UNLV EMBA Cohort 13 Teams With Opportunity Village

Nov. 24, 2015

UNLV EMBA Cohort 13 Teams With Opportunity Village

“Throughout its 61 year history, Opportunity Village has continually evolved and implemented unique work opportunities for the people with intellectual disabilities we serve.  And now, the UNLV EMBA program participants have concepted a new consumer product that will continue that evolution,” said Marty Wood, marketing director for Las Vegas’ favorite charity.  Currently in the research and design phase, the new product is in early stages of development.  The actual product will be kept under wraps until it can be properly launched.  The vision is for the product to be sold at McCarran Airport retail and restaurant venues as well as other high tourist-traffic locations.

The product is the brainchild of UNLV EMBA’s Cohort 13 as part of a cross-over course project for the EMBA Applied Marketing 723 and Service Operation 722 courses. The joint project tasked cohort members to assist Opportunity Village in exploring additional revenue producing and awareness-raising products, services and events. 

UNLV EMBA faculty are using service-learning in their courses to help give students the insights they need to have an impact on their communities.

Professor of marketing and international business, John Schibrowsky, Ph.D., routinely includes live-case, projects in his courses, which connects a local nonprofit with UNLV students who provide the organizations with marketing assessments and recommendations. UNLV EMBA Cohort 13 members were specifically asked to provide market opportunity analysis for the viability of using Opportunity Village’s popular Magical Forest venue for other revenue producing events and activities.  

Professor Peggy McNulty, Ph.D., who teaches Service Operations, then tasked the cohort members with providing process analyses of revenue producing ventures including recommendations for return on investment enhancements for Opportunity Village’s Thrift Store, Kitchen Creations division and fundraising events, in addition to the development and launch of new products and services. 

This is not the first time that UNLV EMBA cohorts have used their skills and knowledge to assist Las Vegas nonprofits. “For each cohort, we select projects where members’ experience and knowledge can make a difference in a nonprofits’ ability to serve the community,” said Schibrowsky. Whether it’s through recommendations for marketing strategies, new revenue streams or the creation of new business models, “these class projects are a win-win for both the cohort members and the nonprofits.”

McNulty notes that the results of these class projects take volunteering to the next level and have long-term impact for the nonprofit, while inspiring students to give back to the community.

Following the completion of an in-depth market opportunity analysis and process analyses, five teams of UNLV EMBA students presented their marketing and operations recommendations before Opportunity Village board members and stakeholders.

The teams recommended additional revenue producing uses for the Magical Forest venue including promoting the location for weddings, children’s parties and corporate events in addition to such activities as a farmer’s market or food truck festival. The EMBA members also suggested events that raise the organization’s visibility among ethnic groups, specifically the Hispanic community – a group which research indicated lacked awareness of Opportunity Village’s services and programs. 

From a service operations perspective, UNLV EMBA cohort members recommended ways to potentially increase the return-on-investment specifically in regard to the organization’s thrift shop. Finding that the highest ROI existed through furniture sales, the group recommended a possible joint venture with Goodwill Industries. Other recommendations included reviewing the pricing and delivery models of the Opportunity Village bakery and potentially partnering with The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Las Vegas.

“Kudos to all the Cohort 13 members, said McNulty. “They did an amazing job. This was my first UNLV EMBA cohort and I am very impressed by the caliber of UNLV’s EMBA student. The level of business savvy and strategic thinking each member brought to the project was extraordinary. I am also very grateful to Opportunity Village for their appreciativeness of our efforts and their interest in implementing the cohort’s recommendations.”  

While all the UNLV EMBA recommendations are being seriously considered, according to Wood, Las Vegans may soon see some immediate changes in and around Opportunity Village. The board has taken the initial necessary steps to change the name of Community College Drive to Magical Forest Lane.

“Opportunity Village has always enjoyed tremendous community support,” said Wood. “We are very appreciative of the UNLV EMBA program and thankful to the Cohort 13 members who offered us their expertise. We were beyond excited to have the brain power of 25 business leaders all focused on helping the wonderful people we serve.   Everyone at Opportunity Village looks forward to many more collaborations with the program in the future.”