Startup Consulting

Startup Consulting is a program designed to provide MBA students with a real-world experiential learning experience, working with high-potential early stage startups.


The Startup Consulting Program provides MBA students with an experiential learning opportunity serving as consultants to early-stage, UNC-affiliated startup companies. Through these consulting projects, students are offered the chance to hone their skills in entrepreneurship and startup development through hands-on work while simultaneously expanding their entrepreneurial network of startup founders, advisors, and management teams. Eligible MBA students may apply to participate on a Startup Consulting team through our course, MBA848C: Startup Consulting, by using the online application link below.

The projects often include market research, competitive analysis, business model development, pitch presentation refinement, and validation of financing strategies. The specific scope of work is tailored to the needs of the individual startup client by the student consultant(s) with feedback from the startup client and the course instructor.

Student Application


Startup Consulting engages early-stage startups across a range of industry types. The typical startup that we work with will have a founding team and a validated business idea. Some companies have secured pre-seed/seed funding (others haven’t) or have some customers/sales (others don’t). The key factors we look for are a compelling business idea and founder(s) who are excited to work with a student consulting team to help them achieve their strategic goals. We currently are accepting applications from startups that have participated in the Launch Chapel Hill or Creative Startups accelerator programs.

Specific areas of support could include:

Technology Evaluations
Market and Competitive Analyses
Business Model Development
Pitch Presentation Coaching
Identification of Potential Funding Sources
Access to Potential Advisors/Mentors

Client Application

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify to participate as a client in the Startup Consulting Program?

We are currently only accepting applications from current/past cohort companies from the Launch Chapel Hill accelerator in Chapel Hill, NC and the Creative Startups accelerator in Winston-Salem, NC. Companies that have participated in these programs can apply here:

What are the timelines for participation?

The fall course runs from Aug 25 – Dec 15 and the spring course runs from Jan 25 – May 5.

We accept applications from potential clients (startups) and students on a rolling basis. Note that the deadline for applying for a fall project is July 1; the deadline to apply for a spring project is Dec 15.

What are the expectations for clients participating in Startup Consulting?

We find that the most successful projects involve periodic check-ins between the client and the student consulting teams. Thus, we ask that clients make themselves available to the consulting team on a recurring basis throughout the engagement period; likely once every 2-3 weeks. Clients will also be required to attend the final presentation, which will be scheduled during the last week of the project period, and to submit a final evaluation of the team and project.

Startup Consulting

“I would recommend a start-up consulting project to any student who is interested. It provides a hands on experience you will not get in a classroom setting.”

“The fact that students get the chance to work with real clients and have the ability to drive real change is nothing less than remarkable. I would indeed do it again if the opportunity arose.”

“The startup consulting project is a value add to my resume and a talking point when I have discussions with recruiters. Great Course!”