The IMPACT of the Graduate School of Management

For the past year and some change I have noticed a trend among my non business school friends.

They really have no clue what I’m learning.

Of course, they know that I’m in business school. And yes, they know I have taken marketing classes, engaged in numerous networking events, and attended entrepreneurship clinics but this does not resonate with them. While the confusion can be applied to many professions it shouldn’t be as difficult when this knowledge is fundamentally used across all industries and most roles. But I digress, the point of all this is that I believe it has become a little easier this quarter to explain what it is that actually do in school. I can tell them about my IMPACT assignment.

Our Integrated Management Project, Articulation and Critical Thinking (IMPACT) is a 20 week capstone project intended to apply the learnings from the GSM into real world scenarios. We are groups of 5 or 6 individuals with varying backgrounds and roles working as consultants for real world businesses addressing real world business problems or opportunities. If that seems like a lot to take in for a single sentence just imagine what us MBA candidates need to do for the actual projects!

Just like the real world we have little choice in our team members. Just like the real world our assignments are complex with wide scopes. Just like the real world this system is not perfect nor should it be. And finally just like the real world we as GSM students will work through obstacles and achieve/exceed our goals.

Now when I tell my friends that I’ve been working to size the market for stem cell therapeutics they understand this tangible deliverable. When I explain that I interview company executives to understand their strategic goals and pain points they have a clear understanding of my day to day actions. When I can say to them that I’ve formed connections with industry key opinion leaders they can understand the purpose for networking. All of this to say with real world examples my friends can finally relate to what I’ve learned in school so far and how all of it will be used in a business setting.

It’s either all of this or I’m just really bad at explaining conjoint analysis or partial F-tests for a multiple regression model.