Companies Gain Management Insight From Bauer MBA Student Consultants

Published on April 30, 2018
Leanne Atwater

Management professor Leanne Atwater provides expertise to Bauer MBA Consulting course.

Companies often look to management consultants for help with leadership assessments, employee retention or specialized training.

A new Bauer College MBA Consulting Practicum provides students with experiential learning while companies reap the benefit of the students’ (and faculty supervisor’s) expertise in assisting companies with issues they are facing.

Potential topics could include HR concerns such as employee retention, training and development issues, compensation and more. Topics also could include performance management, leadership development, strategic planning, etc.  Students will work with Leanne Atwater, an endowed chair in the Bauer College and management professor who has worked as a management consultant with Motorola, The Mayo Clinic, the U.S. Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin, Houston METRO, police agencies, public schools and numerous other public and private organizations.

“Any company that would like to have an MBA student group participate in helping them solve their problem, we’re happy to do that,” Atwater said. “For public sector organizations and non-profits that don’t have the money to afford large corporate consultants, this is a great opportunity for them to have hand-picked MBA students designing an interactive program, and they have a deliverable at the end that is useful to them.”

Previous participating organizations have been thrilled with the process, and products, Atwater said.  One company figured a savings of $150,000 if they had hired a consulting firm to do what the student group accomplished.

Consulting projects have included the design of a 49-hour leadership training program with participant and facilitator guides; selection procedures using online technology to match job applicants’ values with the company’s values; delivery of training programs; and assistance with strategy formulation.

MBA student consultants will be carefully selected according to each company’s particular need. The program will run for an entire academic semester so the company will have 15 weeks of hands-on attention by a team of four to five MBA students under Atwater’s supervision.

Atwater is the former editor for “The Leadership Quarterly.” She teaches leadership and human resource management courses at Bauer and conducts corporate training on topics such as enhancing employee engagement, managing change, motivating employees, the five practices of exemplary leaders, dealing with difficult employees, gender issues and leadership, and values-based leadership.

Funds generated from the MBA Consulting Practicum will benefit graduate student and faculty research efforts.

For more information, contact the Bauer College Management department, cmlewis@uh.edu.

By Julie Bonnin