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STAR for Students

Solve real business challenges while advancing your skills.

Apply your skills to solve real business issues.

Participate in one of the most impactful and intensive courses with the experiential learning STAR program. You will work in diverse student teams — guided by a faculty advisor — to solve complex business problems for corporate partners.

Identifying new opportunities for Coca-Cola in Asia. Helping NASCAR reach new audiences. Crafting an innovative solution to a sustainability issue for Procter & Gamble. Creating a new business strategy for GlaxoSmithKline. Developing a business plan for a women’s hospital in Africa. These are just a few examples of the almost 450 business challenges STAR teams have solved for their corporate partners since 2005.

"I am amazed by the incredible impact STAR has had on my personal and professional development. I have had the opportunity to improve my communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills, all of which will be invaluable as I pursue my future internship and work opportunities."

Irasema Gonzalez MBA Student

Your STAR experience impacts your entire career.

In the real-world STAR experience, you will advance your interpersonal skills, increase industry knowledge, and apply practical tools that you can leverage over your entire career. To provide you with the best learning experience possible, your team engages in relationship building activities and receives resources for effective and efficient project management. A faculty advisor dedicated to your team and the STAR staff support your team throughout the journey.

A systematic approach leads to effective teamwork.

The STAR program is designed for MBA and Undergraduate Business students from any concentration and with various career paths — not only those in consulting. We match you based on experience and career aspirations with STAR projects with the goal of creating diverse and productive teams. As an MBA student, you can also indicate your interest in serving as a project leader.

Some corporate partners invite the team to travel to their location in the U.S. at least once. A small number of teams travel to the corporate partner abroad for two weeks in May to conduct research and present their work. You may be selected for this type of STAR experience only if you indicate interest in a STAR Global Immersion Project in your application.

Eligibility and prerequisites/corequisites: To participate in STAR, you must complete the Consulting Skills and Frameworks (CSF) course by the time STAR begins in mid-January. E-/W-EMBA students, take CSF as a weekend class in December. MBA@UNC students have the option to participate in the Consulting Summit in December, but are encouraged to instead complete the full-mod CSF class.

Undergraduate students, please apply for CSF by completing this form.

STAR is a competitive program. Students are selected based on their interests and experience and fit with the corporate partner projects.

Time commitment: Projects run for 14-15 weeks from January to late April/early May. Some pre-work also takes place in November/December. The formal project Launch will be all day in mid to late January. STAR projects are demanding learning experiences with deadlines and comprehensive deliverables. As a STAR team member, you spend 10+ hours a week on the project. As a project leader, you spend more than 10 hours a week on STAR.

Cost: STAR is a credit-bearing course, and there is generally no additional expense, except for the following:

  • MBA@UNC, Evening Executive MBA and Weekend Executive MBA students pay for their travel expenses to participate in the Launch event (required) in January in Chapel Hill.
  • Students interested and selected for a STAR Global Immersion Project pay a $1,750 program fee and cover their travel expenses (airfare, visa, vaccinations, etc.). Many in-country expenses are covered by the STAR program office and the corporate partner.

"It was extremely rewarding to start out knowing nothing about the company and industry and end up delivering a recommendation that the client found extremely insightful and helpful."

Alisa Dalola Undergraduate Business Student

Apply in early fall for the following spring.

Sign up HERE for an in-person information session to learn more about STAR:

Information about Executive MBA and MBA@UNC virtual information sessions is shared via program newsletters and postings.

STAR is a high-demand program with a competitive application process.

The application is now open for Spring 2024. Submit your application HERE by October 1 (first deadline) or October 16 (second deadline).