2018 UNIBusiness MBA students present capstone projects at conference
After working with Cedar Valley area organizations during the past six months, three teams of UNIBusiness MBA candidates presented their professional analysis and recommendations to faculty and business professionals at the annual Capstone Conference on June 27 at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education on the UNI campus.
The consulting projects are the final requirement of the UNIBusiness MBA program, one of just a handful of programs nationwide requiring students to serve as consultants for existing businesses. The teams met their clients in January, presented a project proposal to the MBA faculty in March and then worked with a faculty mentor to complete the work.
Ben Vorwerk, Darvel Givens, Jeff Hermanson and Kennedy Kirpatrick worked with LaPorte City, a small community in Black Hawk County. The team was asked to develop a strategy to support the city’s downtown revitalization efforts.
Team members Ravinder Kaur, Shanaya Alvares, Trent Schultz and Bruce Jacobs worked with the Western Home Communities in Cedar Falls. In response to a staffing concerns, the team investigated possible retention and recruitment solutions.
Lincoln Savings Bank, a regional bank headquartered in Reinbeck, requested marketing advice. Alex Postel, Danny Ready and Logan Yeager helped develop a long-term strategy.
Lincoln Savings Bank team
LaPorte City team
The teams were guided by the expertise of the Capstone Faculty Committee, made up of UNIBusiness instructors. Each member was selected for their expertise in the project topics.
The MBA Capstone Conference was an all-day event, and students presented their recommendations to UNI faculty, executive reviewers and students. Those in attendance evaluated how well the results correlated with each organization’s goals.
Ryan Risetter (MBA ’07) served as the 2018 MBA Alumnus in Residence and gave a speech to this year’s MBA cohort. Risetter, Executive Vice President for Private Banking at Farmers State Bank, started his career at Wells Fargo Bank in Minneapolis. He and his wife, Holly, moved to Waterloo in 2004 to start a family, and Risetter joined Farmers State Bank as a commercial lender.
Throughout his career, Risetter has had a deep passion for giving back. He has participated in the Waterloo School Foundation, the local Rotary Club, the Cedar Valley Jaycees, Build our Ballpark, Boy Scouts, Westminster Presbyterian Church and numerous coaching opportunities with youth athletics.
Risetter was joined by other professionals at the executive table, including representatives from Universidad EAFIT in Colombia. The professionals were encouraged to ask questions and evaluate the three teams.
Seated at the executive table:
- Ryan Risetter, Executive Vice President for Private Banking, Farmers State Bank, 2018 MBA Alumnus in Residence
- Luz Maria Rivas Montoya, Professor of Strategy, Universidad EAFIT
- Ana Tulia Gutierrez Buitrago, Executive Director, Pereia Postgraduate Education, Universidad EAFIT
- Mary Connerley, Head, Department of Management, Capstone Faculty Committee
- Nick Bailey, Assistant Professor of Management, Capstone Faculty Committee
- Karthik Iyer, Professor of Marketing, Capstone Faculty Committee
- Lisa Jepsen, Associate Dean, College of Business Administration
The Capstone Faculty Committee:
- Mary Connerley, Head, Department of Management
- Nick Bailey, Assistant Professor of Management
- Karthik Iyer, Professor of Marketing
- Sarah Rosol, Instructor of Management, Capstone Experience Coordinator
Special guests of the University of Northern Iowa:
- Susan Schwieger, Director of Graduate Student Life
- Paul Kinghorn, Director, RBC and Entrepreneurial Outreach
- Jim Kelly, Business Reference Librarian and Professor