Creative Design Course for Affordability
Fellow: Jeffrey Gangemi
Faculty: Alan McAdams
Other Student: Charles Lo
Clients: Johnson at Cornell University, Comet Skateboards, Compos Mentis
In collaboration with Johnson faculty, the Park Fellows developed a Creative Design for Affordability course. This was a half-semester project course in which graduate students worked in multidisciplinary teams to develop fundamentals of design thinking and comprehensive solutions to design challenges, with a focus on prototyping and product development. Instead of just learning the steps involved in developing a new product, the class of 36 students from Cornell's graduate schools of business, engineering, sociology, urban planning, public affairs, and biology actually designed and built products aimed at offering affordable solutions to an area non-profit and an eco-friendly start-up business. The class was extremely successful, and many of the students involved are working to expand it to a full semester offering for next year.
Fellows: Andrea Findley, Taryn Goodman
Client: Alternatives Federal Credit Union
BR MicroCapital (BRM) is a new student-run organization that spurs microenterprise development by assisting self-employed individuals to reach their business goals. Formally launched in January of 2009 after over a year in development, the Park Fellows helped BRM to meet a critical need by working with promising, but underserved entrepreneurs in the local community. BRM partners with Alternatives Federal Credit Union, a leading community development credit union, and the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise to support micro-business owners. BRM matches MBA students to local micro entrepreneurs for one-on-one coaching engagements and also manage a fund which provides business loans of up to $5,000 to entrepreneurs who need the capital but cannot get access through the formal banking system. The program raised $20,000 and assisted 5 clients this year.
Johnson Personalized Admissions Links (JPALs) and JCoaches
Fellow: Sarah Scudder
Client: Johnson Admissions Office
Capitalizing on "Cornell Connections" this project created a coordinated and consistent program through which all admitted students receive a personalized welcome to the Johnson/Cornell community and an "instant network" of Johnson contacts. Each newly admitted student is matched to an MBA I, MBA II and 2 Alumni based upon career interest and geography. Alumni and current students reach out to an admitted student to welcome him/her to the Cornell community and offer to be a resource for questions in the process of deciding on an MBA program. By creating multiple touch-points and personal interaction for admitted students the program demonstrates the breadth and reach of the Johnson community. Since the first round of PALs matches in January 2009, over 175 students and 187 alumni have signed up and have been matched with admitted students from all admissions rounds. The effectiveness of the matching process spawned an additional "connection" program for current students/alums (JS Coaches) who are matched based on career interest.
Fellow: Joe Moschella
Clients: Diane Cohen and Finger Lakes ReUse Board
The mission of Finger Lakes ReUse (FLR) is to reduce landfill volume and unnecessary waste by reselling products that otherwise would have been thrown away. Products include building materials, furniture, electronics, and office equipment; these items are procured from within the Finger Lakes region, and are then sorted, refurbished, and offered for sale at FLR's storefront in the Triphammer Mall. The Park Fellow came in as FLR was launched and assisted management in developing a business plan that would guide the center through its first few years in operation. The Fellow also helped to distill the goals of the organization, and developed pitch-focused materials that will be used by FLR in seeking sources of additional funding (e.g. from banks and environmentally-focused non-profits.)
Fellows: Gregg DiNardo, Damien Greenwood, Chad Russolillo
Other Students: Sarosh Olpadwala, Brent Simon
Clients: Johnson at Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration, Program in Real Estate
Johnson, with the support of the Park Fellows, and in conjunction with the School of Hotel Administration, launched The Carnelian Fund (NBA 5720) in the spring of 2009. The course addresses demand among Johnson students for a real estate focus within the MBA curriculum, and also prepares students for careers in the real estate and real estate investment industry. In this course, students manage a real-world portfolio of publicly-traded real estate securities and unlisted real estate fund unit interests. The objective of the course is to promote sound real estate investment decision-making. Students are exposed to a broad literature on real estate securities, fund investing, trading strategies, and hedging, and provided opportunities to practice advanced methods of investment management and securities trading with special applications to real estate. All types of residential and commercial real estate securities are analyzed, including those of hospitality firms.
Fellows: Rob Lalumondier and Katie Rohrer
Clients: The Cayuga Trails Club and the Finger Lakes Trails Conference
The project consisted of trail maintenance, restoration, and route expansion for the Cayuga Trails Club, an all-volunteer association that manages 90 miles of Finger Lakes Trails (FLT) networks around Ithaca and Tompkins County. The Park project included adoption of two multi-mile stretches of trail, as well as scouting and creating a new section of trail to link two disparate pieces. The trail adoption component of the project included regular review and maintenance of each section, removal of safety hazards such as standing dead trees, refreshing or blazing trail markers, and installing FLT signage. The project plan was created in conjunction with Trails Club leaders with an objective of providing support to under-resourced projects and ongoing responsibilities.
Fellows: Faizan Syed, Casey Ryan, and Sarah Gardent
Clients: Boynton and DeWitt Middle Schools
The Park Fellows developed and facilitated a six-week leadership training curriculum for middle school students in after-school programs. The goal of this initiative was to provide the students access to leadership development activities and resources (including but not limited to fostering communication, teamwork, and empathy) that are not traditionally offered in the middle school curriculum. The team engaged both Boynton and DeWitt Middle Schools over the course of the entire year of 2008. Given the success of the program at the schools, the team converted the project into a sustainable activity. This initiative was titled Johnson Outreach for Leadership and Teamwork, or J.O.L.T, and was rolled out to Johnson in September 2008 for open participation and leadership volunteers. Three first year students were selected based on applications and interviews to take on leadership of the organization moving forward.
Fellows: Britta von Oesen, Paul Schutzman
Client: Johnson at Cornell University
This Park Project launched the SustaInvest Competition at Johnson. SustaInvest is a portfolio pitch competition that calls for students to propose and defend a mock portfolio of sustainable investments worth $100,000. SustaInvest is open to any student at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Judging criteria rewards high performance, sustainability-driven investments. Portfolios will be judged for an understanding of the interdependence among business, society and the environment for a competitive advantage. The event had over 50 teams register for the competition, and the four finalists presented their portfolios to a distinguished SustaInvest Advisory Council as part of the Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration. Members of the Advisory Council include academics and professionals in the field of sustainable investing.
Fellows: Mark Dennis, Taryn Goodman
Clients: Johnson at Cornell University, Ithaca community non-profits
The mission of the Johnson Board Fellows is to provide Johnson students experiential leadership development through placement on nonprofit boards. Additionally, the program provides local nonprofit organizations with MBA talent to address crucial issues and advance projects of real impact. Johnson Board Fellows partnered with nine local nonprofit organizations and provided services such as decision process improvement, budgeting projects, and a nonprofit M&A study. The project was conceived last year and this year the Park Fellows launched the program serving 9 local non-profit organizations supported by 16 Johnson students. The program will continue in the years to come in the form of a student club, so that Johnson students may continue to support community organizations while gaining valuable nonprofit board experience.
Fellow: Kristin Rainey
Client: Erika Fowler-Decatur
This project worked with the Founder of Ithaca Fine Chocolates, a fair trade chocolate company supporting arts education. During 2008-2009, Ithaca Fine Chocolates' flagship product, Art Bar, underwent a re-branding transformation, both in its packaging and its target audience. During this period, the Park Fellow provided strategic consulting services in packaging, distribution, and pricing. She also launched a fundraiser of Ithaca Art Bars at Sage for JGSM's Net Impact chapter in February 2008.
Fellows: Andrew Herr, Ashish Gambhir
Clients: Chamber of Commerce and City of Ithaca
The Park Fellows lead the development of a "Friends" organization business plan for the Cayuga Waterfront Trail Initiative (CWTI), a partnership between the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the City of Ithaca. CWTI was formed in 2000 to create a six-mile multi-use trail to link Ithaca's favorite waterfront destinations. The Fellows researched the best practices of comparable "Friends Of" organizations and recommended those that were most applicable to the CWTI including The Austin Parks Foundation (Austin, TX), The Central Park Conservancy (New York, NY), The Esplanade Association (Boston, MA), and The Friends of Lake Keowee Society (Seneca, SC). Their report recommendations focused on the organization's key business functions (e.g., services, marketing, fundraising, etc.) with an eye towards growing the organization at a sustainable pace.
Fellow: Bailey A. Stoler
Client: Mark Milstein
This project focused on establishing a student-managed sustainable investment fund at Johnson. The effort included an in-depth research project and paper on the industry, successful strategies, and performance expectations to aid in related curriculum development. It also included a proposal for the operational aspects of a school-based fund. This is the first year of an expected two to three year effort to establish the fund.
Fellows: Karen Albright, Kelli Jones
Clients: Johnson Community Impact, Community Foundation of Tompkins County
This project developed guidelines for grants from the Johnson Community Impact Fund. The fund supports non-profit organizations within the Greater Ithaca Community that focus on basic human services such as housing, hunger, and clothing. With the fund, Johnson students can make a lasting impact on the Tompkins County/Ithaca Community, create a legacy for the Community Impact club, and promote the values of service and philanthropy to the Johnson community. To strengthen the relationship between Johnson and the Community Foundation, a board member will sit on both the Foundation grants committee and the Johnson Community Impact. This board member will coordinate an annual grants process, publicity, and follow-up with the organizations that are granted funds.
Fellows: David Roy, Sara Standish
Clients: Randy Allen, Larry Wasser and the Johnson Community
This project examines how to best prepare MBA students for careers in consulting. The objective is to leverage the academic and professional resources available at Johnson to improve the school's ability to successfully place students in consulting positions and develop their critical thinking skills. They gathered information from students, peer schools, and recruiters to determine gaps in resources, knowledge and performance. From this analysis, they have developed an set of recommendations and identified key staff and students to put these ideas into action next year.
Fellow: Kevin Johnson
Other Students: Erin Bina, Ryan Legg
Clients: Net Impact, Johnson, Cornell University and Ithaca Communities
This project focused on initiating and developing the National Net Impact Conference to be hosted by the Johnson Graduate School of Management in November 2009. As the largest conference of its type, Net Impact will bring together over 2000 MBAs, speakers, and visitors to the Cornell campus and the local community, and will be the largest conference ever held in Ithaca. The team successfully developed and coordinated the design of the event which will include keynote speaker, Mr. Jeffery Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric.
Fellow: Kevin Johnson
Clients: Johnson and the Cornell Community
Johnson and Cornell University have not established a leadership position on issues pertaining to energy and climate change as compared to peer institutions such as MIT and Berkley. To address this, this project helped establish several initiatives to increase the dialogue and focus on these topics. The Renewable Energy Affinity Group was formed in the fall of 2009 to provide a platform for students to engage with each other and with alumni around topics pertaining to the renewable energy space. Additionally, the project helped to create the Sustainable Global Enterprise website which provides a virtual platform for students, alumni, and industry practitioners to engage with each other and to share industry insights. The long term view is that Johnson will use MIT's Energy Initiative as a benchmark and the Net Impact Conference as a focal point to move forward in a position of leadership on issues of energy and climate change.
Fellow: Kate Capossela
Clients: Johnson at Cornell University and the Community Arts Partnership
This project launched the Consulting for the Community Arts Partnership. This effort is an experiential program that matches Johnson MBA students with local arts organizations within Ithaca' s Community Arts Partnership (CAP) on a variety of pro-bono, short-term consulting projects. Student Consultants provide meaningful analysis and recommendations to strengthen CAP member organizations and to leverage resources and talents of Johnson MBA students. Pilot consulting clients for the spring of 2009 included the New Directions Cello Association, The Ink Shop, The Ithaca Motion Pictures Project, Music's Recreation, and The Cayuga Vocal Ensemble. Future projects will be sourced through the Johnson Projects Office.
Fellow: Michael Chang
Clients: Johnson, Cornell University, and National Marrow Donor Program
The Johnson Bone Marrow Drive is an event that seeks to register donors for the National Marrow Donor Program and increase cancer awareness in the Johnson community. In partnership with the Asia Business Association, the Johnson Bone Marrow Donor Drive is designed to increase donor awareness in Johnson through an annual event to register additional donors. In September 2007, members of the Johnson community registered over 60 donors in a half day event held in Sage Hall. In February 2009, members of the Johnson community helped register over 100 donors in an event at Willard Straight Hall.
Fellow: Michael Chang
Clients: Finlo Energy LLC and the Ithaca Community
This project focused on expanding green technology use in Tompkins County with Finlo Energy LLC. Working with Finlo Energy's Solar Thermal Division, the project focused on promoting the installation of solar hot water systems for residential and commercial use. Residential applications include pool heaters, domestic hot water systems and space heating systems where appropriate. The effort included the development of a business plan to allow the Company to raise capital from venture capitalists to meaningfully expand this business.