The Value-Add of Real Business Experience

Xiaozhou Du sits with his partner, working to determine ideal social media platforms that a hair salon, A Beautiful U in Tacoma, can use to expand their online presence. The students are reseaDSC_7884rching the best way to attract and retain customers online, having determined social media to be an effective tool in reaching the company’s target market.  The two of them consider Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yelp, finally deciding on Google and Yelp as the most feasible and effective options since positive rating on such online platforms helps improve the company’s brand awareness of offering high quality service and results.

Xiaozhou Du is a sophomore at University of Washington who has been working on professional projects with real life business owners through the Business Impact Group, a student club at the Foster School affiliated with the Consulting and Business Development Center. Business Impact Group (BIG), pairs small local business with current University of Washington students of all majors and creates the opportunity for students to work as business consultants for the company. Students gain tangible experience while business owners gain insight and assistance in strengthening and growing their business.

Last year, as a freshman, Du joined BIG’s Freshman Track which gave him the opportunity to sit in on meetings as an ex-officio team member to observe the consulting process and get first hand exposure to the work being done by a BIG team. This year, Du is a fully fledged team member working with his fellow students to provide their client with actionable recommendations and tools that will grow the business. With BIG, Du gets to bring his in-class knowledge to a hands-on experience, working with real business issues. The group gives him “the opportunity to get in touch with the real businesses” which he reflects as a very valuable opportunity for him and will help him when applying for jobs and internships in the future.


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