Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Student Life: The HNC Consulting Interest Group

Student blogger Amanda Bogan, MAIS ’18, joined the student-run consulting group at the HNC this semester. She shares her experience and talks with the group’s founder, JesusisLord Nwadiuko, about his motivations for starting the group.

I had been interested in consulting work since listening to a presentation about the field given at the HNC last year. Back then, although I was interested in learning more about the industry, I remember feeling intimidated as someone with no previous experience in consulting. I also knew that it would take a significant amount of practice and preparation if I were ever to seriously pursue a career in consulting services, or just to undergo a standard case interview. I was therefore particularly excited when I discovered earlier this semester that an HNC student was organizing an interest group for other students considering a career in consulting.

Since starting at the beginning of this semester, members of the Consulting Interest Group have gotten together every Monday morning to practice case problems together, review frameworks for structuring responses, and go over a variety of different cases and interview types. Since I started regularly practicing with other club members, I have become significantly more confident in my ability to problem-solve while maintaining composure and expressing my thought process logically and professionally.

Earlier this week, the group’s founding member and organizer, JesusisLord Nwadiuko, Certificate/SAIS MA ’19 took the time to talk to me a bit about his reasons for starting the group and what he has gotten out of it so far.

What inspired you to get students together to form a consulting group?

My motivations were partially self-interested, because I wanted to practice cases and prepare myself for future interviews, but I also wanted to create a platform at the Center where students could pursue professional development specifically in the context of consulting work. Also, it can be very difficult to prepare for case-style interviews alone without someone else to work with, so I knew that this would need to be more of a group effort. At the same time, I wanted to do something that would help other students be better prepared for interviews in the future, and to have a better understanding about consulting in general.

What were some of your primary objectives when starting the club? What are some areas you’d still like to improve upon?
One important goal for me initially was to allow for both Chinese and international students to improve on their relevant skill sets and expand their understanding of the consulting industry. In the future, I would like to do even more to accomplish this, such as working to get a better understanding of how consulting works differently in China than it does in the U.S., and also increase the amount of Chinese we use by practicing case questions and interviews in Chinese.

Are there any specific skills you feel you’ve improved on while practicing with classmates?
I’ve found that oftentimes when explaining your analysis to a partner, it doesn’t always come out as coherent as you would like it to sound, and it can be hard to communicate more complex thought structures efficiently to other people. I’ve definitely improved on this by practicing every Monday morning. For example, even when I give a case to my partner and act as the interviewer, just listening to someone else work through their own analysis can help you to refine your own take on a problem.

Lastly, the classic interview question: why are you interested in consulting?
My interest in consulting is actually a fairly recently development; for me, consulting represents a kind of coalescing of my different professional and personal goals. Specifically, I would like build on my leadership qualities and my ability to develop strategic insight at a global level. I think that the skills that come from consulting, such as being able to address and analyze a variety of different scenarios and develop sound strategies, would be highly transferrable to many different professional pathways that I am interested in pursuing.

Thank you again to JesusisLord for taking the time to talk with me and for all your efforts in organizing the club!

Written by Amanda Bogan, MAIS ‘18