Reflecting on the past few months and over the course of the consulting project, I am extremely honored and grateful to have been a part of this amazing opportunity. I am so happy to be able to speak highly of all those involved in the project including teammates, professors, advisors, and our friends across the pond in Germany. Although this experience was in a fully virtual setting, I am eager to get out to Germany one day and be able to meet our friends at Possehl Online Solutions.
During this experience, I have learned a significant amount of information regarding the consulting world, presenting objectives and projects to clients, and how to communicate with clients as well. Operating remotely was challenging, however, there are some lessons and thoughts to take away from this experience that are important to share. I think one of the most important lessons learned during the consulting project was that language barriers can often cause confusion within a project. One of the main objectives our team was required to present to the client were market entry strategies. The team originally thought these strategies were those such as piggybacking or licensing where the client was asking for information and research on how to expand their current operations to new markets. After the midterm meeting, our team realized that the client meant marketing entry strategies in relation to advertising and sales promotions. A shift in one word completely changed the direction our team took to deliver final recommendations to the client. At the end of the day, our team could have been more proactive about clarifying this to avoid any language barrier, however, this is a prime example of a lesson learned when working with an international client.
A transferrable skill learning during this course was definitely how to communicate with a client when in a consulting role. It is important to dive deep into research and understand the client’s business, successes, and problems at hand before beginning any independent research or constructing recommendations. After fully establishing an understanding of a client’s operations, past customers, and expertise, it makes the process of understanding where a client should improve their operations much easier to discover. In future consulting work, I will ensure to walk through similar processes taken during this project to be able to carry over successes into the real world.
It was clear that the relationship Pitt has established with our German clients provided significant benefit and assistance to our team. Professor Paul’s input following are midterm presentation to the client proved to be extremely valuable to put our team on a pathway of success in our recommendation execution processes. Professor Paul suggested adding graphics, matrices, alongside other recommendations that helped our team put the final touches on our presentation to Possehl Online Solutions. Without Professor Paul and the prior relationship Pitt established with the University of Augsburg, our team would not have been provided with his expert input about what German clients like to see in presentations from consultants. After the project concludes, we would expect the relationship with Professor Paul and Augsburg to strengthen as our team delivered a great presentation with concrete recommendations for his German colleagues.
In an interview, I would explain this project by first describing the work and recommendations our team produced for Possehl Online Solutions. Our team crafted significant recommendations that will allow for Possehl to expand their operations to different countries and industry markets while also providing the company with concrete marketing initiatives to build out to attract business. As undergraduate students, I believe our team went above and beyond what many other groups of students would have been able to produce over a span of a couple months. In addition to the recommendations produced, our entire team learned a great deal about the world of consulting and interacting with clients during this project. Being able to have a real world experience as such provided an amazing opportunity for development of leadership and tangible skills to be able to bring into the work force.
The three most important things that future groups should know heading into the project are that language barriers exist, clients may not always agree with the recommendations provided to them, and hard work pays off. Speaking on behalf of the team, we are all grateful for the opportunity to work with such an amazing and fascinating client. While we wish we were able to travel to Germany together and get the full experience, I am still pleased to be a part of this amazing group and project and hope to be a part of something similar again in the near future!