Coursework sends students to golf course

Business students acted as consultants for Springfield Golf Club
Business students acted as consultants for Springfield Golf Club

When your client is the Springfield Golf Club, it just makes good business sense to visit the course and play a few holes.

Undergraduates in Lundquist College of Business instructor Beth Hjelm’s business strategy and planning course did just that recently, as part of their real-life consulting efforts for a real-world client.

Hjelm is an unabashed proponent of hands-on experience, largely because she has plenty of that herself. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Notre Dame and her MBA from Northwestern University, she worked 15 years for Coopers & Lybrand Consulting, stationed in London, New York, Detroit, Chicago and Connecticut.

Her business strategy and planning course represents the culmination of the undergraduate experience for business students, bringing together everything they've learned in the college and preparing them for the professional world.

This year, Hjelm assigned three teams to focus on distinct issues facing the club, formerly known as the Springfield Country Club.

Tasked to investigate the club's member retention, one team surveyed 1,500 golfers, conducted an in-depth focus group, and visited the course themselves as anonymous, "mystery golfers."

"Mystery golfing gave us real insight into the project and put passion behind the recommendations we made," said team member Hayley Brown '13.

Another team looked into whether the club would benefit from dynamic pricing services. The third made recommendations for the club's use of social media – some of which the club has already put into action.

At the end of term, members of the club's management team came to the college to receive the students' recommendations face to face.

"Knowing that our work was going to impact a real company made me even more committed to the project," said Lindsey Andress Steigleder '13.

"Learning how to work with a client, develop a plan, and present your findings is a great process, and one that I will carry with me throughout my professional career," said Mitchell Van Dyke '13.

- from the UO's Lundquist College of Business