Meda: Keeping Their Edge

Business Challenge

Supporting Each and Every Client 

Meda front desk
Photo Credit: Brandon Stengel, DLR Group

The Metropolitan Economic Development Association, or Meda, is a nonprofit that provides consulting for Twin Cities businesses owned by minority entrepreneurs. Their vision is “to have thriving communities through equal economic participation. [They] provide one-on-one business consulting, access to capital, and connections to market opportunities for minority entrepreneurs in Minnesota.

Meda’s clients hail from a variety of industries and offer a variety of products and services. Therefore, Meda’s business consultants must have strong business acumen, so they can provide timely and knowledgeable advice to their clients.

In order to stay on the cutting edge, Meda connected with Carlson Executive Education for two programs in fast-changing areas: mergers and acquisitions, and strategic marketing.




Providing Reinforcement 

M&A program at Meda offices
Participants during the mergers and acquisitions program.

Mergers and acquisitions and marketing are two areas most business people will likely encounter over the course of their careers. However, as markets change and disruptive solutions alter the business landscape, staying at the forefront can be difficult for leaders, especially if their primary functions are not related to finance and marketing. Director of Consulting Solutions, Uri Camarena says Meda consultants identified an opportunity to bring in "reinforcements” to shore up their capabilities.  

Carlson Executive Education faculty brought their expertise to Meda’s new offices in North Minneapolis for just that purpose. Each program was tailored to Meda’s unique situation: some of the participants were consultants for clients, and others were leaders within Meda, and would be using the information in their finance and marketing roles. Carlson faculty tailored their presentations to meet the needs of both sides of the audience, striking a balance so the knowledge would be practical for Meda staff, and allow Meda consultants to confidently coach their clients.

The marketing program combined a wide range of content, with topics such as value-based pricing, digital marketing and analytics, and using social norms to influence behavior drawn from Carlson Executive Education short courses but tailored for Meda participants. The mergers and acquisitions course provided a deep dive into the subject of M&A, from current trends and culture integration, to due diligence and valuation.

Of the program value, Uri goes on to say, “I can’t think of one thing where I thought, ‘that was irrelevant…' Everything that was touched on was all of incredible value. That is Carlson Executive Education’s main differentiator compared to other consultants, the fact that Carlson really tailored the programs to our needs.”


Mark Bergen teaching at Meda offices
Professor Mark Bergen leads a pricing strategy exercise during the Strategic Marketing program.


Knowledge that Brings Confidence

One of Meda’s key internal development goals is knowledge sharing throughout their team. This focus on gaining knowledge acts as a level-set so all of their clients receive the same value. It also makes Uri feel more confident about assigning consultants to clients. Carlson Executive Education’s program gave Uri that confidence. 

With both Meda's internal team and their client consultants maintaining a high level of industry expertise, Uri says, “I feel that I got more than I expected in terms of ROI.”

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