It’s hard to believe that the project has come to an end. The long hours of work and endless revisions were all worth it after our final presentation. As we wrap up the semester, I began to reflect on my professional and personal development as well as all the new knowledge I have acquired from working with my teammates and with our client. This project was a huge learning experience and a great gateway to getting a glimpse of consulting and international business.
There are three key lessons that I have learned from this project. The first lesson that I learned is check-in points/calls are important. The midpoint check-in call was a lifesaver for our team. We were able to make adjustments to our work and the path our project was going in to better fit the needs of our client. This check-in call helped with ensuring a parallel understanding of our final project deliverables and allowed us to ask questions for clarification. The second lesson that I learned is visual charts or graphs can make understanding information easier and more comprehensive. After our call with Professor Michael from the University of Augsburg, he suggested we present our information in the form of a chart. This allowed us to give a better presentation of the work that we did when comparing our choices for countries, markets, and competitors against the criteria. The last lesson that I learned is to trust myself and my work. There was a period of time during the project where I was unsure of the research I did on the target markets and target countries I identified and did not have confidence in them because I felt that my research was not good enough. I expressed this concern to Meade and she said I should trust my work, my research, and my conclusions because I put significant effort into it and making sure that what I was doing was right. If I can have no confidence in my work, why should our client trust my recommendations?
A transferable skill that I have developed during this course despite not being to travel and meet our client is communication. Communication is important because it allows for mutual understanding and for business to be conducted smoothly. The virtual setting enhanced the challenges of cross-cultural communication. For a significant portion of the project, our team struggled with correctly understanding our client’s business and exactly what they were looking for from us. To solve this, our team asked many clarification questions during our introduction call and our midpoint check-in call. We made sure everyone was on the same page.
Relationship building is key in conducting business and doing group work. Our team was able to work together successfully throughout the project and create a final deliverable that everyone is proud of. We were all super understanding of everyone’s circumstances and tried to help each other out throughout, filling in the gaps when necessary. On a larger scale, Pitt’s relationship with the University of Augsburg is strengthened with the continuation of this project in a remote setting. We were able to continue building and strengthening the relationship even when the pandemic did not allow for travel. Our team learned a lot from Katarina and Michael and found their feedback and suggestions informative and useful as we created our final deliverable.
I look forward to pitching this project in a future interview. I can see my growth throughout the project and the many transferable skills that I have acquired. It is a unique and invaluable experience. I was able to gain experience in both consulting and international business. While pitching this experience in the future, I would focus on how our team overcame the challenges of a virtual international project and the result being a success as well as my growth throughout the journey.
The three most important things I would advise future groups are teamwork, planning ahead of time, and asking questions. Working as a team requires a lot of communication and coordination, especially when you are presenting. Being able to bounce ideas off each other will often create better ones. Dividing work up so everything gets done is a great way for everyone to contribute but making sure that all your parts tie up together is just as important as finishing your individual part. Planning ahead of time allows you to manage your time. It decreases the chances of not finishing your project on a deadline, giving you a sense of what has to get done today and what can be done tomorrow. Asking questions is a crucial part of communication. It’s better to ask dumb questions than to present the wrong thing and have all your efforts go to waste.
This project has contributed to a significant portion of my growth this past semester. I am grateful for this amazing opportunity.