MBA Consulting Forum
The MBA Consulting Club at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business organized its annual signature event, the Consulting Forum, on September 23, 2016. The forum featured representatives from top consulting firms and aimed at facilitating an open dialogue between students and alumni in the industry.
This year’s forum was the 18th in the series, and had representatives from around 11 firms such as PWC, Cognizant, Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group, Gallup, FMP Consulting, MITRE, Hewlett Packard, First Annapolis Consulting and Privatin among others. The forum catered to participants from across the different wings of Smith- Full Time, Part Time, Executive MBA, MPP and the participation surpassed the attendance from all the previous years.
Like any other event of this scale, the forum kicked off by Smith School’s Office of Career Services MD, Dr. K’s warm and inspiring words and the importance a consulting role holds in this day and age. Dr. K summed this up by helping us with the 5 key Q’s (IQ, EQ, PQ, CRQ, ImprovQ) required for consulting.
This was immediately followed up with a session on Consulting 101 whose panel consisted of Shantanu Chandra- Advisory Manager in Financial Services Cybersecurity and Privacy practice at PWC, Lakshmi Sankar- Manager at Cognizant’s Strategy and Transformation practice, Rahul Mohapatra- Cognizant Business Consulting’s Life Sciences group, Jessica Galimore- Senior Consultant in Deloitte’s Federal Human Capital practice and Cara Weikel- Senior Consultant at First Annapolis Consulting. This panel as a whole touched on the skills needed to succeed in consulting and how we can start the process of developing those skills.
After a quick break the participants broke out for panel discussions on industry specific discussions. The 3 key consulting specific industries discussed through the breakout panels were Human Capital, Supply Chain and Commercial Consulting. The central theme through these breakout panels was the importance of cultural fit. Half the battle is fought once we decide the role, industry and the company we fit in. The panelist also discussed significance of case practices and gaining experience through trying new things, this will aid us in thinking on our feet and improve our problem solving and decision making skills.
After yet another quick it was time for the Key Note Speaker- John Saad to take the stage. John Saad is a Partner in PWC’s Public Sector Consulting practice where he leads the firm’s Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Sector. His career has spanned across 20 years. This gives him a ton of experience which he was more than happy to share with us. John’s journey started from when he was a little boy to now reaching his current role. John is a big believer in hard work, persistence and making the most of any and all opportunities that come our way as we never know what can luck out for us a combination of endurance and good timing. One of his quotes that really stick with me is “If you do things for people and help them to be successful, hopefully they will help you be successful” this is exactly the theory of the Smith School. Smith emphasizes on the importance of collaboration to be successful and this is something ingrained in John Saad and something he stands by.
The Consulting Forum ended with a networking social where all the participants got a chance to talk to the panelist on a personal level and know more about each of their journey. This surely gave the participants a deeper insight in the role that awaits us.
So for me and for a lot of us who attended the Consulting Forum we know that to be successful in consulting we need to start by putting our best foot forward at all points in time and keep doing that till we reach and achieve our goals.
-Bhrugi Badheka, MBA Candidate 2018, Robert H. Smith