Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kelley learning experiences with local businesses are a win-win

Students line up for a taste of BLU Boy Chocolate treats during a sampling event.
Students in our Graduate Accounting Program spend at least one semester tackling a problem for a local business or agency in a field consulting project.  Teams of three or four students use critical analysis and creative thinking to identify problems, perform system audits and present an implementation plan to clients.

BLU Boy Chocolate was one of the latest in a long line of hands-on experiences for the students, who examined everything from how much heavy cream the shop uses to how it markets its  macaroons.

Other recent consulting projects include a market analysis of downtown Bloomington, developing a system to measure the effect of a longer school day for the Monroe County Community School Corporation and a feasibility study on a new facility for Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, a food pantry that also runs gardening and nutritional education programs.

For BLU Boy, the students developed a pricing model, analyzed the financial trends to forecast production, and helped develop a marketing plan for the shop, which has a focus on using local ingredients for its in-house made treats. The team members were Kevin Bonewitz, Kristen Keeling, Mahek Kothari and Farah Syed.

Co-owner David Fletcher has already implemented some of the changes suggested by his Kelley consultants.

"I can’t really express how well this experience went," he said. "I would recommend it highly to any business interested in having some focused assistance.” 

Professor James Grandorf supervises the field consulting program, which has been active for 15 years and has performed unpaid consulting services for about 250 businesses and non-profits in and around the Bloomington community.

Grandorf said the soon-to-be Kelley graduates will be involved with projects similar to this many times during their careers. The projects give students a chance to test their skills.

And businesses and non-profits get to tap into one of the top accounting programs in the world. 

It's a win-win.

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