Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide


  1. 1. CHICAGO BOOTH BSG APPLICATION 2009-2010 The Business Solutions Group is a practical consulting group that provides experiential learning to Chicago Booth students interested in pursuing careers in consulting, marketing, corporate strategy and entrepreneurship. This is an exciting year for the BSG. Several of this year’s projects involve start-ups or new concepts launched by dynamic Chicagoland entrepreneurs. Our clients represent an incredible array of industries, and their challenges cover a number of intellectual disciplines, including strategic planning, marketing and branding, operations, new product development, financial modeling, venture capital prospecting, and others. The BSG is a fun and challenging way to tackle a pivotal dilemma faced by a businessperson who seeks your perspective and insight as an MBA student. The work you do here is therefore not only a great experience to add to your resume, but a way to give back to your new hometown by strengthening the business community and effecting positive economic change. We hope you join us this year as a BSG team member! Instructions: 1. Fill-in the information and write the brief essay on the application. 2. Read the attached detailed client descriptions and select the projects listed based on your interest. Rank the projects in order of preference. 3. Check the box indicating that you have read the BSG Guidelines. 4. Place a printed copy of the application, a copy of your RESUME, and a check for $65.00 payable to the “The University of Chicago” in the “red” mailfolder labeled “Business Solutions Group” before 12:00 noon on Saturday, October 3, 2009. BSG Membership Application A. Your Name: B. Phone Number: C. E-mail Address: D. Fall Quarter Classes: E. Briefly describe your motivation to join BSG and what you expect to get out of it (250 words or fewer): F. Are there classmates you would like to work with on a project? Please include their name(s), and the name of the project you would like to do together, and we will do our best to accommodate you.
  2. 2. Project Preference Sheet - Please rank your top 7 projects from 1-7: ___ 8giftshopinternational ___ Advanced Diamond Technologies ___ Air Cargo Containers ___ Bolder Thinking LLC ___ Bunkhouse Media/The Toilet Paper ___ Culinary Connections/FitDelicious ___ Ed Cruzat Tennis Academy ___ Element Bars ___ FamilyFarmed ___ The French Company ___ Gameday Housing ___ McDonald’s Corporation ___ ShoreCap Exchange ___ ___ Tula Foods ___ University of Chicago Licensing BSG Guidelines 1. Throughout your BSG project, we expect that you will positively represent Chicago Booth. 2. On average, we estimate that your project could require 5 hours/week. However, your time commitments may vary quite a bit from week to week. 2
  3. 3. 3. We expect that your project team will produce an arrangement letter, a workplan (including a scope of work to be formally presented to your client and consultants), and timely status reports for your client. 4. We expect that your team will make a timely presentation of the final results to your client. 5. We expect that at least one member of your BSG team will communicate frequently with your client to keep them apprised of your project progress and direction. 6. To mitigate problems, we expect that your team will alert the BSG Co-Chairs of problems that may impact your ability to provide the client with high quality and timely results. 7. If your team requires additional resources, we expect you to utilize the library on online research tools, 2nd-year advisors, your client, your consultant mentor, Chicago Booth alumni, and the University of Chicago faculty. 8. Most importantly, enjoy BSG and make lots of connections. You’ll learn a lot! Yes, I have read and understand the BSG Guidelines: _____________________________ (Signature) If you have any questions, please contact any of the Co-Chairs via e-mail: Arnaud Comet Scott Healy Carolyn Jannace Talia Kaczaraj Carlos Recuay 3
  4. 4. PROJECT LIST 2009-2010 Client Project Summary Type of Project Industry 8giftshopinternational 8Source is a US and China based company that creates and wholesales authentic Asian and Strategy E-Commerce Chinese giftware to middle and small retailers around the world. With a US office in Chicago and several offices around China, 8Source’s unique business model allows it to provide high quality products at the best price. The company also maintains personal relationships with the artisans and craftsmen that create its products. Currently, 8giftshop offers two major product categories: jewelry and electronics. The company needs, among other assistance, a cost accounting analysis to help it determine its most profitable products and order sizes. 8giftshop ultimately seeks to expand to offer a wide variety of products similar to Based on the analysis done on its jewelry and electronic lines, the student team will make a recommendation for a profitable expansion of the product line. 8giftshop also needs direction and advice on website layout, branding and positioning to reinforce a clear message to consumers: that it can offer high quality products at competitive prices due to its warehousing and shipping advantage. Advanced Diamond Advanced Diamond Technologies (ADT) is a young, investor-backed company that spun out Product Launch Materials, Technologies of Argonne National Laboratory. ADT is the world leader in developing and applying diamond Nanotech film for industrial, electronic, medical and cleantech applications. In simple terms, the company converts methane (natural gas) into thin, smooth diamond and applies it to a variety of products to make them more durable, energy-saving and biocompatible. The markets ADT targets include manufacturers of products known as tilt-pad thrust bearings and tilt-pad journal bearings. To see them, visit: ADT makes the trapezoidal inserts that are readily visible. Potential customers include companies such as Waukesha that, as an original equipment manufacturer, incorporates ADT materials in components and assumes all sales and marketing of final products. ADT is launching a new product that functions similar to a mechanical seal. The challenge: to determine which segment ADT should now target.
  5. 5. Client Project Summary Type of Project Industry Air Cargo Containers ACC is a newly-formed operating company sponsored by partners who are leaders in their Branding, Pricing Manufacturing respective fields. ACC was established to manufacture and bring to market a uniquely and Logistics designed air cargo container with performance characteristics superior to models currently in use. Target markets include the leading domestic and international air cargo carriers. N-1 Technologies, a private Chicago-based asset management company, is a 50% owner in Air Cargo Containers LLC. ACC’s cargo container is constructed of lightweight composite polymers that are just as durable as traditional aluminum containers but roughly half the weight. This weight saving has great potential to reduce total fuel and shipping costs for freight carriers. Currently, most freight companies make small “maintenance” orders, only replacing containers too damaged to remain in service. Air Cargo’s goal is encourage purchases that replace a customer’s entire aluminum container fleet. Air Cargo needs a student team to help prove its value by showing potential clients a projected return on investment (ROI) that justifies investment. Bolder Thinking, LLC Product Launch/ Entrepreneurial Bolder Thinking, the brainchild of Booth alumni, was created with the intent to develop new Product Business businesses based on the founders’ experiences in wireless, navigation, call centers, quick Development Creation; service retail and high-technology. The company works closely with thought leaders in these Technology sectors, pursuing projects ranging from new product launches, company creation/seed funding, and business process development around innovation and social networking. Bolder Thinking principals have been involved in the development of several new businesses including NAVTEQ, Digital Globe and Verety. Bolder Thinking is exploring options to develop a new business to provide a highly automated customer service capability that is based on human intelligence supported automation. This would, in part, replace existing human-based call centers and live chat mechanisms on the web. The vision is to support fairly complex transactions such as troubleshooting problems with a computer, supporting a warranty request on a product, etc. The BSG team will engage directly with Bolder Thinking to revise/refine the product offering, with an eye towards recognizing the differentiators that will affect the new company’s success. Please note: Bolder Thinking will retain all rights to the work products. All team members will be required to enter into non-disclosure agreements. 5
  6. 6. Client Project Summary Type of Project Industry Bunkhouse Media/The The Toilet Paper LLC (“TTP”) is a rapidly-growing email newsletter featuring intelligent, edgy, Growth Strategy E-Publishing/ Toilet Paper and topical content. TTP launched six months ago and is experiencing 57% month-over E-news/ Web month-growth. The founders believe they are in the early stages of a geometric growth curve, 2.0 and are targeting a year-end subscription base of about 50,000 viewers. TTP is a bootstrapped business with three experienced partners, a fully developed brand (with a valuable top-level domain), a simple but robust open source technology platform, and very low operating expenses. The company seeks low-cost channels to acquire high-quality subscribers. Already, the publication uses a unique integrated advertorial platform that is expected to command premium pricing. While its primary focus during launch has been building audience, TTP has also made significant inroads into advertising and has formed relationships with brand managers and media buyers with experience purchasing newsletter products. In August, TTP sold its first advertisement (a dedicated advertorial email and in- email display) to a start-up energy drink company called HYDRIVE Energy. Like DailyCandy, Thrillist, Urban Daddy, Flavorpill, Ideal Bite, and The Daily Beast (just to name a few), TTP seeks to prove that advertisers will pay for a customized, integrated campaign that is highly targeted to a valuable audience. TTP needs assistance from a student team to conduct an analysis of its growth strategy that addresses customer acquisition and retention concerns. The analysis will help build the business and support the founders’ preferred exit strategy. Culinary Connections/ Culinary Connections is an international food consulting and training company that Marketing, Food FitDelicious specializes in the evaluation, development, and implementation of cutting-edge fresh Strategy prepared food products, meal solution programs, foodservice systems and take-out food businesses. In addition, Culinary Connections is the publisher of the book FitDelicious: Lose the Pounds, Not the Taste. The book was written by President and Founder Marcia Schurer, a 30-year food industry insider who knows all the tools of the trade. The book is currently marketed as a 1) book, 2) book plus health and wellness programs, and 3) healthy food products and programs to consumers and businesses including: food retailers, health care agencies, health insurance companies, food organizations, food manufacturers, government, schools, and more. Culinary Connections also creates custom designed seminars and workshops for professional groups, businesses and organizations. More and more companies are offering corporate wellness programs, particularly to decrease healthcare costs. Culinary Connections would like to capitalize on this trend, evaluate market potential and gain access into this emerging industry. Culinary Connections would like to evaluate and shape its plan to bundle FitDelicious with its current menu of workshops/programs designed for corporations. 6
  7. 7. Client Project Summary Type of Project Industry Ed Cruzat Tennis The mission of ECTA is to teach youth while integrating essential physical activities that are Operational Sports Academy core to enhancing athletic and intellectual development. Its classes are designed for children Effectiveness (Tennis) between the ages of 4 to 18 years of age and provide a creative environment that is engaging and fun as well as physically and educationally stimulating. The vision of ECTA is to grow the interest for tennis and enhance the love of the game by engaging a broad set of participants in the Chicagoland area. The Academy’s summer camp is one of the most important programs for ECTA, but the company is unclear about the true costs and revenues generated by the camp last summer. An analysis of recent performance will help inform planning for future summer camps, providing direction for increased profitability. The challenge for the BSG team is to determine ways for ECTA to improve its visibility and financial viability while implementing more successful operational practices into its core programs. Element Bars Through a unique online ordering platform, lets users design their own Finance/ Venture Food custom energy bars by selecting organic and conventional ingredients and then naming their Capital bar. Each energy bar is hand-made, packaged, and then labeled with its custom bar name and nutritional information. Element Bars is committed to using unprocessed or minimally processed elements in each bar to retain the most nutritional value. Recently featured on the ABC television show The Shark Tank (, Element Bars is seeking to raise equity among private investors and venture capitalists. The challenge for the BSG team is to help Element Bars determine the market for a successful fundraising, answering the question: Which investors would be interested in having ownership in Element Bars? The team’s role in this project will not be to start the business plan from zero, but to update the business plan and to provide a robust valuation of Element Bars. It will involve a strong commitment from the team, and would offer a great opportunity for those interested in VC or Investment Banking. 7
  8. 8. Client Project Summary Type of Project Industry FamilyFarmed is a Chicago-based non-profit that works to expand the production, Venture Capital/ Agriculture, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food and goods to Investor Relations Trade Shows/ enhance the social, economic and environmental health of communities. Events partners with many of the leading buyers and sellers of local and organic food in the Midwest, including Whole Foods Market, Goodness Greeness, Sysco, Chicago Public Schools, Bon Appetit Management Company, Chipotle, Sodexo, Organic Valley, and others. The organization is seeking to expand and spinoff its signature EXPO, an event poised to become a national model in connecting buyers and sellers of local and organic food. Over the last four years, its 9,000-plus attendees have included producers, distributors, retailers, restaurants, and consumers. To realize the potential of the EXPO, has created a new for-profit company, FamilyFarmed Partners, that will purchase and own the EXPO. The for-profit spin-off is intended to generate enough capital to create an EXPO in another market as a proof of concept. The process of spinning the EXPO off as a for-profit requires the development of an investor presentation in order to sell a stake in FamilyFarmed Partners to investors. The BSG team will will help shape its pitch to potential investors. The challenge: to study the market for similar national events, gain insight into the needs and expectations of targeted investors, and determine the value proposition of’s ground-breaking EXPO. The French Company As the largest nationwide service provider in its field, The French Company® primarily Business-to- Equipment provides maintenance and repair of retail store rolling stock, with a focus on shopping carts Business Maintenance and backroom material-handling equipment. Its clients include several regional and national Marketing specialty and big box retailers (BJ’s Wholesale Club, Babies R Us, PetSmart, Safeway, Staples, Toys R Us, Walmart) that are serviced through the company’s channel of field technicians stationed throughout the continental US. French Company technicians use state- of-the-art laptops to collect service data and submit invoicing information to the corporate office using proprietary software. The company has had steady growth historically and enjoyed a 25% increase in business in 2008. The BSG team will provide The French Company with an innovative business-to-business marketing model. To develop this model, students will benchmark other similar national service firms through qualitative and quantitative interviews and other research, determining the best way for The French Company to market itself to its target customer. 8
  9. 9. Client Project Summary Type of Project Industry Gameday Housing Gameday Housing LLC is a sports-themed vacation rental business that helps fans from out Strategy/ Business Sports, of town find lodging for large groups that is comfortable, a great value, and as close as Modeling Housing possible to their sporting event. In Gameday’s model, local property owners provide their homes and set their prices and the company provides a safe and trustworthy way for the two parties to transact. Fees are commission-based with little or no up front cost for either party. Gameday manages collection of payments, rental contracts, and offer expert advice on how to rent homes. A primary strategic concern is identifying and prioritizing attractive markets for future growth. Gameday seeks BSG students to conduct an analysis of the opportunity available in serving various professional sports markets, geographies, and related activities that drive demand for recreational housing. The student team will consider the relative size of the opportunity, the fit within the current commission structure, and Gameday’s ability to serve the market through its existing technology platform. The key questions for BSGers: Does Gameday’s business model need adjustment to achieve maximum scale and market share in these new markets? What competencies can help us grow more quickly and is our technology platform in-line with our strategy? McDonald’s Management Food McDonald’s is a recognized leader in the area of quick service food. The company is Corporation Innovation, currently working to develop new approaches for stimulating innovation, converting Network innovations into new products/service models/company capabilities, and deploying these Structures, innovations throughout the company. Operations As part of this effort, McDonald’s is looking to develop new business processes and incentive Optimization systems, deploy social networking technology to facilitate communication amongst its 1+ million employees, and improve its technology and operating platforms to facilitate the creation of innovation across its systems. McDonald’s also seeks to improve its ability to tap into third party suppliers, improve its ability to willfully select projects for further development and reduce time to market. Recognizing that some localized innovative production practices may be difficult to scale and deploy in other markets, the BSG team will help McDonald’s evaluate several proposed processes and related incentives for managing the innovation value chain. Please note: All project team members will be required to enter into non-disclosure agreements with McDonald’s Corporation. All work products will need to be the property of McDonald’s Corporation. 9
  10. 10. Client Project Summary Type of Project Industry ShoreCap Exchange ShoreCap Exchange (SCE) is a not-for-profit capacity building company, founded in 2003 by Growth Microfinance ShoreBank, focused on assisting microfinance institutions and small business banks serving Strategy/Operation and Small the poor and underbanked communities in Africa and Asia. SCE has two main lines of s Business business: 1) onsite capacity building for investee institutions and 2) knowledge exchange and Banking in peer learning for the broader industry. It works closely with ShoreCap International, a $28.3 Emerging million fund that invests equity and debt in these institutions, thereby creating the financial Economies and economic infrastructure necessary to alleviate poverty and improve the standard of living in emerging economies. The global microfinance and small business banking industries have rapidly expanded in recent years and are constantly evolving to take advantage of innovation in the marketplace. SCI, SCE’s private equity affiliate, will be deploying additional capital in the next couple of years to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities. SCI’s expansion will double the number of clients for which SCE will manage onsite capacity building. In addition, SCE is in the process of repackaging its knowledge exchange and peer learning business into a scalable, first-of-its-kind organizational model that will have significantly improved reach. ShoreCap Exchange seeks a BSG team to evaluate and enhance its business strategy, helping the organization focus and plan for growth in the next three to five years. The goal: to ensure that SCE will be well-positioned to meet the demands of its client banks, provide a broader range of services to the larger industry, create a visible identity niche for itself and develop innovative performance measurements in the process. The BSG team will help SCE develop current areas of exploration, identifying new growth opportunities and scope out ways to leverage assistance from affiliates and existing players in the microfinance field. The goal of the Urban Health Initiative at the University of Chicago is to improve the long- Business Model Healthcare term health outcomes of residents from the south side of Chicago. Through its website, Monetization, the Urban Health Initiative seeks to use an innovative wiki framework and social computing tools to address a major problem that has long existed in healthcare and social services: the abysmally poor quality of information given to patients and clients for the purpose of referring them to other agencies that offer a related service. A pilot site of was recently funded by a grant from the Chicago Community Trust (CCT), and the next phase of this project is to assess whether this project has the potential to become a self-sustaining business, either for-profit or non-profit. This assessment would include analyzing how this site has the potential to earn revenue and developing a sustainable revenue model. The BSG team will be asked to resolve two key questions: Does have the potential to become a self-sustaining business? How would a realistic revenue model be structured? Tula Foods Tula Foods has developed and is marketing a line of science-based, functional foods under Market Research Food/Consum the Better Whey of Life® brand. Better Whey of Life® is the first brand to enhance everyday and New Product er Packaged 10
  11. 11. Client Project Summary Type of Project Industry foods with Whey Protein, a superior protein for building lean bodies. Better Whey of Life® Development Goods has five flavors of yogurt on the market in 15 states (concentrated in the Midwest and the New York tri-state area). Plans are in place to have Whey Protein-enhanced products in a variety of product categories throughout stores. Better Whey of Life is entering a new category of refrigerated desserts and wants to enter with a category-changing product. The challenge for the BSG team is to determine the best way to position this product so that Tula can capture the strongest growth within its targeted market segments. Please note: All team members will be required to enter into non-disclosure agreements. University of Chicago The University of Chicago Communications Department seeks to improve the global footprint Retail, Brand University Communications of the University of Chicago brand. As the organization responsible for marketing and Management Licensing and Department branding the Chicago name, the Licensing office faces a number of opportunities: the Royalties (Licensing) growing world presence of the University and its alumni; increasing media recognition of Chicago’s faculty during the global financial crisis; Chicago Booth’s recognition in key media outlets as the world’s top business school; and even a White House with deep, abiding ties to Hyde Park. Capitalizing on each of these opportunities could translate not only into increased sales of logo-imprinted products, but also into an enhanced brand awareness of the University of Chicago name. The University of Chicago’s licensing staff is working to build an entrepreneurial business model that redefines how universities design, manufacture and distribute logo merchandise. To do so requires significant insights into retail sales (both in-person and online) at key retail sites and an understanding of product preferences among those consumers most likely to purchase University of Chicago-branded products. To shape the University of Chicago’s licensing strategy, BSG students will attempt to answer the following questions: • What are other schools (in the Chicago area) selling? What is the product placement in similar bookstores/campus shops? • What kind of products would get current students and alumni excited/interested? • Currently, the Gleacher Center bookstore outperforms the Hyde Park store. Who is coming to Gleacher, and why? What products sell better there? • Overall, what products should the U of C sell? Where should it place them and how should it display them to increase royalty revenues and visibility? 11