by Valerie O’Brien
Are you wondering how to supplement your rich humanities background (and entries on your résumé) with some business experience before you graduate? You might consider joining Illinois Business Consulting, a time-intensive but professionally rewarding organization that offers you hands-on consulting experience.
What is Illinois Business Consulting (IBC)?
IBC is an extracurricular opportunity open to undergraduate and graduate students in all majors that gives participating students the opportunity to practice business consulting as it’s done in the real world. Students accepted to the program work on interdisciplinary teams to develop a consulting strategy in response to a business problem posed by a real-world for-profit or non-profit organization. Teams will ultimately present their work to that organization and receive valuable feedback from clients on their project.
Ok – but what is consulting?
Business consulting firms develop solutions to a number of problems businesses face, primarily related to either increasing revenues or reducing costs. IBC specializes in strategy consulting, so the kinds of problems consultants might be asked to address could include how to get more of a particular demographic to purchase a product or how to help a business offer a more competitive product more generally (e.g., how a small ice cream manufacturer can sell more of its product in a market dominated by very large businesses).
What are the benefits of participating in IBC?
Some of the benefits of joining IBC include the following:
- Long-term interdisciplinary collaboration with your consulting team
- Experience with real-world problem-solving
- Enhancement of communication and public-speaking skills through work with both clients and team members
- Development of project management skills
- Firsthand experience with career opportunities in consulting and other fields of business
What can Humanities majors bring to consulting?
“Interdisciplinary teams make innovation possible” says the IBC website. Students from all over the university are encouraged to take part in IBC, and humanities majors have a lot to offer the business world! Skills in the following areas, which you consistently develop in your humanities courses, are just some of those that will apply to work in consulting:
- Qualitative Analysis
- Written and oral communication
- Project management
How can you apply to join IBC?
IBC accepts applications at the beginning of each semester. Click here to start the process.
The application process will involve three stages: first, the submission of the online application (with essay questions) and a résumé; second, a behavioral interview; and third, a case interview in which you’ll be asked to practice solving problems like those you might encounter in consulting cases.
IBC’s application process is selective, so you’ll want to prepare! Googling “case interview” will bring up a wealth of examples, strategies, and practice questions. IBC also holds info sessions and case workshops during the year to help students prepare for the interview process. Follow their Facebook page for details.