Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Oct. 10, 1997

ISU, 3M partner in business lab

by Michelle Johnson

Iowa State students now have the opportunity to provide business advice for one of the world's leading manufacturers, 3M Corp., St. Paul, Minn.

Students currently work in a temporary facility at the ISU Research Park, but a 4,200-square-foot 3M Business Laboratory is under construction there. The laboratory, the first of its kind, is a cooperative effort between 3M and the colleges of Business, Engineering and Education.

The lab enables students, working in interdisciplinary teams, to use their classroom experience to help solve manufacturing, product and process problems for 3M. Projects under way include scanning the business environment for new distribution strategies and sales force incentives, scouting new product markets and improving product design.

"The laboratory provides students with valuable interdisciplinary team building experience and leadership opportunities with a world-class corporation," said Benjamin Allen, dean of the College of Business. "It will significantly enhance their learning experiences and better prepare them for the working world."

Students are involved with the laboratory on several levels. Entry-level students conduct basic research for 3M through internships and independent studies. More advanced students serve as team leaders for entry-level student projects; help with administrative duties such as scheduling, promoting and managing the facility; and assist 3M with strategic planning for the corporation.

One faculty member from each college uses the laboratory to conduct class projects and teach courses designed to complement student team research projects. Two full-time personnel from 3M will manage the daily activity of the laboratory.

"Our goal is to provide a state-of-the-art experiential learning center for ISU students and faculty, as well as for our own employees at 3M," said Ted Stotlar, manager of operations for the laboratory.

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