The concluding highlight of the program is a Capstone Project asking students to apply what they have learned in a live business-plan project.
The Capstone Project gives students the opportunity to write a business plan in small groups. It may deal with a problem faced by the student's own company, with the realization of a business idea, or with a project of an organization not directly connected with the students.
In this project, students use all the knowledge acquired in the program as wells as techniques gained from the business-plan workshop. Participants are given adequate time and guidance to achieve outstanding results.
Throughout the project, students work intensively with their study team and the managers of the company they write the business plan for. They improve their international network, explore the cross-functional applications of the various classes they have taken, and expand their problem-solving abilities.
After having completed the business plan, they present their solution to faculty, class mates, and a panel of experts on the last course weekend before graduation.
Rochester-Bern Executive MBA students have come up with great ideas for their business plan projects for over 20 years. Below you will find a selection of some very interesting past projects.
Yoba for Life – a business idea that saves lives
The Yoba for Life concept was realized by Rochester-Bern alumnus Wilbert Sybesma (class 14). Yoba for Life aims at improving health and wealth of people in resource-poor countries through local production of a probiotic yogurt called Yoba. To learn more about this fascinating project please visit our microsite.
Swiss Rock Art – a masterpiece of Swiss craftsmanship
The business idea of class 14 was to transform a piece of genuine rock from the Matterhorn in the Swiss alps into an authentic detailed model by using Swiss high tech production methods (3D modeling). «We will offer a completely new product. A tourist visiting Switzerland will get the unique possibility to take an authentic piece of Switzerland back home» states Andreas Kühni. The business idea became reality: The souvenirs are produced in Bern and sold via internet (www.swissrockart.ch) as well as in some shops in Zermatt.
BLUE BOX™ by Sulzer – taking pumps’ productivity and reliability to new heights
«What would you do with 1 million dollars?» asks Dr. Marc Heggemann (class 19), Global Retrofit Leader at Sulzer. For his customers in the oil and gas industry, even the smallest increase of productivity such as 1% can easily translate into several million additional earnings per year. The financial benefit becomes even more evident when improved reliability prevents, for instance, a pipeline or refinery from unscheduled downtime which costs millions a day.
Marc’s capstone project BLUE BOX™ addresses productivity and reliability challenges with an innovative, integrated and intelligent set of services to make customers’ energy efficiency visible and get near real-time pumping challenge identification and solutions. BLUE BOX™ was awarded the best capstone business plan project 2014 and represents, since 2015, a trademark and global offering of Sulzer Ltd (www.sulzer.com/bluebox).
INTERSPORT spans to Asia Pacific
With more than 5’500 associated retailers in 44 countries, INTERSPORT has the worldwide leading position in the sporting goods retail market.
In 2010, INTERSPORT had stores in Europe and the Middle East. The aim was to expand into the fast growing Asian Pacific region. In their capstone project five students of Class 15 explored the Asian Pacific region to find suitable countries for further INTERSPORT expansion. Based on several evaluation criteria three countries, including China, were chosen to be the first target countries in the region. The team analyzed the legal and franchise specific situation in those markets and made financial analyses about profitability. Since 2012, INTERSPORT has opened 10 stores in China. In the meantime INTERSPORT and its franchisees have 2,000 employees working in 238 stores and offices in Asia Pacific and the aim is to have 500 stores by 2020. Main priorities are China and Australia, followed by Indonesia and the Philippines.
Cookitup – The kitchen of the future will be digital!
The kitchen is the social hub of almost every home. While nearly every other space in our home has seen its share of digital disruption, the kitchen has remained the same over the last decades. «This is going to change» recalled Fabian Ringwald, Olivier Paratte and Eric Heijkoop. Their capstone project Cookitup aimed at building a comprehensive digital kitchen platform that integrates services such as menu planning, procurement and preparation. It will revolutionize the way we shop for food and offer services such as nutrition coaching or interactive cooking classes. The project was even nominated for the STARTUPS.CH Award (www.swiss-startups-awards.ch) semi-finals in Lausanne on September 10th, 2015. Congratulations!
Universität Bern: technology transfer & spin-offs
Christian Leumann, Rector of the Universität Bern, speaks about technology transfer and spin-offs at the university: