Industry-University Collaboration

Spring Theory provides Industry-University Collaboration projects to connect, innovate, and improve both your work and educational experiences.

Our collaborations are always confidential to the companies and universities that we work with. In an effort to inspire other companies to participate in university collaboration opportunities some of our clients have offered to share their experiences below.

If you are interested in working with us, we’d be happy to share specific examples and case studies that have been approved from our recent completed collaborations. Please contact Dmitriy Katsel, at dmitriy@springtheory.com, to find out more about our experience and examples of past work.




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General Mills collaborated with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to design new health snack concepts.

“The ideas were fully integrated including package design, distribution, etc. In some cases this was very instructive and broader than might have been as we ‘conceptualized’ them ourselves. At the end of February I announced that I am retiring after 32 years at General Mills, effective August 1, and one of my points of pride was supporting this effort before I leave.”

— Gayle Fuguitt, Vice President of Consumer Insights at General Mills.




Health Net collaborated with the University of California, Los Angeles, to develop new product solutions that target the millennial generation.

“Our collaboration with UCLA School of Public Health looked to address several critical business challenges for our company. The students looked at our business problems with a fresh perspective and offered innovative ideas to help us adapt to the marketplace. We were able to involve internal stakeholders from across a variety of business units in the collaboration, and the overall experience was seamless and very beneficial.”

— Gina Stassi, Vice President of Product Development at Health Net




The Hershey Company collaborated with Northwestern University Kellogg School of to develop strategies for increasing awareness of their CSR programs through social media.

“I can't say enough about how impressed I was with the quality of work coming out of the partnership through Spring Theory and the Kellogg Business School. The caliber of work with both groups was top notch and partnering with an intelligent and an engaged MBA student group clearly created significant value for us. I would highly recommend them as a way to generate insight and strategic ideas.”

— Ed Martin, Director of International Consumer Insights and New Methods at The Hershey Company




Hilton Worldwide collaborated with the University of Chicago to innovate around new guest experience concepts.

“Thank you so much for bringing forward the opportunity to work with the University of Chicago. Not only did I enjoy the experience but I also gained a range of new ideas to consider. In addition I had the opportunity to learn more about the way the students think which, since they fall into an emerging segment for my brands, proved invaluable. I hope you'll keep me in mind for future opportunities.”

— Nancy Ratigan, Director of Innovation Guest Experience, Hilton Worldwide




Microsoft collaborated with the University of Michigan Ross School of Business to develop an international strategic marketing plan for the Xbox.

“The MBA International Marketing class worked in teams to develop strategies for how we can grow our international market share for the Xbox. They looked at market strategy, consumer insights, marketing communications and they gave us a new point of view. The entire experience was fantastic and we got a lot of value out of this collaboration. I'm looking forward to participating again in the future.”

— Stephen Boulton-Wallace, GM, Global Marketing Strategy, Intelligence and Analytics at Microsoft




Men’s Health Magazine collaborated with Columbia University to develop new strategies for reaching millennials.




Tumi Collaborated with Columbia Business School to develop strategies and insights around a marketing initiative.

“The students who worked on the projects showed a great deal of enthusiasm for the assignment and the brand. They were very conscientious and detail oriented, and they clearly invested time in doing both their background research and preparation as well as the preparing the presentation itself. The quality of output was very high. The students proposed some of the same recommendations we as a company had developed independently, and they also presented some new ideas that were well grounded and demonstrated solid strategic thinking. We were so impressed that next time we want the students to give their presentations to a broader group of Tumi executives.

— Alan M. Krantzler, Sr. Vice President Brand Management at Tumi




Coca Cola + Columbia University American Express + INSEAD SAP + Northwestern University The Clorox Company + UC Berkeley Farmers + University of Chicago Mazda + MIT US Bank + University of Virginia MARS + University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Red Light + Tulane University Safeway + USC Henkel + Tsinghua University Schwan's Foods + University of Florida TJX + Boston College 24Hour Fitness + Santa Clara University Zenithmedia + University of Minnesota 1800Contacts + University of Southern Florida