The sunny Northern Italian city of Milan, where the finest fashion houses in the world jostle for room and recognition alongside industrial, technological and financial powerhouses, was the perfect setting to kick-start a two-day learning expedition. An expedition that would turn 15 MSc in Management Consulting and MBA students from every major continent into international job candidates, better prepared to deal with the triumphs and perils of management consulting.
An impromptu addition to the MSc Management Consulting program, the trip was an intensive session on pan-European consulting practises, cultural implications and best practices for its participants from the MSc Management Consulting and MBA programs.
Pinnacle of success
The first stop was at IBM, where the graduates got a feel of the process and practises employed when offering strategy consulting and change management expertise to its diverse clientele.
IBM’s ability to cope with a changing and complex environment, aided by sophisticated business analytics tools, along with their client centric approach to consulting was of considerable interest.
The sprawling campus at the heart of the city and the sheer wealth of professional experience that IBM encased within its walls struck an instant cord with us as we got to interact with IBM employees and catch a glimpse of what life would be at a multi - national consulting enterprise.
A fork in the road
From the dynamic technological hub to the grit, grind and glory of independent consulting, the second half of the trip was a lesson in rich contrasts.
Group 1 students got to visit Franco Guazzoni’s firm Core Consulting, a consultancy with practices in Marketing & Sales, training, and performance management with a strong focus on HR and Organizational development .
The same group also got a chance to visit with Rita Bonucchi, the founder and director of Bonucchi & Associati, a niche, international Marketing consultancy that provided an honest appraisal of the consulting profession in Italy along with helpful guidelines on writing business plans.
Group 2 students were involved in a highly informative session on Project and Portfolio Management with Omar Zein of Projectize, a Project Management Consultancy with an emphasis on best practises, tools and certifications.
This group also had an interactive session with Francesca Oliva of SLO SRL consultancy, a boutique firm specializing in HR coaching and organizational development, as well as CSR, that offered insights on how to win businesses and leverage social media to improve web presence.
It was inspiring to note how innovative and process-driven even a boutique consultancy can be and discover the intricacies of client retention thorough relationships, referrals and networking.
The icing on the cake
The culmination of the trip was the meet with APCO members and potential mentors. It was extremely gratifying in terms of networking opportunities and gave us a chance to expand our tendrils across Europe.
In the words of Joy Matwale, Msc Management Consulting Student from Kenya: “The trip to Milan was a wonderful way to end the program. Visiting different sized companies and to have consultants from different backgrounds make presentations was especially helpful for me in clarifying the areas I would like to specialize in. The practical element of having Certified Management Consultants providing their guidance and mentorship in developing a career in Management Consulting is of great added value.”
Students are very thankful to the Italian Management Consultant hosts and mentors for their time and efforts to make this happen and look forward to future collaborations with APCO, which is one of the 47 member institutes of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI).
This article was written by Preethi Moorthy, MBA candidate, full time program 2010-11.