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Aztec Consulting

Aztec Consulting Office

EBA-321 |  619-594-0294 |  [email protected]
Monday-Thursday: 9:00am – 4:00pm

Welcome to Aztec Consulting

Aztec Consulting Program offers management consulting services to businesses in the city of San Diego for free, based on an annual grant from the City of San Diego.

We are focused on building value for our community of clients and student consultants.

  • To our clients, we strive to provide innovative, yet tangible solutions, which lead to optimized decision-making and increased effectiveness.
  • To our students, we emphasize professional and personal growth by developing top undergraduate students into strategic thinkers and leaders capable of approaching complex, real-world business issues.

At the Aztec Consulting Program we know that finding the right help when you need it is a choice not to be taken lightly. We value your time and well being.

Prospective Clients

This is an on-going technical assistance program designed to assist small businesses especially women owned, minority owned, and veteran owned as these are the key target populations for our grant from the San Diego Economic Development Center.

SDSU’s Aztec Consulting Program, a highly successful, award winning program, started as the Small Business Institute (under an SBA grant). It has served nearly one thousand small and medium sized businesses in the San Diego region since its inception in the early 1970s. Our student consultants, working as a three to five person team, work with each business client for an entire academic semester, with each team guided by an MBA student.

SDSU will also provide an advising committee which consists of Dr. John Francis, management, and MBA or MS student advisors. These combined resources supervise the undergraduate students that are consulting for the business. All students in the program must complete a series of prerequisites, must apply competitively to participate, and are selected based on superior academic performance as well as stated commitment to engaging in active community-based service learning.

  • Business Expansion and Revenue Growth
  • Improving Human Resource Processes
  • Conducting Feasibility Studies
  • Developing Advertising and Promotions
  • Search Optimization and Social Media
  • Cost Analysis and Control
  • Developing Foreign Market Entry Strategy
  • Conducting Benchmark and Competitor Analysis
  • Improving Operations and Project Management Efficiencies

The Washboard Laundry

“I didn’t even think about the branding before they pointed out some inconsistencies, but now I have a cohesive message across all media.”


Rows of washing machines in a laundromatTyler Blair, owner of The Washboard laundry service near SDSU’s campus, also engaged the Aztec Consulting Program's students shortly after purchasing his business. While the report from the Aztec Consulting Program confirmed Blair’s assertion that no other local laundry service offered free wi-fi, televisions, customer service and high tech washing machines, the report also came back with a marketing and financial suggestions that helped Blair to strengthen his unique business.

“One of the first things the students did was to determine the actual cost and profit for each service and that’s when we realized that the fluff-and-fold service had the highest return on investment,” said Blair. “When I started marketing that service more heavily, we began seeing more profits pretty quickly. They also showed me how to better manage our existing accounting system, how to train and delegate work to the existing employees and how to determine a pricing structure.” Like Romero, Blair also learned that he needed to make his marketing and branding more uniform. “I didn’t even think about the branding before they pointed out some inconsistencies, but now I have a cohesive message across all media,” he said.


At Your Side Planning

“My resulting revenue has increased significantly, and I have a higher quality of clientele now.”


Bride walking down a stairway while holding a bouquetOne member of the business community is Diana Romero who offers wedding planning services through her company, At Your Side Planning. She enlisted the help of the SBCC students in the fall of 2011 when she decided she wanted to increase her revenues.

The students suggested techniques to improve her marketing plan and determined that she was charging too little for her services. Upon implementing their suggestions, she noticed positive improvements right away.

“The results were incredible,” said Romero. “I implemented the students’ suggestions to revamp my pricing when their analysis determined my price point was too low. I also used their input to re-name and re-brand my company name, website and marketing materials to create a cohesive and higher quality look and feel. My resulting revenue has increased significantly and I have a higher quality of clientele now.”

Part of the reason for Romero’s results is the fact that she was not only willing to implement the suggestions made by the students, but also that the students are among the best in the College of Business Administration. “In order to be involved in the Aztec Consulting Program, students must go through an applications process,” said Dr. Don Sciglimpaglia, outgoing director for the Aztec Consulting Program. “Only seniors and M.B.A. students that have shown excellence in the classroom and that have a track record of community service are accepted into the program.”


SDSU Alumni
Emerging Business Enterprise
Primary Interest


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Previous Clients

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Become a Mentor

A student team with one or two professional mentors is matched with a local business to help assess its business development needs. These mentors work with student consulting teams to guide the teams’ research and recommendations to meet the needs of the small business owners. The industry-specific and project management knowledge of professional advisors enhances the student learning experience and helps students work with small business owners to increase their success.

Interested in becoming a mentor?

Please contact John Francis
[email protected] 619-594-5339 




BA 404, or Strategic Business Consulting, is one of the available Business capstone courses that gives students the opportunity to implement all of their previous studies. The class meets on Friday from 10:00am-12:40pm. There is a LARGE element of this class in which student groups meet OUTSIDE the classroom. Students act as “business consultants” to selected businesses, working in three to five member teams. BA 404 can be taken as a business elective in lieu of the required BA 405. Always be sure to check with your academic advisor. The class will be small [30 students maximum]. Students must apply to take the course, which fills quickly, so plan to register as early as possible.

Program Overview

The Small Business Consulting class pairs astute students with businesses in the San Diego area. After meeting with their client, business students design their project plans and deliverables to meet the scope of the project. This experience gives the students the opportunity to answer those tough critical thinking questions in an interview situation, and gives them real-life experience to put on their resume. Not to mention the lasting impact made in the community.


  • BA 350, BA 370, ACCTG 202 completed
  • GPA 2.75 or above
  • Instructor approval (See Application Below)

Demonstrated Skills

  • Problem Identification
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Consultation
  • Project Management
  • Strategies for Team Effectiveness
  • Analyze the Business Problem
  • Develop Recommendations
  • Creating a Clear Action Plan to be Followed by the Client
Student Type
Academic Year
Course Schedule

Course Description: In this experiential practicum, students extend their understanding of business principles and strategic thinking through a real-world consulting engagement. Students are partnered with 3-4 other colleagues and a local entrepreneur/CEO to help develop the company’s strategy. Students learn a structured approach to strategic thinking while impacting the future success of an entrepreneur.


Meet the Team

John Francis

John Francis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
[email protected]
619-594-5339 |  SSE-3312


Headshot of Lara Snow

Lara Snow

[email protected]
619-594-0245 |  EBA-321

Lara Snow is a senior at SDSU studying Business Administration, Management. She is also minoring in Sustainability and Communication. Other on-campus positions Lara holds are Office Assistant at Associated Students and Instructional Student Assistant at Commuter Life.

During the last two summers, Lara has had the opportunity to intern for GEICO, consulting on various real business issues. She will be starting a new role as an Area Manager at Amazon in June, 2020.

Lara enjoys learning about the business consulting world. Ultimately, she would like to make a real impact on the people and businesses in her community.

Joel Ligma

Joel Ligma

Consulting Advisor

Joel is an international student from Germany pursuing his MBA degree with an emphasis in management information systems at SDSU. He received his undergraduate degree at Business School Berlin where he got his BA in international business administration. As part of his undergraduate degree Joel had the opportunity to work abroad in Hong Kong as a market research intern. This formative experience allowed him to work with a range of people from various backgrounds and experiences. Joel plans to leverage his acquired knowledge in business administration and data analytics to enhance projects and provide optimal solutions for clients which foster ideal decision-making.

In his free time, he enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures which includes the US and East Asia. In his most recent exploration abroad, he visited Japan where he says his most memorable aspect of the trip was seeing Mount Fuji.

Headshot of Alex Favor

Alex Favor

Consulting Advisor

Alex Favor is an MBA Candidate and analyst in the Biotech Industry. After receiving his undergraduate degree from SDSU, he spent four years managing the on-campus BCB Café kiosks with success in bringing significant operational improvements. Currently, he uses data analytics and marketing strategies to drive revenue growth by implementing new procedures which have increased customer acquisition and retention rates.

Alex enjoys being active in the SDSU community and is happy to help students interested in learning more about business management. 



Ryan Crandall

Ryan Crandall

Consulting Advisor

Ryan is currently in his last semester within the SDSU MBA program, having already taken part of many of the activities and extracurricular's including Career Fairs, Toastmasters, Study Abroad services, International Marketing projects, and the Venture Capital Investment Competition. If he's not doing school or work, Ryan enjoys outdoor adventure races throughout southern california and is always planning the next travel experience. 

His previous experience includes staffing services for several industries including legal and healthcare, with international marketing efforts across various products and adventure tourism industries. Currently, he works as the Lead Technical Recruiter for the cyber security industry and has been a consultant for various recruiting services. 

Jess Headshot

Jess Morales

Consulting Advisor

Jessica Morales is completing her final year at SDSU's MBA program. She received her B.S. in Accountancy at California State University of Northridge with Cum Laude honors.  

Prior to beginning SDSU's MBA program, Jessica worked as an auditor at Deloitte & Touche LLP in Los Angeles, CA. She was part of two big profile audit clients for the L.A. area who are part of the Consumer Products industry. Her experience at Deloitte helped Jessica develop a range of technical and business skills which included business risk assessment, financial statement analytics, managing deadline driven projects, building strong client relationships, and other valuable business skills.

When given the opportunity, Jessica enjoys helping the people and communities around her. Jessica is interested in project management, where she hopes to work in various information technology projects that create a positive impact locally and globally. 

abigail headshot 

Abigail Callahan

Consulting Advisor

Abigail is an MBA Candidate emphasizing in management information systems. She received her undergraduate degree at DePaul University where she got her BA in digital cinema production.   
Throughout her time in undergrad, Abigail competed on the soccer and track and field team. In her free time, Abigail still enjoys playing pickup soccer outside with friends. She also enjoys traveling and exploring to new places.
She hopes to work in a position where she can leverage her creative skills in juxtaposition to her newly found interests in business strategy and data analytics to help develop innovative and effective solutions to managerial problems.



City of San DiegoSan Diego Small Business Enhancement Program

This grant program's particular focus is to expand economic opportunities for small businesses by supporting nonprofit organizations that provide specialized services to small businesses citywide. The intent is that recipients leverage Small Business Enhancement Program funds to enhance small businesses services and create, grow and retain small businesses in San Diego. Examples of the services and training include business development, contracting and procurement, disability accommodations and technical assistance training. Visit Economic Development Funding Programs to learn about other opportunities.

Lavin LogoLavin Entrepreneurship Center

Having the right blend of university curriculum and industry involvement, the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center within San Diego State University's (SDSU) College of Business Administration has emerged as an entrepreneurial leader. SDSU and the Lavin Center has been recognized for having one of the best entrepreneurial programs in the United States by both Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Additionally, SDSU was named to the Kiplinger's Personal Finance list of 100 best values in public colleges for 2015-2016.