Goizueta IMPACT Program partner Thillen Education Foundation Women Who Care Donation
The Thillen Education Foundation has partnered with Goizueta IMPACT teams to increase fundraising capacity.

Goizueta IMPACT drives value for businesses across the country. The concept is brilliant: MBA student teams evaluate and research real-world problems for organizations, recommend initiatives to create value, and engage in meaningful dialogue about implementation goals and timelines.

This powerful formula continues to produce astounding results. Evolving from a student initiative into a signature Goizueta program, IMPACT provides a significant learning opportunity for more than 350 MBA students annually and a meaningful platform for engagement of alumni and other business leaders. For example, MBA teams benefit from coaching and evaluative feedback through “Reality Check” panels of business executives who help teams stress-test their recommendations. Hundreds of alumni representing every class from the last 25 years, business leaders, faculty, and staff serve as judges at the Spring Goizueta IMPACT Showcase where MBA teams compete.

Goizueta IMPACT offers our MBA students the chance to put their MBA coursework into practice, which prepares them for interviews, internships, and ultimately, career success.

Associate Dean of Management Practice Initiatives and Senior Lecturer of Organization & Management Lynne Segall

Segall continues, “Working on these projects requires students to integrate organizational realities and people dynamics into problem solving and analysis, something that can’t be replicated in a traditional classroom setting. As a result, these experiences accelerate their career readiness.”

Celebrating Successes and Real Impact on Business Growth and Outreach

Results speak volumes, and Goizueta IMPACT teams have empowered very real change through the years. Guided by faculty members, small teams of MBA students work on ambiguous problems approximately 40 hours a week over the course of the semester. In turn, project sponsors benefit from more than 500 hours of brainpower and hands-on work.

Kore Breault, IMPACT program director, points out that recent teams estimated market size, revenue, pricing, and ROI to develop a business strategy for an electronic medical records company to market its system to mental health providers. Another team provided recommendations to an automotive company on how they should integrate and use sustainability efforts and investments to compete for the next generation of luxury car buyers. For another client, teams evaluated an interactive voice response system for a large retail chain to improve customer experience and help relieve the stores of non-value-added calls.

“The breadth and scope of these individual projects provide valuable impact to the project sponsors, which explains why many sponsors return,” Breault says.

Recently, for The Nature Conservancy, a student team worked with Bola Olusanya 03MBA, chief investment officer, to build a framework to analyze its investment strategies using ESG (environmental, social, and governance) principles. Olusanya has officially completed the “team buildout” phase for the evolution of the investment office, increasing staff from four to 12.

We were able to codify a decarbonization approach for the portfolio that we’ve been putting in place (and continuing to iterate on) over the past year and a half. The culmination of our approach factored in many different perspectives and a ton of research, and the Emory team’s work was certainly a very helpful part of the information mosaic.

Ian Smith, director of investments, The Nature Conservancy

With strong emphasis on personal coaching, earned scholarships, and financial assistance for high school students participating in the Greene College and Career Academy, the Thillen Education Foundation collaborated with IMPACT just two years into their nonprofit journey. Needing to scale operations and raise funds to ensure long-term sustainability of their business model, the foundation partnered with Goizueta IMPACT teams.

The teams focused on scalability and immediate problem solving. We implemented their recommendations to great results: a 62 percent increase in operating funds, a 400 percent rise in donor engagement, and a 63 percent boost in volunteerism. Our Goizueta experience was deeply rewarding for our foundation.

Dave Thillen, Founder and CEO, Thillen Education Foundation

Segall shares an additional benefit for program participants: “Many of our students forge relationships with sponsors and organizations that extend beyond the project duration.”

15 IMPACT Projects Launch Spring 2023

This spring, 15 new IMPACT projects will focus on strategic management, operations, strategic valuation, healthcare, and marketing practice. To create balanced teams and ensure a positive experience for teams and sponsors, including organizations such as PAWS, lululemon, Converse, The Coca-Cola Company, and Lowe’s, IMPACT evaluates MBA student interest and specific skills.

“Project sponsors gain valuable insights and actionable recommendations through their engagement with Goizueta MBA teams,” Segall notes. “They appreciate working with this generation of business leaders and find that the team’s fresh perspective on their issues helps them see their business in a new light.”

Goizueta IMPACT provides an opportunity for students to accelerate career readiness by learning proven, structured problem-solving principles, tools, and frameworks and then applying them to real-life business situations. Client partners span a wide range of industries, and projects offered vary each year. Learn more about this invaluable experiential learning.

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Michelle Valigursky
Michelle Valigursky is an award-winning writer, editor, blogger, and content strategist whose clients included Emory University, Fortune 500 companies, NASDAQ-traded companies, entrepreneurial ventures in various industries, and community-based small businesses and non-profits. She is a published book author and novelist who lives with her family in the Atlanta area.