One of the most important things employers consider is work experience. The Consulting Club aims to provide just that.
To help students aspiring to enter the consulting field, the club provides an opportunity to gain this exact experience that companies seek. Anson Felder, a senior and president of the club, explains that there are three main ways that members of the club can learn about consulting.
“First, we have workshops with firms and advisers or people who are in the consulting industry already, and we talk about their experiences,” Felder said. “The second thing we do is pro-bono projects. So we’ll work with local businesses and try to help some aspect of their business. The third thing we do is professional development like resume workshops. It gives people that extra non-academic side of things that really prepares them for the business world.”
Through their meetings, members of Consulting Club are able to see several different sides of the field that they wish to enter after graduation. According to Felder, gaining experience is especially important in this line of work because consultants are expected to provide advice for companies.
“The best explanation of (consulting) is that it’s trying to fix people’s problems,” Felder said. “Consulting can go from IT to management and anywhere in between. So when businesses have problems, they come to consultants who try to help out with any of their specialties.”
The broad scope of the consulting field is also reflected through the members who make up this club. Though it is sponsored through the Pamplin College of Business, the members are not all business majors.
“That’s one of the things I really like about it,” Felder said. “We have a lot of BIT majors, a lot of finance and a lot of accounting. But we also have a statistic major, a chemical engineer and I’m an (industrial systems) engineer.”
Although the club is open to students from any major interested in consulting, there is a formal recruitment process. Students who wish to join must submit their resumes, fill out an application and attend a short interview with executive members of the club.
Many students chose to participate in the recruitment process this semester, giving a membership boost to the two-year-old club. Initially starting with six people, Felder said the club has expanded to 48 members.
Bill Yost, a junior who joined Consulting Club last January and has since taken the role of club secretary, feels that this growth is positive for members.
“That’s definitely the best part: when you can walk around campus now and see someone else in the club, especially after this past semester with the recruitment,” Yost said.
In addition to meeting other people with a similar career interest, the club also offers its members a chance to gain experience that they would normally only receive through an internship.
“There are a lot of opportunities and skills that I don’t think we would have had otherwise,” Yost said. “It’s just the professional development that goes a long way, particularly when interviewing for jobs.”
When entering the professional world, members of the club sometimes have an advantage. The workshops hosted by Consulting Club often allow them to meet recruiters from big companies in the consulting field.
“It’s just the interaction with the recruiters and getting your name out there,” Felder said. “I’ve talked to a lot of our members who are interviewing now and they have seen one of the recruiters who has been at one of our workshops, so they’re immediately able to spark a conversation.”
Another important aspect of the club is gaining experience through consulting work for local businesses. These projects allow the businesses to get free advice from the club, and the businesses typically pay no more than $50 to promote the business. Felder said that this year, the club is working with Carol Lee Donuts, an IT consulting firm and a crepe shop in the area.
Although the club has seen many new members this year, they are still looking to continue their growth and firmly establish their presence on Virginia Tech’s campus.
“If you take the club where it was two years ago and compare it to where it is now, it’s completely changed,” Felder said. “We’re definitely trying to become one of those clubs that everybody knows, and if you’re in the Consulting Club, it comes with a certain name. So, it’s definitely building, but I would love to see it kind of kick off more.”