Using Familiarity to Embrace the Unfamiliar: Edcheiver

Scrolling mindlessly through the Foster Undergraduate Newsletter, my eyes caught on a purple banner passing by: “Foster Consulting Program Applications Open Now!”. A slow smile spread across my face as I clicked on the hyperlink to the Foster Consulting Program’s website, discovering their organization for the first time. With promises of building experience, fostering connections, and making a difference, I knew that the Foster Consulting Program was definitely something I wanted to be a part of. That same day I eagerly submitted my application, excited at the prospect of gaining real-life business consulting experience.

I joined the Foster Consulting Program as a freshman consultant with the hopes that my fledgling business skill set would get some real world exposure. Being able to help a genuine company was thrilling, especially after being restricted to hypothetical competitions in high school for the past few years. Through supporting a local business, I really felt like I was able to make an impact and invest in my community. Surrounded by experienced team members with at least one to two quarters of experience with the Foster Consulting Program under their belts, I was instantly set at ease and felt comfortable in the group. All the consultants were incredibly polite and hardworking, and the weekly meetings were something I always looked forward to. Connecting with the other consultants was definitely one of the highlights of my first quarter with Foster Consulting Program.

The charge itself was fairly familiar ground that I had experienced in case competitions–what marketing plan could the company employ to expand its market share? Entering the project, I was worried about my relatively low levels of technical knowledge–especially compared to the other upperclassmen surrounding me. However, after listening to our client outline their objectives and what they hoped to achieve, I remember breathing out an internal sigh of relief. I feel it is important to remember that though you are helping a real company, it is likely nothing that you haven’t encountered before. Nevertheless, being able to exercise business thinking to produce high quality deliverables was a fairly new experience for me.

I also learned a lot about project scope, a term I was unfamiliar with prior to my participation in the Foster Consulting Program. Though the constraints on how far our solution was going to stretch were unclear at first, seeing our project manager effectively communicate with the client to clarify guidelines was a great example on how to deal with ambiguity. After reconnecting with the client, our team had a much clearer grasp on what they wanted and how in depth they expected it to go. We were able to restrict the project scope before it got overwhelming, and ensure that our recommendations were specific and targeted to their needs.

I am so grateful to have been chosen to participate in the Foster Consulting Program! The quarter flew by and I truly enjoyed working with my team and our client. I cannot begin to express how thankful I am to the Consulting and Business Development Center for this opportunity, and I will definitely be reapplying next year!

– Evelyn Wong, Freshman, 2024