INDIANAPOLIS — Bringing bold ideas to life, students in the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis have partnered with local businesses to develop plans to introduce new products and services. This public-private collaboration has contributed to fresh, innovative ideas, and the Kelley School is accepting applications from central Indiana firms to participate in student projects this fall.
There is no cost to firms partnering on projects, only the valuable time a company representative dedicates to the project through student interaction and evaluating final presentations. Interested businesses should be:
- Incorporated as an S corporation, C corporation or LLC
- In business for a minimum of three years
- Able to demonstrate an operating profit for at least one year
- Able to dedicate 10 hours on campus with students
- Open to new, innovative ideas from emerging professionals
The semester-long projects are part of Integrated Core, or I-Core, a cornerstone of the Kelley Undergraduate Program. In teams of up to six, students combine skills they’ve learned across marketing, finance, operations and supply chain management, team dynamics and leadership to analyze a new product or service and its feasibility. Each team presents its findings to a panel of company representatives and Kelley faculty.
Owners of Good Shepherd Fencing Co. and MDWST Fence Supply were among the project partners during the spring 2023 semester. Shane Catton, co-owner and managing partner, encourages business leaders of all types to commit to an I-Core project.
“Yes, absolutely do it. If you have a business model that students can learn and understand, you are a perfect candidate,” Catton said. “You’re giving them tangible applications that can apply to various situations in their future careers. And giving students real-world problems and solutions that you can’t pull from a textbook.”
Jacob Barnes, also co-owner and a Kelley Indianapolis alum, highlighted that the students are innovative thinkers and perspective to dream big.
“If a small business is growing or wants to expand into an emerging area of its industry, students can pitch ideas that owners haven’t thought of or don’t have the time to analyze,” Barnes said. “And that was something we looked forward to, having the students help us. While we have many great ideas that we want to expand on, the students can do the leg work, consult with experts and conduct research. Its beneficial for all involved, and we highly recommended this partnership.”
I-Core projects seek to create revenue-generating ideas through capital investments and operations updates, and both students and company partners benefit from these collaborations.
“Students provide a new and modern perspective and are a pool of top talent for businesses,” said Danette Cagnet, a senior lecturer in management and the I-Core coordinator for the Kelley School in Indianapolis. “Participating in this program allows students to build rapport with local leaders while learning how classroom fundamentals are applied in the consumer market. When you are contributing to students’ education and growth, you’re contributing to the future of a thriving business community and the future of our economy here in Indianapolis.”
Companies who collaborate with Kelley students on I-Core projects are investing in future business leaders, as more than 90% of Kelley Indianapolis students stay and work in the central Indiana region following graduation.
To learn more about this I-Core partnership, click here.