What is a capstone?
The purpose of capstone in the College of Business is to:

  1. Provide a culminating experience that applies and integrates the knowledge and skills students have learned in courses leading to capstone in a community-based action research project;
  2. Serve as a bridge to prepare students for graduate school or professional life.

Why is capstone valuable?
From original research conducted with College of Business alumni who took capstone fall semester 2005 through spring semester 2012, it is clear capstone is considered one of the most valued learning experiences of all courses taken at CSUMB.

  • First and foremost, alumni who responded to a survey about learning in capstone indicated the their beliefs about their own capabilities, particularly those required to function as professionals in business, were significantly improved in capstone.
  • The skills most listed by students included writing, speaking, leadership, and analytical thinking. They also gained confidence in their own abilities through their capstone experience, and learned valuable skills required to function effectively on teams.
  • They considered the improvement in their applied skills so significant that they viewed this outcome as “transformative.”
  • The greatest contributors to capstone being a meaningful experience among those alumni surveyed were being required to work on a team for a real client ,and being supported by faculty who had extremely high expectations of them.

What are the capstone requirements & what are the justifications for those requirements?

The focus of BUS 499 is the preparation and presentation of a team-based senior capstone project, in which teams of approximately four students each analyze a local firm (for-profit company or nonprofit organization) from a strategic management perspective; make recommendations based on the team’s strategic analysis; present at the campus-wide Capstone Festival; and submit a comprehensive report (printed and on CD ROM). The major individual student project requires each student to apply the tools of strategic management to his/her own career planning and submit a final personal life strategy paper at the end of the semester.

How do students complete capstone?

Before Capstone: Capstone connections to curriculum; required courses & MLO-capstone connections; preparation for entering into capstone; preparing the student for entering capstone.
Students in the Business Pro-seminar course (taken the first semester entering the major) are required to attend at least one capstone festival presentation to help them understand what the deliverable is in capstone and the level of excellence expected.

Prior to the beginning of each semester, new registrants in BUS 499 Strategic Management (senior capstone) are emailed an Advance Information Memorandum outlining the capstone requirements in terms of forming a successful team, selecting a client firm, and understanding the requirements of the final report.

Process for capstone project (beginning, designing, implementing, disseminating).

The College of Business capstone course requirements entails the following process:

  • Weeks 1-4: Form the team; select the client firm; study the text to gain a complete picture of the components of a strategic analysis; develop and submit client interview questions from chapter readings; and write the first draft of the history, external analysis, internal analysis and strategic recommendations sections of the personal life strategy assignment.
  • Weeks 4-5: Research and write the history and overview section of the client report; submit week 5; develop and present PowerPoint presentation week 5.
  • Weeks 6-8: Research and write the external analysis section of the client report; submit week 8; develop and present PowerPoint presentation week 8.
  • Weeks 9-12: Research and write the internal analysis section of the client report; submit week 12; develop and present section PowerPoint presentation week 12.
  • Weeks 13-14: Analyze findings and write the opportunities and recommendations section of the client report, and the executive summary; submit both week 14; develop and present section PowerPoint presentation week 14.
  • Week 15: Make final revisions to all sections of the client report and submit.
  • Week 16: Make final revisions to all sections of the final presentation; present complete findings to class.
  • Week 17: Rehearse and present final presentation at capstone festival.