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Economic Development Fellows Consulting Program

The Economic Development Fellows Consulting Program connects local companies with graduate and professional students and postdocs seeking business consulting opportunities.

Program description

Student consulting teams (approximately five students/postdocs per team) work with companies to identify a set of project goals and develop strategies for addressing their unique business challenges. Consulting teams are led by an economic development fellow who serves as project manager and acts as a liaison between the team and the client.

Past projects have come from a variety of industries, including medical devices, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, retail and environmental technology, though the program is open to any industry. New project cycles occur three times a year, starting in January, May and September, and typically last 12 weeks.

Consulting teams engage in a wide range of project types, including, but not limited to:

  • Product development strategy
  • Market research
  • Market entry strategy
  • Marketing and sales optimization
See examples of past projects

We accept submissions for any project type. Companies are invited to submit a project proposal or contact for more information.

Student consultants

We are looking for highly motivated graduate/professional students and postdocs to be part of our volunteer consulting teams.

Learn more about current and past consulting projects and apply for a 2017 summer project.


Consultants are selected through a competitive process and must be:

  • Current University of Minnesota postdocs, graduate or professional students
  • Enrolled with active status and in good academic standing (if graduate or professional student)
  • Willing to commit a minimum of five hours per week to the project
The consultant positions are unpaid, volunteer opportunities. No previous business or consulting experience is required and applications from all fields and disciplines are encouraged.

We recruit volunteer consultants in January, May and September. To be notified when we are receiving consultant applications, and to be informed about upcoming projects, sign up for our email list. If you are unsure about your eligibility to participate, or you have other questions, please contact