Watershed Consulting 101

Alex Starr, Xuelei Sun, and Ian Moloney
Alex Starr, Xuelei Sun, and Ian Moloney

The Carey Consulting Team for the Prettyboy Resource Collaborative project consists of Ian P. Moloney, Alex Star, and Xuelei (Shelly) Sun. Ian and Alex are both 2016 Global MBA Candidates and Shelly is a 2015 MS in Finance student. Ian, Alex, and Shelly each started working on the PRC project via the Business in Government Initiative which is spearheaded by Professor Brian Gunia and sponsored by Roger Williams of the Carey Career Development Office. Through the project Ian focused on the strategic marketing of PRC, Alex worked on the operations and branding of PRC and Shelly focused on financial modeling for PRC. Overall, Ian, Alex, and Shelly worked together to create a comprehensive business plan for The Prettyboy Resource Collaborative.

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At Carey, students are encouraged to seek out and immerse themselves in opportunities that allow them to apply skills they learned in classes to address issues faced by the larger community. In collaboration with faculty and the Career Development Office, three students recently did just that.

Prettybody Watershed Alliance (PWA): Who Are They and What Do They Do?
The PWA is a citizen-led, public-private organization that seeks to connect private interests with public interests to achieve greater sustainability in the Prettyboy Watershed as well as the Prettyboy Reservoir.

The Prettyboy Reservoir, a major source of water for Baltimore, and the small buffer of land surrounding the Reservoir are owned by Baltimore County. However, the County does not own the greater part of the remaining land in the Prettyboy Watershed, including numerous streams that run into the Reservoir. The health of the Watershed directly impacts the health of the Reservoir, but the Watershed land and its streams belong mostly to private parties such as landowners and farmers. How can these private interests be incentivized to boost the health of the Prettyboy Watershed?

The PWA puts all the pieces together.
It connects available federal and state funding with private interests to implement projects like reforestation and free forest maintenance—a boon to the health of the land as well as to the pocketbooks of farmers/landowners, as these projects ultimately help farmers/landowners reduce costs. For instance, when a parcel of land is reforested, there is less nutrient runoff to nearby streams, and the farmer no longer needs to spend hours and dollars on mowing miles of grass.

The PWA wants to do the above without relying too much on external sources of funding—grants, government and so on. It achieves this through various new revenue streams, such as requiring a small percentage of the cost-savings generated projects.

Is this independence possible? Sustainable? Scalable? This is where the JHU Carey Consulting Team comes in.

Team Carey’s Involvement in Building the PRC Arm of PWA:
Our main objective was to put together a business plan for the sapling Prettyboy Resource Collaborative (PRC), the business branch of the PWA.

The process involved:
•  market landscaping and analysis
•  financial analysis and Excel modeling
•  brand development
•  strategies for optimal PWA-PRC inter-organizational inter-operational functions
•  and ultimately creative solution ideation

Along the way, we communicated with a variety of parties, ranging from Baltimore City representatives to landowners. We brought what we were learning in our academic programs to the consulting project, and complemented it with what we learned helping to develop the PRC. The Business in Government Student Group (BIGS), the Student counterpart to the Business in Government Group (spearheaded by Prof. Brian Gunia), working in conjunction with the Carey Business School Career Development Office, chose a fantastic organization for Carey students to work with: program-project synergies abounded.

Our team, needless to say, thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was really the epitome of what Johns Hopkins Carey Business School stands for: Business with Humanity in Mind. We were able to apply our growing business acumen to assist an organization whose mission includes sustainability and benefits to human society both within Maryland and across the nation. It was a fulfilling, invigorating experience: business can indeed serve the greater good.

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