Bard MBA

NYCLab


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 8 months, running September 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 8 months on a sustainability-related business problem in the corporate, government, or non-profit 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. 

Sample 2012-2013 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.

COOKFOX Architects-Terrapin Bright Green. Students had the opportunity to provide sustainability consulting for architectural and environmental consulting firms COOKFOX Architects-Terrapin Bright Green. NYCLab students were tasked with helping the company evaluate their own sustainability. Sample activities included cost-benefit analysis, developing a timeline and strategy for improving sustainability, and creating a system to track and report the office’s progress.

TransitCenter. TransitCenter is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting the use of public transportation and other sustainable transportation alternatives in an effort to reduce traffic congestion, preserve the environment, and to promote more livable communities. TransitCenter aims to engage in new activities pursuant to its mission in ways that set it apart from other non-profits in its sector. Students researched the sustainable transportation landscape and proposed strategies for TransitCenter to maximize its outreach efforts.

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA). Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance brings business and civic groups together to help transform New York and New Jersey’s waterways into accessible spaces for the public to enjoy, transportation, commerce, and environmental protection.  MWA knits together interests with sometimes competing agendas to promote educational, developmental, and political policy initiatives focused on cleaning up and preserving New York’s waterways.  Bard MBA students worked with MWA to develop sustainable policy platforms, waterfront sustainability benchmarking reports, and sustainability financing strategies for the organization.

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. 

The student teams will use an Agile consulting methodology. 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 2014 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 2013 - 2014 academic year, proposals are due September 1, 2013 for consideration.


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