Freshman Consultant Speaks on Gaining Experience for the Real World

During the Winter quarter of 2020 I was a Freshman Consultant in Foster’s Business Consulting Program. Overall, this experience was highly valuable to me. I learned a lot while participating in it, but I was also given the opportunity to practice the concepts and business knowledge I had previously. The program was demanding, and it required a significant amount of commitment. But with the help of my team, which was there whenever I needed some assistance, I was able to not just cope with the challenges but also thrive in them. Honestly, I really enjoyed this experience. It gave me a better sense of the “real world” which I wouldn’t have obtained from anywhere else. I would without a doubt recommend this program to anyone who wished to gain more business and consulting skills. Because, like me, he/she will probably come out equipped with more tools to understand and solve different business problems. Though this experience was greatly rewarding in the end, it seemed a bit intimidating in the beginning.

As a Freshman consultant, I had to go through a 2-rounds selection process. For the first round, I reached out to upperclassmen who I knew had participated in the program in previous quarters. After the first round, I moved on to the second round which consisted of a case interview. The students who made it through the second round were told by the admissions team not to worry too much and not bother doing extensive research. Interestingly enough, I did the exact opposite. I spent the following days researching case interview best practices and tips, and brushing up my ability to analyze multiple business scenarios and clearly deliver a feasible and efficient solution. A few days after my interview, I received an e-mail congratulating me for successfully getting into the program. In that precise moment, I was filled with glee. But the interview was just the first huddle. For the following six weeks, there would be many more to come.

The rest of my experience in the program consisted of many hours of research and meetings with the team and the client. Working with the client was one of the highlights to me. I was able to have a front row view of the how our client managed its resources, and the challenges encountered while running the business. After conducting the research, it was time to present our recommendations based on our findings and end the program on a good note. After a few practice presentations and some advice from our supervisors, we delivered our final presentation to the client. I felt truly accomplished when the client told us how much she loved our recommendations and how satisfied she was with our work. Yes, there were some bumps and challenges along the way. But as they say, what doesn’t break you makes you stronger, and this experience definitely did. Honestly, I am truly grateful to CBDC for organizing this wonderful program.

Guest post by UW Foster Consulting Program Participant, Bryan Ahaneku (Freshman 2023)