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02-11-2004

Clarkson Consulting Group Provides High-quality Business Consulting For Area Businesses And Nonprofits

This spring, graduate students from the Clarkson University School of Business are working with several area businesses and nonprofit organizations to provide customized analyses and cost-effective solutions to business-related problems.

The students are members of the Clarkson Consulting Group (CCG), which is part of an advanced business course that brings together teams of student consultants with clients who seek information related to marketing research, growth and expansion, feasibility studies, Internet technology, organizational development, or other business issues.

Current clients include the Carriage House Bakery in Potsdam, Jonesey’s Riverside Ranch in Ogdensburg, and the St. Lawrence International Partnership.

“The practical business experience learned from consulting gives students a competitive advantage when they leave the University,” said E. E. “Stub” Estey, executive director of the Shipley Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurship and Consulting Group advisor.  “And although the service is fee-based, it provides corporations, area businesses, and entrepreneurs with first-rate consulting at a cost significantly lower than the market value.”

“Five or six students and a lead student consultant are assigned to work with each client,” explained Estey. “After providing information on the current state of the organization, evaluating quantitative and qualitative data, and benchmarking against similar organizations, the Consulting Group develops customized recommendations. Written and oral reports provide practical solutions that clients can begin implementing immediately. A Clarkson faculty member with experience in the field performs project oversight and review.”

One CCG group is preparing a marketing study for the St. Lawrence International Partnership, a group of 18 nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada, to determine the effectiveness of their joint marketing tool. Another group is working with the Carriage House Bakery, associated with the Potsdam Food Co-op, on a market development and advertising strategy.

Two groups are working with Jonesey’s Riverside Ranch, a tourist attraction located in Ogdensburg that features elk and reindeer, a snack bar, wagon rides, horse and dog breeding programs, a therapeutic horseback riding program, and arenas for rodeos and quarter horse shows. One group of Clarkson business students is developing a study to determine the feasibility of constructing a new indoor arena for horseshows. The analysis will include estimating the demand for the arena by type of use and associated revenues, a review of government codes that must be satisfied, and a five-year projection of costs and revenues for the arena.

The other group of consultants is working on a strategic plan and recommendations for adding attractions to the ranch that might include feed cattle, a craft barn, hunting preserve, animal park, hunting lodge, remote control car track, pig roasts, horse boarding, and raising and selling exotic meats. A five-year projection of costs and revenues resulting from these additions will be provided.

According to Estey, CCG has been in operation for about 15 years, and the projects and students keep changing. “Within the next few months, we will begin lining up new projects for an August start date, for completion by mid-December,” he said.

For more information about the Clarkson Consulting Group, please call 315-268-6685, e-mail the group at ccg@clarkson.edu, or visit the CCG Web site at http://www.clarkson.edu/ccg.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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