Introduction to my Virtual Consulting Project in Puerto Rico

Hi everyone, my name is Jack Greenwald and I’m a junior at the University of Pittsburgh. I was born in Guilford, Connecticut where I spent my first three birthdays of which I can only remember from photos. The place I call home is a small town in Massachusetts about 30 minutes north of Boston called Hamilton. With a total population of roughly 8,000 people, I grew up knowing exactly who my classmates were, how many siblings they had and the streets they lived on. In high school I played soccer, ice hockey and tennis and spent my summers as a camp counselor for the town summer camp right up the road from my house. I grew up with a lot of familiarity and feelings of comfort within my small community. It wasn’t until April of my junior year in high school that I got a taste for international experience. That April I went on a service trip lead by my Spanish Department to Peru. During this trip we travelled around the country and visited schools and orphanages where we interacted with the kids, donated tons of clothing and school supplies and re-painted their classrooms. This experience opened my eyes to how remarkably different certain areas of the world are, however, the people were welcoming and happy to show us their beautiful country. I realized how fortunate I am to have been brought up in a financially stable household with two loving parents and an older brother to look after me. I decided to come to the University of Pittsburgh because I wanted to experience the next four+ years of my life in a large urban environment that still had a connected campus feel. I arrived at Pitt without a single connection, ready to force myself out of my comfort zone.

Now that I’ve told you a little bit about who I am and where I’m from, I want to tell you more about myself from an academic standpoint. I’m a third year student majoring in Finance in the College of Business Administration at Pitt. Along with my focus in Finance I’m also on a path to earn a Minor in Economics as well as two certificates. The first certificate is an International Business Certificate which plays a significant role in why I decided to take advantage of the International Consulting Project offered by the CBA Study Abroad Department. My second certificate is a Certificate in Sustainable Development offered through the Global Studies Department. The concept of sustainability started as a slight interest and quickly turned into a strong passion of mine over the past three years at Pitt. I quickly learned the extreme importance in learning how business can take a vital role in carving a sustainable future for the generations to come. I believe that Finance and Sustainability are a unique combination, however, they integrate with one another smoothly.

On Pitt’s campus I’ve found a new home in the Delta Upsilon chapter of Pi Kappa Phi. The spring of my freshman year I decided I wanted to find a group of people I could depend on and make life long memories with. After officially joining the Fraternity I assumed responsibility of Cathedral Standards of Excellence Chair. My obligations included notifying our Executive Council of the requirements that our Fraternity needs to fulfill every semester from community engagement to philanthropic events. After we completed all the requirements for the semester it was then up to me to build a report to send to the Inter Fraternity Council for review. After one semester I decided to take on a more involved leadership role in the organization by becoming Secretary. As Secretary I collaborated with the Executive Council on day to day operations of the organization as well as long term goal setting and and financial management. Aside from being in Greek Life I am a member of Pitt Private Equity and Venture Capital Club (PEVC). Joining PEVC was a way for me to further my finance education in a specialized industry. This semester I’m competing in the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) with a team of four other PEVC members. Within this competition our team will be acting as a Venture Capital Firm and we will review a handful of real start up companies with the goal of picking the startup with the highest potential growth. This opportunity is a fantastic way to grow my knowledge and get hands on experience in the Venture Capital industry.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to participate in the International Consulting Project this semester. Originally, I was planning on studying abroad in London in the Global Business Institute program. However, due to uncontrollable circumstances, I realized last semester that I was going to have to roll with the punches and figure out how I could manage to still participate in some type of international experience even though I was going to be staying in Pittsburgh. I started exploring my options and learned about the International Consulting Projects. I knew right away that this was going to be the best opportunity available despite participating virtually. I am very excited to learn real consulting knowledge and work on a team that is going to positively contribute to a real company. I plan on applying the theories and skills I’ve developed in the classroom the past five semesters to the successful completion of our project goals. All in all, I’m excited to expand my leadership, communication and problem solving skills and learn what it means to be an international consultant.

The International Consulting Project I will be working on this semester is based in Puerto Rico with the non-profit organization, Caras con Causa. Caras con Causa means “faces with a cause” and it’s a perfect representation of who the organization is and what they stand for. Caras con Causa aims to fight poverty and climate change through education, restoration and protection of wetlands and community organizing. They are currently working on so many different projects that each push them closer to achieving their overall goals. The project that my consulting team and I will be working on is called LABCOM. LABCOM is a community laboratory that is being used for scientific research in order to make responsible conservation efforts. Furthermore, this laboratory provides education and project based learning for schools in the community. Our main objectives are to create a media kit including financial packages for institutions and universities that want to partner with Caras con Causa. On top of this we will also create a marketing and recruitment strategy to attract these university and faculty partners to Caras con Causa and LABCOM. After learning about Caras con Causa and their mission and goals I have become determined to do everything in my power to provide value to such an important organization. I’m grateful for this opportunity that Pitt CBA Study Abroad has given me and I’m excited to collaborate on the project with my fellow Pitt Business colleagues.