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Neeley & Associates MBAs Stand and Deliver as Paid Consultants for Major Corporations

As members of Neeley & Associates, first-year TCU MBAs undertake consulting projects for corporate clients who pay a significant fee for the work – and get impactful results.

November 27,  2017

By Elaine Cole

[Excerpt from Neeley Magazine] - Ask questions. Listen to customers. Meet with CEOs. Gather data. Weigh options. Determine the best course of action. Sell it. It’s all in a day’s work (or a semester’s) for Neeley & Associates MBA consultants.

Nike, PepsiCo, Alcon, Michaels, Sabre, GM Financial, Frito-Lay, Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter. These impressive clients pay TCU Neeley MBAs to provide fresh insights to challenges they are facing.

Michaels came to Neeley & Associates for help deciding whether or not to launch online custom framing. As the biggest framer in the industry it seemed like a natural fit, but Michaels needed to know if new customers would come on board to grow the business.

Jennifer Rawls, vice president of Artistree Retail, a division of Michaels Stores Inc., said hiring Neeley & Associates benefits Michaels in several ways. “First, it allows our current resources to keep working on their projects. Second, it gives us an outside perspective. Third, it is a relatively inexpensive way to get a base strategy plan put together.”

For the MBA students, it’s all about getting that valuable on-the-job experience.

“In addition to applying new knowledge from the classroom, Neeley & Associates MBAs get to experience and develop skills that are applicable and beneficial to the rest of their careers: project management, client management, harnessing the power of an aligned team, and delivering outcomes in a limited amount of time,” said Ed Riefenstahl, director of MBA experiential learning.

Riefenstahl added that what makes the program unique are the resources that stand behind the students to help them hone their skills: second-year MBAs serve as principals, paid faculty members are subject matter experts, professional consultants serve as coaches and business executives act as external reviewers. 

After seeing them in action, many clients hire their consultants for internships or full-time positions. Other companies also are impressed by the experience on students’ résumés. 

Greg Goolsby MBA’ 08, senior licensing and acquisition manager at FUNimation, said his Neeley & Associates experience was a differentiator as he applied for full-time jobs upon graduation.  

“Few job candidates have ever done a consulting project. It gave me examples of how I creatively overcame a difficult challenge for a major company,” Goolsby said.  

For Nicholas Martin MBA ’13, brand manager for Smith & Nephew, his Neeley & Associates experience showed he was management material.

“Neeley & Associates helped me get into a management role early and gave me experience working under tight deadlines with challenging deliverables,” Martin said.

Spencer Bayless MBA’08, director of store strategy and customer insights for Ross Stores Inc., said he utilizes his Neeley & Associates experience every day. 

“No matter where you work, you are a consultant,” Bayless said. “You are always solving problems, creating a framework for the task, devising a work plan and understanding who you need to talk to.”

Read the full story the latest issue of Neeley Magazine

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