STAR for Students
Solve real business challenges while advancing your skills.
Participate in one of the most impactful and intensive courses with the action-based 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.
"Working with our corporate partner in real time, applying Consulting Skills and Frameworks concepts and frameworks, and building invaluable student and professional relationships along the way have made the STAR program the highlight of my MBA experience."
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.
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.
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:
"This STAR project has been one of the crowning achievements of my undergraduate career, to say it briefly. I could not have asked for a better team, nor could I have asked for a better project. It was a perfect match of my skills and interests, while pushing me to think about what I already knew in innovative ways."
Be on the lookout for email invitations to our info sessions to learn more about STAR from the staff and former STAR students.
STAR is a high-demand program with a competitive application process.
The next application cycle will begin in late summer/early fall and end in October. Please check back then for the link to the application.
John MacAree (MBA ’22) is advancing sustainability within the energy industry.
Professor Wendell Gilland has had a tremendous role in shaping the experiences of students, from undergraduates to executive MBA students in the new Charlotte program.