It’s crazy to think that this program is already over, it feels like just yesterday we met our client for the first time. This program has been one of the most beneficial experiences that I have had as a Pitt Business student thus far. Being able to gain real-world experience while collaborating with highly motivated students has had such a positive impact on my college experience. I would have never thought that a German startup company based in the automotive manufacturing industry would have piqued my interest, let alone made such an impact on me. I was very nervous to dive into this project at first, as I have never had any experience in the manufacturing industry, but once I began researching, I found the industry very interesting. Overall, I would highly recommend the ICP program to any student who is looking for real-world experience or even just a glimpse into the marketing industry.
Some key lessons that I learned were important throughout this process include paying attention to detail, openly communicating with your client and group members, and especially knowing when to stop researching and start crafting your deliverables. Although the last lesson seems easy, it’s a lot harder than it seems to stop researching. I’ve found that paying as much attention to detail as possible has significantly improved the efficiency of my research and the precision of our deliverables. with paying attention also comes listening, fully listening and understanding exactly what the client wants is also so important in order for the deliverables to be as sharp and beneficial for both parties as possible. Openly communicating with both the client and your groupmates is also a very important lesson that I learned. Being able to ask questions and collaborate with the client will, in the end, make the deliverables much more useful for the client. Also, communicating with your groupmates is equally as important; making sure you’re all on the same page for deliverables, or deciding who is going to work on what part is very important in order to eliminate confusion and use your time as efficiently as possible. Finally, a lesson I learned that will definitely stick with me when working on future projects is to know when to stop researching. It is so easy to get caught in an endless cycle of researching a specific company, as I found myself in that cycle a few times. It’s important to know when to tell yourself that enough research has been done in order for the deliverables to be crafted. Through this entire experience I learned so many lessons that I will continue to keep in mind moving forward in my college career and even into my future.
The biggest skill I have learned and polished throughout this entire experience is adaptability. Being able to adapt to the online group-project-oriented environment was not easy, but this skill will definitely pay off in the future. With adaptability also comes flexibility, as I learned how important it is to be flexible as well. Whether we needed to meet to finish our scope, or meeting for the rehearsal of our client meeting, we all had to be flexible with our schedules in order to be able to all meet and work on something as a group. Being able to adjust and adapt for not only my groupmates but also our client is a skill I will definitely be utilizing in the future. Especially in an online environment, it’s so important to be able to be flexible when working with others. Group projects are difficult as it is and being online certainly doesn’t make them any easier. However, if your groupmates are able to adapt and be flexible with one another’s schedules, then the project will go much smoother.
When conducting our deliverables and our overall client’s meetings, I think the existing relationship Mr. Wachter had with Pitt has helped build trust between us. Mr. Wachter worked with other Pitt students before he moved to Possehl Online Solutions; having that relationship already started made me feel a lot better about the trust between my groupmates and I and Mr. Wachter and his team. Without knowing Mr. Wachter before I feel as if we would have had a more difficult time trusting one another, but because of the prior work Pitt has done with Mr. Wachter I felt it was easier to get right to work with him. I hope that if Pitt continues to work with Possehl Online Solutions and Mr. Wachter their relationship and trust will continue to build.
One thing I am very excited about moving forward in my marketing career is to be able to share my experience during a professional interview. I’d have to describe this experience as unique and unforgettable. Having the opportunity to work with clients from a different country and learning about their culture through business, all while on a Zoom call, has been so interesting and helpful when moving forward in my career path. We learned to overcome and adapt to language barriers and time zone differences. I couldn’t speak more highly about this program, as I have learned so much with regards to consulting, but I also learned about myself in a marketing profession. I would pitch this experience explaining how unique it was getting an abroad experience over Zoom. Although we did not learn much about German culture outside of Possehl, we learned a lot firsthand about the culture differences between Germany and the United States. I am so glad to have had this opportunity to collaborate with other students and work with an outside company through consultation services and I’d recommend this program to anyone interested!
The advice I would give to future groups would have to be: learn about the company as much as possible early on, familiarize yourself with the jargon used in their industry, and put as much effort into the project as you want to get out. If working with a company, such as Possehl Online Solutions, that is in an industry you aren’t familiar with, I highly recommend doing outside researching about the industry. That being said, also look into common words or jargon used in the industry, that way during a client meeting or while conducting research, you fully understand everything regarding the industry and its vocab words. Finally, I’ve found that you get as much out of the experience as you put in. Some days research was harder than others, schoolwork would pile up or I’d hit a wall in my research. However, it’s important to keep pushing through because the more you know, the more beneficial the deliverables will be to the client, and the more you will get out of the overall experience.
With all of that being said, I am going to miss this program immensely. It has been such a great hands-on learning experience that has impacted by outlook on an industry I never thought I’d be acquainted with. I was very surprised with myself as to how much I learned about the German automotive manufacturing industry, but I’m even more surprised with how much it interested me. Although we did not get an immersive look into Germany’s culture, we did get a look into one of the biggest industries in Germany that employees and immense amount of German citizens. Again, I would recommend the International Consulting Projects to anyone interested in a real-world consulting experience, it has been a blast!