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Civil Engineering Business Operations
This course is taught during the fall semester and provides the students an understanding of a range of considerations required in developing a business plan for a civil engineering firm. Students are taught that a business exists to make a profit and the elements necessary to make a plan so that the business achieves its goal of becoming profitable. Such a point of view is not altruistic but realistic in a business context. The class is divided into groups and each group develops a business plan for a civil engineering firm. As the program evolves, some group may look at what is necessary for a civil engineering firm to compete globally.
The topics discussed in the class include different legal forms of business ownership, time value of money, business performance metrics (ROI, IRR, DCF, WACC, EBITDA, and P/E Ratio), balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statement, business development, managing a business for profitability, budgets and cost management, marketing and branding, networking, operations management, supply and demand, market forces, managing a business for growth, competition and game theory, business strategy, managing outside consulting, customer value propositions in business markets, and staffing. In addition, students are taught the relationship between business and culture: a business model developed for the US market may not be successful in another part of the world simply because of cultural differences.
Request for project proposals and a statement of qualifications are introduced near the middle of the semester to help integration between the graduate class and the undergraduate design groups. Experience in managing a project will be gained by the students by leading an undergraduate student team through the required culminating design project. Undergraduate students respond to RFPs developed by the graduate student.