By: Cathy Gallagher
When I began my role at the Fermanian Business Center in 2005, much of the Center’s mission was related to student support for both the undergraduate and graduate students of the Fermanian School of Business. As we transitioned from the Center to the Business and Economic Institute in 2010, we added consulting to our “menu of services” for our constituents.
In fall of 2013 as our consulting work increased, the undergraduate support services transitioned out of our Institute and in spring of this year, the MBA has as well, allowing us to focus on consulting services.
For 2015, although not broadly announced, The Fermanian Business & Economic Institute (Institute) has effectively become a quasi-independent consulting firm within a university setting.
How do you run a consulting institute tasked with being entrepreneurial and innovative in an academic setting you ask??
It isn’t always easy… but it does create unique opportunities to cross disciplines, create value, build reputation, and support and promote the overall mission of PLNU. Our work in bioinspiration, as an example, has led to intellectual property for PLNU, cross disciplinary collaborations, and international partnerships and recognition.
For any firm or organization, recognizing and taking advantage of opportunities is key to growth, success, and creating competitive advantage. At the same time, it is just as important to be aware of and identify barriers to innovation such as decentralized models, duplication of efforts, fragmented relationships, skills mismatch, customer resistance to change, and lack of sufficient financial investment, to name a few, that can easily threaten to derail efforts or distract from the mission of the firm.
How do we provide a solution? I’m glad you asked!…
The Institute represents the academic standards of the university by incorporating ethics, transparency, and integrity into our relationships and our work. We have developed a reputation for using a clear, unbiased approach and proven methodology in our studies, projects, and reports and can confidently present results to business professionals, community and civic leaders, government officials, and media outlets locally, nationally, and internationally.
Customer intimacy is our primary value discipline. The Institute team is made up of seasoned professionals with a wide range of skills and expertise who value relationships. We operate in a “high touch” environment. We work closely with our clients to understand and meet their specific needs and create clear channels of communication which allow for flexibility as needs arise or change occur throughout the life of a project. It is our commitment to deliver value added services that bring actionable results and build trust and loyalty throughout our constituents.
For the Institute staff this slight change in our mission brings excitement and the ability to focus on exploring new relationships, innovative opportunities, and interdisciplinary partnerships that will bring long term value to PLNU and the broader community. We appreciate the ongoing support of our friends and business partners, and look forward to continuing to provide actionable business & economic consulting services.