Bard MBA


NYCLab is a key component of the Bard MBA in Sustainability curriculum. Working in teams, students engage in consultancies for businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits. Each consulting team is mentored by a faculty member and will leverage Bard College’s extensive resources and expertise. 

How does NYCLab work?
Working in teams, students engage in consultancies for businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits. Each consulting team is mentored by a faculty member and will leverage Bard College’s extensive resources and expertise. Projects typically last 7 months, running October through May. Teams will develop and negotiate a Project Agreement with their client, including the definition of the scope of work, project deliverables, deadlines, and expectations for communication and information sharing.

What types of projects are you looking for?
We are looking for substantive projects that will engage a student team for 7 months on a sustainability-related business problem in the corporate, government, or nonprofit space. Clients range from entrepreneurial start-ups to established organizations. Sample projects could include creating an overall sustainability strategy, increasing energy efficiency, or supply chain management. 

Featured Projects

Unilever. Students had the opportunity to provide sustainability consulting for Fortune 500 consumer goods firm, Unilever. Unilever produces consumer goods for over 400 brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Lipton, Dove, and St Ives’. As part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, they have asked for collaboration to identify cost-effective and regional renewable energy storage solutions, and Bard students helped meet this challenge. Tasks included research for sustainable energy technology, cost analyses, and the development of business and supply chain models.

Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is a research, design, development, manufacturing, and systems integration company in the aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology sectors. The Bard MBA team analyzed the challenges and opportunities in the Socially Responsible Investing space, including insights into stakeholders as well as the criteria for, and impact of, including or excluding important companies from the sustainability conversation. By focusing on Lockheed Martin's sustainability assets, products, and services, the team helped define the sustainability value proposition for stakeholders.

Community Development International (CDi). CDi is a development-focused nonprofit organization aiming to create strong, healthy, and collaborative urban and rural communities through holistically designed programs for a more prosperous, harmonious, and equitable global future. Bard MBA students conducted a market analysis for organic biomass briquettes that inclduded identifying a potential customer base for organic artisanal biochar briquettes, analyzing comparable products and markets, and targeting top prospective buyers.

Hudson Solar. Hudson Solar is a New York-based business that designs and installs solar energy systems for residential, commercial, agricultural, and municipal nonprofit organizations. The Bard MBA team conducted market research to identify and analyze potential market segments for new photovoltaic technology solutions. Students identified key customer motivators as well as the needs and requirements for each segment; compared the economics, benefits, and capabilities of innovative new technologies; and made recommendations for a marketing strategy.

As a client, what is expected of me?
Clients need to designate a primary project contact to act as the liaison for the student consulting team. The primary project contact will provide students with the information and guidance needed to effectively complete the project. The time commitment required will depend on the mutually agreed upon project scope as outlined in the Project Agreement. 

Through regular delivery of components of the larger project, and frequent verification and validation by the client, the deliverables will evolve organically over the course of the year as the student teams and clients together come to understand what’s most valuable. For clients, this means two things:

  • Clients should receive useful results by January 2015 and thereafter, with the final deliverables and presentation due by the end of May.
  • Clients should plan to spend 30-60 minutes twice a month with the students, reviewing their early deliverables and taking the opportunity to modify the project as needed to better resolve your challenge.
  • Is there a fee?
    There is no fee for first time NYCLab clients. Student consulting teams will have a small stipend to cover incidental expenses.

    When are the project proposals due?
    For the 2014 - 2015 academic year, proposals are due September 2, 2014 for consideration.