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Abstract

Educating management students in technology-based disciplines can be enhanced through experiential team projects simulating the activities employees perform in actual technology jobs. This paper describes an experiential team project the authors use in the Management Information Systems course at Boston College. The project was developed jointly by Boston College faculty and consultants from the Boston office of a major consulting firm. The project involves student teams playing the roles of IT consultants who must compete against one another to win a consulting engagement at an imaginary company. The company's business situation is communicated to students through a case study written in the format of a Request For Proposal (RFP) informing information technology (IT) vendors that the company is interested in procuring a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Each student team develops a consulting proposal responding to the RFP and presents the proposal to company managers. The activities involved in identifying the company's business needs, developing a proposal, and determining which team "wins" the contract are simulated through phone calls and live meetings with company managers, who are role-played by consulting firm employees. These real-life business interactions expose students to the ever changing nature of IT, motivate them to improve their technical understanding, and challenge them to improve their communication skills through written deliverables and live business presentations. Student buy-in and response to the project is strong and immediate since they find themselves challenged by complex, relevant business issues.

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