Corporate Engagement

Leveraging Top MBA Talent for Real-Time Business Needs

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 to work on your company’s challenges and opportunities, with the guidance of experienced faculty and Hal Brierley.

Businesses that work with us receive cutting-edge strategic and tactical recommendations and customer insights, delivered by top-performing MBA candidates who are uniquely skilled in customer engagement. Through these projects, our corporate members and project sponsor have access to top MBA talent to support recruitment efforts.

The institute also hosts an annual Professors Institute forum where faculty from the country's top universities gather with industry thought leaders to share best practices in customer engagement. Brierley Institute partnering companies have an opportunity to speak to this forward-thinking group and present challenges that can be addressed by academic research. The discussions inspire innovation, spark curiosity, and drive the development of academic research. For more information about the Professors Institute, click here.

Bart Schaller

EVP and Chief Executive Officer - Digital Platform, Synchrony Financial

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

Three Ways to Engage with the Brierley Institute

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 proposed as an extracurricular, we co-design it with you. Students are hand-selected to work on each project and will work with your team throughout the duration of the partnership to provide updates as they approach final recommendations. 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 each. The SMU Cox School of Business supports and encourages corporate engagement and opportunities for strategic partnership. Whether collaborating in the classroom or beyond, or, we invite you to connect and explore ways we can partner together.


Customer Engagement Program Project

Students either evaluate and redesign an existing customer engagement program or design and implement a new customer engagement program. These projects allow students to 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 (CLV) 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. The research focus is customizable based on business projects, questions, areas of interest and the sponsoring organization’s industry. These projects also involve interviews with sponsor company executives, giving students an in-depth, hands-on opportunity to learn more about the businesses they’re studying.

SITE Foundation is proud to partner with the Brierley Institute at SMU on our Leadership in SITEs research project. We’re excited to work with SMU on this comprehensive research project that’ll help us tell the compelling story of incentive travel, motivational events and their wide-ranging impacts.

Terry Manion, President, SITE Foundation

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Interested in working with the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagment?

Connect with SMU Cox Corporate Engagement.