The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Consulting Club making a name

Students do not have to be business majors to go into the consulting industry. SMU Senior Candace Barnhill did not even know what consulting was when a flier on campus prompted her to attend a Consulting Club meeting.

“I double major in English and journalism, but that didn’t seem to bother anyone there. The speakers discussed the importance of a diverse background and the ability to solve problems and bring strong skill sets to the table,” she said. Candace is now the SMU Consulting Club’s vice president of communications.

The consulting industry is a popular career choice right now, and it is open to students in all fields of study, Director of Undergraduate (BBA) Career Services Kim Holladay said. Holladay added that the consulting industry has been growing over the past few years and for May 2006 was one of the top five career choices for BBA graduates.

SMU Consulting Club founder John Cole said the club has definitely grown. “The first meeting had a totally of one person. Me.”

Membership has risen since the founding of the club in spring of 2005 to an average of 30 students at each meeting.

Being a business major and interested in the specific area of consulting, Cole decided to start the club after hearing from the HEGI Career Center that students seeking jobs in the consulting industry were unprepared for the case interview.

The case interview is usually a problem-centered business case presented to the person being interviewed.

The interviewee is then supposed to analyze the situation and present his or her conclusion for what the company should do.

Through the club, Cole has improved the feedback from SMU students and their ability to handle case interviews.

By working with the HEGI Career Center, the Consulting Club has access to examples of case interviews.

SMU Consulting Club President Katharine Oehmann said the sooner students join, the more practice they will have with other club members on the case interview.

This leaves them more confident and prepared for their first interview with a consulting firm.

Students in the club have the advantage of meeting consultants and learning more about their company, while at the same time the company is learning more about the individual students they meet.

“By approaching the firms as an organized group we have been able to network events and bring consultants to campus. Both things would be much harder for students to do on an individual basis,” Cole said.

After meeting and hearing from the different firms, the club members get together to talk about the characteristics of all the firms and help each other find out which firm would be the best match for each individual’s personality and interests.

SMU graduates who were members of the Consulting Club credit the organization with landing them jobs and internships with firms who make contact with the members.

Co-Founder and President Emeritus Kimberly Bennett is currently working for Booz-Allen Hamilton, a firm that has been hosted by the club several times.

Another member and graduate, Brice Sokolowski, told Cole that his position as a club officer gave him a unique advantage and helped him land the job. All students, regardless of their field of study, are invited to the meetings held on Thursdays between 5 and 6 p.m. The club’s kick-off meeting will be Thursday at 5 p.m. in Maguire 350, which is located in the Cox School of Business. Consultants from two global consulting firms will be present, Deloitte & Touche and Booz-Allen Hamilton.

Deloitte & Touche will give a description of the typical day in the life of a consultant. Booz-Allen Hamilton will conduct a practice case interview with students. Students who join now can also prepare for the SMU Career Fair on Sept. 20.

The club will inform students about the consulting firms present at the fair, help students with interviewing techniques and teach them how to write a resume. Being a member before the fair is also a great resume booster, according to President Oehmann. Another upcoming event hosted by the club focused on helping students nail case interviews, Ace the Case, is on Sept. 21. The event is a presentation by Bain and Company meant to help students understand the case interview and how to prepare for it. Students interested in becoming a member can either contact Oehmann at [email protected] or they can join at any of the scheduled meetings.

Students can also visit the club’s Web site a people.smu.edu/jdcole.consulting for more information on the firms the club hosts and the officers as well as access case interviews from past meetings and learn more about being a general member.

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