Exceptional Carlson School student consultants use a structured approach to address each client’s strategy or operational challenge, and deliver professional-grade results. They excel at gathering insights needed to clarify issues and analyze the data at the heart of a business question, then rigorously evaluate the alternatives and develop fact-based recommendations for Consulting Enterprise clients.

  • Client Benefits

    Carlson Consulting Enterprise clients receive numerous benefits:

    • Clear insights and data-driven recommendations
    • Unbiased perspective on the organization's challenges
    • Opportunities to connect with high-caliber Carlson School MBA and undergraduate students 
    • Access to world-class faculty and subject matter experts
  • Project Timing and Fees

    Carlson Consulting Enterprise projects begin in the fall or spring semester of the school year, depending on availability.

    • Fall: 14-week projects take place September-December
    • Spring: 14-week projects take place January-May

    Consulting fees range from $10,000- $50,000, depending on project scope and complexity.

Carlson Consulting Enterprise Project Criteria

The Carlson Consulting Enterprise assists clients in addressing real business challenges and opportunities related to strategy, operations, general management, and more. Many projects are cross-functional in nature, spanning multiple business competencies. The Consulting Enterprise has successfully completed more than 200 projects spanning areas such as:

  • Strategy: Market opportunity analysis, growth strategy development, business model development, go-to-market strategy
  • Operations: Process evaluation and redesign, operations improvement, supply chain optimization
  • General Management: Performance measurement, dashboard design
Project Timing and Fees

The Consulting Enterprise completes approximately 20 projects each year, with projects starting at two different times: early September and late January. The timeframe for each project depends on student availability, and project scope and complexity. The planning cycle for projects typically commences 8-12 weeks prior to the project’s start date.

The Consulting Enterprise is a fee-for-service consultancy. Project fees are determined for each project up front, based on the scope and complexity of the work. The fees cover program costs and ensure students have access to the resources they need to complete professional-grade work. Students earn course credit and are not paid for their project work. Project fees are billed upon successful completion of the project or by another mutually agreeable payment schedule.  


Project length

Approx. Timing

Project fees

Team Composition

Fall semester

13-14 weeks

Early September through mid-December

$25-50K depending on scope and complexity

Second year MBA and undergraduate students

Spring semester

13-14 weeks

Late-January through early May

$25-50K depending on scope and complexity

Second year MBA and undergraduate students


Roles and Responsibilities

The most successful Consulting Enterprise projects are those that are meaningful to the organization and that have client involvement.  The level of client involvement required will vary depending on the nature of the project (e.g. whether it is externally research focused or more internally focused).

For all projects, the client must identify an Executive Sponsor: a senior leader who will attend project milestone meetings (e.g., midpoint, final presentation) and provide input on project scope and direction. Clients must also identify a Primary Contact for the Consulting Enterprise team to contact for project-related information, to help the team navigate the organization, and to provide periodic reviews of project progress.

The Consulting Enterprise students teams will provide weekly status reports, conduct periodic progress reviews at the client site, and deliver midpoint and final presentations to the client.

Sign Up for a Project

Interested clients should contact Consulting Enterprise Managing Director Severin St. Martin at stmartin@umn.edu to inquire about available capacity and discuss project fit. 

During the planning phase, prospective clients work with the Consulting Enterprise directors to outline project objectives, expected deliverables, capacity requirements, and project fees.  

Student Team Structure

Consulting Enterprise directors assign Carlson School student consultants to projects that align with their career goals, expertise, and interests. Teams typically include 4-6 students, including 4-5 MBA students and 1 undergraduate consultant. One student from each team will be designated as the Team Lead and will serve as the primary contact for the client.

Each student consultant is expected to contribute approximately 15 hours per week to their project work. Teams typically meet 2-3 times per week and independently complete project assignments. Each team is supported by an experienced Consulting Enterprise director who meets with each team at least once a week to discuss progress, review project work, help define research and analysis methods, mentor and coach team members, and ensure the overall quality of work. 

Client feedback is gathered on team and individual student performance and is incorporated into student grades.

Project Approach

Consulting Enterprise teams employ a structured approach to problem solving and conduct fact-based analysis to develop actionable recommendations that drive real business results. Teams meet regularly with the client's designated Primary Contact and other stakeholders to share progress and get input on project direction.


  • Investigate relevant context for the business challenge
  • Confirm and clarify project scope
  • Identify and prioritize key issues to be addressed
  • Conduct extensive primary and/or secondary research to address scope of work
  • Collaborate with Consulting Enterprise directors and subject matter experts among Carlson School faculty for guidance on appropriate problem-solving and research methodologies
  • Synthesize findings in written form (typically PowerPoint)
  • Make final recommendations to client team
Client Confidentiality

The Carlson Consulting Enterprise takes client confidentiality very seriously and works with each client to ensure expectations for security are met. Student consultants routinely work with confidential information and are trained in the proper handling of sensitive materials (e.g., secure office space, cloud-based file storage, document shredding). Student consultants each sign a non-disclosure agreement outlining expected behaviors to safeguard information.  Students can also sign individual NDA’s from the client organization when requested. At the completion of each project, documents and data generated in the completion of the project are transferred to the client.


The nature of the project (internal-focus versus external-focus) will drive where the majority of the work is completed. The Consulting Enterprise offers office facilities for the students to work at the Carlson School. However, there will be times when on-site client work or meetings will be required and conference room or desk space would be needed.  If the project requires extensive on-site work, clients will typically provide the students with temporary security badges to obtain building access.