My name is Jordan Crawford and I am a senior studying Marketing at the Foster School of Business. I am also pursuing a professional certificate in B2B Sales from Foster’s Professional Sales Program. As a first-generation, Alaskan Native student, I am passionate about diversity, marketing, and enabling others to pursue their dreams. I found the opportunity to pursue these interests this summer as a Summer Consulting Intern with the Consulting and Business Development Center. Through the internship, I was introduced to two Seattle-based small businesses with unique goals and within different industries. One client was a startup alcoholic spirits producer planning to launch by the end of the year. This client requested assistance with segmentation and the design of their marketing campaign at launch. The other client was an online platform that was created in response to COVID-19 to support small businesses as they face the unique challenges associated with the new COVID-19 business environment. This client requested that I develop a funding and pricing strategy for them to ensure the sustainability of their business.
This internship allowed me to apply the knowledge, skills, and frameworks I had learned in the classroom at the University of Washington. As the internship progressed, client situations, goals, and objectives evolved, and I had to adjust and pivot accordingly. The knowledge gained in my business classes combined with my experiences as a student during COVID-19 have provided me with the tools needed and taught me how to adjust to unpredicted events; however, working with clients in different industries that had shifting and unique needs further strengthened my ability to adjust and adapt.
The classes at the Foster School of Business provided me with the tools needed to effectively support my clients. I applied the various analyses I had learned in my marketing classes to assess the state of each client, the impact of their industries on their operations, develop strong pricing recommendations, and design a comprehensive social media marketing campaign. Additionally, I was able to apply skills gained in my accounting and finance courses to assess the financial health of each client.
However, the internship taught me many skills that I could not obtain in a classroom learning environment. First, the internship provided the opportunity to interact with small businesses in unique industries. In contrast, many classes appear to be tailored to larger or corporate organizations rather than small business. This allowed me to learn more about the unique challenges faced by small businesses compared to their larger counterparts. Second, the internship is structured in a way that encourages students to learn by experience. For example, I managed the client-consultant relationship, organized and led meetings on my own, and was encouraged to conduct research and develop solutions with little supervision. Although mentorship and guidance was provided when needed, I was empowered to actively participate in the consulting process and my learning was maximized by the experiential nature of this internship.
This internship strengthened my skills and abilities and taught me many new ones. There were moments throughout the internship where I experienced imposter syndrome, feeling as if I lacked the necessary experience. However, as my internship with the Consulting and Business Development Center progressed, these feelings quickly faded as I realized my experiences as a student at Foster had prepared me to support these small businesses. These small businesses are the embodiment of the dreams their owners possess, and it was incredibly rewarding to know that I had positively impacted the pursuit of these dreams because of this internship. Moving forward, I hope to remain involved with small businesses and mentor future student consultants if possible.
In the future, I hope to pursue a marketing career at Microsoft, specifically on the Xbox team. This internship strengthened my abilities as an aspiring marketing professional and created a desire to continue to support small businesses. Additionally, I have always dreamt of supporting Native American tribes and their businesses through consulting. As I move forward, I will be able to apply the consulting experience gained this summer to support my community and beyond.
I would like to express my thanks to the Consulting and Business Development Center for giving me the opportunity to learn more about business, consulting, and industries I likely would have never interacted with on my own. Additionally, I was able to grow professionally from this experience. The CBDC team, professional mentors, and clients sparked a passion for supporting small businesses and showed me my potential for being a positive force for change. I look forward to seeing the future positive impact of the center on students and businesses. Thank you for all you do.
Guest post by Jordan Crawford, BA 2021