This Fall Semester, through the Whitman Consulting Club, I was given the opportunity to work on a consulting project for a client that’s very close to my heart – Syracuse University!
The ‘Fast Forward Syracuse’ initiative at SU, kick started this year, aims to foster academic and operational excellence at the university. As a part of this initiative, our team comprising of 4 student consultants, a faculty advisor and 2 consultants from Bain & Company worked closely with the Director of Auxiliary Services – Business Operations at SU to assess current operations and provide recommendations to improve Food Services her on campus.
Through initial meetings with the client, we defined the scope of the project and determined using a two pronged approach – primary and secondary research – to tackle the challenges presented. I volunteered to assist with the ‘student survey’ section of the project as my Marketing Research elective with Prof. Tridib Mazumdar and an experiential learning project with Drivers Village had me well-prepped to handle the tasks at hand. We created a student survey to determine attitude and satisfaction levels with food services and the survey was distributed to a representative sample of 2500 SU students. Other team members conducted secondary research and benchmarked food services against similar schools to identify best practices. Using the results, we were able to give insights and provide feasible recommendations with respect to food choices, dining hours, franchises and promotions.
One of the most important things I learned over the course of this project was that, even at the onset, the team must work with the client to determine the expected results of the analysis i.e. hypothesis testing. This helps the team to maintain focus on the determined output and ensures that you don’t grapple in the dark or provide unsupportive recommendations. Also, it was interesting to see how project management is an integral part of consulting; you constantly need to monitor progress and timelines – especially when you will be billing clients for your services in the future!
As much as I would like to see our recommendations implemented soon (5 months to graduation), I know that change is a gradual process. However, I still feel proud to have been a part of a project which will lead to greater satisfaction among SU students (happy tummies = happy people!) and one that will have its impact for years to come at SU!
- My Fall Semester Consulting for Syracuse University - January 7, 2015
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- You Know You’re a 2nd-Year Whitman MBA Student When… - September 24, 2014