By Jessica Hirsch

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is pleased to announce the participation of nine international organizations this fall  in its  Global Consulting Projects (GCP) program, which affords second year MBA students the opportunity to provide consulting services.

International clients pose a pressing global challenge they are currently facing to the student teams.  Students are assigned teams through a matching process, which incorporates client preferences and student qualifications to add value to a particular team.  At the end of the engagement, students provide their clients with deliverables, such as marketing plans, business modeling, strategy recommendations, financial models, and many others.

In order to give students hands-on experience in the international business arena, students also travel abroad and meet their clients face-to-face to conduct additional research and present their deliverables.

This fall, students will conduct onsite visits in Tainan, Taiwan; Shandong, China; Manila, the Philippines; Mbarara City, Uganda; Picauville, France; Nairobi, Kenya; and Sao Paul, Brazil. Students will travel to these locations in late November and December.

In addition to their hands-on work with clients, students receive guidance from a Darden faculty content adviser.  The GCP program also requires all student team members to attend a series of six workshops taught by Darden Professor of Practice Tim Laseter.

“Students working on the GCP engagements will still work directly with the clients and leverage subject matter expertise from various Darden faculty, and they will also work against a common timeline, with my guidance, around the consulting process,” said Laseter.  “Over the course of six program day workshops, the students will discuss key concepts and techniques such as scoping the engagement, conducting interviews and developing hypotheses.”

Global Consulting Projects provide students with experience working directly with clients from a different country and culture, navigate the nature of virtual work teams across borders gain direct experience in the practical nature of global business.

Based on the program’s past successes, several new organizations have offered students projects this year, including Jetpro Technology, Inc. a technology firm specializing in renewable energy products. Students selected for this project will work on preparing a go-to-market strategy and quantifying world demand.

“The program continues to grow by offering a mix of projects from corporate and non-profit clients such as the World Bank Early Learning Partnership, the Normandy Institute, Bionexo, Nile Breweries, and the Institute of Management Science at the Mbarara University of Science and Technology,” said Laseter.

The Darden Global Consulting Projects are designed to be mutually beneficial, providing students with unique opportunities to learn and clients with high quality, low cost consulting services to meet a particular need.