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Grad Students Wow City of Oldsmar

Published: February 10, 2010
In their evaluation of a city of Oldsmar industrial park project, pouring over it from top to bottom, graduate students in Assistant Professor Dean Koutroumanis’ management class have turned some heads.

“I was very impressed with the student presentation, and I look forward to reviewing the document in its entirety,” said Oldsmar Mayor Jim Ronecker.

Coordinated through UT’s Naimoli Institute for Business Strategy, Ronecker’s staff contracted with the UT students enrolled in Koutroumanis’ management class, Applied Strategic Analysis, to evaluate its industrial park project. The city has had some lack of occupancy issues and lack of name recognition.

Koutroumanis’ students came up with strategies to enhance the image of the industrial park, brand it and figure out ways to increase tenants. Those MBA students included Alexis Bankowski, Larry Brewer, Benjamin France, Trina Lowe and Alex McLean, all of whom graduated in December.

The Oldsmar project was completed as the graduate students’ capstone course. They analyzed everything from structure to finance, “the A to Z on how to make the project better,” Koutroumanis said.

“This project was very, very challenging to say the least,” Koutroumanis said. “Doing projects like this with a government municipality is tough. It’s tough to carve out a small sector of the business.”

Students presented their findings first at UT to a group of city staff who, before they could leave the parking lot, returned to the Sykes College of Business to ask the students to give their presentation at a city council meeting Jan. 19.

“We were impressed by the creativity of the student team and the comprehensive scope and research that went into the report. The analysis included many innovative recommendations to promote economic development within the industrial park," said Marie Dauphinais, Oldsmar’s planning and redevelopment director. "It was a great experience and the students should be commended for their hard work.”

City staff is reviewing the entire plan and will vote on its implementation. If it passes, the city will hire the UT grads as consultants to see the project through to fruition.

“That’s the icing on the cake,” Koutroumanis said. “Talk about making an impact.”

The long hours and dedication proved worth it for McLean ’09.

“After spending so much time wrapped up in researching government bonds, developing the Web site, and forming business strategies, it was nice to see the real impact it had for the City of Oldsmar,” McLean said.

“Although it was a significant amount of work, having the opportunity to develop valuable solutions for a real world client was extremely rewarding,” McLean said. “It really brought together the whole UT MBA experience and used knowledge from all facets of the program.” 

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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