Fall 2021 MBA Practicum for RSE Final Report

Students participating in Professor Clint Ballinger sponsored an MBA practicum class focused on the RSE restart as a project. This semester’s students included Ariana Espinal MBA 2021, Evan Gomez MBA 2021, Zijian Wang MBA 2022, Jack Vaccari MBA 2022, and Lauren Severson MBA 2022, as well as Fiona Clarke 2023, Jonah Mudse 2022 and Vaskar Maskey 2023 who continued supporting RSE from the previous semesters.

The vision for the new RSE is to create a revitalized organization at Rensselaer that focuses on the core values of our historic Society and uses our independence and unique Rensselaer relationship by:

  • Implementing an innovative model, student-run, living-collaboration community.
  • Supporting the development of well-rounded, academically, professionally, and personally successful future technology leaders.
  • Enabling students to pursue their interests and passions beyond the classroom.
  • Creating deep, life-long ties between students, our alumni and Rensselaer.

An original plan was laid out in late August with three objectives:

  1. Further develop the develop details behind RSE activities (projects, events and mentoring)
  2. Finalize and implement the communications and marketing plan and
  3. Develop a draft financial model (revenue and operating costs) for the student-run part of RSE

As in life, plans change! The team was made aware of an opportunity to announce the new RSE at a pop-up event sponsored by LL Bean in the RSE parking lot. The students pivoted to developing the key messaging for this event, getting the posters made and then staffing the RSE information booth at the two-day event. The students collected 15 names of students who expressed some interest in RSE.

During the event, some students posted negative information about RSE on a social media channel. The MBA team conducted a review of the situation and prepared some possible responses to the negative media. Working with alumni Don Thoma ’83 and Cary Nadel ’77, a strategy to deal with this issue was developed.

As part of the plan, the concept of a student advisory board was explored. The MBA students suggested organizing members of several campus professional groups as an advisory board for RSE. A potential advisory board members could include representation from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Women in Business (WIB) and Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE).

The MBA student delivered a final report on this semester’s work which can be found here but you must login to rse.org first.

More work remains in tailoring the marketing and communications plan, key activities as well as the financial modeling potential income scenarios. We don’t anticipate being part of an MBA Practicum class next semester, however Clint Ballinger has suggested that he may be able to sponsor an independent study project for one of his students. We expect our advancement to continue in the spring under the leadership of Fiona and Vaskar by engaging students who have expressed an interest in RSE.

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