By Steve Kelman

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The Lectern: Free management consulting here

As faithful readers of my blog and Federal Computer Week columns may remember, we have a fantastic part of our two-year master's curriculum at the Kennedy School called the "policy analysis exercise."  All our MPP students are required to do a 30 to 40-page consulting project for a real client, helping them out with a real problem of the cliient's choice.  For federal agencies, this represents an incredible opportunity to get some free consulting advice from a really smart Harvard graduate student  -- possibly even two students, if the project is big enough. 
 
I have frequently over the years referred to interesting findings from students' reports and have, with the permission of their clients, discussed them in columns and blogs -- most recently, a project on improving government recruiting for the Partnership for Public Service.
 
Well, many of our upcoming second-year students are beginning to think about their policy analysis exercise projects now.  Some find topics through their summer internships, so not all the class is in the market for a topic, but many are.  I typically serve as faculty advisor for a number of management-related topics, and I plan to do so again this year.  Indeed, I will soon contact my own students from last year and make them aware that I am available to supervise management-related exercises.
 
If any agencies have possible topics for these policy analysis exercises, you should e-mail me and tell me what you have in mind.  I will then put you in touch with our Kennedy School staff who work on getting the paperwork filled out and the topics posted.
 
There are two caveats: One is that the projects are not due until the end of March 2010, so this has to be a topic that can wait a while.  Also, while the student work is free, you need to be willing to pay airfare for students to come to Washington, if that is necessary, plus of course provide some guidance on what you would like from the project.
 
Contact me at steve_kelman@harvard.edu.

Posted by Steve Kelman on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:08 PM


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