Building a Bridge from Uganda to Consulting

After spending three years as a marketing and business development specialist in the construction industry, I decided I was ready for a change.  Looking for a more impactful and results-oriented career, I began to apply to business school to make the transition into human capital consulting.

One of my criteria for an MBA program was the opportunity to take on numerous consulting projects prior to a summer internship, preferably before recruiting got underway.  I had a few transferable skills to make my career transition but none would speak volumes like actual consulting experience.

monique_quote

… my original pre-MBA plans included reading all I could on the consulting industry and reaching out to friends at different firms to learn first hand about their experiences. Then I heard about Quarterback.

Once I made my decision for B-school (Go Blue!), my original pre-MBA plans included reading all I could on the consulting industry and reaching out to friends at different firms to learn first hand about their experiences. Then I heard about Quarterback. As I perused the website, I thought to myself, “I can gain actual consulting experience before I step foot on campus?” I knew that spending my summer with this organization would be the best preparation for a consulting career.

And I was right. Lessons learned throughout my engagement include listening to a client’s problem, talking through initial recommendations with the client, interviewing stakeholders, researching hypotheses, researching and analyzing an industry and it’s major players, tweaking scope and deliverables based on findings (after discovering an underutilized avenue of college students), synthesizing information learned into a comprehensive deliverable for the client, discussing final recommendations, and transitioning implementation to the client.

…taught me how to ask the right questions to get the answers that I needed.

I had a chance to work with my client, Pangea Educational Development (PED), to help them to visualize and work towards an ambitious goal focusing on volunteer recruitment. These meetings, some virtual and some in-person, taught me how to ask the right questions to get the answers that I needed.

I learned how to develop recommendations based on benchmarks through this process.

By the end of my engagement, I was able to gather significant insight from the organizations current and former volunteers by creating a survey asking the right questions.  There were plenty of hours spent on researching the industry, similar programs and offerings, and potential growth opportunities for the organization.  I learned how to develop recommendations based on benchmarks through this process.

…we anticipate seeing membership in the PEDU program double over the course of the school year due to the chapter guidelines I created…

The results will be proven after next year’s volunteer program concludes but we anticipate seeing membership in the PEDU program double over the course of the school year due to the chapter guidelines I created as well as an increase in new volunteer membership by 200% due to the link created between the PED volunteer program and the PEDU chapters.

…already I have an internship offer for next summer with a large, top consulting firm under their human capital arm.

…I was able to highlight my summer experience through Quarterback…

The consulting process and estimated results have been key in the early stages of my recruiting process.  We have been in school for about two months and already I have an internship offer for next summer with a large, top consulting firm under their human capital arm.  The interview occurred off campus during the second week of school so I could barely lean on my class lessons, and I had yet to begin my extracurricular consulting project through one of the Ross clubs. But I was able to highlight my summer experience through Quarterback as I plowed through four interviews in two days. I doubt that I would have received an offer this early in my MBA program without this opportunity and for that I am extremely grateful.

-Monique Childress

About Monique Childress:  Monique is a Summer 2013 Quarterback alumna. She brought a strong background in marketing and business development to Pangea Educational Development to evaluate strategic partnerships to increase international volunteer traveler recruitment and retention. Monique was drawn to the Quarterback opportunity because it allowed her to gain significant consulting experience before business school while working with an awesome nonprofit making a difference in the global education space.

Monique is pursuing her MBA at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business and is interested in transitioning into a career in human capital consulting.

About Quarterback ReflectionsQuarterback, a social enterprise startup building the leadership of the impact economy, is participating in global Pro Bono Week 2013 (#PBW13).  In celebration of the pro bono ethic, alumni of Quarterback’s founding cohort are sharing reflections on their own high-impact, intensive engagements as part of the Quarterback program.

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