California Institute of Advanced Management

School Name: California Institute of Advanced Management (CIAM)

Street Address:1000 S. Fremont Ave. Mailbox #45, Building A10, 4th Floor, Suite 10402

City: Alhambra

State: CA

Zip: 91803

Contact Person: Dr. Eric J. McLaughlin

Phone: (626) 350-1500


  1. Scope – please describe the scope of community service initiative(s) at the school.

Talk is cheap!  Many academic institutions speak to the concept of “learn-by-doing” and tout “experiential learning exercises” or the use of case studies to bring the theoretical constructs into practical reality within the classroom setting.  While case students do serve an important role in academia, they have considerable limits in that they are frequently unidimensional in subject matter leading to the continued problem of academic “siloing”.  Additionally, many of the published cases available to faculty are also available to students in the form of answers floating on the internet.  Thus the classroom of students may be unfairly resourced with some students finding case answers on the net and others attempting to work the case on their own.

Talk is cheap!  At the California Institute of Advanced Management (CIAM), each of the twelve MBA courses incorporates a real case study with a live client who attends both the initial student team meeting and the student presentation during the last class of each course.  The clients are businesses in the Southern California area comprising both small family-owned businesses as well as major corporations.  The success of the pro bono program and reputation of CIAM within its four years of operation has generated interest worldwide.  Corporate clients from Canada, Mexico and Israel have participated as clients utilizing Skype to communicate with the student teams. To date, over fifty-five (55) clients have been served.

Talk is cheap!  CIAM doesn’t talk about bringing theory to practice; we actually do it with each and every class session devoting some portion of the class time with faculty serving as mentors to the graduate student teams.  Most of the CIAM faculty have private consulting experience, along with their doctoral degrees, such that they can truly “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”!

  1. Impact – what has the impact of the initiative(s) been on the local community?

During the initial stages of CIAM’s development, the local Chamber of Commerce offices provided the opportunity to identify clients who needed assistance with their businesses.  The challenges ranged from the lack of knowledge of social networking advertising methods to minimal financial management skills all the way to clients who were clueless about applied business methods for their conceptual unlicensed product.  Each of the three-to-five person team of students would meet with the client, produce a contract of proposed deliverables, conduct their research, and then deliver a written report and an actual professional presentation using PowerPoint and website visuals.  Clients were asked to evaluate the presentation by the students and provide testimonials, both videotaped and with a follow-up letter.   The CIAM library contains numerous glowing testimonials by past clients as to the value of the student project and their success in business growth as they incorporated the suggestions/recommendations into their business practices.

The international clients have been so impressed with the student client projects that one international consulting firm now reviews resumes of  all interested CIAM graduates on an on-going basis to seek candidates for positions as paid consultants in this firm’s international “Smart Cities” consulting initiative.

  1. Connections – how are the initiative(s) connected with the school’s programs and providing service learning opportunities for students?

The connection between the student team consulting project within each of the twelve courses of the MBA program at CIAM and the service learning opportunities for students is direct.  The project is part of the student’s grade for each course and it clearly emphasizes the link between academic theory and putting those theories into practice.  We label this “IATEP:  Immediately Applied Theory for Enhanced Performance” and this philosophy is a component of the course designs for our MBA program which were developed from the applications ascribed to Peter F. Drucker, the “Father of Modern Management”.  Peter Drucker may have derived the general idea of the importance of application from the ancient Chinese sage, Confucius, who explained the dichotomy between theory and application as follows:  “I hear and I forget.  I see and I remember.  I do and I understand.”  Doing, of course, means application.  According to both Confucius and Drucker, understanding is required for both enhanced performance and ultimate mastery of anything.

The CIAM MBA consulting projects, using the advanced teaching model of IATEP, are designed to directly apply theory into actionable, tangible processes that bridge the schism between theory and practice.  Of the five program goals of writing skills, presentation skills, leadership, teamwork and consulting, the consulting project provides components of all five of these program goals and they are evaluated using quantitative rubrics to measure student outcome performance.

  1. Commitment – how do the initiative(s) demonstrate an exceptional commitment to the local community?

Over fifty-five (55) organizations, from the local community to international clients, have directly benefited from the CIAM student consulting team projects.  Numerous businesses in the immediate area owe their financial survival and success to CIAM student’s detailed, specific, and clear recommendations.  Evidence of this is exemplified in the written and videotaped testimonials of many of the past clients.  Further evidence of this success is the requests by past clients to have a second team from CIAM tackle yet another challenge facing the organization.  We place a time restriction between repeat client projects to ensure that we are servicing as many clients as possible, all of whom are in need of our services. The role of CIAM is to provide educational opportunities for our students, but to affect change in the community that we serve.  This too, is a position taken by Peter Drucker who states that a business exists not to make a profit, but to serve society. CIAM’s students provide a valuable service to our community at large via the consulting projects of each academic course.

  1. Stories – please share any stories that show how community service has touched the lives of students, school staff, or community members.

Client testimonials are numerous and available in both video and written letter format.  The following are excerpts from actual consulting client testimonials:

“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the work your MBA students did in completing a marketing plan for my company.  Their work was thorough and well written, and they were very professional in their presentation as well.

I was amazed at the in-depth information that they gathered regarding markets, competition, and economic and business trends.  They worked as a team and the final product is an outstanding representation of a professional marketing plan.

I have seen a lot of business plans and marketing plans over the years.  This work easily rises to the standards of the industry.  You and your team are preparing these MBA students well to engage business with all the skills and training needed to compete on a global level”. Seawind Global

“Your findings were on-point and will be very helpful to the success of Dogue Magazine, from the beginning to the end!”  Neopaws International.

“Sister Rita and I were very impressed with how detailed the information that they gathered about industry competition, marketing, and childcare business trends.  They did everything with care and we enjoyed watching the presentation that was given to us….  What we enjoyed most about the presentation was the well-prepared slides and the comprehensive information that will help us reach our goals presently and in the future.

We have never had the pleasure of having a business plan done for us.  The work that the CIAM MBA students are doing is amazing.  The school is instilling values that prepare the student for life that every institution should be teaching while preparing these students to help businesses grow”  Little Flower Educational Child Care

“I personally attended the Group’s presentation.  I was impressed with what they found for Dlyte.  They provided us with useful and actionable information which will help grow the business.  Miranda impressed me with her research ability, and her research turned out to be very fundamental for the growth of the company.  Miranda and Philippe really showed their care by demonstrating their innovative ideas with my team, instead of just laying out the information as an outsider.  There students built a good personal relationship with the Dlyte team.

Lastly, I commend the CIAM MBA team for their efficiency, professionalism, and the content that they provided.  The information included resources and recommendations in the consultation report that will serve as a framework that will help guide Dlyte in its future endeavors.  I would urge anyone who has a business to avail themselves of the CIAM consulting team.  I will, without hesitation, refer business owners that I know to CIAM” Dlyte

“…One of the key recommendations of the presentation was for me to focus my time and energy on Big Box retailers, as I would be better served to do so, rather than focus on small business.  I was really impressed with the research and data that the team shared with me.  I did not realize how big the shoe shine market was, nor did I really understand the alternative markets for my product.  I was astounded with their efforts and their insights; I feel more confident and will make changes to incorporate the ideas that were introduced to me.  The team gave me a road map for my business and now I am very clear about my business’s path and how to improve it.

…The CIAM model of teaching is well worth the time as I learned a great deal from these MBA students.  They helped me look at my business in a very different way and provided guidance for me to reach my goals.  I am going to recommend CIAM MBA Consulting to my friends.”  Ray Charles Innovations, Inc.

“…Your project was unique.  Even though I am here locally in La Verne, you experimented with a distance learning model with my business – conducting all consulting via “Go To Meeting”.

I found this consulting to be excellent for me as it allowed me the flexibility to schedule the consulting times as well as interact on a regular basis with the students.

I wanted to also let you know that the students did a wonderful job on the project.  A number of their recommendations I am planning here as I work to grow the business.” Duds and Doodads

“…It was terrific to be in touch with such an energetic and/or younger generation to learn of their perspectives of business today.  I would whole-heartedly encourage any business owner with an open mind to go through this process to help their own business evolve in a similar manner.  Plus, simply being around higher energy levels helps to encourage ones efforts.” Cruise Trek

“…The consulting team worked with us to maximize our pursuit of government contracts more efficiently.

It was an absolute pleasure to work with the team.  The consultants were professional in their demeanor and fulfilled their consultative role by presenting us with a final report that included recommendations based on their findings.”  The Rocher Group

“…As you know, seeding an entrepreneurial ecosystem is a significant endeavor that involves substantial risk and your consulting has provided us with concrete guidance and tangible tools to help us move forward.

Your report provided us with two essential components to help ensure the success of start-up entrepreneurs and the sustainability of the entrepreneurial ecosystem as proposed in Proyecto FEMSA…

Moreover, CIAM’s insight and research validated the scope and feasibility of Proyecto FEMSA as a sustainable endeavor with potential enduring impact.  I am happy to have had your team work with my team on this project in our efforts to promote greater social impact.” FEMSA

“…I attended the Group’s presentation of their research findings and was impressed on how they found the perfect balance between technicality and effective communication of the information.  The Group completed a statistical analysis focused on critical information on the demographics and market environment in Wasco and Huntington Park.  They completed a 360 degree analysis which will allow me to consider different alternatives, expanding or staying at my current location.  Their analysis will certainly provide me with guidance as I seek to expand my business.” Fernando’s Tax & Notary Public Services

“…The CIAM MBA Consulting Team was able to recommend strategic marketing activities that will help Musica LA raise funds throughout the next coming years.  As a non-profit with a zero dollar budget, they presented creative marketing strategies that are feasible in reaching a larger demographic, increasing Musica LA’s social media presence, raising revenue throughout the next years and the ability to retain clients….We appreciate the attention to detail and meticulous efforts all CIAM members put into generating such high-caliber work.

Their presentation was exceptional and provided solutions that Musica LA is strongly working on implementing into their marketing practices.  We feel the consultation report is an amazing tool which will  help guide Musica LA’s future success for the coming years.  We consider it to be an invaluable asset as Musica LA grows and seeks sponsorship.” Musica LA

“…Their presentation was outstanding and I understand that these kinds of reports have been valued greatly by other companies.  I feel that the recommendations and research they did for my company will be a real asset to my business, and I would recommend a friend to the CIAM MBA consultants for an honest evaluation of the business.  CIAM will speak the truth and back it with real facts about the business and help any business owner reach their goals.  That is something that every business owner can benefit from.”  Alchemist Investments, LLC.

“…Our staff was floored by the vast amounts of research and time that was clearly put into this strategy.  We were especially impressed by the plans you had made based on future projections you saw for our organization.

Another very helpful section we found was the detailed steps required to apply for a 501(c)(3) status.  As with many non-profits, organizations are formed as a result of our passion for the subject as opposed to our knowledge of the field, and this was very useful in pointing us in the right decision.”  K.R.O.P.S.

 “…The written report is very detailed and comprehensive which allows me to thoroughly absorb all the materials presented by the team.  I truly appreciate the opportunity to have this outstanding product placed in my hands during the on-campus presentation.

The verbal presentation was outstanding, which I thoroughly enjoyed as well.  Everything was delivered to me in a very professional manner.  The recommendations presented to me will provide me with great value and many benefits to my future plan of expanding my business internationally.”  Math Clinic

“…They provided us with project objectives, a plan of action, and recommendations for job recruitment based on our needs.  During my first meeting with the team, I explained to them the immediate items that needed to be resolved were in human resources and website development.  Regarding human resources, we were in immediate need to hire two sales and purchasing associates, as well as one or two website developers/designers.  I was present… for their official presentation and received a copy of their report.  They elaborated interviewing, job position requirements, salary standards and various job recruitment strategies.  I was especially appreciative of the Do’s and Don’ts of interviewing since I just learned legal aspects of job recruitment.  I also noticed that there is a nearby college that has a web design program in which we could contact their career center for possible candidates at no cost.  I believe that the team accomplished our purposes perfectly.”  Winway Motors

“…Before, without recognizing the core problems and threats in the business, we were discouraged by the slow growth of our establishment.  Now, with the knowledge of how-to, we are ready to focus in correcting our style internally and externally to meet the needs of our customers in the City of San Gabriel.

I was surprised how the recommendations the CIAM MBA Consulting Team provided made such an instant difference.  I wish I had come for advice from them earlier.”  Cheers Bar & Grill