Business Accelerator Program - MBA Students

Program Information

Teams for 2013

Contact Information
Mauvalyn Bowen, PhD
Phone #: (612) 624-3578

The program relies on both University of Minnesota and University of St. Thomas grad students who have the passion, skills, and experience to help address a specific growth challenge in accounting/finance, marketing, or operations. Matches are made based on the needs of the small business owners and the interests and expertise of the available grad students. Students will be paid $1,000 upon completion of  the project at the end of the program.

Benefits & Time Commitment


  • Consult with a local small business owner on a specific accounting/finance, marketing, or operations project
  • Put classroom theory into practice by working on real-world business challenges
  • Further develop consulting, project management, and leadership skills
  • Collaborate with a Business Accelerator Program Advisor, who is a seasoned member of the business community

Time Commitment (Est. total of 130 hours)

  • Kickoff (2 hours)
  • Assessment Workshop (3 hours)
  • Planning Workshop (3 hours)
  • Team Meetings (15-20 hours)
  • Student Meet‐Ups (3 hours)
  • Closing Ceremony (2 hours)
  • Project work (100 hours)

How It Works

Each selected business owner is matched with an Advisor and a grad student, who work as a team to assess the business’s current
situation, identify specific growth goals to work on, develop a plan of action, and then put the work in to reach these goals. While the Advisor
guides the growth process, bringing in people from his/her network for additional support, the student provides hands-on assistance on a specific
research project. To further accelerate growth, the business owners also meet on their own to share experiences, ideas, and connections, while
also hearing from subject-matter experts on relevant growth topics.

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For a more detailed overview of this process, click here.


Selection, Expectations, & Application Process

Selection Criteria

  • Able to commit at least 120/hours to the project.
  • Experience and/or passion for working with entrepreneurs.
  • Previous consulting and project management experience.
  • Expertise in a specific area of business (e.g. market research, financial analysis, operations).
  • Able to thrive in a collaborative and entrepreneurial setting.


  • Attend all Business Accelerator Program events and workshops (Please refer to schedule for specific information).
  • Spend at least 120 hours on project, making steady progress on a monthly basis.
  • Meet with team at least 1x/month.
  • Treat this engagement as you would any professional consulting project.
  • Drive the student project, from initial development to finish.
  • Provide monthly updates on progress during team meetings.
  • Proactively engage in conversations during team meetings. 
  • Draft and submit assessment and growth-plan for entrepreneur.
  • Sign “Non-disclosure agreement.

Application Process

  1. Complete an online application.
  2. Most promising Students are selected for an interview.
  3. Top 10-12 applicants are selected as Lead Student Consultants. Others may be selected as Support Consultants depending on the specific
    needs of the Business Accelerator Program portfolio.