Business Jayhawks consult for LMH Health in capstone course

Students gain practical consulting experience through hands-on work with local hospital.

Students in lecturer Ken Ward’s Management 499 course worked with LMH Health during the fall 2019 semester.

Management 499 students, including Andie Sweeney, worked with LMH Health during the fall 2019 semester.

Management 499 is a unique capstone course that gives business students the opportunity to do hands-on analysis of a local company or organization and present their recommendations at the end of the semester. The course encourages students to think holistically about a company and tie all key functional areas together, applying the knowledge they have learned throughout their education in the School of Business.

This class is unique in that it exposes students to the role of general management in an organization and provides them with decision-making opportunity in major areas of managerial concern. These areas include environmental opportunities and constraints, formulation of business strategy and policy implementation.

Students were divided into 10 teams spread across various LMH functional areas including HR, data analytics, operations and finance. As part of these teams, students conducted analysis of the organization, interviewed leadership and formulated their recommendations. Students also heard from C-suite executive guest speakers representing a variety of major local companies and organizations.

Andie Sweeney chose to work in an area dubbed “Data Analytics — Data Governance & Resource Interviewing.” As a business analytics major, it was the perfect choice for Sweeney, who hoped to gain real-world experience in her field.

Sweeney and her teammates Dylan Kurz, Rex Templin, and Nick Hwang spent hours at LMH on the hospital floor looking at their supply chain system, speaking with executives and directly working with data.

“Analysts must observe the entire process of where this data is actually coming from,” Sweeney said. “In this specific project, this meant going to each supply chain inventory room in the hospital. This answered many of our questions and helped us come up with more efficient recommendations to present to the hospital.”

Sweeney and her team used the knowledge they had gained in their KU business analytics classes to identify a few key areas for improvement at LMH. Specifically, the group identified a lack of data-driven business decisions and recognized a bottleneck between the “data-aware” stage and the “data-guided” stage. Students presented their solutions to LMH Health on Dec. 6.

Sweeney is grateful for the practical experience she has gained during the class.

“This course has taught me more than many of my other courses combined,” she said. “Before taking MGMT 499, I thought, ‘How am I going to learn about overall business strategy in a semester-long course?’ But I was proven very wrong. Mr. Ward was able to teach high-level concepts regarding business strategy and apply them to all industries.”

Sweeney will continue to use knowledge gained from the course after graduation — she has accepted a job at Accenture in Chicago to do consulting work next year.

By Meaghan Boyd

KU School of Business

Written by

Stories about the students, alumni, faculty and staff of the University of Kansas School of Business.

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