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Capstone course students collaborate with Mayo Clinic Health System on consulting project

| Carrie Ottum

For the fifth semester in a row, students in Marketing Management, the marketing capstone class taught by Dr. Kranti (Kran) Dugar, were engaged in a semester-long consulting project with Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS) addressing a business concern identified by the organization. 

Shane Smith, Operations Administrator, Cardiovascular Diseases, NW/SW Wisconsin, asked students, “In order to meet the patient expectations for cardiac care, can we leverage telemedicine/virtual care to improve cardiovascular access and care delivery?”

Smith went on to explain why it is an obstacle, “When patients need cardiovascular services, it is an emotional and stressful time and they want treatment quickly; however, access to care is a challenge in order to meet the patient and family request while coordinating with physician scheduling. Telemedicine can be used to examine, treat, and diagnose cardiovascular disease in a rapid fashion and at a decreased cost to the patient.”

Throughout the semester student teams worked on three diverse business solutions to address the concern: competitive analysis and market scanning, product/market development, and promotional plan development for MCHS’s Telemedicine/Virtual Care vision as it relates to Cardiovascular Services.

Smith and Dr. Dugar along with MCHS Northwestern WI Regional Chair of Administration, Jason Craig, facilitated lectures, coaching sessions, and answered student questions about the three business solutions. 

Teams then presented and submitted an executive summary to MCHS’s Administrative and Planning Leadership team, who judged the top two teams as part of the final phase of the consulting project.

“It is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle,” Dr. Dugar said. “Each team brings in a unique piece of insight, and by the end of the semester, we all are able to make sense of the emerging picture.”

Craig expressed how impressed he was with the gamut of useful material and insights from the student teams and how the teams understood MCHS’s complex organization and generated clear opportunities in the future.  “The work with this class continues to reinforce the quality of students graduating from COB, and the quality of instructors employed.” 

Susanne (Zan) Degen, Administration Vice-Chair, echoed Craig in saying, “I have always been impressed with the caliber of students in the senior marketing capstone course.”

Working on this project gave students great insight into business problems in real companies. 

“The MCHS project provided a valuable experience before entering the business world,” said Jenna Wetzel, Faribault, MN native, and senior marketing major. “We learned how to communicate with real-world clients in a professional setting while applying our class concepts and marketing expertise.” 

The on-going partnership between MCHS and the Marketing Management capstone class was beneficial for both parties-a high impact experience for the students and forward-thinking viewpoints for MCHS. 

“I am proud of my students. My goal was to provide a high impact experience to them,” says Dugar. “Marketing technology-oriented health services tends to put students outside of their comfort zones, pushes them to take creative risks, and allows them to approach strategy differently.”

Lori Rongstad, Operations Manager-MCHS Cardiac Cath Lab, appreciated the thoughtfulness teams showed by including financial details and measurement components to promotional plans. “Each team gave the business problem a different spin with their work. When you have someone not living and breathing in the healthcare space on a day-to-day basis, you get fresh perspectives and ideas.”

Sarah Peichel, senior management-marketing analytics major from Chaska, MN shared, “There was not a specific answer that we were being asked to produce, rather, the focus was on creative ideas with a realistic implementation plan.”

The collaboration between UW-Eau Claire and Mayo would not be successful without the effort and dedication from both organizations. 

Reminiscing about his experience working with students, Shane Smith expressed, “I was impressed with the engagement of the students through their very thoughtful processing of the business problem, and outside-of-the-box thinking. Interestingly, each team’s ideas varied slightly, which provided leadership with multiple views on how MCHS could adopt various methods to offer improved telemedicine services. The students’ commitment to the project and openness to learn was palpable.”

“I want to go on record and commend our community partner. MCHS has been a pleasure to work with, and I am forever grateful to the support and insights of Shane Smith, Jason Craig, Zan Degen, Lori Rongstad, and the rest of the MCHS team,” said Dugar. “I look forward to many more semesters of this symbiotic partnership.”

Dugar also is grateful for the support from Dr. Kristy Lauver, Management and Marketing Chair, by encouraging him to build and maintain such partnerships to enhance his teaching.

Craig shared his experience working on the consulting project, “My most sincere thanks to you (Dr. Dugar) and the students for the opportunity to work together,”

The College of Business prides itself on providing value-added educational experiences while preparing students for success. 

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with MCHS this semester, said Ashely Tettamanzi, a senior Finance major from Stillwater, MN.

“We were able to use our creativity and marketing knowledge from previous classes to implement a marketing plan and strategy regarding telemedicine within cardiovascular care. It was an incredible experience, which I believe will be invaluable in moving forward in my business career.”  

MKTG 438 Fall 2019 1st Place team

The team recognized for excellence included Samantha Langseth, Andrew Larson, Vanessa Nielsen, Sarah Peichel, Ashley Tettamanzi, Sydney Weaver-Lang, and Jenna Wetzel.

MKTG 438 Fall 2019 2nd Place team

The runner-up team comprised Samuel Bleskachek, Hunter Henk, Nicholis Lunde, KJ Munn, Gianni Rossato, Madison Surprise, and Yilan Wu.