Kennesaw State business students plan for zombie apocalypse

New class project pushes creativity in business and project management Surviving a zombie…

Georgia (Feb 6, 2014)New class project pushes creativity in business and project management

Surviving a zombie apocalypse may be just as horrifying as it’s portrayed on AMC’s popular TV series, The Walking Dead, but Kennesaw State University business students aren’t fearful of any impending demise. Instead, they have eagerly accepted a survival challenge  to plan for the zombie apocalypse using business management principles.

As part of a “Managing Projects” business course, students in the Coles College of Business divided into teams and developed their survival tactics to hypothetically endure the zombie apocalypse together.  The goal was to keep their entire team alive for four years.

The parameters and obstacles set at the project’s onset by instructor Dick Teters required the teams to move 15 miles or more at least once a year.  Students used project management principles learned in class and applied them to their semester-long zombie apocalypse project. 

While some students wanted to take an aggressive approach to killing off zombies and others wanted to avoid zombies altogether, students had to compromise their individual inclination for the benefit of the team’s survival.

“We knew where to start, and what the end result should be, but everything else had to be decided,” said Katie Reilly, a senior majoring in management, who liked the freedom and creative side of the project.  

Her all-female team determined what supplies they would need, how their team would be organized and managed, what characteristics and skills each member could bring to the group, how the team would operate and how they would handle crises.

According to Teters, the results at semester’s end are undergraduates who learn and understand the entire project management process, while using creativity and outside-the-box thinking.

“It’s not a textbook project,” said Andrew Hoffert, a senior business major.

But it’s the uncertainty within a zombie apocalypse that allows for the most creative thinking, an essential skill in business management.  While some students did incredibly well in organizing a project of this size with minimal guidelines, others struggled because it’s too outside the box, Teters said.

“It was certainly challenging to define all of the tasks for each team member. There was no road map telling you which direction you should take,” Hoffert added. 

The idea for the class project stemmed from a guest speaker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who discussed the center’s “war games” approach to planning for major attacks such as swine flu outbreaks and biological terrorism.

“Nearly everything about the project was open-ended, and students could be creative in all aspects of the project,” said Teters. “Creativity is not for everyone. But those who are entrepreneurial tend to be the creative types.”


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit