UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Shaping Leaders, Driving Results

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


Teams in Action

STAR Energizing Spruce Pines:
One STAR team turned a town's passion into its livelihood.

Methodology | Eligibility

STAR Projects are focused on large companies or not-for-profits who recruit our students. Organizations whose projects are accepted for the program benefit from the help of students who are skilled at working with others and whose interests and expertise match the needs of each project. Our graduate and undergraduate business students have met rigorous criteria in order to be admitted to one of the nation's very best business schools. Many of our students come from business backgrounds; our MBA students work an average of 5 years prior to entering the MBA Program.


At Kenan-Flagler, we have developed a special approach to STAR projects. The methodology is based on extensive research on efficient and effective team problem solving. We work closely with the members of the client team over the course of the 4 month project to drive toward meaningful recommendations that are implementable. Shown below are the stages of our process:

DBP Methedology
Source: The McKinsey Engagement: A Powerful Toolkit for More Efficient and Effective Team Problem Solving (Friga, 2008)




All Kenan-Flagler Business School students interested in participating in STAR should demonstrate in their application that they have taken other courses and/or had experiences that have provided significant opportunities for team problem solving. A required course to participate in STAR is the Consulting Skills and Frameworks course (BUSI 554 or MBA 828). You must have already taken the course or be taking it concurrently with the STAR project. Other examples of good academic or practical experience include an APPLES service learning course, a project management course, and summer internships in consulting or business, with hands-on teamwork.


STAR is open to all US companies and not-for-profit organizations. The companies chosen are those that:

  • Pose an opportunity or problem for the student team to address which...
    • Is important to the top management of the organization
    • Involves several functions, e.g. marketing, operations, financial analysis, etc.
    • Lends itself to fact-based analysis
    • Is challenging but does not require extensive industry experience
    • Will be appealing to students and attract them to the project
  • Can commit two senior executives at the organization to work closely with the STAR team to create the project's scope of work, provide pertinent data, respond to and critique team recommendations and progress, and provide feedback to the team and faculty advisor at the project's completion
  • Will pay $20,000 program fee to cover the program costs associated with the STAR project, plus team expenses (team expenses include travel and client-requested project aids, such as databases or surveys)

In addition, organizations applying for STAR:

  • Are typically organizations that recruit, or are targeted to recruit- at Kenan-Flagler or are projects that will be valued by recruiters as building/honing skill sets that are relevant to jobs for which recruiters seek to fill
  • Are companies with multi-year track records; start-ups are typically served in the school's Starting New Ventures curriculum rather than the STAR program

For more information about STAR, please contact Dr. Paul Friga, Director of STAR, at or by phone at 919.962.3786