Throughout this International Consulting experience, I definitely learned and developed significantly. The primary contributors to this growth were the lessons I learned along the way. This first was that perseverance is key, especially in the face of adversity. Caras Con Causa is an extremely inspiring organization, and learning more about the work they do throughout the project was enlightening, making our role as consultants even more special. Even when facing a global pandemic, Caras remained resilient, and continued to provide quality education for children of their community. In addition, they not only sustained their goals, but sought growth in working with us to develop the study abroad program. Even within our own group we faced challenges, but we were able to effectively respond to these challenges as a group. Another lesson I learned from this experience was to not be discouraged when things go awry, and instead seek out new paths and opportunities. One of our objectives involved sending out a survey to gather information and feedback from study abroad coordinators. We sent this survey out early in the semester, and within minutes got our first response. We were excited, anticipating many more responses that ultimately never came. Though discouraged, we pivoted to focus on using the resources we had to refocus the program and add a new element given the virtual environment.
My future professional goals involve work very similar to this project, as I desire to pursue a career in technology or strategy consulting for nonprofits. I love taking a deep dive into different organizations and work to provide value to the organization’s development. Consulting requires extremely effective communication skills, and while my skills as an orator may be limited, I’ve spent years developing my presentation abilities through practice and various experiences, including the ICP program. However, this project introduced a new perspective: presenting across language barriers. This was something I had not accounted for previously; I often leveraged my extensive vocabulary in professional settings to accurately portray recommendations effectively, though in this context these words only amplified the language barrier. Instead, I refactored my presentation to be less verbose while still accurately conveying our team’s recommendations. The clients were ultimately more receptive to this, and it is imperative I internalize this transferable skill and alter my diction in accordance with my target audience.
The relationship with Pitt was a foundational element of our work with Caras. Their objective was to create a study abroad program, and so not only were we the experts to assist them, but we were also the pilot run of what a student engagement could look like with their organization. This cultivated relationship was at the core of many of our deliverables, and these deliverables relied on the relationship continuing into perpetuity. It is clear the relationship with Pitt was of immense value to Caras, and providing the best experience for the pilot team as possible at a fair rate was a primary objective.
This experience definitely has the potential to emerge in a future interview. As I desire to pursue a career in consulting, it will undoubtedly mention the profound impact this engagement has had on my professional abilities, particularly my communication skills. In addition, time management and project management were key skills necessary to ensure deliverables were completed on time. I used the same scope of work outline in this class for a different consulting project I was a part of, and both turned out to be very successful.
The most important thing for the future group to know is that no matter what, the project is going to turn out ok. There may be times when hope is wavering, when deliverables may be overwhelming, but in the end it’ll all work out as long as you keep an open mind and persevere. Do not be afraid to take risks, and I definitely recommend using all the resources at your disposal, including your ICP advisors. This program has certainly contributed significantly to my personal, professional, and academic goals. I’d like to extend a gracious thank you to my amazing project team, the PittBusiness mentors (Hillary, Arielle, and Meade), and most importantly, to Caras Con Causa for providing me with such a rewarding experience. Hail to Pitt!