A group of Georgetown McDonough Master of Science in Finance (MSF) alumni panelists gathered to share their experience with current students navigating their Global Consulting Projects in a fully online format last year (and this year) because of the COVID pandemic. Drawing on experiences from last spring, Stephanie Hahn (MSF’20), Evan Musolino (MSF’20), Russ Parker (MSF’20), and Cindy Xayavong (MSF’20) provided insights on building relationships with a global perspective.
“The Global Consulting Project was a great opportunity to apply the lessons from the MSF program into practice solving real-world problems,” said Musolino. He advised the students to “make the most of the experience, as it can help with everything from improving skills to finding a new position in international finance.”
All MSF students participate in a capstone Global Consulting Project course that draws upon the skills they have learned throughout the program to conduct a consulting project for a firm in another country. The Global Consulting Project includes an intensive preparation weekend to collaborate with teammates and faculty advisors as teams put the final touches on their recommendations for their client presentations.
The weekend concludes with panel discussions, which included a session highlighting alumni from the MSF class of 2020. Moderated by Brooke Wertan, senior associate director, MSF Program, the panelists provided advice on topics such as handling client expectations, engaging with stakeholders, refining final presentations, and more.
One of the challenges faced while working on the project in the virtual environment was presenting the solution in a captivating manner via Zoom. During the panel, Xayavong asked, “What is your story?”
“It’s not simply putting together research on slide decks, but also seeing how it flows together with a beginning, middle, and end to come up with a story that means something to each client,” said Xayavong. “In doing that, we’ve hopefully made our presentation interesting enough to have their full attention and be memorable, rather than simply reciting a bunch of information to connect later on.”
Throughout the project, students experience various aspects of global business, including adapting to cultural differences and varying business practices. When Hahn was taking meetings for her clients in South Africa, she was unfamiliar with the customary 10-15 minutes of informal chatting before beginning the agenda.
“We adjusted our meetings and padded the time so that we had time at the beginning for pleasantries, especially because our client was trying to transition all of their employees to working from home” said Hahn during the panel. “Be mindful of your first few meetings with your client and see how they are conducting the meetings, and mirror that or directly ask them what their preference is.”
This year student teams are working for international clients ranging from large multi-national and regional firms to nonprofit organizations in Namibia, South Africa, and Spain.