First-Year Project

Eric Winn T'14 and Michael Parshley T'14 What began as a dream to enrich the Dartmouth experience is now a reality, thanks to two second-year MBA students who built a food truck business by thinking outside the BOX.
The First-Year Project course (FYP) is an educational experience in which teams of five Tuck students apply classroom learning to complex, real-world business challenges for clients.

Under the guidance of an experienced faculty advisor, student teams learn practical consulting skills while their clients—ranging from early-stage startups to nonprofits to global industry leaders—benefit from the student’s experience and study at the leading edge of business education.

The FYP course has three objectives:

  • To learn project management skills
  • To apply the academic knowledge acquired in the first year to a real business problem
  • To tailor the curriculum to the needs and interest of each student

The ability to deliver insightful recommendations on challenging business problems in a short period of time is a vital skill for anyone in business. The FYP is an ideal time to learn these project management skills, since the projects are done for real clients over a short period of time. Faculty Advisors work with the FYP teams to help them learn specific project management skills such as defining the key question, developing an issue tree, work planning, and storyboarding.

The FYP also helps students to apply to the real world the classroom knowledge they have acquired over the preceding seven months at Tuck. Most projects draw on one or two courses heavily, and all of them draw on the general business knowledge students pick up in their first year. Among the core courses that are most heavily used are Marketing, Managerial Communications, Strategy, and Micro Economics.

Finally, the FYP provides many students with an opportunity to tailor the curriculum to their own interests and career goals. For example, many teams develop business plans for products or services students intend to develop into a business after graduating. Other students pursue interests in real estate, sustainable business, healthcare, or other fields by creating a project in that area. Some projects lead directly to summer internships or permanent jobs.