MBA Capstones Serve Local Schools, Organizations, Build Community
Date published: Feb. 6, 2020
UD’s MBA and Master of Science programs culminate in the Capstone Experience, which has provided business solutions and strategy to hundreds of corporate and
community organizations in its half-century of existence. In the Capstone, which is
taken in the last semester of the MBA and M.S. programs, each student participates
on a team, under the guidance of a professor, to work with a real organization on
a comprehensive client consulting project. The team develops a scope of work (or proposal),
researches the firm/industry, interacts with the client on an appropriate basis and
presents their project findings/recommendations to the client in the form of a report,
presentation and/or debriefing near the end of the semester, thereby helping to inform
and improve the business.
This past fall, MBA students worked with clients such as Bishop Lynch High School,
the Dallas Area Rapid Transit System (DART), the Dallas Mavericks and the Federal
Reserve Bank. Both the Bishop Lynch and DART projects are longer-term than a typical
Capstone; they each had one component, with one team of MBA students, in the fall,
and will have a second component, with a second team of students, in the spring.
The Bishop Lynch Capstone focuses on the school’s new House System, in which students
are divided into eight houses, each named after a Dominican saint to honor the school’s
Dominican heritage, led by an appointed dean and comprising 125-150 students across
grade levels. The Capstone teams will study this system to offer research-based findings
on the program’s increased mentorship, pastoral care and student leadership opportunities.
The system made its debut this academic year and helps to further promote the school’s
mission to develop the whole person.
The Bishop Lynch Capstones occur in conjunction with a new community partnership between Bishop Lynch and the University of Dallas.
“What will be particularly valuable in this partnership is the perspective of Catholic
school education through a K-16 lens and the synergy of schools like UD and BL coming
together,” said BL Principal Chad Riley, Ph.D., BA ’94. “This partnership can be a
model of what that can look like. You can expect us to be active partners.”
Possibilities for the partnership include an ongoing Capstone relationship between
BL and the Gupta College of Business and career and educational opportunities for
BL employees and UD students, in addition to joint service projects and utilization
of university resources.
“We want to look at what other opportunities exist for a partnership that are beyond
what’s traditional,” said Riley.
“We want to be positioned to meet the needs of a growing city and the needs of a growing
church,” added BL President Chris Rebuck, MCSL ’18.
The DART project, meanwhile, is exploring the company’s benefits plan and how it might
be redesigned in order to better serve both current and retired employees. The team
conducted qualitative interviews with current employees, managers and retirees, first
working to assess the perception of the plan as it is now. They gathered that while
there’s a perception of there being an issue with health care, this may not be the
case in actuality. Certainly, the employees and retirees perceive health care as their
most important benefit. Other benefits seen as particularly valuable are tuition reimbursement, flex
time and DART passes. Benefits not currently offered that employees would like to
see include the option to work from home and on-site childcare.
Overall, the fall DART Capstone team determined that DART’s benefits package is competitive
among similar employers, and generally, the employees and retirees are happy with
it. The largest struggle seems to be that the employees often don’t fully understand
their plans, and the lack of knowledge or comprehension can lead to them not taking
full advantage of what is offered. Also, emerging trends in nontraditional benefits
should be incorporated to appeal in particular to younger employees.
In the spring, the DART Capstone team will conduct a survey to identify the most valued
nontraditional benefits such as free yoga classes, zoo days and other ways of creating
culture (a “community benefit”). A new benefits package might also emphasize wellness
versus well-being, be more transparent and work to educate employees on what is available
“Here at DART, in terms of attracting and retaining employees, we’re very good,” said
Mark Haerr, DART’s assistant vice president of budget and financial planning and revenue
administration, who used to be an adjunct instructor in the Gupta College of Business.
“So we decided to get the UD MBAs involved to assess benefits. UD MBAs are the best!”
The Capstone Consulting Experience has been a valuable resource for hundreds of organizations,
providing actionable solutions to business problems or opportunities for growth. If
you would like your organization to benefit from the Capstone Consulting Experience,
please contact Rebecca Almanza at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the newly developed MBA Capstone video now available on our Capstone Consulting
Experience page here.