In March 2017, Twelve Consulting partnered with the Carlson School to provide MBA and Master’s in Business Analytics students with a case study for in-depth lessons on how leaders create smarter organizations. Twelve consultants walked through different approaches with students to give them a unique perspective on solving real-world business problems. This story originally appeared on the Twelve Consulting company blog.

Twelve.EDU is a new initiative intended to increase campus engagement and bring Anaplan into an educational environment. The kickoff event, in partnership with the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, included a case study and Anaplan model created to provide students with perspective on how leaders leverage Anaplan- a planning platform that connects data and people- to create smarter organizations. Twenty-five Carlson MBA and Master of Science in Business Analytics students worked with our consultants to make strategic business decisions for a theoretical software-as-a-service company. Acting as company leadership, students worked in groups to understand the underlying connections between sales, customer success, marketing, general & administrative expense, and engineering, and how department-level decisions impacted the company’s bottom line.

Students received a written case containing a business scenario and guidance around building multiple staffing scenarios for each department’s resources. Our Twelve CG consultants enjoyed helping student groups work through their Anaplan model to optimize results and learn more about the tool. By adjusting drivers and assumptions, students were able to see how revenue (driven by sales and research & development departments), customer relationship demand (maintained by the customer success department), and new lead generation (influenced by the marketing department) were heavily interconnected.

"As a recent graduate of the Carlson Part-Time MBA Program, I remember and appreciate the challenges students face when balancing competing priorities,” says Liz Ward, '16 MBA, a Twelve consultant who participated in the event. “Twelve's goal with our first Twelve.EDU event was to create an engaging variety of content that students would find useful: application of classroom concepts in a real-world setting, a sample of the daily role of a Twelve consultant, and exposure to company leadership to learn about career opportunities.”

One of the biggest takeaways for all participants was that many business dependencies are nonlinear relationships; a simple cause-and-effect relationship may have an impact throughout the organization. Even with a condensed, theoretical case, students had to consider many tradeoffs and make cost-to-benefit decisions by observing cross-functional relationships within their business. Twelve was proud to see all final presentations were created with a great deal of thought, not only around how interdependencies impacted final financial projections but also what implications to overall organizational health might be.

Read the full Twelve.EDU post on the company's blog.