Grad students spruce up business’ product line

By Jen Maldonado

Going green landed three Master of Business Administration (MBA) students fourth place in the Small Business Institute Association’s Consulting Project of the Year competition, giving Rider its 20th top 10 or better national finish.
Jared Butcher, Kevin Lawton and Phil Simon submitted their consulting report about green cleaning products to the specialized category of the competition. Their report was judged on “depth of analysis, clear and relevant recommendations and an overall report appearance and professionalism,” according to Dr. Ron Cook, professor of entrepreneurial studies and director of Rider’s Small Business Institute.

From left, Jared Butcher, Kevin Lawton and Phil Simon stand behind a Spruce Industries representative and their winning products.

“It was hard to tell how the competition would turn out since we did not know any of the other entrants,” Lawton said. “We just really tried to make the client happy.”
The students learned about the consulting process in their Consulting for New and Small Business class, where they worked on this project. They developed a logo, a brand name for a sample product, investigated getting shelf space on different retail outlets and made a presentation to the client, Spruce Industries, but only their report was submitted to the competition.
“The competition recognizes the outstanding success the students have produced,” Cook said. “Knowing their efforts may be honored by a group of professionals as one of the best in the nation helped motivate the students to excel.”
The students were challenged by the competition to discover information about a particular issue, in this case environmentally friendly cleaning products. They had to analyze whether their client should enter the consumer market for green cleaning products.
“The consulting project itself was rather demanding and time consuming,” Butcher said. “We knew the results of this project along with our recommendations could potentially have an impact on the company’s business strategy. We had no choice but to deliver.”
Rider competed against many other universities in the competition, including the University of Central Florida, University of San Diego and Seattle University.
“It feels great to place fourth in a national competition,” Lawton said. “I am happy that my name can be attached to something like this. It’s nice to hear the congratulations.”
“It’s definitely an honor,” Butcher agreed. “This placement says a lot about Rider’s MBA program, both in the experience it provides to its students and how those experiences give back to the community.”

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