WCBA Student Consulting Initiative Gives Students Real Experience

By Krista Ritz

Juniors and seniors in Williamson College of Business Administration get hands-on experience this semester through the WCBA Student Consulting Initiative. 

Betty Jo Licata, dean of WCBA, partnered with local businesses to connect students with businesses offering internships and mentorships in their field. The initiative will help prepare students for their careers after graduation.

“Given the pandemic, we know that while there are internships out there, there aren’t as many as there usually are so we’re looking to broaden the opportunities,” Licata said.

To participate in the program, students must be a business major with a particular set of courses completed.

“There are really two primary benefits to the students,” she said. “One is getting that additional, hands-on experience in working with businesses and secondly, is getting more formal training and how to be an effective consultant.

Joe Angelo, director of entrepreneurship, facilitates relationships with businesses to give students experience in consulting. 

“I got started because Dean Licata wanted to offer this unique experience to our students. Since I consult, and I have a consulting background as well, it seemed like a good fit,” he said.

The majority of the program involves a six- to seven-week university theoretical focus on consulting.

Students will learn how to deliver services and complete six to eight weeks of project work at the company. Although the companies have yet to be released, a variety of businesses in the region have expressed interest. 

“With all my classes in the entrepreneurship center, I attempt to simulate more real-world experiences, so I expect the students to have a great deal of autonomy and to assume a variety of roles,” Angelo said.

Angelo said he expects students to be able to perform marketing and research-oriented tasks. 

Rachael Leonard, a senior business administration major, expressed great interest in getting consulting experience.

“I thought this class would be a great way to not only gain exposure and work with an actual company, but also learn more about consulting and what a career in the consulting field would look like,” Leonard said.

She said she hopes to network with companies in the area and learn about other companies in the area.  She said she also hopes to gain hands-on experience.

Leonard said she might not work in consulting after college, but “just even having this experience can help even in finance or any other area of business I do end up in.”

CUTLINE: The Williamson College of Business Administration introduces the Student Consulting Initiative, pairing students with local businesses for intern opportunities.