MBA 698 Practicum: Experiential New England Ocean Cluster and Student Collaboration

Maine has been a net exporter of raw seafood for many years. Maine businesses would like to increase the production of downstream shellfish and seafood products, but have been challenged by industry technology limitations and limited availability of market planning resources and logistic channel outlets. The USM School of Business deploys teams of undergraduate and graduate MBA students as ocean-based company consultants. The teams work with the New England and Iceland Ocean Cluster Houses to address seafood, aquaculture, logistics, and marine technology business gaps and needs. Working collaboratively with local and Icelandic and other Northern Atlantic entrepreneurs and business leaders, student and faculty teams analyze business potential, develop business plans, and investigate and recommend retail distribution outlets, product designs, advertising strategies, updated company images, etc. The student teams propose creative solutions to business challenges and barriers to growth. Students benefit as they work directly with seafood, tourism, logistics, and technology entrepreneurs and small businesses; area businesses gain valuable consulting and research help as they develop, launch, and promote their seafood and marine technology products.


Avenues for future growth include:

1. Expand the audience and presentation format of the final presentation event to use the practicum to engage the community.

2. Develop an MBA exchange program using the same model, where participants take part in an intensive course and also participate in an internship applying these skills to real-world problems.

3. Establish a Seafood Marketing Institute at USM - a center of academic and industry excellence for seafood marketing and branding - that would build on these proven competencies.


New England Ocean Cluster House

Iceland Ocean Cluster House

Portland Maine waterfront businesses

Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Robert Heiser

School of Business

Bob Heiser has eighteen years experience working in the engineering and information technology fields with Fortune 500 companies, such as Emerson Electronic, Dover Corporation, and Ball Corporation, as well as several high tech startup companies. He has designed and launched dozens of high tech products, many of which are still sold today. He has published in a number of journals and conference proceedings, including The Journal of Advertising, The Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, The Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, and the Western Decision Sciences Institute. He's also on the Editorial Review Board for The Journal of Marketing Education and the Institute for Business & Applied Management. Bob continues to maintain close ties to the professional community and is an active member of the American Marketing Association and the Society for Marketing Advances.