Tell us more about BSI Consulting
Akhila: BSI Consulting is actually a quarterly initiative, so every three months we select three to five new nonprofits that we're working with in the Chicago community and pair them with 45 MBA students, along with an external consulting coach. We’ve now had two virtual consulting kickoffs and have had great success this past Spring with completely virtual projects. While the external consulting coaches usually travel for work and have very limited time to spend with our students, now that they are not travelling, they’ve had more time to spend with the team.
Rory: We’ve even opened up consulting to Executive MBA students, which is a new dynamic for us and has been great.
Akhila: This past Spring quarter, we had our first ever Consulting and Project Management Workshop which featured a set of panelists who are consultants at firms including Accenture, West Monroe Partners, and the Partnership for Public Service. We had a great turnout from BSI members and the broader Booth community to learn not only how to apply consulting and projectment fundamentals to a BSI project, but to any consulting type role that may come up with Lab Classes, internships, and in their current work.
How is BSI connecting the community at this time? What has it been like for you personally?
Akhila: The great thing about both GPI and BSI is that we don't depend on physical activities. We mostly depend on conversations or discussing research that students are doing on the side. Obviously it’s great for us to meet in person, but we think that between GPI and BSI Consulting, we’re creating small pockets of a network within a bigger Booth community. It’s a really valuable thing to have, when you aren't seeing people between classes or interacting face to face. Also, one silver lining is that we have Weekend, Evening and Executive MBA students on our BSI teams, and with quarantine it has actually been easier for us all to work together.
Rory: For me personally, one benefit of Zoom has been the chat functionality. I’ve been texting more with my classmates than ever before, sending them little notes after class.
Akhila: You weren’t able to see other people’s thoughts during class because people would raise their hands, so having the chat functionality and messaging on Slack to see what’s on everyone’s minds, has been really fascinating. I have also had a couple of virtual happy hours after class with a smaller group of people that I like that are in class together. So that's been fun to keep seeing people's faces.
Rory: I feel that the online format helps Weekend students engage in evening activities and vice versa, and that’s been a really positive development.