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American Today


Consulting Practicum Students Work with Real Life Clients

By Mike Unger

Robert Sicina

Two teams of Kogod MBA students are gaining some real-world experience this semester in Professor Bob Sicina’s (pictured) consulting practicum course. 

Each group is working for a real client and charged with producing results. One team recently met with National Public Radio CEO Vivian Schiller, chair of the board of the nonprofit News Literacy Project, to share its findings on developing a new business model for generating nontraditional sources of funding for the organization.

Meanwhile, the other team is working on a marketing plan for “Bank of Washington,” a financial literacy program in Washington, D.C.’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. The program is designed to provide financial services to the city’s 40,000 “underbanked” residents—people without bank accounts who are forced to pay as much as 5 percent at a check-cashing business. The team is trying to figure out how best to market the program.

“There is no class time, this course is 100 percent built around live consulting engagement with a real client,” Sicina said. “We put together a team of students with a faculty advisor, and the engagement always consists of certain deliverables.”