Hello everyone! We just presented to our client, Possehl Online Solutions. The presentation went well, and it was a great way to finish off a successful project. Not only were we able to provide sound and solid deliverables to Mr. Alexander Wachter and Possehl Online Solutions, but I was able to learn a lot during the semester.
One key lesson I learned was to check-in with clients as many times as you need during a project. We had two scheduled meetings with Mr. Wachter during the semester aside from the final presentation, but we were not able to have all our questions answered during those meetings. Fortunately, Mr. Wachter is very accessible, and we were able to email him with any questions we had as well as message him on LinkedIn. Moreover, we also worked with Professor Michael Paul of the University of Augsburg in Germany. During our project, we had a shift in focus regarding one of our sections and we were able to reach out to Professor Paul to address that change. Professor Paul provided valuable insight then, and during our meeting with him prior to our final client presentation. Reaching out to clients and resources was extremely valuable throughout the course of our project, and it was a key lesson I learned. Another lesson was the importance of practicing presentations. Throughout the course of the semester, we had two main client presentations, one with Professor Paul and the final presentation. For both of these presentations, we planned our slides in advance and were therefore able to meet prior to these presentations. This was especially important for our final client presentation, because it lasted just over 40 minutes. After we completed our slides and practiced our parts, we met as a team around 3 days before the presentation to run through it. After that meeting, we all had areas to change and improve and we did just that. The day before the actual client presentation, we met with our professor, Meade Johnson, a were able to run through our presentation for a final time. She had some great tips for us and by the time we actually presented, we were on top of everything. The presentation went super well, and we were all pleased that we practiced beforehand to ensure a successful result!
Aside from key lessons, I also gained some transferrable skills during this semester. One of these skills is communication. I’ve always prided myself on having strong communication skills, but I’m constantly eager to sharpen those skills and improve as a professional and a group member. Being online resulting in being unable to meet my groupmates or client in person. This was a struggle, but fortunately, we combatted this issue early. Our group was quick to find out that we work well on Zoom, so we used that as our platform of choice for almost all of our meetings. Moreover, we realized how useful a shared Google Drive folder is, and we created one at the beginning of the project. We were able to use the Google Drive folder to upload all our work and keep track of all the parts of our consulting project in one place. While I hope we are in person next year, these communication skills are still very valuable to me. My internship this summer will be fully remote, so I will have to continue communicating in an online fashion. It will be important for me to establish a preferred mode of contact, meeting, and shared work with my fellow interns as well as my boss. I am confident that I have gained the skills from this project to successfully communicate in my internship, and I’m excited to put those skills to the test.
Relationships were another important aspect of our project. Specifically, relationships with our clients. The University of Pittsburgh has existing relationships with Mr. Alexander Wachter and the University of Augsburg. As previously mentioned, the University of Pittsburgh’s relationship with the University of Augsburg was extremely important for our project deliverables. We were able to communicate and meet with Professor Paul and he provided great insight. He helped us structure our final presentation which ended up being very successful! I fully believe this last semester only helped strengthen these already existing relationships. For starters, we were able to provide valuable work and deliverables to Mr. Wachter and Possehl Online Solutions. We believe those deliverables directly align with their future goals, so I’m confident that our relationship strengthened as a result of this project. I also believe our relationship with the University of Augsburg and Professor Paul was also strengthened. We worked hard, put in solid effort, and were able to provide results that everyone was proud of.
An important aspect of any work experience is being able to translate that experience and lessons learned into an interview. If I were to talk about this project in an interview, I would first start by outlining it. After that, I would explain our challenges, such as being online and not meeting our client face-to-face. Next, I would explain how we overcame those challenges through strong communication and other means. Finally, I would explain the work we did and our final project deliverables. I would be sure to highlight how pleased Possehl Online Solutions was with our work. I would be happy to discuss this experience in an interview, and I’m excited to have that chance in the future.
Overall, this project was a fantastic growth experience. I grew personally and professionally. I hope that future groups will have the same wonderful experience that I had, and I have a few tips for them. The first is to split up work early. When doing a consulting project, you will probably have 3 – 4 main sections to research and then provide deliverables for. For us, it was “Target Markets and Target Countries,” “Competitor Analysis,” and “Marketing Entry Strategies.” While we all gave input and understood the whole project, we split up into three teams of two early on. This was beneficial because we each had our own specific focus. My second tip ties into the first one, and that is to have strong group communication and consistent check-ins. When splitting up into multiple groups, it is easy to get lost in your own world and not align your research with the rest of the group. This can be an issue for projects like these, so it’s important to check-in with your group members and be aware of everyone’s part. Despite the fact that you may have researched a specific section, during the project and especially by the end of the project you should understand all the parts and how they tie in together. My final tip is to enjoy yourself! Remember that this is a learning experience, and you have a lot of control over the project. Focus on parts of the project that you find interesting and if you are not enjoying or gaining experience from your work, you should reassess your process and what you’re doing. I wish next year’s group nothing but the best, and I’m confident they’ll continue to build on the University of Pittsburgh’s strong relationship with the University of Augsburg and Possehl Online Solutions.