Before crossing the stage and graduating as the first Curry College 5th Year MBA cohort last weekend, Don Alex Antoine, Zoltan Eross, Zoie Lee, Alexis McLea-Perry, and Mike Polito showed they were more than ready to launch their future careers as business leaders. The team of five acted as consultants this spring and produced a new project proposal for Clean Harbors, Inc., North America's leading provider of environmental and industrial services.
The collaboration with Clean Harbors came together as the cohort's Capstone project, a signature culminating academic event for Curry MBA students which challenges each group to carry out an applied research project with an area organization to use their new advanced knowledge and skill.
"The Capstone project is a unique differentiator amongst MBA programs," says Steven Gunning, professor and director of graduate programs in business at Curry College. "The capstone project brings together all that our MBA students have learned and allows them to apply it to solve a real business challenge in a professional consulting role. It's experiential education and hands-on learning for them while also providing real value for the client."
With a focus on human resources, the project manuscript led by the 5th Year MBA Cohort includes comprehensive competitor research, industry best practices and dozens of short and long-term actionable recommendations designed to generate cost-savings. One of the top recommendations shared at the virtual presentation on May 13th included a new mentorship program designed to streamline training and onboarding of new staff while reducing employee turnover. The team also presented a potential acquisition partner and new opportunities for domestic and international grant funding.
"Clean Harbors presented us with their current issues regarding employee hiring, training, retention, leadership development, and government reimbursements for employee training," says Zoltan Eross '20 MBA '21, who served as the project manager. "Through this collaboration, they were looking to understand their industry and competitors better and ultimately maximize their likelihood of obtaining government reimbursements for their internal employee training costs."
Executives from Clean Harbor commended the student group for their success with the recommendations. "It's clear that a lot of time and energy went into this proposal," said Kevin Gaugush, senior vice president, Clean Harbors, Inc., at the afternoon presentation.
Alongside Clean Harbors, other Capstone partners in recent years have included Reebok, Cisco Brewers, Hasbro, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The industry partnership offers the MBA candidates a distinct opportunity to solve a real business challenge, says Eross.
"The Capstone project has taught us how the professional world operates and how a successful consulting project is done," he says. "It was a great conclusion for our MBA program as it pushed us to implement all of the knowledge that we have gained in each graduate course. It's because of everything I've learned at Curry, in and out of the classroom, that I'm now a much better version of myself."