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Capstone at Saunders: Applying Knowledge in the Field

A culminating experience in which students integrate their knowledge from across all business disciplines to plan and test strategies in a real-world, consulting partnership.



Student Consulting

Capstone provides graduate students both a critical and integrative learning experience that builds upon knowledge gained from business courses as well as co-curricular activities. Over the course of a semester, students in Capstone courses work in teams with faculty oversight to address challenges and identify opportunities for a client organization.

Overview

Capstone projects require students to get up-to-speed quickly on a specific content or issue area; enhance key process skills such as project management and teamwork; and develop competency in gathering, analyzing, and reporting out on data. For students, it's an opportunity develop solutions that interweave the skills and knowledge acquired throughout their business education in a complex, real-world environment. For organizations, it's a chance to have current and future business leaders focused on their success. See below to hear from students about their experience.

Goals for the Capstone experience include:

  • Define the problem or opportunity
  • Determine what techniques to use to master this problem or opportunity
  • Synthesize all aspects of the problem; integrating people, interpersonal knowledge and skills, and technology where necessary

Output

  • Deliver a thorough, professionally written report with detailed analyses and specific recommendations. The proposal will include problem definition, substantial fact-based analysis, recommendations, and implementation strategies.
  • Present the team's project findings to the clients, including thorough discussion and any needed follow-up.
  • A faculty member will request from Capstone clients a short written assessment of the team work and input to the teamís grade for the Capstone Project.

Capstone clients have included:

Saunders actively solicits community and company projects for team and individual assignments. Although most projects are completed as part of course requirements, Saunders also offers a consulting option that is not limited by the academic calendar and specific course requirements. Please contact Les Moore for more information on how to get involved.

Student Successes:


Capstone team members: Jelisse Rodriguez, Diana Rodriguez and Joshua Schussler

Team CP Rochester
ďI really like this because is a real world application, in which we want to succeed. Itís something that can be applied immediately in the industry."
- Joshua Schussler

Motorized pediatric standers, a product developed by RIT students from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, provide upright mobility opportunities for young people with certain types of disabilities. This device allow the user to move and interact in a way that is more natural than a standard wheelchair, improving overall quality of life while and also allowing the user to endure weight on their legs.

The main objective of the Capstone project was to develop a plan for commercialization of this new product. In order to attain this aim, the team met with members of CP Rochester, researched information about the market, competitors, and the target to which they would focus all their strategies.

The Capstone team was featured among a larger, campus-wide interdisciplinary team with students from engineering and design. Together, the full team presented their concepts at Imagine RIT 2016 in Dr. Destler's Access and Inclusion Technology Challenge. The challenge, featured projects dedicated to the research and development of state-of-the-art technologies to improve access and inclusion for people with disabilities, with a specific task of making it easier to travel and shop. The team's Motorized Pediatric Stander took first prize! The proposal included a kit and accompanying app that was developed by the 13-member team of industrial design, business and engineering students. The device allows children with cerebral palsy to explore their environments and learn to move in a standing position.

Capstone team members: Karla Roedan, Hugo Nuñez and Aman Jot Kaur

“I think it’s a great opportunity to put into practice all the knowledge acquire through the whole master’s program and to know that we have develop the skills necessary to address current business issues."
- Karla Roedan

3D printing is a technology that has started to revolutionize the way we create objects. Manufacturing companies have been able to take advantage of 3D printing by using prototypes and proving their initial models before they release any products.

The objective of the project was to develop a market opportunity analysis to understand the future use of 3D printing and allow current companies that are in the manufacturing of end-use parts, know what would be the value proposition for them to switch from traditional manufacturing techniques to 3D printing.

The company to which this group is working is confidential and it’s commonly known as an American technology company that concentrates on imaging product. The team worked to collect secondary research on 3D printing, and with help from Professor Les Moore, set forth a plan of action.

"It is a valuable experience. Coming from a design background, I did not have any experience with thebusiness field, so this Capstone is giving me a chance to explore opportunities and learn new things before entering into the corporate world."
-Aman Jot Kaur

Follow up on progress:

  1. Can you give an update on the project? What is the process of presenting your final project work?
    On one hand, we have been working on putting all the data together. We have gathered all the information that we have found relevant to the subject matter and are now working cohesively towards making all parts make sense. At the same time, we are getting rid of the information we no longer find important in order to present to our client.

  2. What have you learned most from the project?
    The most important thing has been the challenge of working with different personalities and people from different backgrounds and culture. We all have different approaches to problem-solving and assign priority differently. Overall it's been a successful experience. The real world is about learning to voice out your thoughts in the work environment and this project has been a great opportunity to put this into practice in a friendlier environment. 

  3. How will this project help the business that you were assigned?
    The client will now have a better understanding of the market in which they have an interest in. We have provided them with sufficient data that will allow them to make more strategic decisions and understand how competitors are currently playing.

Capstone team members: Meghana Reddy Vennapusala and Chaitanya Kshirsagar

Team CP Rochester
“As a business students we are working in something that is completely different from what we were expecting, thus this make it  different but also a good learning experience for us."
- Chaitanya Kshirsagar

Haiti, as many other third world countries lack a reliable means for disposing of human waste. This leads to contamination of water supplies, and the spread of disease. In Haiti, only one in five families have any kind of toilet, and studies indicate that investments in sanitation can deliver a financial return of 7X by improving health and environmental standards in the area.

An arborloo is a moveable pit latrine that composts human feces into organic fertilizer to provide nutrients for a fruit-bearing tree. It is relatively cheap and easy to install in the earth, allowing a safe and dignified place to defecate, which in turn should help halt the spread of pathogens present in human feces. This device is portable and light enough to be transferred between pits. A team of RIT students from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, has designed a product that can be fabricated using many materials that are local to Haiti, and that is modular so that it can be acquired and assembled in pieces. Thus, the objective of this project is to develop an optimize supply chain and manufacturing operation suitable for the resources available in Haiti.