UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Shaping Leaders, Driving Results

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


What We Do

The STAR Program partners with major corporations and not-for-profit entities around the globe to offer the best projects to our students and the best students to our clients. STAR projects follow specific timelines for application and completion . Shown below are the program timeline, examples of past projects, and a few of our previous clients.

Timeline | Projects | Clients



Candidate organizations begin to apply for Spring teams.



Update non-disclosure agreements (NDA) and Scope of Work letter for Spring semester projects.

Applications for Spring semester are due:

    Undergraduates - September 8 - October 12
    MBA's and MBA@UNC students:   October 23 - November 3rd


matching of students and companies by the STAR Executive committee takes place, and applicants are notified of their status.


Finalize NDA and Scope of Work letter for the Spring semester projects.

Spring semester Project Leaders work with their faculty advisors and client to finalize Scope of Work letter and approve NDA.


Clients host the team at the client site for the project kickoff

Teams begin working with their company - student/client Kickoff Meeting at client facility.
January 17-18, 2015 - Bootcamp


Continue to provide student teams with resources and data for the project.

Analyze the business, identify options and develop strategies and implementation plans client.


Clients provide final feedback on team and project; implement student plans for better results and tracking progress.

Teams develop final deliverables for the client and present their final recommendations.

Client Functional/ Thematic Area Business Challenge
Multi-national manufacturer and distributor of fiber-optic network systems Finance, operations, supply chain Develop an operational/financial framework to determine the optimal amount of excess capacity and capacity utilization rates for US-manufactured product lines.
Multi-national manufacturer and distributor of automatic payment systems installed in gas pumps as well as inside convenience stores All functional areas, with emphasis on marketing and operations Needs an entry strategy and go-to-market plan to develop a specialized niche market payment card payment system that will enable customers to accept credit/debit card payments without incurring the overhead associated with installing a full debit/credit payment system.
Activewear division of a NC-based apparel manufacture/ wholesaler Marketing, finance, operations, strategy Analysis and selection of 2 to 3 category opportunities and business models that would enhance company's well-known brand and exponentially grow the business over next 4 years
Not-for-profit in a rural NC county specializing in health and wellness services for the community, with special emphasis on programs related to the preservation of the Native American population prevalent in this part of the state Real Estate Development/Economic Development Wants help in determining if - and how- a proposed Community Center in the area could develop into a self-sustaining business, as well as provide an historical context and a shot in the arm for this rural, NC community with a high percentage of Native Americans
A 10-year old entrepreneurial golf course fertilizer company, specializing in precision fertility applications using GPS variable rate technology All functional areas encompassed in design for rapid growth Wants help developing a robust plan to build upon its being the first adopter of the GPS technology in the golf course industry…interested in ideas for rapid national and international growth not only in golf course industry, but also in compatible industries such as sports turf
National outsource business that supplies Payroll and human resources services to small businesses Operations Improving process/operations - examination of branch productivity & client service, primarily looking at NC branches to make company-wide recommendations
UNC's board of visitors and chancellor's office Branding and sales, market research Would like to a team to build a case for a centralized promotional strategy and generate a specific set of actionable recommendations and probable returns for adopting a centralized approach to branding and promotion
A not-for-profit that empowers youth, in partnership with adult coaches and mentors, to create community change All - with emphasis on strategy within a sustainability context Would like help in creating a strategy for state-wide roll out and overall growth of business with a goal of producing a model for alternative revenue-generating model
Jeanswear division of NC-based multi-national manufacturer/distributor of lifestyle apparel Marketing and sales, with emphasis on e-commerce Build upon last Spring's STAR team work in the evolution of its e-commerce business

Some samples of past STAR projects are listed below. These are typical of the kinds of projects STAR accepts.

  • Develop a "new" media strategy for a company franchise group, to evaluate and define the maximum avenues for reaching the target customer base, and driving brand awareness/sales.
  • Conduct extensive research of the market, business, customer base, and environmental conditions to identify the most attractive product/service additions to the company's portfolio
  • Craft a comprehensive strategy and implementation plan to accelerate growth and increase profitability in present US market and through domestic expansion into other regions.
  • Analyze and recommend non-traditional wholesale-distribution business models that might allow the company to increase its revenue and profitability by finding new customers or developing new ways to serve existing customers.
  • Assist the company with developing its long-range brand strategy for its international market, with recommendations for which international markets to focus on over the next few years
  • Determine average internal costs incurred for each during an issue resolution event and the associated time it takes to resolve the event Students will examine the current business base of the company and recent market trends. Students will evaluate export opportunities for selected wood products to buyers in Mexico and the Caribbean basin countries accessible by sea.
  • Students will assess the current market position and business capabilities of the company. They will examine growth opportunities in the current markets to include expansion of exports to Europe and Latin America.
  • Manufacturer of high-end sleep products needed an export strategy for Western Europe. Their STAR team convinced them that they should start with Germany and then the UK, which was contrary to senior management's thinking at the start of the project. The company's president commented shortly after the end of the project that "further research [by the company team] proved that the students were right!" He called the work that the students did a "great sanity check."
  • A utilities company in eastern North Carolina needed strategic guidance in deploying Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles. Specifically, they needed a working model to assess profitability and target their marketing efforts. The STAR team identified competitors, customers, and opportunities in the market. The team then delivered a strategy and business model for infrastructure deployment of the hybrid vehicle technology.
  • A Florida security industry manufacturer wanted to develop a plan to successfully enter the mass notification market. Their team analyzed the challenges of mass notification and investigated the company's fire alarm system capabilities. This culminated in an action plan that allowed the company to expand its market penetration by repositioning its brand identity and effectively employing its existing business capabilities and technologies.
  • A start up conceived and started by a UNC medical school professor used their STAR team to investigate the viability of defraction-enhanced imaging technology in new markets. The STAR team began by pinpointing highest value considerations in the medical, basic research, and aircraft testing industries. They ultimately produced an assessment and plan of action for the commercialization of the companies technology in markets outside of medical imaging-especially the defense and security industries.
  • Precision Laser Measuring Systems and Services company worked with a STAR team to identify potential domestic and international markets in which to launch new data capture product. The team helped senior executives evaluate the new product's launch possibilities, recommended the best one, and prepared an actionable 16-month implementation strategy
  • Saw mill in the Eastern part of the NC engaged a team to help them consider an international expansion plan utilizing their proximity to NC ports, review their product / service portfolio for profitability and growth potential, and investigate areas for cost reduction and performance improvement consistent with strategic objectives. The team developed a price execution strategy designed to improve profit margins across all products, developed a kiln capacity model to help the company plan for the increased demand expected from increased sales as a result of recommended increase in exports to China.



  • Best Harvest Bread Company
  • Corning Cable
  • GE Healthcare
  • Gilbarco Veeder-Root
  • Hanesbrands, Inc
  • Krispy Kreme
  • Lowe's Companies, Inc
  • PayChex
  • VF



  • City of Hertford — Green Marina
  • Hawkeye Indian Cultural Center
  • North Carolina Botanical Garden
  • Spruce Pine Main Street
  • UNC — Board of Visitors
  • YES! (Youth Empowered Solutions)