Sometimes I find it difficult to relate what I’ve learned from the classroom to the real world. It seems that many times there is a metaphorical wall blocking those skills learned to transfer outside of classroom. I’ve felt this way about many courses, wondering if they were worth the time and effort spent on them. If those lessons and lectures will ever be applied, or if I only needed them to get a passing grade. I’ve felt this way about many classes; however, this course was not one of them. Perhaps, it may be the first course that I’ve taken that felt like real life work, that gave me the opportunity to test my skills and apply the lessons we were learning right away.
I had a lot of takeaways from this course. The obvious one, of course, is all the consulting lessons I learned. I didn’t realize how intensive the entire process is and how much research is needed to produce good work for a client. Consulting is one of those jobs that need you to be 110% dedicated. It was more than just giving advice, but actually dissecting the issues you were given and solving them at the root. I know if I want to be a better consultant, I would need more guidance, but because of this class I was able to start the foundation of my consulting knowledge.
Another take away from this course was about working with people. Many times, for group projects in my courses now, we’ll be assigned a random group. Usually after the assignment everyone exchanges Gmails and we start a collaborate document or presentation slides. Then, everyone completes a section and we’re done. There’s never any real collaboration, it’s just finishing your section on time. This project was so much more than that. As a team we needed to work together to develop real ideas and strategies. Collectively we used our various backgrounds and experiences to contribute to the ideas that lead to the finish work we sent in. We couldn’t just complete our “section” because every piece of the project was all of our secions. I can only imagine that in the most effective teams, they would have to work in a similar manner to get work actually done. Being able to have such a rich team experience has taught me that I can in fact within group settings. I had previously felt like group projects were just a burden and that I could just do it all myself. But, being a part of a real group, with a project of substance, in a field I am passionate about has taught me that in fact collaborate work is essential. Without the thoughts and ideas of others, I would not be able to see everything as clearly and may get lost in my own head. Also, the amount of work required would have caused me to be highly stressed. Our final document was 40 pages long, I could have never done that all by myself.
This class also taught me about flexibility. No one would have expected that is the mist of 2020 the world would be facing COVID-19. This pandemic has changed the way the world works and has halted all life. I envisioned by the completion of Spring 2020, I would have lots of pictures from Germany and would be trying to find ways to post all of them on Instagram without being obnoxious. Instead, the trip was cancelled and dynamic for the remainder of the semester had to be shifted. At first, when I heard about the transition to remote learning, I felt that this class would be impossible. Besides our normal class meetings which occurred every Monday and Wednesday for a combination of three hours, we also met on Fridays. The class was dependent on our meeting and ability to bounce off each other. However, with Meade’s support, I was able to see things differently. The end of in person work did not mean we couldn’t collaborate, it just meant we had to adjust how we collaborated. Our class used Zoom and Google to help keep our same dynamic going. We even added extra Zoom calls on Fridays just to chat so that things felt lighter. Overall, the remote classes actually gave us the opportunity to work more and have more time for this class. Our deliverables were being sent early so we could get more feedback quicker and could then edit it faster. We were still doing extremely well as a team. I was also extremely skeptical of our ability to obtain all the research we needed from manroland Goss since we were never meeting with them in person. Alexander, who was our contact for the company, did an excellent job coordinating with us.
This is definitely an interview worthy class project. I’ve already seen an abundance of memes that highlight how students can use their COVID-19 experiences to get jobs in the future. If I were going to speak about this project in a professional interview, I would highlight a lot of different things. Some things that come to mind is the structural variances from other college courses. In fact, this “class” was less class and more real-life work. We were a selected team of Pitt Business students chosen to engage in real life consulting work for credit with an exclusive international client. Through this job we faced a variety of issues such as not being able to travel due to COVID-19 and moving to remote coursework. However, we did not lose hope and instead persevered to give our client their deliverables. I would also highlight how small the course was. Our group of 8 students we’re extremely close, now at the end of this and we really learned how to work all together.
For any students thinking about this course I must ask you the following questions. Are you passionate about consulting? Do you wish to see yourself working with international clients? Are you ready to receive lots of feedback on your work because it will be given to client, not just graded for a percentage? Are you willing to handle life curveballs? Are you looking for a chance to actually make a difference? If yes, then I recommend the course. This isn’t math or economic, this class is real life. The reason why jobs value internship experience is because of the lessons it teaches you. The lessons you can only learn through immersion. Somethings can’t be taught through PowerPoint slides and multiple-choice questions. Somethings need to be felt, experienced. Take this course and immerse yourself from the classroom, to the city, to the world.