There’s no final exam in Business 101, but don’t worry. The substitute, Capstone Project, is equally time consuming, if not more time consuming. What is the Capstone Project you might be wondering? Well, you don’t really find out until halfway into completing the project because everyone in the College of Business just seems to have a mutual understanding of what it is. But here’s a head start: The Capstone Project is a culmination of what you’ve learned about stakeholders, emerging markets, shared valued, and-a BUS 101 favorite-core values. You, along with four or five classmates (no, you don’t get to choose), are given one of six products from Abbott or Wahl. You then are given the task of choosing the target market, the customers, the employees, the supplier, and specific programs to distribute your product. Your efforts are then graded through both an in-class presentation and a poster session judged by section leaders, professors, and even business professionals. There are even small scholarships given to the groups that stand out. Sounds like a lot right? It is. But here are 7 tips to guarantee success on your Capstone Project:
1. Follow the rubrics to a T.
Your group will have to write about five essays total. It’s simple. If you can check off everything on the essay rubrics, you’ll get a good grade on the papers. The same goes for the presentation rubric. Scan it before you give your presentation to make sure you tap on each section your graders will be looking for.
2. Divide up the work!
Group projects can be a pain. They can be even worse when someone doesn’t pull their weight. Jump on this early and make sure that each group member is assigned an equal amount of work. You might have to follow-up with them to make sure everything gets done, but don’t let anyone slide by. However, if someone does end up slacking, there’s an anonymous individual evaluation you submit for each of your group members at the end of the Capstone Project. Feel free to be brutally honest.
3. Have a designated assignment submitter.
Every week for the last month or so, your group will have to turn in multiple assignments. The BUS 101 section leaders only want one person to turn in these assignments, so to make things easy and efficient, designate one person to turn in the assignments so everyone knows who to share their individual parts with. Make sure this person is reliable!
4. Prepare for your in-class presentation.
This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised at how many groups fail to prepare for their in-class presentation. Make the slides simple and clean by using concise bullet points. Do not make them wordy and avoid reading from the slides! Additionally, each group has 10 minutes to present. Depending on your section leader, this 10 minute maximum can be a hard cut-off, so time yourself accordingly.
5. Make your trifold poster visually appealing.
This won’t be the determining factor for whether you snag the scholarship or not, but this can certainly grab the judges’ attentions. Again, don’t make your poster too wordy and make sure the font is big enough for people to read from afar. It also looks a lot better to border your information with construction paper, which makes your poster seem more full. Overall, make sure your poster is neat and organized.
6. Present with confidence.
There’s a good chance the judges will ask you a question that you won’t know the answer to or won’t have time to fully formulate a coherent answer. Whatever you do, present with confidence. Being confident in what you say has the potential to impress the judges more than what you’re actually saying. It gives the illusion that you answered the question even though you might’ve struggled to do so.
7. Have a few facts up your sleeve.
There are A LOT of different Capstone groups and A LOT of them sound exactly the same. Since most groups choose from the same employees, suppliers, customers, etc., the judges hear the same information over and over again. Knowing a few facts about your target market or the location you choose to sell your product can be the deciding factor in whether or not your group wins some scholarship money. It helps you stand out from a sea of business students in suits.
So there you go…7 tips on how to survive the Capstone Project and maybe even win the scholarship money. It’s going to take a lot of time and by the end of the poster session you’ll probably never want to see your Capstone group again. But hey…win together, lose together, survive the Capstone Project together!