What is an ITC Project?
Businesses often have emerging needs, such as a strategic overhaul of a business process, new technology integration, product evaluation and development, or marketing strategy adjustments. Innovation through Collaboration (ITC) projects pair Corporate Partners with a project team of one to two faculty experts and two to three students to solve business challenges.
ITC projects may run for one semester or more based on the project's needs. They all involve periodic updates, a final report, and the presentation of findings and recommendations.
During the project's life cycle, the project team will regularly consult with the Corporate Partner to ensure mutually agreed upon goals are being met and the Corporate Partner is pleased with the team's progress. At the end of the project, the team presents their analyses and recommendations to the Corporate Partner in a written report.
A formal presentation is also a part of this process, with the Corporate Partner having the right to keep the presentation closed or open to the public.
About the Project Team
The project team may consist of both undergraduate and graduate students, and each team is under the direction of a faculty expert.
What are the benefits to students?
Students have the opportunity to apply the skills gained in the classroom to solve real-world problems and contribute to their academic growth. Engagement opportunities such as ITC projects provide a chance to see how organizations work and help students develop critical skills and experience. Participating students will earn a stipend and possible elective course credit, depending on the student's major and the project's duration, subject to regular tuition fees.
Students can apply for the ITC team opportunity and will be selected by the ITC administrative committee.
Interested in applying to be a member of an ITC team?
About the Faculty Mentor
While working on an ITC project, each student team will be under the mentorship of a faculty member. The faculty mentor will provide support and guidance to the project.
What are the responsibilities of the project team?
The project team is ultimately responsible for producing actionable recommendations to solve the corporate partners' challenges. Their process will begin by conducting an analysis to find the exact issues that the corporate partner is facing. Then, the team will evaluate the challenges and consult regularly with the corporate partner to ensure the project is moving in the desired direction. Finally, as needed, the project team will make adjustments based on feedback from the corporate partner and project findings. The project will culminate with specific and actionable recommendations and a formal presentation to the corporate partner.
What are the responsibilities of the corporate partner?
The Corporate Partner should provide a central point of contact and access to senior leadership as needed. The designated contact should provide a detailed description of the business challenge(s) the Corporate Partner desires to address. They also should provide clarification and information for the project team in a timely manner to allow for adequate analysis. It also is helpful for the project team if the Corporate Partner provides the following:
- a brief description of the company and its background;
- how this project fits into the long-term goals of the corporate partner;
- a specific description of the problem encountered; and
- how the Corporate Partner would define success for the project
Please check out what each team said about their ITC project:
Please contact our ITC Program Directors for more information:
How do ITC projects differ from IBE capstone projects?
ITC projects are not the same as the capstone projects that students complete as part of their academic major in Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies (IBE). IBE projects have a specific outline over all projects. The project is subsumed within the two-semester capstone experience. The team works with a sponsor on a product or process that the firm has not had the time to work on and develops a plan to bring the product or process to market. Students are required to use their education from both engineering courses and business courses. Engineering design, appropriate engineering competencies, market study, product architecture, and manufacturing processes are examined. The plan develops a marketing strategy, supply chain design, and financial evaluation to determine the project's feasibility.
In contrast, students do not have to be in any particular major to participate in an ITC project. ITC projects are open to all students with solid academic credentials interested in applying the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to solve real-world business problems. In addition, ITC projects are broader in scope and may focus on a much wider set of challenges that our Corporate Partners encounter in their existing business operations. As a result, ITC projects tend to be more diverse, with each project team composed of faculty and students who have the relevant expertise, often from multiple business disciplines, so that each ITC project team is tailored to tackle the specific business challenge at hand.
All projects are confidential unless permission for release is obtained from the sponsor. Penn State non-disclosure agreements may be arranged at the sponsor's request.