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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 action-based STAR program. You will work in diverse student teams — guided by a faculty advisor — to solve complex business problems for corporate partners.

Undergraduates with Nascar

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 400 business challenges STAR teams have solved for their corporate partners since 2006.


"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."

Derek Schujahn, MBA@UNC

STAR experience impacts your entire career

In the real-world STAR experience, you will advance your interpersonal skills and gain practical knowledge and tools that you can leverage over your entire career. You will also receive credit for STAR.

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 Students sit around a table working together among textbooks and laptopspaths — 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.

STAR formats – STAR offers three unique formats to ensure the best fit for students and corporate partners:

  • STAR USA allows students to work on business challenges for any type of organization. Many corporate partners invite the team to travel to their location in the U.S. at least once.
  • STAR Global allows students to address issues for organizations worldwide. Teams travel to the corporate partner abroad for two weeks to conduct research and present their work. (Not offered in 2020/2021)
  • STAR Virtual allows students and corporate partners to collaborate virtually for the entire project from anywhere in the world

Eligibility and pre-/corequisites –  To participate in STAR you must complete the Consulting Skills and Frameworks (CSF) course before or concurrently to the STAR project.

Time commitment – Projects run for 14-15 weeks from January to late April/early May. Some pre-work also takes place in November/December. STAR projects are demanding learning experiences with deadlines and comprehensive deliverables. As a STAR team member, you spend about 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 MBA and Weekend Executive MBA students pay for their travel expenses to participate in the Launch event (required) in Chapel Hill.
  • Students interested and selected for a STAR Global project pay a $1,500 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.
  • (Not offered in 2020/2021)

"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."

Victor Brown, Undergraduate Business Program

Apply now for spring 2021

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 online application is now open.

Apply here

Application deadlines vary by degree program:
E-/W-EMBA: 9.25.20
UBP: 9.30.20
MBA, full time: 10.16.20
MBA@UNC: 10.23.20
School of Medicine: 10.30.20