Capstone Project Transforms Weatherhead Undergraduates into Real-World Consultants | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

Capstone Project Transforms Weatherhead Undergraduates into Real-World Consultants

Posted 1.12.2021

Julie Schlemmer has taught yoga for a long time as a private instructor for organizations like the Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Indians.

In April 2020, just two weeks after the pandemic took hold of the world, she took ownership of the Atma Center, a Cleveland Heights institution for more than 20 years, as the studio transformed into an all-virtual format.

Owning her own yoga studio was uncharted territory, but doing it during a pandemic created unprecedented challenges for the new business owner, as it did the rest of the world. 

To help her navigate her most pressing business dilemmas, she turned to a team of undergraduates in Weatherhead School of Management’s Action Learning course with goals to rebrand the aging studio and grow her clientele.

“They were very professional. They had pages of ideas and examples of how they could help me and my business,” Julie said.

The team of students coached Julie on how to retain the history of the admired studio while rebranding to appeal to new audiences. They advised her to leverage social media for effective (and low-cost) outreach.

Queenie Tang, a senior marketing and international business major, used her connections from an internship at Yelp to promote the studio in their weekly e-newsletter distributed to 200,000+ subscribers in Northeast Ohio and through other avenues.

“This project gave me the opportunity to utilize my business knowledge gained from CWRU courses, while also securing valuable hands-on experience with a company,” Tang said.

Action Learning is the business “capstone” course for Weatherhead seniors. Students work in teams as consultants for local and national brands. They provide research and strategies to solve challenging business problems for their clients.

“Through Action Learning,our students use their knowledge, skills and creativity to work on real business situations,” says Weatherhead professor Jennifer Johnson, who leads the course. “They are responsible for not only the plans they create and the execution of those plans, but also for communicating with their clients as professionals. They do the work of real consultants in every way.”

“I can’t convey enough that these students took this project and they owned it. I’m blown away by what they did this semester,” Julie said.

Read more about how undergraduates across campus are applying what they learn in the classroom to the real-world.

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Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University cultivates creativity, innovation, and purpose-driven leadership to design a better world.