Students help minority-owned businesses

Cal Lutheran MBA classes provide free consulting

"We’ve all been deeply impacted by the fight for social justice, and our choice to fight for economic equality and mobility for business owners is one way the Cal Lutheran community can contribute to this effort," said faculty member Laura Azzalina Rigali.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Dec. 23, 2020) California Lutheran University is looking for minority-owned businesses that would like free advice from graduating MBA students for tackling challenges they are facing.

In “Consulting to Business,” the final course that many MBA candidates take, teams of students have applied what they’ve learned to consulting projects for local organizations for many years. This summer, in response to the growing nationwide demand to address systemic racism, the School of Management decided to specifically look for minority-owned businesses to help.

The course gives students a chance to tackle real business problems while providing a free service to companies and organizations. Students can address a range of concerns including financial and marketing plans, information technology, accounting and reporting procedures, compensation and human resources, and other general business issues. 

During the MBA program’s first term of the 2020-2021 year, the students provided consulting for two businesses. They helped the owners of the first understand their business’ profitability by analyzing hidden fees and establishing its breakeven point. For the second, a business interested in selling one of its products wholesale to grocery chains, the students developed national distribution and marketing plans based on the ZIP codes where the most likely customers live. 

“To have students apply all of their MBA experiences to a real-world challenge and hopefully make a local small business better and, in turn, strengthen the foundation of our local economy is so rewarding,” said faculty member Laura Azzalina Rigali. “To target minority-owned businesses this year is especially meaningful as we aim to uphold such a critical social mission for the university. We’ve all been deeply impacted by the fight for social justice, and our choice to fight for economic equality and mobility for business owners is one way the Cal Lutheran community can contribute to this effort.”

The next “Consulting to Business” class begins March 1. Interested business owners should contact Erica Charlson at echarlson@callutheran.edu by mid-January.

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