When we talk about real-world experiences being vital to a complete education at the David Eccles School of Business, this is what we’re talking about.

Four second-year MBA students were tasked by Salvador Petilos, the Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control for the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, with examining whether the state is efficient in the number and location of its retail outlets. In a place where liquor policy is always a hot topic, rife with political maneuvering and intrigue, the DABC wanted someone to provide straightforward data, and they came to the David Eccles School of Business to get it.

The four students—left to right (Sean Sampson, Jonathan Deesing, Neil Lockhart and Sunitha Yadav—explored city populations from across the state, sales numbers from existing stores, even real estate developments schedule for the future, to come up with final recommendations.

The experience proved valuable, according to the students. Yadav said it was interesting to “learn about how government-owned entities function and conduct business, especially in the context of such a controversial subject in the state.” Lockhart concurred, saying “it was interesting to see the interplay of business and politics that the DABC operates with. It was a real-life example of concepts we studied in economics, with the government artificially limiting supply.”

Both Deesing and Sampson acknowledged the value of working on the project for their education, as well as their respective career paths.

“It is vitally important that as MBA students we have to opportunity to work with real-world clients, with real-world results,” Sampson said. “This is extremely powerful as an example of business skills in practice and our ability to work in these environments. That then translates into conversations we can have with potential employers that are looking for that real-life experience outside of the classroom.”

Deesing mentioned various aspects of the students’ classwork that came into play on the DABC project—including managing a project, working with a team, delivering a professional presentation—and said the experience is particularly valuable to him as someone who entered the MBA program with limited experience.

“I will certainly use many