Consulting Virtually, but Still Successfully (…en Puerto Rico)

Hello everyone, my name is Shreyan Patel and I am currently a sophomore here at Pitt studying Finance and Business Information Systems, with a minor in Economics, and a certificate in Business Analytics. I am originally from Montville, New Jersey, and was born in Plano, Texas. Even though I only spent a little bit of time in The Lone Star when I was quite young, my goal is to eventually get back there when I am older, or even after I graduate from Pitt, dependent on my post-grad life. Some fun facts about me are: I currently have a broken wrist and my arm is in a sling, I have been to a ton of old rock band concerts because my dad is super into them, and I like grape-flavored candy as opposed to popular opinion. At Pitt, I am also involved in the Pitt South Asian Student Association, Enactus, Panther Equity, Taaza, and Pittsburgh PantheRaas. Within Pitt SASA, I serve on the executive board as the Business Manager, and owe a great deal of my personal and social development to this organization. Not only have I met some of my closest friends here, but also had the opportunity to lead like-minded students and develop skills that are widely transferable to my career in Business. I like to stay pretty involved on campus, but I have definitely taken advantage of having these clubs virtual so that I have time to do something like the International Consulting Project.

 In terms of the professional arena, I am interested in breaking into consulting after graduation, particularly in a financial services advisory, strategy, or analytics related field. Right now, I am interested in working for a Big Four in their consulting or advisory wing, or for a big three management consulting firm, but interests and opportunities always change. Recently, I have taken a more focused interest into Market trends and strategies as well as the world of options trading, and am always open to talking about and learning about new investment related trends. However, consulting and client based roles will always hold a special place in my heart since I believe that my interpersonal & communication skills are where I succeed most, rather than through a purely textbook/classroom viewpoint. Therefore, I rely on these skills when attempting to tackle a problem or deal with an unfamiliar circumstance, and pride myself on the ability to use my experiences to my advantage. 

Interestingly enough, like many of my peers I came into Pitt as a Neuroscience Major on the Pre-Med/Health tract, but switched majors about a month into school. Throughout high school I took part in a number of science related organizations and interests, however, realized so quickly in college that there was a whole other world of interests that I could expand on, ones which I enjoyed way more than my science classes. I felt that it was so familiar to pursue the medical profession path, based on my family’s history, that I never even gave business fields the consideration. My dad practices as an Optometrist in Pompton Plains, NJ, and ever since I could remember I wanted to be just like him. It wasn’t until I realized that my Mom has a pretty cool job too, that I gave switching majors the time of day. My Mother is currently an Associate Manager at Accenture with projects in Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consulting, and has played a very integral role in how I view the business landscape as well as the importance of the intersection between business and technology in the modern day. In particular, I selected my majors, minor, and certificate in attempts to direct myself to getting involved in the world of technology applied in business and leave my avenues a little bit broad at the same time. 

Outside of the classroom and professional arena, I like to watch and play sports, listen to music, play the piano, hit the gym, scroll on TikTok & Instagram, and watch every new show that gets hype on Netflix or Hulu (if you have good recommendations, please reach out). My favorite music artists are Kygo, Khalid, Juice WRLD, the Weeknd, Post Malone, and Florida Georgia Line. I’ve played pretty much every popular sport you can think of for at least one season, and my favorite teams are the Oklahoma City Thunder, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New York Yankees. I think that a work-life balance is really important and try to immerse myself in some non classroom related activities at least twice a day, whether that be working out or hanging out with my friends/family. After the pandemic I am looking forward to going out to baseball games with my Dad, exploring new cities with my friends, and getting back some of those missed in person activities that aren’t quite the same through a Zoom tab.

I could not be more excited to take part in the International Consulting Project this semester and am definitely ready to apply my skills in addition to picking up some new ones. The reason why I applied to the International Consulting Project is because I have always heard great things about Pitt’s study abroad programs, and figured that taking part in the consulting project would allow me to gain pretty rare and valuable experience of what it is like to communicate with a client both virtually and abroad. With all of the barriers that exist in international affairs and business communication, it will be especially interesting to see how the virtual platform will play its part.  

I am taking part in the ICP at the Puerto Rico site working with Caras con Causa which is a nonprofit organization in San Juan. Founded in 2004, the organization is known for their efforts to utilize community partners and environmental integration in order to eliminate poverty and boost community development. Working alongside the four other Pitt Business Student Consultants on the Puerto Rico project, our team will be looking to develop a marketing & recruitment strategy for Caras’ environmental lab, create media kits & financial packages for services provided, and work towards the organization’s overall goal, outlined in their ten-year plan, which is to have a functioning and income-generating environmental lab. This year we will be contributing to that goal by creating and marketing a lab space that facilitates success in areas of financial stability, education of students in the community, conservation efforts, and academically engaged tourism. The project has been running with Caras con Causa since 2018, and we will attempt to build off of the work done by the groups before us in order to navigate a newly virtual landscape.  I hope that the project will allow me to get to know my team members and advisors on both a personal and professional level, as well as open doors for me in regards to a future career in consulting.