Business Solutions Group Wraps Up Live Consulting Projects
By Aaron Toomey ’14 with Sahil Sethi ‘13 | march, 2013, Issue 1
Team Element Bars gives its winning presentation. (L-R) Michael Schoenfeld, Joshua Platek, Drake Staniar, Adolfo Pittaluga and Michael Faulkner.
Teams from Chicago Booth's Business Solutions Group (BSG) presented their final recommendations to a panel of consultant judges about their work with local businesses and non-profits on Jan. 10. This was the culmination of a quarter-long experiential learning opportunity that BSG provides.
Ten teams of five students each spent the fall and early winter consulting on live projects for Chicago-area companies. After months of hard work, all ten teams met at the Gleacher Center to present their final recommendations. This year's winners worked on a project for a local Chicago company called Element Bars, which is also a former BSG client.
Element Bars is a custom all-natural energy bar manufacturer. Element Bars had excess capacity within its manufacturing facility and wanted to attract new customers to capitalize on this excess capacity. They engaged BSG to help them develop a go-to-market strategy for attracting these new customers.
BSG teams working with Element Bars and other local organizations with consulting needs developed three sequential presentations, including a scope presentation that identified the problem the client faced and the reach of the engagement, and a midterm presentation consisting of progress to date and work still to be completed. The final presentation was the Jan. 10 recommendation.
Each phase of the engagement was presented to judges from McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture, PWC and Deloitte. Teams were judged on the quality of research, analysis and recommendations, their ability to synthesize their work in an impactful story and deliver an engaging presentation and finally on their responses to judges' questions.
Throughout the process, judges provided coaching, feedback and mentoring to the students on the engagements. Teams were also assisted by second year "engagement coaches" assigned to mentor each team on various aspects of problem solving, team dynamics and client relationship management. In addition, the students were exposed to five dynamic workshops on client relationship management, problem solving, storylining and synthesis, data cleansing and analysis, and survey design. All of these workshops were taught by either Booth faculty members or experienced consultants with top consulting firms.
"This is a really great opportunity for students to behave as real consultants and practice some of the classroom skills they are learning at Booth," said BSG co-chair Sahil Sethi. "BSG is an immensely useful recruiting tool for first year students interested in consulting. The BSG experience allows them to get a feel for what consulting is really like."