From classroom to consulting

Wednesday night at 9pm sharp, the same three faces pop up on my computer screen.  Within seconds, these faces, those of my teammates, Vibha Vemana, Abbey Hable, and Tod Raeber, come to life in our weekly Google Hangout team meeting, and the discussion turns to our progress on our summer consulting project for St. Louis startup, Tunespeak.

To say we’re passionate about the work we’re doing for this company is an understatement. Tunespeak is an online platform designed to connect bands to their most influential fans and reward them for listening to music, watching videos, and spreading the word about the band to friends and contacts via social media. This project has allowed us to take a rare glimpse at the “guts” of the organization, and work to shape its future. And so every week, no matter where we are in the country, we jump at the opportunity to share with each other the progress we have made.

The specifics of our consulting project are somewhat confidential, except to say we’re focused on how better to help bands connect with their most influential fans and give them what they want.

The project itself has allowed us to put the theoretical frameworks we learned in our first year MBA program into action.

  • We’ve evaluated and created a market-sizing prediction, using what Professor Bart Hamilton taught us in our economics classes.
  • We’ve applied our analyses of the competitive landscape, using frameworks from Professor Dan Elfenbein’s strategy class.
  • We tested our market research knowledge that we picked up in Professor Seethu Seetharaman’s intro to marketing class.
  • And we applied the analytical skills we learned in Professor Cliff Holekamp’s intro to entrepreneurship class.

It’s been incredible to see these classroom lectures come to life in our real-world consulting project.

The diversity of our team has been an incredible asset during this project.  Vibha Vemana has nine years of marketing experience, and taught us how large CPG companies go about market research. Her perspective has allowed us to apply some of these tools to Tunespeak.

Abbey Hable spent years working in politics and in the trenches in political campaigns. She has a unique perspective on how candidates connect with voters.  We’ve incorporated those theories into our recommendations.

Tod Raeber served in the navy, operating and maintaining nuclear powered ships. He is an operations genius.  His brain works like no one else on the team, and his perspective has been invaluable. He constantly challenges us to look at the problems from new directions and drives the project to new levels.

My background is in media, with a bit of experience in venture capital.  I’ve peppered this perspective into the mix, as well. The result?  We’ve created a thorough analysis of Tunespeak’s problem and a comprehensive solution they can implement tomorrow.

Our project will wrap up in the next few weeks, as we deliver our final recommendation to the Tunespeak team.

I admit, I’ll be sad not to see those friendly faces on my computer screen every Wednesday night, but I’m excited to see where they go next.  I have no doubt they will go on to have lasting impacts on the companies they choose to work for after graduation. And I have no doubt we’ll see Tunespeak continue its meteoric rise in the music and startup scenes.  It’s been an honor to help them along their journey!

~ Post by Kasey Joyce, MBA ’14 candidate

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About CELect at T-REx
The CELect course is a collaboration between Olin and T-REx, a downtown St. Louis startup co-working space and incubator. Students in CELect consult for various St. Louis startups, and are utilizing the T-REx space and resources for the projects. The course contains students from the MBA and JD programs, as well as Undergraduate Business, Engineering, and Arts & Sciences.

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