MBA students assess Family Service impact
Economic analysis places 3rd in national competition
A pair of UNCG MBA students won third place in the 2015 Small Business Institute Project of the Year contest for their analysis of the economic impact of Family Service of the Piedmont.
Ashley Ferrell and Will Kapakos earned the honor in the graduate feasibility business plan category of the competition, which was held last month. Both students earned their MBA degrees from the UNCG Bryan School of Business and Economics in May 2014.
This year’s top-three finish marks the fifth consecutive year a UNCG project has placed in the national competition.
The students’ research found that the work of Family Service of the Piedmont to promote financial stability, provide mental health services, stem domestic violence and prevent child abuse has an both positive social impact and a high economic return on investment. For instance, the agency’s Domestic Violence Intervention Program, which has a 92 percent success rate, cost $82,000 but had an economic impact of $1.7 million. Every dollar spent saved the county $20.50 in inmate, court, probation and law enforcement costs.
“The donors really identify with the economic value,” said Jody Susong, the agency’s marketing and development officer, adding that the agency has integrated the students’ findings into their donor presentations. “When you’re adding economic value to the community, that’s something they want to invest in.”
When the students first presented their research, the agency’s president, Tom Campbell, said the data helped solve a key problem for the organization. “This helps us talk about our impact in Guilford County,” he said. “The more we can talk locally, the better.”
The MBA Capstone Program is designed to give students hands-on, real-world experience in strategic management. Since 2006, the capstone program has matched MBA students with not-for-profit and for-profit businesses throughout the Triad, including multiple projects with multinational corporations such as Volvo Group, VF Corporation, Red Hat and TE Connectivity.
“The students did an outstanding job on the business plan, which is a reflection of the quality of instruction at the Bryan School of Business and Economics,” said Dianne H.B. Welsh, Ph.D., the Hayes Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Bryan School, director of the UNCG Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program and director of the university’s Small Business Institute Program.
Richard Brown, the project director and faculty member who taught the capstone course, added: “The ability to combine insights from the Bryan School MBA program with the unique needs of valuing the impact of a not for profit organization with multiple offerings made this a unique learning experience.”