The Brierley Institute 

A Fresh Perspective

A core aspect of our work at the SMU Cox Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement involves bringing the skills and abilities of top MBA resources, with the guidance of experienced faculty and Hal Brierley to work on your company’s challenges and opportunities.

By pairing MBA students with projects that serve our corporate members and project sponsors, we create a win-win for all. Businesses that work with us receive cutting-edge strategic and tactical recommendations and customer insights delivered by MBA candidates who are uniquely skilled in customer engagement, and access to top MBA talent to support recruitment efforts.

The institute also hosts an annual Professors Institute where faculty from the country's top universities gather with industry thought leaders to share best practices in customer engagement. Companies have an opportunity to speak to the group and present challenges that can be addressed by academic research. The discussions inspire innovation, spark curiosity, and drive the development of academic research.

Bart Schaller

EVP, CMO at Synchrony Financial, SMU Cox Alumnus

"The student engagement enriches both us and our business partners. We’ve gained new insights and looked at business questions from a different perspective."
  • Student-Led Insights

    Seeking ways to increase the percentage of customers delighted by their rewards and to improve customer lifetime value, a leading luxury retailer asked Brierley students to propose new experiential benefits that maximize the difference between cost to deliver and perceived value.

  • Three Ways to Engage

    Our students embrace the opportunity to take on real-world business challenges and propose solutions to drive loyalty and bottom-line results. Whether a project is incorporated into our existing MBA curriculum or extracurricular, with hand-selected student teams receiving briefs and producing agreed upon deliverables, we co-design it with you. Dr. Marci Armstrong, Brierley Institute director and Brierley Endowed Professor, guides and directs the students.

    The Brierley Institute offers three types of projects, with opportunities to customize and combine aspects of the below.The SMU Cox School of Business supports and encourages corporate engagement and opportunities for strategic partnership. Whether collaborating in the classroom, or beyond the classroom, we invite you to connect and explore ways we can partner together.


    Customer Engagement Program (Loyalty/Rewards Program) Project

    Students either evaluate and redesign an existing customer engagement program or design and implement a new customer engagement program. They consider customer engagement opportunities from both the company’s and the customer’s perspective, articulate goals for desired customer behavior change, identify customer segments offering the greatest profit potential, evaluate the competitive landscape, develop a strawman customer engagement program design, conduct qualitative and quantitative research to measure customer receptivity, quantify the financial impact, and build a business case (including a communications plan featuring digital/social/traditional media) for implementing the proposed customer engagement program.

    Big Data Project

    Students analyze real-time customer data provided by a corporate sponsor, using a variety of methods such as regression, descriptive analytics and data visualization. This may include calculating customer lifetime value for individual customers, then segmenting customers based on CLVs or other variables. There are a wide range of corporate opportunities and challenges that can be tackled with this research. In a final group presentation to corporate sponsors, students draw customer insights from their analyses and propose strategic and tactical recommendations for profitable growth.

    Primary Data Collection Project:

    Students design a research study and a survey, collect primary survey data, analyze the data, draw customer insights, then make recommendations to you in a final presentation. There are obviously many different problems or areas of interest that could be the focus of this research.

  • Brierley Partner Companies

It’s a symbiotic relationship between our company, SMU Cox, and the Brierley Institute. Their students get real-world experience, and we leverage the students' professionalism, talent, and deep expertise to help us grow.

Chris Crocker

CMO, Arcis Golf

Contact Us

Interested in working with the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement?  

Connect SMU Cox Corporate Engagement.