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Tippie Business Strategy Association

The student organization for SI academy students.

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Business Solutions Center

Connecting students to real companies to solve real business issues.

The Impact Zone

Matt Lane

Says bringing big change to an established industry takes vision, innovation, planning, and implementation; skills he gained at Tippie. Read more...

The Impact Zone

Experiential Learning

Experience is the key to success in any endeavor.

Not just learning how to use the skills, but actually using them—that's what makes new concepts second nature.

As part of the SI Career Academy, you'll get hands-on opportunities working for real clients, in addition to the coursework that allows for experiential learning. The opportunities you gain in the SI academy strengthen your resume and provide real value for your employer.

Business Consulting Project—Year One

Experiential learning project meeting with two MBA students and client

After a 2-week course in Project Management, you'll dive into a 16-week consulting project facilitated by the Business Solutions Center (BSC). As part of a cross-functional team with your classmates, you'll cooperate with company execs, faculty, and BSC directors to deliver the final product. This is your first experience as an actual expert consultant, applying your technical skills to real business problems.

Hands-on Academy Projects—Year Two

Distinctly different from the first-year project, the hands-on projects in year two cross industries and functions, but will focus on your area of interest. Depending on the track you choose, you'll experience different types of projects in year two.

Strategic Management and Innovation Track— Commercializing New Technology

SMI students will have the unique opportunity to work with the University of Iowa Research Foundation, developing plans for taking early-stage technologies to market. "Technology" doesn't just mean electronics either. Projects might center around medical discoveries, like a stent for repairing aneurysms, or innovations such as a system to allow the handicapped to use voting ballots.

Teams will help to identify products that will be successful in the marketplace, complete market identification and analysis, and develop a business model and financial plan.

Supply Chain and Analytics Track

During spring semester of your first year, you'll get to work on an 8-week team project. This project is part of your Six Sigma Green Belt certification process. You'll work in teams to apply Six Sigma tools and the DMAIC framework to help a corporate client solve a real-world business problem.

Supply Chain and Analytics Track—Rapid Continuous Improvement

During your second year, you'll work with a manufacturer or service company on a one-week Rapid Continuous Improvement (RCI) project. Your team will be charged with tackling a process improvement challenge within the client's business. Your team of 2-4 students will spend five full days with the company, delving into process intricacies and identifying efficiencies. This experiential learning course is part of the Simpler Lean Silver certification.

Examples of Strategic Innovation Experiential Learning Projects

Frontier Natural Products Co-op Headquarters

As part of the Rapid Continuous Improvement course,   first-year Tippie MBA students worked with members of the AllSteel team to improve ergonomic conditions in the Specialty Glass area. Two results of this project were to change the way the workers handled "work in progress" and make design changes to loading the finished product. These changes not only improved the processes but also created unused space in the work area.


Rockwell Collins

A team of Tippie MBA students participated in a Kaizen (Rapid Continuous Improvement) project at Rockwell Collins, Inc. which sought to improve the process of assigning and acquiring internal charge numbers to collect material charges for customers. Students participated in mapping the Current State of the process, brainstormed an Ideal State and developed an improved Future State. Time and cost savings were calculated, improvements were implemented, and the results were presented to top management. In addition to gaining experience with the Kaizen process, the students saw how the improvement tools can be applied to a non-manufacturing environment.

"The Rockwell Collins RCI facilitator was a great teacher for the MBA students. He took extra time to explain their improvement process and much of the higher level strategic fit and locations of Rockwell Collins." — Shane Sims, Tippie MBA student

Iowa Medical Innovation Group

Tippie MBA students spearheaded the StatVac Technology Commercialization Project for the Iowa Medical Innovation Group. The goal of this project was to develop a commercialization plan for a new medical device technology and to design an organizational plan for the Iowa Medical Innovation Group. As part of project research and data analysis students explored opportunity areas for development, assessed profiles of leading medical innovators such as Stanford's BioDesign Group for potential benchmarking and estimated manufacturing costs to implement the project. The recommended design of organizational structure is being currently implemented at the University of Iowa. The developed commercialization plan has already secured funding and is being incorporated in the Iowa Medical Innovation Group's business plan.

Iowa Medical Innovation Group

One of the challenges surgeons face in widely displaced joint fractures is dealing with the recovery of bone fragments. The University of Iowa Orthopedic Biomechanics Laboratory recently designed FxRedux - a 3D preoperative planning software suite, which aims to provide the most effective process for complex fracture reconstruction. The software uses CT scans to model the current state of a fracture and provides a step-by-step procedure for rebuilding it. The software has a great potential for the use in hospitals as well as for educational purposes.

The team of Tippie MBAs assisted the software product development team with the project commercialization recommendation. They successfully performed a competitive assessment of existing industry players, technology roadmap and intellectual property analysis. In addition, the team evaluated a variety of business models, comparing the relative advantages of traditional software licensing with innovative software-as-a-service (SaaS) approaches. Before the project finalization, the product was awarded $96,000 grant from the University of Iowa Research Foundation. Recently provisional patents have been filed for the software algorithms, and some of the Tippie MBA students have decided to continue working on the project on their own time beyond the course completion.

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