University of California, Riverside

Undergraduate Business Program

School of Business News

New Startup Initiative Expands Student Consultancy Program

By Alyssa Stump, Valtteri Salomaki and Heather Jackson

School of Business Bourns Consultancy Program 2016-2017

As the UCR School of Business Bourns consultancy program celebrates its fifth year of success, it expands by adding a startup initiative to create a more innovative and enriching learning experience.

Back in 2012, Dr. Sean Jasso, a management lecturer, and Dr. Hyle Park, an associate professor of bioengineering, spearheaded the School of Business Bourns Consultancy Program. As the advisor, Dr. Sean Jasso oversees the program while first-year MBA student Alyssa Stump and undergraduate business student Valtteri Salomaki lead it. The initiative matches UCR School of Business students with UCR Bourns College of Engineering students to create a business plan that promotes an engineer student's senior design project. Business students consult biochemical engineering students in the Winter, and in the Spring, they work with mechanical engineering students. During each quarter-long enterprise, business students build a marketing plan, financial budget and business forecast in support of each engineer student’s design.

“Our goal is to ensure that engineering students are knowledgeable about how their venture provides value in a market,” Alyssa Stump, co-leader of the consultancy program explains. “It enriches our education as business students to put into practice the skills we learned from the school by providing a springboard for engineering students.”

Business students stand with the engineer students they
consulted for their sign language glove design

To expand on this fruitful collaboration, founders created a new element that aligns with the current business climate peppered with innovative startups from around the world. In 2017, the consultation program added an “Investors Pitch Deck” presentation to the business plan. The pitch deck focuses on identifying potential investors and creating a proposition that shapes an executable startup business plan. Business student Valtteri Salomaki works with instructor Jay Gilberg, who teaches a course offered to the engineering students called “Technological Entrepreneurship”. Gilberg is an instructor and entrepreneur-in-residence for the Research and Economic Development department at UCR. He uses a business canvas model to teach students to create a startup business model that has the potential to attract investors.

“The new structure ensures that the consultants continue to provide exceptional value for each engineering team,” Valtteri Salomaki explains. “The end goal is to have the engineering groups create products or services with real market value so that a start-up business can be formed post-graduation from UCR.”

Should engineer students continue with their designs, the consultancy partnership affords business students the opportunity to maintain relationships with their clients for future consultations.

Media Contact: Heather Jackson|| (951)-827-3623 

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