By Jessica Hirsch
This past December, Darden Class of 2016 MBA students Jin Won Park, Yuan Jie (Charles) Liu, Siyu Liu, Benson Lee, Fabian Chiang, and Erin Toner traveled to Taiwan for their Global Consulting Project onsite visit.
Global Consulting Projects (GCPs) are Darden elective courses which allow students the opportunity to provide consulting services to an international client company or organization. Small-group student teams work remotely with their clients throughout the semester under the guidance of a faculty adviser, culminating in a visit with the client.
“As a tourist, you mainly just travel and take pictures,” Charles Liu said. “You get a really different perspective working for a local company because you get the chance to be in a country with a purpose.”
For this project, students provided consulting services to JetPro Technology Inc., a technology firm specializing in renewable energy products. Prior to their onsite visit, students worked remotely with the company through telecommunications and video-conference platforms. While on site, the team members enjoyed the chance to work closely with JetPro President and Founder, Shih Chen.
“The students provided great advice and information on how a technology company like ours can raise funds, go IPO, and other channels to find investors,” Chen said. “It is very valuable.”
Although many of the students working with JetPro had prior familiarity with international consulting, the GCP provided them hands-on experience learning about the benefits and limitations of a start-up company, in particular how to assess financing and what conditions are necessary to launch an IPO.
“I want to have my own start-up one day and this opportunity taught me about the lifespan of a start-up and how to tackle issues as they come up,” Liu said. “The onsite visit connected my abstract understanding of the technology with the physical product we could see and touch.”
While in Taiwan, students also enjoyed the opportunity to connect with Darden alumni during a lunch meet-up.
“I didn’t realize there were so many Darden alumni living in Taiwan,” Liu said. “We met
alumni going back to the 1980s. It really showed how tight-knit the Darden culture is—that it is strong enough to connect total strangers even if we have little else in common.”
Darden’s Global Consulting Project program allows students the chance to address current, global business challenges, preparing them to address opportunities in their careers down the road.
“A project like this will make current and future students better because the workforce is so globalized,” Liu said. “This project gave me the chance to be in the driver’s seat, and I now feel more equipped on how to look at a company from afar and find what information will help the company grow and be profitable. There wasn’t ever a moment of dullness. This experience far exceeded my expectations.”