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IST Consulting Solutions Program

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Sponsor Student Projects

Gain first-hand experience with student consulting teams and experience all the resources that IST has to offer. Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) offers faculty-led student IT consulting teams as a resource to companies and non-profit organizations through the IST Consulting Solutions program. Participating organizations benefit by receiving assistance with IT-related projects while students gain real-world, client-focused work experience.

The IST Consulting Solutions Program is a corporately sponsored initiative designed to foster the integration of complex, real-world learning experiences into the new IT consulting track within the IST curriculum. The CSP works closely with corporate, government, and education organizations to explore and develop innovative, win-win, partnerships and projects involving the IT Consulting Track students.

IST has worked with numerous organizations to help develop IT projects that not only provide robust learning experiences for student teams but real value for partnering organizations. Past projects have involved a wide variety of technologies (see enclosed project descriptions) and have had durations ranging from fifteen weeks to two years. Deliverables may include fully developed systems, prototype systems, feasibility studies, design analysis, and reports.

How it Works

Each project typically involves a team of four to five IST students over a fifteen-week semester, which translates to 300-400 hours of student effort per project. Projects requiring more than fifteen weeks may be divided into phases to meet client needs. Initial phases are completed in the first semester while subsequent phases may be conducted in future courses, by summer interns, under a virtual internship arrangement, or as a sponsored development project.

Your Involvement

To ensure project success, IST requires the sponsoring organization to assign a motivated contact person to oversee and interact with the team during the project. This person is asked to commit one hour per week to "meet" with the team to discuss project issues and answer questions. These weekly meetings typically occur by phone or videoconference. Other client responsibilities include:

  • Providing project-related information in a timely manner
  • Reviewing project status reports and providing feedback
  • Evaluating project outcomes and, in some instances, team performance

The initial project commitment fee is $2,500 per team. The cost of engaging a second team to work on the same project is $2,000. These funds support project expenses and are used to cover overhead and other operating expenses.

Intellectual Property Protection

Company intellectual property is protected under the terms of a non-disclosure agreement with Penn State. This agreement is binding on both students and University personnel, but includes provision for release of appropriate reports, display posters, and Web pages with prior approval of the sponsoring organization.

About Our Sponsor

CAICAI is the sponsor of the IST Consulting Solutions Program. Through a generous donation, CAI has provided the resources needed to grow and improve this unique program.

CAI is a national IT consulting firm that specializes in IT process transformation, business consulting, application support, application development, desktop services, and staff augmentation. Headquartered in Pennsylvania with offices throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Philippines, CAI offers several delivery options including on-site solutions from five delivery centers in the U.S. and one offshore. For more information, please visit