A budding career in consulting

Jaren Nakamura, Foster School of Business Class of ’15 reflects on his experience as a student consultant for the Consulting & Business Development Center.

Jaren Nakamura with clients Jane Yuan and Collin Hunter from Simple & Crisp and representative Joe Sky-Tucker from Business Impact Northwest.

Jaren Nakamura with clients Jane Yuan and Collin Hunter from Simple & Crisp and representative Joe Sky-Tucker from Business Impact Northwest.

My experience in the Summer Internship Program for the Consulting & Business Development Center was exactly what I was looking for.  I found myself doing meaningful work for real clients, conducting research that I later transformed into applicable material, and delivered tangible results to meet my clients’ expectations.  That last part was by far the most gratifying part of this entire program.

I appreciate the Center’s desire for its student consultants to make recommendations around certain areas for the clients.  Personally, I like to create action and deliver a tangible result that is ready for implementation—that’s always been my prerogative, even since I took the Center’s flagship business consulting class  (MKTG/MGMT 445).  Whether it was delivering the customer research for an online sales database, securing a microloan with a business plan presentation, or presenting the balanced scorecard and action plan to a client company—having the ability to go beyond making simple recommendations was what attracted me not only to this program, but to  a business consulting career.

Starting with the flagship business consulting class in the winter of 2015,   I took on a project with Ultrafino Panama Hats, an E-commerce company that sells high-quality hand-woven Panama hats.  While the project included components of a marketing plan, the main body of work revolved around growing the business in a sustainable fashion: driving sales, increasing capacity, and funding the overall project.  Taking all that I learned from the class and applying it in the Summer Consulting Program allowed me to reflect on and learn from past mistakes, and then reapply my experience for the new clients’ projects.

I do not consider my experience with the  Summer Consulting Program from just June through August—to me, this summer was a continued experience from the winter quarter class.  This experience was exactly what I was looking for in order to start my own consulting career.  Doing this type of work gave me insight on myself as a budding professional, and helped me realize how much I enjoy working in collaboration with others for their success.  This work is rewarding, eye opening, and diverse as any job.

I do not have a lot of “favorites”.  I did not have a clear vision for my career path coming out of the Foster School.  Hardly anything is definitive for me, save for my girlfriend, my friends and family, and my wonderful time at the UW.  However, I can proudly say that my experiences as a student consultant for the Consulting & Business Development Center have been the most educational and entertaining  within the realm of the business school.  Applying business acumen into meaningful client work is not  easy to come by  at Foster, and I have been lucky enough to meet the right people and land the right projects to have created such a wonderful, wholesome experience here.  I highly encourage anyone considering a career in consulting to begin here with the Consulting & Business Development Center.

One more item: the staff at the center are some of the friendliest and most welcoming folks I have ever had the pleasure to work with.  Great clients, great staff, great coworkers, great internship.

  • Olga Morozova

    It sounds like a great experience, Jaren. The best programs are the ones that have a strong emphasis on practical application and hands-on experience. I myself am looking for a career in consulting and it sounds like you got really good experience in your program. Thanks for sharing your experience!