Around the World in 31 Days

Hey everyone!

My name is Jessica Landolfi and I’m so excited to continue my study abroad experience this spring break to Cochabamba, Bolivia! Over the course of this semester, I have been working with a student team of other Pitt Business Consultants to provide advice to an NGO located in Bolivia. One of the most exciting aspects of our team’s project is an opportunity for us to travel and implement these changes first-hand. Traveling to Bolivia will be a big change for me, considering I originally come from a small town in South Jersey called Woodstown. Although I am used to the rural, countryside of my hometown – especially since I live on a farm – I also consider Ocean City, New Jersey home as well, since I have lived there the past 4 summers. I love being at the beach and enjoying summer, so OC is one of my favorite places to be. 


On-campus, I split my time with the business organization Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), Enactus or with the theatre department, Pitt Stages. With PBL, I currently act as Alumni Chair and just finished my position as Recruitment Chair, which both have been exciting ways to connect with both past and incoming Pitt Business students. For Enactus, I participate with a group for different consulting projects with local non-profits and I will also be acting as Co-President for next year. Lastly, in my Freshman year, I did work with a couple of Pitt Stages productions as Assistant Stage Manager. This school year, I have been working in their office as a Marketing Assitant to manage their social media and branch into new marketing strategies. 


At Pitt Business, I am currently majoring in Marketing and Business Information Systems, with a certificate in Data Analytics. With my degree in the future, I’m looking to work for non-profits and social enterprises that have a positive impact on the world. It has always been a dream of mine to work for an organization like National Geographic, Thorn, or Charity: Water that has a global initiative to better the world. Most of the ways I have considered this career is either through marketing and data analytics opportunities; however, the more I have divided into consulting the stronger I have been considering it. 


One of the most valuable aspects of this program is not just that we are going over spring break, helping them in some way, and then leaving. With our non-profit CEOLI, Pitt Business has a 10-year plan of a scope of work to assist them in becoming more financially stable. As a consultant on this project, I get to use my business knowledge and creativity to help them be successful. In addition to this class, I am also participating in another consulting project as well, the Applied Business Analytics Project. For this, we are also serving as a consulting team to provide a solution to our client through analytic models and research.


Initially, I chose this experience because I knew I wanted to have a career-focused around non-profit work and it would be a fitting way to get my feet wet in the non-profit sector. Although this is still the case, I have been more interested in the consulting aspect of the project than I ever thought I would be. Working on this paired with the class hosted by Andy Hannah, I have been learning more about how to be successful as a consulting and what the field entails. After both of these projects end, I think I will be exploring it further as a career option since it allows me to work for several non-profits, provide assistance as an expert, and use my creativity for innovative solutions.


Although traveling to Bolivia will be a shift out of my comfort zone, I do have previous study abroad experiences under my belt which I hope to strengthen what I gain from our trip. Last summer I traveled with Pitt on the Plus3 Germany trip where we studied the automobile industry and the supply chain. Additionally, before arriving at Pitt my Freshman year, I participated in the Haller Global Honors Fellowship to develop my introductory knowledge to business acumen. These experiences have provided me with an understanding of learning about another country’s culture, working with fellow students abroad, and how to get the most out of a study abroad program. Despite these experiences, I know that Bolivia will be greatly different in terms of the challenges, people, and objectives of the program. 


With regard to our purpose for the project, our main objective is to assist in providing CEOLI, our non-profit client, with financial stability over the next years. CEOLI is a center for disabled youth that also works closely with the family of the children and the community. As a non-profit, they rely heavily on personal donations and the handmade cards they sell in the US. For our group this semester specifically, we will be focusing our efforts on increasing card sales and creating a business plan for a juice stand they are looking to run. As a member of the card sales team, I’m excited to be connecting with local Pittsburgh businesses to increase the card sales channels and to inform my family and friends about CEOLI. 


From participating in this program, I expect to benefit personally, academically, and professionally. For myself, I want to become better equipped to operate business successfully in other countries. One topic we have talked about this week in class is in reference to the Culture Map book, which analyzes how business is done differently across countries. From how to build trust in successful communication, it is important to learn about the business culture of where I am traveling to have the best outcomes. With this program, I intend to see this first hand and learn how I can improve as a student and professional. With regard to academics, this will be my first class at Pitt that focuses on non-profit business. Seeing as that is my focused industry where I want to apply my skills, I am excited to have a non-profit focused, experience-based course this semester. After the class is completed, I expect to have a better academic knowledge of the non-profit industry, working in another country, and the fundamentals of consulting. Additionally, from one of our readings, we learned that global service-learning had outcomes of higher GPA and enhanced cognitive skills than those who did not do the program. Professionally, this program will be one of the most beneficial career choices for my future since it aligns perfectly with my career aspirations. One key skill I would like to acquire is learning how to provide consulting advice to non-profits without doing my biased view of what I think is best. An issue we talked about with community service is that groups or individuals go into an organization, do what help they think is needed and then leave without seeing any repercussions of their actions. Our goal of the group is to work hand-in-hand with CEOLI to understand what they need, not what we think they need. This is an incredibly important skill I have to master if I want to further a career in non-profit consulting, which I hope to gain from this program.


I am very excited for what our trip to Bolivia and the rest of the semester will bring me! I can already tell our team is very passionate about our work and achieving strong outcomes; we’re ready to get to work. Stay tuned to hear about how exciting a 14+ hour plane ride will be!