterprise
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What is a capstone project? And why is it important?
By Stephanie L
Sponsored by York University
What is a capstone project?
The capstone project has become an integral part of the university degree curriculum. It can take many various forms, but its purpose remains the same. The capstone project is a unique opportunity to carry out independent group research in order to devise an innovative solution for a real-world problem. While a project of this scope and scale can be challenging, it can also be very rewarding.
The capstone project is usually the final assignment and plays a vital role in preparing students for the world of work thanks to its practical applications and ability to help hone students’ professional knowledge and skills.
At York University in Toronto, Canada, things are a little different. In 2019, the university revised the traditional capstone project and created C4: Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom . While it still possesses the fundamentals of the traditional capstone project, C4 is a new, year-long initiative that brings students together from various degree programmes to work in interdisciplinary teams with faculty and project partners on real-world challenges pitched by non-profit organisations, start-ups and businesses to create social impact.
TopUniversities spoke to Megan Tran and Javeria Mirza, two students at York University, to find out about their capstone project and why they feel it has played an important role in not just their academic development, but their professional development as well.
What is the Purpose of a Capstone Project?
1. it prepares you for the working world.
The capstone project is designed to consolidate final-year students’ learning with valuable hands-on experience to help develop them into well-prepared and well-rounded graduates.
Students work together in small groups to come up with innovative solutions for real-life problems, all while gaining valuable insights into the demands and responsibilities of the working world. This gives students a chance to bring their leadership and management skills alive and understand the consequences of their decisions in a ‘safe space’.
C4 gives students an insight into global affairs, international relations as well as social corporate responsibility and sustainability.
Final-year bachelor’s in international studies student Megan and master’s in political science student Javeria were two of the eight interdisciplinary students, from the Faculty of Environmental Studies, the Lassonde School of Engineering, Glendon College, and the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies at York University who worked together on the ‘Solar Floatie’ project.
“As a group, we were all interested in using technology and design-thinking for good. Our collective passion for social impact brought us together as a team. CooperLab at York University led by Professor Thomas Cooper was already spearheading the idea of an inflatable solar collector,” said Javeria.
“But how we went about developing the technology and what we wanted to use it for was up to us,” added Megan.
“ The Solar Floatie was born when the engineering side of the solar collector project was merged with the anthropology side and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework to propose a sustainable implementation model,” explained Javeria.
2. It helps build your CV and help you stand out as a candidate
Undertaking a capstone project demonstrates to prospective employers that you’re more than just a potential candidate with the necessary academic qualifications. It shows your dedication to an issue which demands time and effort, as well as strict professionalism, work ethic and experience working in a practical, hands-on setting.
3. It offers valuable practical experience – something many graduates do not have
As a graduate, the reality of securing a job can be difficult as many roles demand practical experience. Many graduates are conceptually strong and suitable candidates, but a lack of applied knowledge in practical settings can make it challenging to demonstrate such experience and skills on their CV or in an interview.
The capstone project is a great solution and is something which both Megan and Javeria felt helped bridge that critical gap and has given them a competitive advantage as young professionals.
“It gave me an opportunity to learn outside a traditional academic setting and allowed me to explore my interest in sustainability and passion for social impact,” said Megan. “Since being a part of this project, I’ve been involved with a variety of organisations carrying out work that align with these passions.”
Javeria echoes Megan’s sentiments.
She said: “Bridging the lessons learnt during the capstone project such as the value of continuously learning, taking initiative, and working effectively with people from diverse disciplinary backgrounds has been invaluable in both my UN work and my graduate studies.”
4. It hones on specific skills that are highly valued by employers
The capstone project encompasses a real-life working culture which aims to instil a set of specific skills that are both highly valued by employers and will ultimately serve students well into their careers.
York University’s C4 focuses on the development of a wide range of skills, including creative, critical, and strategic thinking, effective communication, teamwork, problem solving and research analysis through diverse learning approaches and perspectives. Students deepen their sense of social and ethical responsibilities as they learn to mobilise their knowledge across disciplines and work effectively in interdisciplinary teams while engaging professionally with their peers and professors.
Lead image: Solar Floatie project team members work on assembling the solar energy collector, under Professor Thomas Cooper’s direction. Credit: York University
This article was originally published in March 2021 . It was last updated in December 2022
Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.
As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com (until September 2021), Stephanie created and published a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.
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CAN YOU SOLVE REAL-WORLD BUSINESS PROBLEMS?
The Capstone Project (TFM) puts IESE MBA students in the driving seat to solve real-world business problems in real companies.
You’ll come face to face with challenging, integrative problems that require a general management perspective, and are global in nature.
Previous projects have included:
- Designing a product launch.
- Entering a new market.
- Designing a social media strategy.
- Assessing the succession plan in a family business.
In stage one, an IESE faculty member will help you define the problem.
In stage two, the company will make a corporate presentation to the teams of MBA students.
Finally, when the students complete their work, the company executives will attend a presentation on the problem by the students.
COMPANIES PARTICIPATING IN PREVIOUS YEARS
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5 Capstone Topics on Business Administration
Finding the best business capstone project ideas can be a challenge. Students who are in search of business administration topics for a capstone often face problems related to the lack of unexplored content. Given the number of Ph.D. candidates, it is not surprising that students find it hard to come up with something that has not been researched before.
In this article, we’ll provide five business capstone project examples in more detail. Each topic can be customized in dozens of ways according to your own experience and areas of specialization. We’ll also cover the ins-and-outs of capstone papers and how you can successfully demonstrate your skills and knowledge to make your paper a success.
What Is a Capstone Project?
For most students, a capstone project is the last step in completing an MBA program. This is where you take everything you have learned during your coursework and put it into a practice by doing a thorough written analysis on a business administrative topic or question. The focus and format may vary, but your capstone project is vital to your degree and will possibly be the most intensive feature of your educational journey.
What Is the Difference Between a Capstone and a Thesis?
While thesis and capstone projects share many similarities, they are not the same thing and most programs distinguish between these two undertakings. A thesis is more focused on research and theory, while a capstone answers strategic, real-world business questions.
During your MBA program, it is likely you have taken part in some internship or practicum components that offered hands-on experience in a real business environment. The capstone is designed to build on this real-world experience by encouraging you to come up with practical and creative solutions to actual problems experienced in the world of business.
The purpose of the project is so you can demonstrate all you have learned by bringing it all together in a comprehensive written format.
Your thesis is a bit different in that a takes the form of an extensive research paper based on theory and research. It is more academic in nature and can last the entire final year of your program.
The goal of your thesis is to contribute new knowledge to the vast amounts of business research already in place.
What Are the Different Steps Of a Capstone?
The capstone takes place in your business administration program’s final year and can typically take anywhere between four weeks to a whole semester. Usually, there will be some type of instruction, such as a course or meeting with an advisor. Plus, in many cases, you will be working hands-on to execute a project regarding the topic you select.
Capstone projects vary depending on the school and the program, but in general, the following stages are usually included:
- Selecting a topic
- Researching the topic
- Executing the project
- Writing about the project
- Presenting the project
How Important Is the Capstone Project?
It’s worth noting that the capstone project is vitally important. Beyond the final presentation, it’s entirely possible that your project could carry over to things like investment opportunities, successful startups, or offers of employment.
How Is a Capstone Graded?
The evaluation methods used to grade business administration capstone projects vary among different schools and programs. In some cases, students will get a rubric, so they know what to expect. The rubric typically includes instructions to include specific functional aspects and content from management literature. The grade may also be based on grammar and formatting guidelines. If you have any questions, you should feel free to contact your advisor. Don’t be afraid to clarify any aspects of the instructions you do not understand.
See also: How Do I Find the Best Online MBA for Me?
What if I Fail My Capstone?
Failing your capstone project means you would no longer be eligible for your degree. However, at most schools, It’s extremely rare for a student to fail their capstone. Typically, an advisor would work with you so you can revise the project. Ultimately, not trying hard enough would obviously result in a need to repeat the course.
Even if the project fails from a business standpoint, you will probably still be able to analyze what went wrong and explain how it could be remedied going forward.
What Qualities Make For a Good Capstone Project Idea?
Before you start looking at project topics for business administration, it can help to understand what qualities are needed for a good MBA capstone idea. Otherwise, you run the risk of selecting something dull or overdone. Great business management research topics should be:
- Unique: Let’s face it. Some topics are way overdone. If you select something that has already been explored too much, you are simply copying solutions that others have defined previously. If you can’t find a unique topic, at least look at it from a novel angle.
- Engaging: Choose a topic that is captivating and stimulating not only for yourself but for other business professionals. The problem needs to be authentic, and the solution should create a tangible and palpable benefit in your field.
- Challenging: The overall goal of your capstone is to demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have learned through your business administration program. Therefore, the project should be ambitious enough to display your understanding of everything you have assimilated through your instruction.
- Focused: You should hone in on a narrowly defined topic rather than something too broad. If you go with a topic that is too general, you may not end up with a capstone that is specific or captivating enough to convey your knowledge.
- Realistic: The time and resources you have to complete your capstone project will be limited. Be sure to select a topic that will realistically be achievable with what you have to work with.
Writing Tips for Capstone Projects
Here are a few simple writing tips that can help you as you begin your capstone project
Research Topics in Business Administration
Start researching as soon as possible by gathering as much information as you can. Choose updated information and make sure your sources are credible.
See also: 50+ Free/Freemium Online and Mobile Research Tools: Collaboration, Brainstorming, Notetaking, Annotation, File Storage
Once you have selected your management capstone project idea, make sure you get your professor to approve it.
Write out a step-by-step plan for completing your capstone project, complete with deadlines and milestones to keep yourself on track. This will help you avoid rushing at the last minute.
Complete the First Draft
Give yourself plenty of time to complete the first draft and outline your topic. Enlist the help of a proofreader or a fellow student to look for errors.
While your business management capstone project is indeed the culmination of all the efforts you have put into your program, it should also be personally satisfying to you. Breathe and let yourself be present so you can enjoy the process.
In summary, here are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to working on your capstone project :
Five Excellent Business Management Capstone Project Ideas
In this next section, we present five topic ideas for your final capstone. Each of these topics can act as a starting point to begin your project. Thanks to the versatility of the choices, it is safe to say that most, if not all, prospective entrepreneurs will find something that sparks their curiosity. You will also notice that each of the administration capstone topics below can be further broken down into dozens of sub-questions worthy of extensive research.
Globalization in Business
Importance of cultural awareness, growing role of technology, why countless start-ups fail in the united states, salary negotiation with entry level roles.
The term globalization entered the business sphere a few decades ago and has not stopped growing ever since. The recent trade war between the United States and China, which employed countless tariffs, is a perfect testament to this. Even with over 7,200 miles between these two regions, both countries found a way to impact each others’ markets. Thus, globalization has undoubtedly reached a point where consumer goods and services are facing very lenient laws of cross-border operations. A capstone topic in this area would be a great starting point because students can subsequently modify it however they please to avoid plagiarizing.
According to Forbes , corporate culture is one of the key influencers of employees’ performance levels, motivation, and workplace atmosphere. Unfortunately, a lot of large organizations lack the necessary cultural awareness. Some historical examples include conglomerates such as Best Buy, eBay, and even Google. Trying to expand to areas where their services are not commonly used cost all of those brands millions of dollars. Thus, choosing to research such patterns and finding an innovative question to answer here can be another excellent business administration capstone topic.
Other than globalization, the implementation of technology is probably the only other trend that has such an aggressive track record. Just consider, for example, how Amazon was able to enter the market dominated by eBay and completely overtake it relatively quickly. While they have been in business since the 90s, it took just a few years for them to become the industry leader based on their inventions of Prime services such as the next-day delivery. Therefore, focusing the capstone topic around technology in business would be a great chance to explore patterns such as the one mentioned above.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy , approximately one-third of all companies make it to the 10-year mark of existence. The list of reasons that cause this is extremely long and includes everything from an apparent lack of planning to overly zealous expansions. Students who may want to have their own business one day should certainly look into this area. Doing so can help them learn the ins and outs of starting a new venture and some of the most common mistakes that should be avoided.
Finally, one of the most under-explored topics for all college majors goes back to salary negotiations for recent graduates. Since business administration students can effectively tie their capstone course to this topic, they have a perfect chance to explore it thoroughly. Some great points to analyze would include proper ways to approach professional negotiations, why many individuals do not negotiate at all, and what leverage newly graduated folks have. Besides securing a solid topic, choosing salary negotiation will be perfect for anyone interested in maximizing their earnings early on.
Final Thoughts—Presenting Your Project
In most instances, your capstone will conclude with some sort of presentation. This may be done with a group of peers, faculty members, or both. The purpose of the presentation is so you can showcase your hard work. Your audience will also raise questions and offer some suggestions or critique your work.
Often, the presentations themselves will be open to the public, and if students have been performing work within a specific organization, shareholders from that organization might attend. Most students don’t just read verbatim. Most use visual tools like PowerPoint to supplement their findings.
If you are nervous about your presentation, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to practice and perfect everything so you can feel confident when the big day arrives.
Lastly, be proud of all you have accomplished and bask in the knowledge of a job well done. Hopefully, it will be the first of many successful business presentations and a fantastic finish to your business administration program.
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Real World Consulting
The Curry College MBA coursework culminates in a Capstone project where the entire MBA cohort works as a team of consultants to an area organization on an applied research project. Under the guidance of the faculty mentors and the business consultancy partner, the cohort defines, analyzes, and develops innovative, data-driven solutions to address major business issues confronting the organization. This complex, multilayered Capstone project provides the MBA students an invaluable opportunity to integrate their newly acquired knowledge, skills, and competencies across diverse business functions and apply their acquired analytical skills to a real life business issue. The Capstone project ends with the entire cohort providing a compelling business presentation to the sponsoring organization, faculty, family, and friends at the program celebration event.
The Capstone Course is where you and your cohort team collaborate with a faculty mentor and serve as consultants on an actual multi-layered project for an area business.
MBA Capstone Project Business Partners:
Project Objective: To help drive an increase in sales of Hasbro Gaming's popular Scrabble. The MBA cohort focused on developing a marketing plan that would create excitement and anticipation leading up to Scrabble's 70-year anniversary in 2018, and beyond; Client Deliverables: The MBA cohort provided a presentation and manuscript that included an industry analysis, review of best practices of competition, and an assessment of Scrabble's competitiveness. The team also formulated recommendations in the form of a marketing implementation plan, complete with key performance indicators for future assessment.
Ent. Mgmt. Complex
Project Objective: To make a significant impact to the future of Entertainment Management Complex, the operators of Campanelli Stadium, home of the Brockton Rox, and The Shaw's Center, a 15,000-square-foot function facility adjacent to the stadium. The MBA cohort set out to identify areas of growth outside of the baseball season; Deliverables: MBA students provided a comprehensive review of the industry environment which included an analysis of competition, a strategic marketing plan, a sustainable budget, and an assessment of suggested operational processes with a focus on cost control and financial reporting - a 300-page manuscript with in-depth recommendations for consideration.
Project Objective: To gain awareness for the Cisco brands outside of Nantucket and the New England area, and to research new locations for expansion; Client Deliverables: The MBA cohort highlighted their recommendations from their 300-page manuscript. The cohort reviewed best practices in the craft brewery industry regarding operations, marketing, human resources and finance. The Cohort then considered new and innovative marketing ideas to help strengthen Cisco's brand awareness. Importantly, the team conducted research for expansion, exploring possible locations that would accommodate and capture the Cisco "vibe".
Project Objective: To build a framework for a three-year business development plan and strategy, including an architecture of tactics to drive sales and increase market share; Client Deliverables: The MBA cohort provided a presentation and manuscript detailing recommendations for inspiring and influencing Reebok's key consumer groups. With a focus on relaunching the company's redesigned delta logo, the team identified the largest opportunities that will have the highest return on investment.
Project Objective: How can Polartec respond to increased demand for new marketing opportunities and improve on internal structures? To remain competitive and continue to be a favored textile producer, they must have a greater understanding of the competition and evaluate its position in the industry; Client Deliverables: The MBA cohort offered recommendations for opportunities and implementation strategies on topics including global supply chain and material sourcing, customer analysis, and competitor analysis. The cohort team referenced best practices to conceptualize a competitive intelligence directory and library.
South Shore Chamber
Project Objective: With an emphasis on economic assessment, how can the South Shore Chamber of Commerce create and maintain economic growth?; Client Deliverables: The Curry cohort presented a situational analysis of South Shore communities to determine strategic options in developing and maintaining economic growth. Specific analysis focused on attraction and retention of knowledgeable young workers in specific regions of the South Shore. The team recommended concentrating on key research areas such as partnerships, education, workforce development, and downtown development.
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The Capstone Project is the final deliverable of the program. It is a challenging individual project that enables you to apply everything you have learned during the program. Some students address an issue of strategic importance for their companies while others develop the business plan of their future startups.
What is the Capstone Project?
The Capstone Project puts your leadership skills to the test, giving students the opportunity to apply, integrate and synthesize their knowledge to a real business challenge. The project is an analysis and implementation of a meaningful strategic question. Your project will leverage your EMBA knowledge to achieve your professional goals. It facilitates career transformation, and can accelerate and validate a startup idea. Nearly half of Capstone Projects on average are launched and go live to market.
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The Richmond MBA
One of the guiding principles of the Robins School is for students to become valuable resources and active participants in our community. The Capstone Project provides that opportunity. The Capstone Project is intended to be the final piece of our MBA students' graduate studies with the objective to integrate concepts learned throughout The Richmond MBA program to address a strategic challenge facing a host organization.
The Capstone usually focuses on three basic types of projects that maximize returns and lead to the most innovative solutions: (1) Market Entry/Expansion Strategy, (2) Strategic Decision Analysis, and (3) Process Improvement Recommendations .
To qualify as a Capstone Project, the issue being addressed must be closely tied to the strategic direction of the organization (or a major division or department). In developing recommendations for how the organization might resolve the issue, students are expected to synthesize business concepts learned in the program and demonstrate their real-world business applications.
Through rigorous research and analysis, students (in pairs) develop and present customized, solutions-based recommendations for the organization. The core deliverable is a major report in good scholarly form with sound technical analysis, references, and bibliography.
Over 500 organizations worldwide, from corporate headquarters to local franchisees, have taken advantage of the Capstone Project to increase revenues, implement projects, and recruit highly qualified talent.
The Capstone Project
- High-level, pro-bono, confidential student consulting project that addresses a strategic question facing the organization
- Involves multiple business disciplines (i.e.finance, marketing, operations, and supply chain)
- Results in analysis, recommendations, and an implementation plan
- Allows student to demonstrate the integration of MBA program concepts
How it Works
- Client-proposed strategic question central to the direction of the organization, division, or department
- Client provides relevant internal data
- Student researches, summarizes, and analyzes findings and alternatives leading to relevant recommendations
- Biweekly updates, midpoint and final presentations
- Project guidance provided by MBA administration and faculty advisor
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Five Excellent Business Management Capstone Project Ideas · Globalization in Business · Importance of Cultural Awareness · Growing Role of Technology · Why
This complex, multilayered Capstone project provides the MBA students an invaluable opportunity to integrate their newly acquired knowledge, skills, and
The Capstone Project is the final deliverable of the program. It is a challenging individual project that enables you to apply everything you have learned
The Capstone Project provides that opportunity. The Capstone Project is intended to be the final piece of our MBA students' graduate studies with the