“It was a really cool experience to work with a real franchise owner,” said Joy Christensen, a student from Cape Coral, Florida. “Matt meant business from day one.” With the franchise as a client, 32 students worked with Young under the direction of Scott Newman, director of the business program at LDSBC. Together, they performed research and collected data to benefit future decisions for the fast-food giant.
As students applied management principles being taught in class, they received hands-on experience that went beyond the classroom and lectures. The class was split into five groups to research different elements requested by Young.
Three groups studied McDonald’s current CYT sandwich experience, including a comparison of Australia’s CYT pilot success to the United States pilot. They also studied local store marketing and other important aspects of the CYT experience. The fourth group studied McDonald’s menu options and eventually recommended what they felt were winning options for a CYT dessert menu.
The fifth group applied what was taught in Newman’s management course to see how well McDonald’s fared. The application revolved around planning, organizing, leading and controlling, and Young’s franchise was examined with these functions in mind.
Chase Marshall, a student from Tooele, Utah, participated in the management group. “We analyzed how the manager’s store policies and environment affected the CYT rollout,” he said. “We discussed how to really make the new strategy excel.”
This real-life work experience taught Marshall to incorporate and apply what he had learned in other classes. “This was the first time that gap had been bridged for me, and I can now make that bridge in my mind,” he said. “Seeing how everything connects helps me to achieve my end goals.”
Christian Hayes, a student from Newberg, Oregon, also appreciated the opportunity to apply what he had learned. “It wasn’t just another case study; it was a living project,” Hayes said. “We were doing the research and making our own case study.”
At the end of the semester, the class chose ten students to present their findings and recommendations. “This was my favorite presentation ever because we put so much preparation into it,” said Hayes. “We had 50 slides and worked hard to make everything feel professional and real.”
Throughout the semester, franchise owner Matt Young was very impressed with the students’ work and how they applied what they had been taught. “The work on the the new brand concept was wonderful,” he said, “but another great part was the diversity and dynamics of the class. Students came from all over the world and could give good insight based on where they were from and what they were doing.”
The business students made a great impression on Young as he looks to find future employees and store managers. “It feels good to see future business leaders that are smart, educated, and respectful, all with different strengths and studying different things,” he said. “When I need talent, I know I can find great people at LDS Business College.”
After McDonald’s performed their own tests on the new brand and received the same results as the students, they announced the pilot testing of the new CYT brand this spring. “We will test this in every restaurant that already has CYT,” Young said. “The funny thing is, we are launching the new brand at the same price point recommended by the class.”
Scott Newman mentioned the rarity of the success of this specific class project with McDonald’s. “Not everyone ‘hits it out of the park,’ ” he said. “Not every company acts upon the recommendations we make.” Having students experience real-life case studies gives them the opportunity to apply principles taught in the classroom.
“The students long remember the project after they’ve forgotten what I’ve taught,” Newman said. “The process leaves a lasting impression that will serve them well as they learn how to succeed in business.”