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Integrated Business Cluster

Business students try to problem-solve in a hallway during a Business Cluster team meeting

The concept of the Integrated Business Cluster (IBC) is simple: bring teachers and students from multiple disciplines into one class where they work together in teams to create real business opportunities. You’ll be challenged to apply key concepts that you learn from four disciplines (business communication, management, analytics and information systems, and marketing), and gain hands-on experience.

Typically taken during the second year of study, the IBC allows you to practice skills in leadership, communication, time management, teamwork, problem-solving, and analytical thinking — in ways that many business schools don’t offer until your final year. Many students are able to leverage their experiences in the IBC to gain internships and jobs before their senior year!


The Experience

Students join “Copeland Associates,” a fictitious firm that provides clients with business analytics and consulting support, and act as Junior Associates, or "new hires.” Then, faculty take on the role of Senior Partners to guide associates through a series of progressively complex business problems, working to integrate and apply knowledge from each discipline. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking, effective communication, teamwork effectiveness, integrative learning, and professional accountability. 


Cluster group presenting


Student giving presentation to senior partners

Project-Based Learning

Students collaborate to complete work on two distinct client projects:

  • The research and analysis project - where students conduct research and analyze their findings to make recommendations for a client
  • The business concept project - where students create and evaluate the feasibility of a potential business concept through an external analysis, development of demand scenarios, creation of a marketing strategy with full justification, and financial projections.

The Integrated Business Cluster (IBC) is consistently cited as one of the most valuable educational experiences by students and alumni.


“The Business Cluster is an awesome experience that is hard to appreciate until it's over because the professors expect so much from you. —Gary Dillabaugh
"I was able to gain leadership skills, the ability to work on a team effectively, and insight into how to navigate a virtual world." —Lindsey Homa