Management Lab (M-Lab)

Course Overview

Kellogg’s Management Lab (M-Lab) course offers students a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with a sponsoring company or organization to help solve a pressing business or management challenge. This ten-week experiential learning course blends traditional classroom learning with real-world problem solving, teamwork, and sponsor service. Working closely with a faculty advisor, teams of 4-6 students spend ten weeks on-campus conducting research, analysis, and interviews in line with the work plan they develop with their sponsors.

M-Lab projects are carefully selected on the basis of being rigorous, multi-disciplinary efforts which require teams to tackle issues of corporate strategy, marketing, finance, M&A, customer service, organizational design and/or operations. All projects focus on a high-priority business issue for the sponsoring organization and have an internal “champion” who agrees to serve as the primary contact person for the team and to communicate frequently with the students throughout the course of the project. Examples of past projects include:
  • Design and implement a marketing plan for a telecom company
  • Create an on-line travel accommodation service
  • Analyze entry into internet banking for a major bank
  • Review the business plan and design a marketing strategy for an internet shopping and gift registry firm
  • Study the relationship between pricing, capacity utilization and service for a telecom firm
  • Build a marketing program for a new product in an emerging category
Students are expected to devote 8-10 hours per week to the project. Most of the work will occur in the student’s own time, in team meetings and sponsor calls. Occasionally, work may be carried out on the sponsor site, but that is not normally required. Students may also have occasional meetings with their faculty advisor.

BIDDING AND PROJECT SELECTION

M-Lab is open to students in all Kellogg programs, and to students outside Kellogg with permission of the faculty. There are no pre-requisites. Enrollment to M-Lab is through the course bidding system and is limited to 30 students. The list of potential projects will be made available in early September. The list will be emailed out to students to review and begin team formation. Project selection and team formation will be finalized during the first class session.

Please note that since enrollment in this course is limited only 6 of the available projects will be undertaken. If a student has a strong interest in a particular project, therefore, it is advisable that he/she seek out other students with a similar interest to ensure that there is adequate demand for the project.

TYPICAL COURSE TIMELINE

Before the quarter begins, students enrolled in M-Lab are offered a list of potential projects to select from. This list is vetted by faculty and staff to ensure each is cross-functional in nature, feasible to complete in the course term, meaningful, and has the full support of the client organization's management team. Students are encouraged to begin forming their teams before the start of the quarter. This allows each team to have the maximum time for project work. By the third week of class student teams finalize a detailed proposal and timeline that the client and faculty sign off on, which then becomes the prime deliverable for the course. Students make a mid-term presentation detailing progress and issues as well as a final presentation. A final presentation is also made to the client. Here is a typical timeline for M-Lab:
  • Pre-term – Projects to students 1-2 weeks before first day of class
  • Week 1 – Project selection on first day of class
  • Weeks 1-3 - project scoping, Letter of Understanding
  • Week 4 – Mid-term presentation/progress report
  • Week 10 – Final presentation in-class
  • Week 10 – Presentation by four finalist teams to panel of judges at Allen Center
If you have additional questions about the course, please contact Prof. Bala Balachandran or Associate Director, Experiential Learning, Karen Larson.

COURSE DOCUMENTS

Available Projects
Detailed descriptions of each project can be found in the here. The syllabus can be found here.

Sponsor

Project Name

Keywords

Canary Telehealth

Call Center Strategy for Startup Remote Healthcare Business 

healthcare, call center technology, finance 

Check Please!

Business Plan to Increase Revenue of Check Please! Brand

marketing, brand, strategy, entertainment 

The Chicago Food Cooperative

Business Plan for Food Coop in Northern Chicago 

sustainability, food & agribusiness, corproate strategy, marketing 

Garrett Technologies, Inc.

Moving from Entrepreneurial to Established 

healthcare, human resources, organizational design

Ignite Progress

Marketing Plan to Expand Educational Services 

marketing, finance, operations, education, technology 

MicroLink Devices

New Markets for Solar-Enhanced, High-Performance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles 

high tech, export, solar, remote monitoring 

Ogena Solutions

US Market Entry Strategy for Companion Animal Products 

companion animal industry, marketing, sustainability, import 

Personal Hermitage Productions, LLC

Marketing Strategy for Documentary Distribution 

media/entertainment, social media, marketing 

Pictricks

Market Entry Strategy for Photo Editing Services 

strategy, marketing, operations, start-up, photography

Traffic Cast

Marketing Plan for Traffic Monitoring System 

high tech, wireless/Bluetooth, marketing 

Zipcar

One-way Mobility Market Assessment 

marketing, personal transportation, sustainability 

Voltaic Systems

Competitive analysis and marketing plan for photovoltaic charging systems

solar energy, competitive analysis, social media marketing