Inside the Cross Continent MBA Consulting Club

two dozen consulting club members pose for a group shot

If you have doubts about the effectiveness of student clubs within the Cross Continent MBA (CCMBA) program, you’d be wrong. While the entire cohort only comes together every 10 weeks when class residencies occur, the clubs still remain very active and very connected throughout the program. They provide an integral part of our student experience at Duke, creating forums for discussion, opportunities for leadership, and an environment that fosters business skills through workshops and consulting engagements.

How Do We Do It?

Unlike our associates in the Fuqua’s Daytime MBA program—whose format allows for year-over-year continuity within clubs—each CCMBA cohort must demonstrate entrepreneurial skills and kick start their clubs from scratch. For that reason, we don’t fully establish the clubs until the end of our second term. To get things started during our first term, we use OrgSync, an effective campus engagement networking tool, to tap into Duke University’s robust network. It allows us to connect and collaborate directly with the other on-campus university clubs, which in turn makes disseminating important information and updates a lot easier.

Spotlight on the Consulting Club

Officers: James Schulze, Jing Ling, David Okuwobi

The Fuqua CCMBA Consulting Club is a student-led organization that is one of several very active clubs within our program. Approximately 20 percent of our cohort are participating members. The club provides an excellent platform for individuals to learn key concepts about the latest practices in the consulting field. This is ideal for business students who are looking to transition into consulting as it provides a way to practice essential skills for consulting and provides access to leading consultants in the business. Classmates like Mike Ellerhorst, a manager at PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) for eight years, Liz Kitto, a manager at KPMG for six years, and Andrew Ness, a senior associate at PwC for four years, all contribute to the overall experience and knowledge shared in the club.

consulting club members eating lunch with alumni in consultingDuring our term three residency in sunny Santiago, Chile, the Consulting Club hosted several events. These included an informational luncheon with a panel of experienced current student consultants and two other case preparation workshops which covered best casing practices, interview tips, and uncut industry advice and perspectives.

The panel of consultants fielded numerous questions from business students looking to make the transition into consulting and helped navigate the pitfalls in the industry and set expectations. Panelists reflected deeply about what characteristics are essential to being a consultant. These included: working out of your comfort zone, having a high degree of intellectual curiosity and non-linear thinking, being able to very effectively and concisely communicate, and most importantly being a good team player.

The consulting club offers students hands-on learning through workshops and creative sessions. Already in the pipeline of future activities are several case-prepping sessions, interview strategy workshops, virtual sessions with big three consulting companies, and the establishment of a mentor panel which is a coalition of current student consultants from our cohort.

Through the club, members learn a mix of human-centered and business-focused approaches, which are management strategies to develop solutions to problems for businesses during the various steps of the problem-solving process. The framework is critical to grasp when you prepare and train for casing. Consulting firms want to see that you can analyze information, structure an answer, and perform basic calculations with large numbers while under pressure.

When you are at a job interview at a top global firm—most likely seeking a role you’ve worked very hard towards for a large part of your life—the pressure is on. The objective of the case interview is not to get it right. In fact, there is often no right answer. Instead it’s designed for you to demonstrate your ability to solve complex problems and to show the interviewer how you think. The interviewer wants to see you as a colleague he or she would want to work with in an engagement team. Case interviews are generally very interactive as you ask questions, seek clarification, and bounce ideas off your interviewer.

The Consulting Club is extremely beneficial. It’s a prime example that beyond the leading MBA program that Fuqua offers and beyond the leading expertise that the Career Management Center provides, there is a wealth of peer-to-peer support that results in a level of preparation that I believe is second to none. Like I mentioned when explaining why I chose Fuqua, our school’s community has a strong culture of collaborative leadership. We’re a family, and our family is always willing to help.

Consulting club members standing around their table after an info luncheon

What Club Members are Saying

“The CCMBA consulting club closely emulates the actual consulting experience. Everyone lives in different places and comes together to solve difficult problems. In this case, the challenge is preparing each other for the recruiting process. We mutually support and challenge each other through a common experience—like a true consulting team.” – Andrew Ness ‘17

“The distance part is the biggest challenge—we are continuously finding creative ways to engage and sharpen each other remotely. We’re all learning. That being said, it’s not as much about having all of the answers right now as it is about the members of the CCMBA Consulting Club growing, learning together, finding those answers, and meeting up virtually from all parts of the world to share our resources. The group so far has focused on this mutually inclusive success mindset.” – Daniel Khoroshanshy ‘17

“What makes the CCMBA experience so unique and enjoyable is that during residencies, we are able to meet with and hear from consultants working in offices across the world through alumni lunches and lectures. In this way, we can understand the consulting profession in a truly global context.” – Everett Lozzi ‘17

Tarik Solomon Duke Fuqua student blogger in the Cross Continent MBA program

Tarik Solomon

Cross Continent MBA, Class of 2017

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