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Fuqua School of Business Students Provide Free Consulting to Area Small Businesses

A special course at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business lets students hone their consulting skills while helping local small businesses and nonprofit organizations, the school shared recently.

The Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum is not new – in fact, over the past 30 years Fuqua students have helped more than 300 local companies, nonprofits and other organizations through the for-credit course. But for Triangle-area small businesses who want to take advantage of this opportunity, the time to apply is now. Applications will be accepted through August 31st.

Through the practicum, students have offered a wide range of assistance, ranging from improving accounting systems to providing financial analysis to developing IT and marketing strategies. Some students have even helped small firms expand their businesses overseas.

To be considered for the program, a firm or organization must have been in business for at least one year, have revenues exceeding $100,000 (with some exceptions for nonprofits), provide financial and operational data to the student consultants, meet with the students at least five times over the course of the consulting engagement and pay a $500 administrative fee if accepted into the program.

Last year, teams of Fuqua students worked with 16 organizations across a range of sectors including healthcare, education, information technology and retail. Participating students get to learn about the applying organizations, and teams are formed based on students’ interests, experience and abilities.

Student teams begin their consulting projects in October, meeting with business owners and managers five or six times through April. A faculty member provides support to each team, meeting with the students regularly to review progress. Students sign a non-disclosure agreement before the engagement begins, and they complete the project with a formal written and oral presentation to the client.

Learn more about Fuqua’s Client Consulting Practicum.

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