This spring, a team of undergraduate students helped solve a company’s real operating constraint as part of their capstone class, Scaling Lean Ventures.
Designed for those interested in starting their own business — or a career in technology, innovation, and operations management — this course introduces students to an issue that is preventing a company from growing.
They are then tasked with identifying the problem and implementing a solution.
“The wonderful thing is to watch these students . . . to see the kinds of resolve and resilience they have when they implement an idea,” said course lecturer Richard Goulding.
Experiential learning is emphasized in Babson’s curriculum and is infused with the Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® approach. Through their field of study, students are able to develop an entrepreneurial mindset by way of real-word experience.
The team was assigned to Marmara Imports, a Turkish textile company that sells its products through boutiques at boat and nautical shows throughout the United States eastern seaboard.
The team determined that the company’s exposure was limited by selling products through boutiques, and countered its retail model by using the services of an alumni business, Flexetail, which allows products to be sold from a small, mobile trailer that doubles as a shop.
Goulding said Flexetail, founded by Joel Kamm MBA’12, offers “all the benefits of brick and mortar without the challenges.”
Students in Goulding’s class set up shop on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway for two days during the weekend preceding the 123rd Boston Marathon. Though the team dealt with slow business due to unfavorable weather conditions during day one, it was able to break even on day two.
“That was basically the goal,” added Goulding, describing their experience as “invaluable.”
“Our students graduate, go into a company, and this is exactly what they’re going to be asked to do: solve problems,” he said.