A few weeks ago I wrote a post called “Consulting Projects Rock,” where I reported on the initial conversation I’d had with a group of MBA club leaders in the hope of starting two MBA consulting projects.

Today I held the kick-off meeting with the two teams that ultimately came to fruition (15 resumes later, these guys rose to the top!).  As I wrote then, we’ve created two projects this year to cover two very important areas of our business – marketing and operations.  We have already done a ton of work in both of those areas, of course, and these MBA teams will fill in all the blanks.

While I’m SUPER excited to be launching these projects, and get back the results, I’m mostly just excited to be working with these students.  We met in a bar near campus (yes, I paid) where, after they all signed NDAs, I introduced them to the company and our plan.  I showed them our prototype, walked them through our charities and how we’re going to engage in cause marketing.  They asked great questions, dug deeper, and we examined all facets of the business.

And as they got excited, I got excited.  And as they got more excited, I got more excited.  These guys didn’t know us at all, but they already love what we’re going to do.  Not clear yet why I’m so excited?  THEY’RE OUR TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC!  And they LOVED it.  What does that mean about other students around the country?  Hopefully, a lot!

But as I said, I love working with students.  After I went through all the ins and outs, the successes and failures, the pros and cons, we went around the table and each one told me more about their background, what their career aspirations were, and what they wanted to get personally out of this project.  Each had a different answer – one wanted marketing experience, one wanted CPG experience, one wanted operations experience, one wanted nonprofit experience and one wanted entrepreneurial experience. We fit all those in one company!  One person told me she’d been shut out of a job offer because, in spite of being incredible, she lacked a specific thing that this project will give her.

As a startup, we haven’t yet hired anyone, haven’t provided any jobs, haven’t stimulated the economy.  We’ve paid some vendors good money to do amazing things, but the real oomph of employing people for their benefit hasn’t happened (yet).  But already, our ideas are benefiting people in amazing ways, and each of these students, if they do well, will be better positioned to launch their careers when this project is over.  And for that, I’m super proud.


2 Responses to Consulting Projects Rock! Part II: They Rock For Everybody

  1. Megan Strand says:

    Ian, I love that you’ve been able to work with MBA students and that their excitement is fueling yours. I’m doubly impressed because I have tried to engage MBA students before at our local University with no luck. Any tips for those of us that might be interested in doing so?

    • Hi Megan, thanks for saying that! This is the second year in a row I’m working with students – last year the team knocked it out of the park and really changed the direction of our company.

      I wrote a more comprehensive post on how to do that a few weeks ago, and gave a ton of advice on how to find a team and work with them. You can read that post by clicking here.

      That said, the quick answer to your question is that each MBA program has a ton of on-campus clubs that focus on very niche topics. Net Impact is the club on every campus that focuses on nonprofits and CSR. There’s always some form of a marketing club, a consulting club, and a finance club. You can usually find those clubs and the club leaders on the business school website.

      Most clubs are hungry for projects they can bring their students, so that’s a great place to start. Just contact them directly. Remember, they’re stressed out students so try a few times before you decide they’re unresponsive.

      You can also go through the bschool’s career management office, though they will probably refer you to the appropriate club.

      Finally, to facilitate, have a one-page project plan drawn up for the club to distribute to its members. The plan should define the project, the deliverables, and the timeline. That will make it easy for them to solicit resumes for you to review. I can send you the ones I’ve written by email if you’d like.

      Read the other post for more specifics, and let me know if you have any thoughts or questions!

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