Small Businesses Gain Edge With Georgetown MBA Students' Free Consulting

February 13, 2012

MBA students in the Small Business Clinic class at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business are logging countless hours of pro bono consulting for five relatively new companies and one nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. 

The six organizations are:
Washington Middle School for Girls – School for girls who live in an underserved urban area and are at risk of leaving school prematurely;
Capitol Deal – A service of The Washington Post offering discounts to local businesses;
Hello Wallet – Personal finance software;
District CrossFit – A gym based on the CrossFit training methodology;
The Washingtonian (Custom Media Project) – Magazine and website about life in Washington, D.C.; and
Kinsail – Information management and payment processing solutions.
 
The Small Business Clinic is part of an MBA class in which students assist with the legal, accounting, and finance issues involved with designing business plans for small businesses and non-profits. Each year, these students are responsible for providing tens of thousands of dollars worth of free consulting to local organizations. This year, students examined projects from 16 companies, then voted on six to receive their consulting services.
 
Adjunct Professor Jim Hunt brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the helm of the Small Business Clinic. He has started, grown, and sold several companies with sales revenues of up to $100 million and is an angel investor and board member of many others. He also has engaged in tactical and strategic consulting projects for small companies while at Ernst & Young and Price Waterhouse.
 
“The Small Business Clinic is a great combination of academic focus and real-world practicum. The companies and nonprofits we work for have been overwhelmingly appreciative of the work product the students produce and, in many cases, have taken the projects and baked the results into their ongoing corporate initiatives. Along with Adjunct Professors Steve Goldenberg and Smith Wood, it has been a very fun, challenging and gratifying course to teach,” said Hunt.
 
"Like many nonprofit organizations, we are always faced with the challenge of growing our community of supporters. With the expert assistance of students from Georgetown McDonough School of Business, we know we are on a path to success," said Kathleen McMackin, director of development and community outreach, Washington Middle School for Girls, one of the organizations the clinic is serving.
 
For the Washington Middle School for Girls (WMSG), the students are developing an actionable and sustainable plan to cultivate a community of young donors online. WMSG’s mission is to provide a caring, safe environment for girls who live in an underserved urban area and are at risk of leaving school prematurely. Last year, 24 percent of their income derived from individual contributions.
 
With the class ending on February 23, Hunt notes that the team has already achieved solid progress. They have tested a process of linking people in the WMSG constituent database with their associated social media identities. In this way, WMSG will have important information about each person’s social media usage on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Next, the students will break down the people in the database into groups that have certain affinities and interests. This will allow for tailored messaging to each affinity group, and for connecting with each group via social media – as opposed to relying solely on an email-only communication method. Among other deliverables, they will provide their client with a one-year plan to create a young donor network.
 
Media who are interested in interviewing the instructor or a student team should contact Kat Song, acting director of media relations, at (202) 687-4080 or kys2@georgetown.edu. The class ends February 23, but interviews may be conducted afterward.
 
About Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business is a premier business school located at the center of world politics and business in Washington, D.C. Some 1,400 undergraduates, 1,000 MBA students, and 1,200 participants in executive education programs study business with an intensive focus on leadership and a global perspective. Founded in 1957, the business school today resides in the new Rafik B. Hariri Building, a state-of-the-art facility that blends the tradition of Georgetown University with forward-thinking functionality. For more information about Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, visit http://msb.georgetown.edu.