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Applied Project Requirement

Gabelli School full-time MBAs must complete a project in which they apply the knowledge and skills they’ve learned in the classroom—and have a chance to interact with outside organizations and professionals.

Students have three options for this applied project requirement. Each provides a unique experience that is transferable to any career pursuit. Students receive a list of possible projects and apply to participate in projects that appeal to them most.


Project options overview


Management consultant option 1

Management consultant option 2

“Project Purpose”

Team members

All MBAs (4 to 5 students)

2 Fordham Law students* and 2 to 3 MBA students

All MBAs (4 to 5 students)


Request determined by client

Request determined by client

Challenge to resolve a social need through new product/service development

Project deliverable

Becomes property of client at end of project

Becomes property of client at end of project

Becomes property of student team at end of project

Immersion Week training

ACE Bootcamp

ACE Bootcamp

IDEAL Bootcamp

*Note: Option 2 projects are joint ventures with Fordham Law School’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic.


Management consultant option 1 offers “classic” consulting projects with for-profit or nonprofit organizations. Working in a team made up entirely of MBA classmates, students are assigned an external client and work throughout the term to deliver value for that client. The project content is specific to that organization; often it is protected under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) between the students and the client. Students who choose this option develop their project-management skills and learn to properly set client expectations. Many clients are global; recent projects have served an Indian hydroponics firm, an Italian fashion company, and an Israeli NGO.

Management consultant option 2 offers joint consulting projects between the Gabelli School of Business and the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic at Fordham Law School. Working in a mixed team of MBAs and law students, students are assigned a client of one of two types: an early-stage, for-profit social venture or a startup founded by a low-to-moderate-income entrepreneur. Recent examples include an NGO that helps returning veterans to enter the agriculture industry and a fitness gym started by a former convict who hopes to reduce prison recidivism by helping released felons to run businesses.

“Project Purpose” allows MBA students to engage in social innovation. Teams made up entirely of MBA students are briefed on a social need; the teams compete to develop a new product or service to address that need. Guided by a design-thinking approach, students work with the eventual users of the product or service to gather crucial information, conceptualize their product or service, raise money online to hire any outsiders who would be needed to bring their concept to life, determine the answers to operational questions such as production and costs, and produce a prototype for entry into an end-of-semester competition event.

One of the key differences between Project Purpose and the management-consultant options above is that at the end of the project, the student team owns the intellectual property it creates. This enables teams who are interested in pushing their projects forward to move them into the Gabelli School’s small-business incubator, the Fordham Foundry , and to receive legal guidance from Fordham Law School’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic. Teams also can choose to pass their intellectual property to an NGO, which might develop it further as an alternative revenue source to donations and grants.

In light of the hurricanes of fall 2017—Harvey, Irma, and Maria—the theme for Project Purpose in spring 2018 is disaster response. Teams will be challenged to explore the creation of a physical device that could be dropped into disaster zones by rescue helicopter. Project requirements include:

  • Design of a physical device that could assist victims of natural disasters for a minimum of one week
  • Cost estimates for production, including minimum production run size and breakeven ‘price point’ for production run
  • Online fundraising plan to finance development of the prototype ( or equivalent), including hiring of industrial designer
  • List of potential component suppliers and production firms for the finished product
  • Physical prototype completed by May 3, 2018, for public display

For more information about the applied project requirement, please contact the director of the full-time MBA program, clinical assistant professor Julita Haber, at