- When will I hear if my company is accepted into GAP?
Companies are normally invited to participate in the program during March and April. They are fully accepted after receipt of a $US 3,000 non-refundable deposit on or before May 15.
- How much time will the CEO or Managing Director spend working with students?
There are two required trips to Los Angeles to meet all day with students: July 19-21 and December 8. Excluding these trips, the executive spends about 2 hours per week over the 24 week program.
There are several phases to the program, each requiring different time commitments. After students have been assigned to your company, there will be a weekly or biweekly telephone conference call. Then in July, executives will spend two days here on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles to meet with their student team. After this, a few students will visit the company headquarters for two or three days to gain an in-depth understanding of the company, its products/services and management. Following is a several month period of regular conference calls every other week, as the students conduct their primary research. Toward the end of the program, students will send additional drafts of business plans and presentations which executives need to review. Finally there is a one day trip to Anderson in December to view the final presentation of the business plan.
- I'm concerned about the confidentiality of the company's business strategy, financials and intellectual property. How do you address this concern?
Each student, faculty advisor and staff member in the GAP program signs a Non-Disclosure Agreement, which is also signed by the company executives. This covers all companies in the GAP program. The program invites local business executives, angel investors and venture capitalists to review the final business plan and judge the final company presentation in December. The business custom in the U.S. is for these investment professionals to not sign NDAs and the program follows this business practice. We're proud to say there has not been a single issue raised by any GAP company over the past 13 years regarding a company's confidentiality of their business plan.
- What is the total cost of the program?
The program fee for 2012 is $US 15,000 of which $3,000 is a non-refundable payment due on or before May 15. The remaining $12,000 is due July 15. Additionally companies pay for their travel, lodging and meals expenses to Los Angeles twice during the program, in July and December, a total of four or five nights. Student travel costs are paid by Anderson.
- Do all the students come to my company headquarters? What do they do when they are here?
It is important for two or three students to spend two or three days early in the program visiting the company's headquarters to meet with senior management, investors, members of the board of directors, local customers and perhaps suppliers or strategic partners. They need to see the product or service in operation. Students leave with a much more comprehensive understanding of the company which later pays significant dividends.
- How much effort do the students invest in this program?
Over the past several years, each five person team spends about 2,600 total hours in the program over the 24 week course.
- How are students assigned to the company?
In May, the program presents all company application forms to all students. Students have about two weeks to research companies they are interested in working with. They are not allowed to directly contact any company. All research is conducted in a secondary manner...Google, the internet, etc. Then each student team places their first, second and third choices of which companies with whom they want to work. If two or more teams place the same bid on the same company, the GAP Director and GAP Executive Director independently review the resumes of each student on both teams and awards the company to the team who possesses the best set of skills and experiences to most benefit the company. There are two rounds of bidding and final assignments of companies are made in mid-June. Companies are not allowed to review any student resumes prior to the bidding process.
- When do executives travel to Los Angeles?
Two times; July 19-21 and December 8. The July trip is the critically important two days, with 14 to 16 hours of meetings with the team. A formal Memo of Understanding is developed which defines the GAP study objectives, a Non-Disclosure Agreement is signed, and executives meet with the faculty advisor.
In mid December, the executives observe the formal 15 minute business plan presentation made by the students and the 20 minute questions and answers period by a panel of three outside investors and industry experts. There is opportunity after the presentation for executives to talk with the panelists in a social setting. At this time executives receive the final soft copy and printed business plan and presentation.