Knowing that his innovative work through Georgia Tech's Pro Bono Consulting Program would help doctors to better assist sick children was extremely gratifying for MBA student Frank Wilson.
He and his classmates worked on a project for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to improve the process and management of maintaining the computers on wheels that are rolled from room to room throughout the hospital. This equipment is used to update patient records.
"We got great feedback from Children's Healthcare," Wilson says. "They started implementing our recommendations right off the bat."
The Pro Bono Consulting Program was created at the business school by Georgia Tech's Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ILE) in 2008. Housed in the College of Management, ILE builds into the MBA curriculum such topics as values-based leadership and social entrepreneurship.
The Pro Bono Consulting Program, which involves a semester-long project, is open to MBA and other graduate and PhD students at Tech. Participating students earn independent study credit as they help Atlanta-based nonprofits resolve key strategic challenges.
Organizational behavior professor Terry Blum, who supervises the Pro Bono program as executive director of ILE, says that students gain valuable consulting experience while making a difference in the community. "They have valuable knowledge and skills that they can apply to provide alternative futures for organizations that do good."
In addition to Children's Healthcare, other organizations that have benefited from the program include MedShare International, the American Cancer Society, and the Art of Living. Students work on teams of five or six to help these organizations.
Wilson, who served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps prior to starting the Full-time MBA program, parlayed the Pro Bono Consulting Program into a full-time job at North Highland as a strategic consultant, a position he'll start after graduation in May 2012. "I really fell in love with consulting during the project," he says. "It was a very rewarding experience. North Highland encourages pro bono work, so I will look for opportunities to continue serving the community."