CSUN Nazarian MBA Program Students Deliver Diverse Ideas for Dynamic Environments

The CSUN David Nazarian College of Business and Economics MBA part-time evening program offers working professionals from diverse backgrounds and experience the opportunity to enhance their current career or build networks to new industries. CSUN Nazarian MBA students not only learn, but they also pay that knowledge forward by helping small businesses. As a result, students gain confidence and greater connections.

“I enjoyed the ability to laugh with my teammates while still working hard – discovering something new and interesting in our research each week,” said recent MBA graduate Hannah Labra.

While CSUN Nazarian MBA students faced personal challenges caused by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, they also assisted small businesses in the San Fernando Valley as part of the final integrative learning experience in their program. Through continued support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, MBA student teams in the Nazarian College Small Business Consulting Program address specific client needs.

Every semester at the end of the MBA program, teams of four to five students are assigned to clients. Teams work with clients to discuss goals, review financial statements, research the challenges identified by the business owner, and develop recommendations presented to the client in a final report and presentation. Last year’s teams worked diligently with continuously changing COVID-19 restrictions and protocols in place.

“I am continuously impressed with the quality and diversity of ideas that the MBA consulting project teams present to clients,” said marketing professor Kristen Walker, director of the program. “Their determination to help our small business clients during the dynamic and volatile environment of the pandemic demonstrates their persistence and professionalism.”

In fall 2020 Cristian Pellegrini, owner and franchisee of three Menchie’s locations, requested help with marketing strategy for online ads and media. Pellegrini was so impressed with the consulting project team’s deliverables that he began implementing the recommendations immediately. He noted making changes with his social media promotions to push deliveries and that the team’s “hard work already triggered action.” What stood out to Pellegrini about the team of Nazarian MBA students he worked with was the time the team took to research, learn about, and understand the frozen yogurt business.

That same semester, Angela Romero, owner of the creative events company Hello Stranger acknowledged that the Nazarian MBA team’s creative plan was instrumental to the company’s success. Romero noted her struggle during the pandemic, “As a tiny, female-owned company in the middle of a pandemic, trying to make a splash… we knew that we were climbing growing mountains ahead of us.” She appreciated that the team adjusted their explanations and helping her understand business jargon during the consulting process.

“Our students are gaining real-world experience while giving back to the community, which aligns with the ethos and mission of the college,” explained Dean Chandra Subramaniam. “It is very much a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Securing Careers with Academic Value and Relevance

The AACSB-accredited CSUN Nazarian MBA program is not simply education offered “to” students, but an educational experience “with” students. Professionals are admitted to the program because their work experience offers insight into what faculty members teach. Quality students and faculty expertise, along with a dedicated MBA office staff, create an environment of academic value with relevance.

Faculty expertise and student experience coalesce to produce innovative leaders who:

CSUN Nazarian MBA students come from incredibly diverse backgrounds in a variety of industries as accomplished professionals from the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles County and Ventura County regions. CSUN Nazarian MBA students want to invest in themselves and have the desire to understand their current business environment better or offer innovative insights for their current or future position.

Recently ranked No. 31 among the “best colleges for business majors” and No. 6 among the “most transformative colleges” in the nation, by Money Magazine and ranked by The Wall Street Journal as among the top three universities nationwide for diversity, few MBA programs can equal CSUN’s in graduating MBAs prepared to work and lead in a diverse and global business environment.

Housed on a beautiful 365-acre campus, CSUN is the fourth-largest university in California. Its 340,000 alumni include prominent business leaders, such as the man for whom the business college was named, David Nazarian. The university is home to the award-winning Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts and the LEED Gold-certified Student Recreation Center. CSUN is a place where students rise and take their region with them.

This story was featured in the September 13, 2021 physical issue of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal (SFVBJ). 

For more information on the MBA program, visit csun.edu/mba.

For more information on the Nazarian College Small Business Consulting Program, visit csun.edu/nazarianconsult