University News

Students hone consulting skills

By
Contributing Writer
Thursday, October 6, 2011

In a world of lectures and textbooks, not many college students are able to get hands-on job experience outside of internships. But over the past few years, two student-run groups have developed to help undergraduates gain consulting experience and contacts by working with professional organizations off campus.

These two groups — the Collegiate Consulting Group and the Sustainability Consulting Partnership — work with individuals and corporations to solve business and environmental problems, giving group members a chance to hone their practical skills.

“(Institutions) approach us with a business question and ask us to help them solve it,” said Ross Geiger ’13, vice president of the Collegiate Consulting Group.

Helen Mou ’10 and Amanda Zarrilli ‘09.5 founded the Sustainability Consulting Partnership in 2010 to complete their thesis requirements for the environmental science concentration. Since then, the group has grown to about 26 members.

The club’s work with outside corporations has opened up many opportunities for its members, said Spencer Fields ’12, vice president of internal affairs for the Sustainability Consulting Partnership.

“The (Collegiate Consulting Group) does a good job of preparing you in the sense that it is very analysis-driven and research-driven,” Geiger said.

Geiger joined to learn more about consulting and to see how much the field would appeal to him professionally. He said he thinks interest in the group has grown since the financial crisis, which “turned a lot of people away from banks.”

The Sustainability Consulting Partnership has volunteered on a number of different projects, including writing an environmental education curriculum for a Haitian youth program, building a pollution prevention wall for the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School in Providence and doing research for Green Edge, a New York City consulting firm.

This year, the group plans to work with the Providence city government to measure and reduce the energy consumption of various public buildings, like City Hall. They are also working with Mark Kravatz, the designer of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, a public-private partnership that seeks to make homes more environmentally friendly.

The Collegiate Consulting Group, which has assisted local organizations like DCI Productions and the Clinton Global Initiative, will work on internal projects this fall, producing its own publication and hosting conferences where various executives and researchers help participants improve their consulting skills. The Sustainability Consulting Partnership also plans to bring in outside speakers, such as Mayor Angel Taveras.

“At the end of the day, this is a learning experience,” Fields said. “We want to make sure we’re getting something out of it.”