By Josh Dorman
My internship at Collaboration Business Consulting is one that I will remember. Throughout my two months at the firm, the people at Collaboration made it clear that my work and time was both valued and useful to their business. My experience gave me critical information about the process of economic consulting, allowed me to use my previous knowledge of business and statistics for practical applications and offered me pivotal opportunities to engage in the work of a professional consultant.
I wanted to make the most of my summer between high school and the start of college at Claremont McKenna College. I recognized that with my passion for business and negotiation (I was president of both the Business and Investment Club and the Mock Trial team in high school), I should pursue something in those areas. I had long harbored an interest in economic consulting, as it has been a dream of mine to work in the business. I realized that to get a head start on my career, an internship at a consulting firm was the best route to take.
My principle research was composed of scouring the internet for consulting firms in the San Luis Obispo area. I soon came upon a small consulting firm located a mere five minutes away from my house, one that specialized in local businesses and making a visible impact at the community level. I was well aware of my limitations: I was a young candidate and limited experience working in a professional environment. Nevertheless, I decided to take a leap of faith by requesting a position and sending in my resume. Within a few days, I was overjoyed to receive an email back requesting an interview. Visiting the office for the first time, I was immediately struck by the friendly, welcoming and seemingly low-stress environment of the workplace; these were clearly individuals who enjoyed the work they did and had fun doing it. After the interview, I was hooked: I wanted to work for Collaboration.
My internship started at the turn of July, and Erin, my supervisor, offered me a flexible schedule to get adequate exposure to the office culture and have time for my work and school schedules. She made it clear that I would get the chance to explore all aspects of consulting work. For my first project, I was tasked with scouring various psychology and business review journals for articles pertaining to the entrepreneurship and business management book that Michael was writing. To my surprise, I found myself immensely enjoying the task at hand; each and every article instilled in me useful information with how consulting work was done or how an entrepreneur could best manage his/her business, and challenged me intellectually. Once the time came to present my findings to Michael, I was proud to showcase my newfound knowledge of economics and business management. It is clear that this information will stick with me for the rest of my career.
Next, I had the opportunity to make practical use of my knowledge from an advanced statistics course that I had just completed. Ryan, who specializes in data gathering and survey response analysis, sought my help and thoughts on a relatively new questionnaire system designed to get an accurate sense of how the employees of a company felt about the management style of their business. Soon enough, I found myself completely engrossed in reviewing the questionnaire system; in fact, I was happy to discover that I could use my knowledge of statistics to give Ryan a few suggestions for improvement. Now, Collaboration’s premier data collection system bears some of my contributions. This opportunity to apply my own knowledge to a real-life scenario made me proud and showed me that the individuals at Collaboration truly valued my feedback.
My third–and possibly most impactful–project at Collaboration was researching leads for the company with Rachell. I investigated fast-growing companies in the tri-counties area and found crucial information such as annual revenue, number of employees and rate of growth. This data was put into a Google Sheets spreadsheet, which I had to learn how to operate, thus giving me an immeasurable technological skill. My research led me to select 37 potential clients for Collaboration. Once I had completed my end of the project, I presented it to the team at one of their weekly client review meetings. Such an opportunity gave me crucial training in an industry where giving visual presentations is a pivotal skill. The entire project–research, data organization and presentation–gave me critical experience in the field of a business consulting.
My time at Collaboration Business Consulting was truly an adventure, one that challenged me intellectually, showed me the real-life consulting applications for my skills and instilled in me values of hard work and dedication. I will forever cherish the memory of my summer working with Erin, Ryan, Rachell, Maggie, and Michael. The work I completed at Collaboration imparted me with an incredible breadth of knowledge in economics, entrepreneurial skills, and business management. It has been an incredible experience, and I look forward to putting my new gained knowledge to practical use in my future career as a consultant.