Weekend Executive Students Take on FCCP

Jennifer Nuetzi James, Candidate for MBA, Weekend Executive Class of 2017

The Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP) is a collaborative effort to pair a team of current Duke Fuqua School of Business students with companies looking to solve a business challenge.  As a Weekend Executive MBA (WEMBA) student, I was excited to learn about the opportunity to challenge myself by applying recent business school knowledge to a business problem in the health care industry.  It was going to be a term of demanding classes with operations, strategy and decision modeling, and we were at the end of a great four-week Christmas break.  Despite the demanding course workload and not knowing what to expect with the FCCP project, I was excited to apply and ultimately be selected as part of the team.

Our FCCP project was with the Duke Department of Medicine (DoM) which is part of the Duke University Health System and involved learning the operational aspects of Duke Hospital inpatient unit 9300 and the licensure capabilities of multiple provider positions.  As a team, we were able to learn many aspects of consulting on a large-scale project from scoping a project, defining deliverables and presenting findings.  We immersed ourselves in the unit by shadowing and interviewing to further understand the complex operations and

workload.  We created and administered a survey to the providers to further guide our operational understanding.  We were then able to take newly acquired knowledge from our operations class and apply that information which led to the completion of a time study on the unit.  Our FCCP team was unique from our WEMBA teams, because we were all selected due to our interest in the health care field and specific talents we individually brought to this project.  This gave us the opportunity to further develop our interpersonal and team skills.

WEMBA 2017 FCCP team: (L-R)
Clare Murray, Jarrett Lewis, Mary Trabert (Duke DoM), Jennifer Nuetzi James and Ram Prabhal

While the experience was very rewarding and rich with learning opportunities, we also had some challenges.  This would be a big commitment for each of us, already full-time WEMBA students, employed full-time and with families.  Due to the workload for the project, there were some team members that were unable to complete the project and then some team members were added later in the project cycle.  For four months, there was rarely a moment not occupied by my schoolwork, employment or twin toddlers.

However, to be able to participate in an industry that you love but a segment you have little professional experience in, on top of acquiring skills in a position you have never held, was a great experience.  At the end of our FCCP project, it was very fulfilling to be able to look back, see the knowledge gained and present our findings as the first WEMBA students completing an FCCP project!