Neeley & Associates Consulting Part 1: The Experience


Neeley & Associates Consulting is a unique program providing Texas Christian University’s MBA students the opportunity to gain valuable experience consulting with leading national companies, including Bell Helicopter, Oncor, Sabre Holdings, Frito-Lay, Alcon, Lockheed Martin, Nike, PepsiCo and more.

Participating students have worked an average of five years before returning to school, but this program allows them to receive MBA-level experience to add to their resumes. Many of our students are in the midst of a career change and Neeley & Associates Consulting provides the opportunity to hone skills pertinent to their new field.

Admission to Neeley & Associates Consulting is by application, and first-year students work in teams helmed by second-year “principals.” The rigor of the program is not for everyone, but the benefits are unmatched in terms of professional experience, relationship building and exposure to project management.

The Path to Neeley & Associates Consulting

Jason Danforth, originally from Raleigh, N.C., came to Texas in 2003 to teach middle school math and study part time at Dallas Theological Seminary. He worked in wealth management for two years before deciding to pursue his MBA. Extensive research and a meeting with Director of MBA Admissions Peggy Conway convinced Danforth that TCU was the right fit for him.

Second year student Jenna Pieschel, originally from Minneapolis, graduated from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management in 2008. She worked in marketing at USB before deciding to pursue her MBA. When it came time to select an MBA program, Pieschel looked at other programs, but found TCU was the only program that “felt like home.”

Getting to Work

In his first year, Danforth was a member of the team working directly with Smith & Nephew Biotherapeutics. The project team was tasked with researching social media and its application in the healthcare space and helped the company determine whether to re-launch one of its heritage brands using marketing dollars to promote it. At the completion, the project team provided Smith & Nephew Biotherapeutics recommendations based on their findings that re-launching the brand would indeed prove valuable for the company.

For three years, Neeley & Associates Consulting students have worked with Frito-Lay on various consulting projects. The 2013 team, of which Pieschel was a part, analyzed data from more than 20,000 businesses in the convenience store channel, along with the sales trends for dozens of products. Students conducted extensive market research to determine the effectiveness and profitability of promotional campaigns within the competitive landscape of Frito-Lay’s business and to provide strategic recommendations and key growth opportunities. 

Dave Boissevain, Senior Director of Retail Strategy & Planning at Frito-Lay, calls the findings of the Neeley & Associates Consulting team “an impressive complement of top-tier recommendations that were realistic, actionable and professional grade.”

Now in their second years, Danforth and Pieschel serve as principals to identify potential projects, work with managers to scope the projects and serve as team leaders.

A Unique Experience

Neeley & Associates Consulting puts students in front of potential employers, giving them the opportunity to showcase their skills and forge relationships with managers at leading national companies.

As a result of the program, both Danforth and Pieschel have gained valuable practical knowledge and sharpened their problem-solving skills. In interviews with potential employers, Neeley & Associates Consulting students can be confident that their consulting experience extends far beyond the classroom. 

Look forward to Neeley & Associates Consulting Part II: The Benefits, coming soon!
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