Paying it Forward: Advice From Past Students

“It takes each of us to make a difference for all of us.” — Jackie Mutcheson, Teacher

Each term, students are asked to voluntarily offer a piece of advice or insight for students beginning their Integrative Management Capstone journey. They understand that their advice and insights will be shared anonymously with future students and that this is their opportunity to “pay it forward”. The goal is that you learn from your peers’ experiences and that their hindsight can become your foresight. You’ll see that some points are repeated; that’s because they were shared by multiple students.

Here is what has been accumulated for your consideration:

  • Be organized by creating a folder and save all your work in one safe location.
  • Pick a topic you are passionate about.
  • It is easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of notes and research needed to stay on track; having everything organized in one location is certainly key.
  • Start thinking about your topic before the course even starts. Think about it for many days before picking your topic. Pick something you are passionate about!
  • Start your work early in the week. Starting the weekly assignments early in the week allows you to think deeper into your specific topic, so when it comes time to do the discussion forums, project outline, or project analysis you have a good baseline started and know what you need to work on. I found that this also helped me balance my work life, family, and school efficiently.
  • Pick a topic that is really means something to you – a topic that will benefit the greater population, whether it is at your place of employment or elsewhere. If it means that much to you and will affect others positively, you will put the necessary time and effort into this project that it deserves. Stay focused, keep plugging along each week, break it down into manageable sections, and never give up. You will get through it just fine.
  •  Don’t give up, it’s worth it!
  •  Plan ahead – You never know what is going to unexpectedly come up so plan to complete your assignments in advance of the due date.
  •  Utilize all of your resources – Review your previous core course textbooks as they contain some great information that could be used to support your project. Bounce ideas off of people around you. Sometimes just talking through something will get you through a roadblock or clarify your thoughts to move forward.
  •  Don’t panic or get overwhelmed! Take it one week at a time and once you get into the groove, everything will fall into place.
  •  Pick a subject that is meaningful to you. That will make the work easier and more enjoyable. Most of all, use your time wisely.
  •  Don’t give up – it’s a fast 12 weeks!
  •  From the first day of class work to find a topic quickly.
  •  Use Granite State College’s resources to proofread and review your capstone.
  •  Focus your efforts on a concept that will really aid you in your professional development and better your respective field.
  •  Set a time schedule and stick to it.
  • What is important is that you pick something that you are passionate about and something you think you can make a difference with – that way the project is more fun and beneficial than it is work.
  • Focus on your goals and don’t let anything get in the way.
  • Do your project on something you are passionate about and can easily write about.  Have a good research plan and work on it early and often.
  • Find a topic that you are passionate about and one that will help push you forward in your career. This will keep you interested and motivated throughout the course.  Make sure to start early and be consistent with researching and finding information that will support your objectives.
  • Pick a topic you are passionate about because it makes the work more enjoyable. Enjoying this project will help you stick to the timeline/goals that you set for yourself which is imperative for success.
  • Spend the extra time to choose a topic that will have an impact and that is of interest to you, the writer.
  • Follow the process and the schedule each week. Do not get behind and, if possible, try to get ahead.
  • Use the example papers, they are a great tool.
  • Utilize the information you share with each other through the discussion forums.  Someone will always see something differently than you and that perspective can give you new insight into something you never thought of.  Learn from each other!!!
  • Fully develop your project objectives and concepts early on so you can use key terms to further your research.
  • Stay consistent with completing the various stages of the project by the specified deadlines.  Doing this makes for a relatively smooth process and keeps your project organized as it builds.
  • Limit the scope of your project. You only have 12 weeks to work through this process, so a manageable focus is key.
  • Think of what your passion is and try to incorporate that into your project.  I believe that is the most important first step otherwise you won’t be as engaged.
  • Work hard; challenge yourself to work on your project a little bit every day.
  • Work hard and play hard.  Compartmentalize your time so you don’t get burned out, schedule time for schoolwork, work, and family.  Don’t compromise your time with family over schoolwork, or work work…
  • Find a problem that is impacting your workplace and establish a way to solve it.
  • Allow enough time for research and data organization.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to choose a goal that you’ve seriously considered, and make it your capstone project.
  • Brainstorm capstone ideas with your manager.
  • Let the process happen and keep the project yours.
  • Do not procrastinate and complete the assignments step by step each week.
  • Plan out your project timeline ahead of time and plan for weeks where you might not always stay on track so that you can finish on time.
  • Make a good outline to follow – this will really help in developing your project/paper.
  • Manage your time!  I found that as we have worked through the course timeline of twelve weeks those small weekly hours of dedicated time add up to make a lengthy project more manageable.
  • Thoroughly review the syllabus, have an awareness of what the course is about and don’t stress about the final project. The project will come together if you take it one step at a time. Put one foot in front of the other and soon you will be walking out the door with your degree!
  • Work through the capstone process as it is designed to maximize your success.


To give you an idea of the types of capstone project previous students have produced, here are some examples:

Mentoring Empowerment Program

Create a 1:1 mentoring program to help those with mental illness and brain disorders maintain relationships and employment. The program aims to help increase self-esteem, provide encouragement, improve communication with management, and inspire participants to explore employment as a means for self-actualization.

Food Truck Business Plan

Develop a business plan for launching a Filipino food truck business. The focus of this project is to guide potential restaurant entrepreneurs and fellow college students who may want to break into the food truck industry.

Hiring Program

Develop an organizational hiring program to maximize retention and establish a consistent, fair, and transparent hiring program that will provide equal opportunity for all current and potential employees. Develop mission and values statements, refine job descriptions, establish hiring panels, interview guidelines, and hiring process and procedure.

Fire Fighter Mentoring Program

Create mentor relationships between seasoned fire officers and firefighters interested in the position of fire officer. The mentor assigns tasks to the firefighter throughout different phases of the program. Assignments are based on the kinds of tasks they would complete as a fire officer with the goal of helping them understand the position before taking on the role officially.

Fire Fighter Team Expansion

This project puts forth the information that is needed to understand the opportunities and challenges that occur when adding new firefighter positions to an already established fire department.

Samples of these and other projects are included in the Course Resources section of our Canvas course. You are encouraged to review these samples to help you develop your own vision for your capstone project as well as gain an understanding of how the completed project will come together. Past students have given their permission for their work to be shared to help future students maximize their success with the capstone process.




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