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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Westerly resident helps local companies on her way to earning MBA from URI

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

She graduates May 21, then starts Electric Boat internship

KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 11, 2005 -- When Westerly resident Lauren Cugini graduates from the University of Rhode Island on May 22 with a master’s degree in business administration, she’ll have the satisfaction of having completed one of URI’s most challenging programs.

The Accelerated MBA Program accepts just 25 students per year and condenses what ordinarily is a two-year program into one year of intensive study and a three-month internship.

“We take six classes per semester and two more in the summer, and we work on several group projects,” said the 23-year-old student who earned an undergraduate degree in economics from URI in 2004.

In one group project, Cugini and her group developed a business plan and marketing plan for technology company Gemini Storage, which included preparing an industry analysis and marketing analysis and assessing the company’s competitive advantage.

As the spring semester came to a close, Cugini’s group was finishing up a business plan for a theater rental company run by Fantasy Works Youth, Inc., a youth theater company in Saunderstown.

“We’re trying to help the company grow so it can move out of the founder’s house and become more self-sufficient,” Cugini said. “We’re revamping their pricing strategy, standardizing their contracts, and making the business more profitable so it can provide more revenue to its parent company and offer more theater programs for kids.”

According to Cugini, the best part of URI’s Accelerated MBA Program is how the group work has created a bond with her fellow students. “We’re a tightly knit group now because we work so closely together,” she explained. “It’s very different from my undergraduate experience where I didn’t see many of the same students from one class to the next. We all help each other out and work together as a team. It’s a big support system to make sure everyone gets through the program successfully.”

The two big group projects have given Cugini a boost of confidence as she prepares for an internship at Electric Boat’s Virginia-class submarine program office. She would eventually like to work full-time for the company.

“I really like finance, and it turns out I’m good at it, too,” said Cugini, who plans to pursue a master’s degree in finance after she gets a full-time job. “It’s pretty interesting how all these mathematical formulas work together and end up coming up with the right answer. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of it.”

URI News Bureau Photo by Michael Salerno Photography