May 5, 2014 (Baltimore, MD) Graduate students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) today completed a collaborative strategic planning project with two local companies: Laurel-based Mobern Lighting, which provides high-quality lighting products, and Parking Vault, a start-up based in Bethesda, which offers an innovative automatic parking system.
Two teams, each comprised of three UMBC Engineering Management students, designed strategic business plans for the companies, under the guidance and direction of senior executives from the two firms, Frans van Wagenberg, President of Van Wagenberg-Festen Inc. (Parking Vault), and Mobern President Bill Stone.
The course, co-taught by Bob Fenton and Illysa Izenberg, is designed to help UMBC graduate students learn about the complexities and opportunities of strategic management by working hands-on with real companies providing strategic management consulting. Partnerships with Mobern Lighting and Parking Vault were secured through the assistance of Walter Townshend, President of the Baltimore-Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce (BWCC)
“Overall, it was a great learning experience for our students and for UMBC,” said Fenton. “We want our students to gain real-world experience in the Baltimore area, and we hope that the companies gained business benefits by collaborating with us.”
The collaboration provided students with insight to the complexities of real-world business planning and provided them with invaluable lessons and experiences. Partnering companies benefited from the collaboration as well.
“Our entire staff was quite impressed with the students’ professionalism and expertise,” Stone said. “We had expected a perfunctory overview of a strategy, but was instead provided with a detailed plan that pointed out areas of concern and more importantly, possible opportunities to capitalize on in the coming years.”