Verge Consulting Program


Verge Consulting 2020 Highlight: Vagisha Ahlawat

I am a graduate student enrolled in the UConn Business Analytics program with a background in engineering. I love solving business problems through efficient analysis of data. Using technology to analyze a problem while keeping it in the context of its business application is invaluable for navigating today’s ocean of information. I worked as a Data Analyst for a startup for two years and additionally have consulting experience with Mckinsey and Company. Having worked in varying firm structures – consulting, services, technology and startup, I have developed an understanding required to serve various types of clients. Problem solving capabilities merged with my data centered approaches, I am passionate about helping businesses make strategic decisions by assessing the strengths and risks using technology as the basis.

Verge Consulting was the perfect endeavor for me to take up this summer as it provided the chance to work with several external client companies which would serve as an excellent learning opportunity for my future career aspirations. I was also excited about the opportunity to collaborate with other consultants having diverse business backgrounds and learning from their experience.

With the program coming to an end, I can gladly say that it exceeded my expectations. I gained exposure to multiple industries in the US including energy, technology, e-commerce, marine and healthcare in just 10 weeks. I got the opportunity to work with clients facing multiple challenges at the different stages in the business life cycle. I was able to apply the business as well as technical concepts learned in the classroom to decipher client needs, conduct thorough research and develop actionable recommendations. The most rewarding aspect of the program was the exceptionally collaborative peer learning and remarkable mentorship by both CCEI and SDBC’s advisors who guided us at each step through their experience and knowledge while giving us the support to follow our own unique approach.


Verge Consulting 2020 Highlight: Sai Ramaraju

I’m a Business Analytics graduate candidate with a 3 year professional career at Deloitte in consulting US-based & European businesses. With a background in implementing data infrastructure  and building business intelligence platforms, I enjoy breaking complex problems into smaller, more manageable pieces. I’m passionate about using my core strength – data analytics, to pivot critical business decisions around marketing and sales strategy. I believe that versatility is my forte, with an ability to handle crises, I’m quick to adapt to changes. Consulting for businesses, large/medium/small, and helping them reach the next level is where I thrive the most.

At Verge, I saw the potential to create tangible impact through my prior consulting experience and my learnings at the Business School. This was an opportunity to not only bridge the gap between my analytical and business skills but also work with a diverse peer group at CCEI & CT SBDC. To be able to help small businesses navigate through the pandemic and work on a different style of business problems drove me to choose the Verge program this summer.

What I’m looking forward to most is to meet with business owners and discover areas that challenge my current skillset and potential projects that give me the chance to explore and hone new skills. In contrast to the larger organizations, I’m excited to learn about challenges that come with projects from local owned businesses. I’m also honoured to be associated with mentors and business advisors from both CCEI and CT SBDC and hope to gain valuable insights from them through my time at Verge.


Verge Consulting 2020 Highlight: Raghav Shekhar

 

Being a technology and startup enthusiast, I could not have found a better opportunity than Verge Consulting to mark the end of my first year at UConn School of Business. Software Engineer turned Entrepreneur, I have spent the majority of my professional experience turning ideas in products and products into businesses, going Zero to One as they say in Silicon Valley. The highlight of my professional journey has been the LegalTech venture Lawyered, which I started in 2015 to help startups gain accessibility to legal services. The business went on to help over 6000 startups get legal assistance before getting acquired in late 2018.

Although I picked up valuable knowledge in product management, analytics and marketing strategy, most of what I learnt came from the ’school of hard knocks’. The MBA program at UConn is helping me build a stronger business acumen and foundation, while interning with CCEI and CTSBDC is helping me put these learning into action. This was the primary reason why I chose to intern with Verge, as it would give me the opportunity to work with multiple companies across industries and customer segments and would also help me understand the business landscape in the United States.

Halfway through the internship, I must say, the experience has surpassed my expectations in every way possible. Firstly, getting introduced to and interacting with a dozen of really smart startup founders has elevated the whole learning experience. Everyday I get to learn things that are hard to achieve from a classroom environment. Secondly, with every business being at a different stage of business, consulting businesses on the challenges/tasks at hand is providing me with knowledge not only on different facets of a business but also the entire business lifecycle.

The Verge journey till now has been exhilarating and I feel sad that it will eventually come to an end, as it seems to be the perfect place and position for anyone looking to get into consulting. I hope the value I provide to the clients goes far beyond this summer and brings them success for years to come.


Verge Consulting 2020 Highlight: Megan Gao

Working as a business consultant at Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurships and Innovation and Connecticut Small Business Development Center draws a satisfactory ending to my first year of Full-time MBA program at UCONN.

Before pursuing my MBA degree, I had earned Master and Bachelor degree of Mechanical Engineering from TOP 5 universities in China. As a graduate researcher, I managed multiple projects regarding product design and optimization based on thorough data analysis. After graduation, I joined a leadership program in a local government in China to explore another world: digital marketing, public relations management, and communication. I also have three-year expatriate experience in the EU and the USA. This equips me with an international vision and a global mindset.

Concentrated on business analytics and digital marketing, I want to apply what I learned from classes to the real business world together with my analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. Verge Consulting Program provides a great opportunity. There are different amazing startups covering a wide range of domains, including technology, consulting, eCommerce, pharma, fashion, etc.

After several weeks, what I gained is more than what I expected. I not only honed my marketing and financing skills but also, I learned from the startups how to implement a brilliant idea into execution. It is really rewarding that I can add value to their business. Besides, it is a great platform to work as a team and to develop leadership skills.


Verge Consulting 2020 Highlight: Micky Chhabda

Coming from an IT Consulting background, I have benefited multiple projects with technology consulting and process reengineering and helped my employer secure various contracts from Japanese clients. Business requirement analysis, developing key metrics and technology upgrade recommendations were my areas of expertise while programming, data visualization, and data integration were some of my other responsibilities. I was very excited about the analytics aspect of my job which is why I decided to be an analyst after gaining considerable professional experience. Finding the domain where my forte of analytical skills could be applied, I recently chased an opportunity to serve as a Marketing Analyst Intern with a Startup in educational domain wherein I used analytics to strategize and lead business development activities for the company resulting in new contracts and increased profit. I have learned and implemented skills such as driving promotional campaigns, analyzing key performance indicators, market research and developing business models. I now aspire to take this exploration further with Marketing and Analytics Intertwined.

While working on programming and analytics made me technically sound, working with people from different countries made me culturally agiler, hands-on interactions with stakeholders from different levels of organization honed my interpersonal skills such as handling complex issues, technology consulting and negotiation with clients among others. The entire episode made me discover the finer nuances of team management, developing insights, problem resolution, market research and driving business development activities which I would bring to the startups this summer.

Looking for multiple opportunities and working on multiple projects was going to be a time-consuming task and I had lot of ground to cover before I transition into a business analyst role and therefore I decided to find one opportunity that will allow me to get exposure to multiple projects in multiple domains within limited time frame. In my circumstance, Verge Consulting was the best option for me.

This opportunity will help me explore broader horizons of analytics, marketing, and business planning and implementation as well as have hands-on experience on real assignments with a chance to draw conclusions and give recommendations to improve performance. I believed that this opportunity will serve as a linkage for me to have a transition from an MBA student to a Skilled Professional in the Business World.

The journey so far has been very much rewarding and has given wide exposure to consulting space through work-assignments with different startups in diverse domains. It enabled me to understand the know-how of business and get better insights into how startups work. The brainstorming engagements with CCEI Mentors, CTSBDC Consultants and Skilled Peers have helped me learn a lot so far and I am expecting more to come in the upcoming weeks. This opportunity has allowed me to visualize the impact of my gained knowledge and experience by working on competitive assignments to unwrap the answers to Why, What and How of Consulting which will prove beneficial for significant fulfillment of my career aspirations.

More conspicuously, I am looking at developing and polishing skills such as analytics, market research, business strategy and development which will serve as a foundation in my future career as business analyst. I would love to be a part of business teams to complement the technology team and deliver tangible and purposeful transformations. Delivering tangible and purposeful transformations, gathering and analyzing information, formulating and testing hypotheses, and developing and communicating recommendations, are few of the activities that I want at the core of my job. The most rewarding component is – when I excel into a full-time role, all the experiences and procured skillset with Verge Consulting Program will enable me to hit the ground running from Day 1.


Verge Consulting 2020 Highlight: Ishita Kapoor

I’m excited to work with the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) at UConn and the CT Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as a Business Consultant Intern this summer. Coming from a software engineering background, I have worked with product owners and stakeholders across many cross-functional teams in India, UK, and Europe. This experience along with my MBA coursework has greatly enhanced my strategic thinking, problem-solving, and planning skills. It also helped me understand business and consumer needs. During my last semester, I participated at CCEI Accelerate UConn, a program in which an entrepreneurial team is trained to determine the market viability and opportunity for a business challenge. During this program I first built interest towards Verge Consulting.

As a verge consultant, I am able to apply my analytical skills and business knowledge across various projects from different industries. The sheer diversity of the work is what attracted me the most. This experience will help me develop in a way, where I can tackle any business problem, regardless of the industry or role it belongs to.

Additionally, I receive valuable guidance from mentors and co-workers from a wide spectrum of professions, consultants and business advisors, to name a few. This is also an exciting opportunity to work alongside, learn from and make recommendations to entrepreneurs with new and unconventional products. I believe that there is no better way to get a hands on experience than working for a startup since the environment is conducive to innovation. The less emphasis on hierarchy translates to getting your hands dirty properly. Also, working with startup owners will be enlightening on how to drive innovation in myself and others.

My career goal is to work as a management consultant for a financial or consulting firm. To achieve this goal, I am eager to learn all there is to know about the field by gaining as much practical exposure as I can during my time at Verge.

 


Verge Consulting 2020 Highlight: Jasdeep Singh

This summer, I’m excited to begin working with the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) at UConn and the CT Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as a business consultant intern. Coming from the world of education, the in-depth topics of business that the UConn Full-Time MBA program and talented cohort helped immerse in were both stimulating as well as a bit overwhelming. Every week opened me to a new area of interest in strategy, operations, analytics, finance, and marketing, making the choice of internships and possible future jobs broad but also complex.

In order to grow and apply as much as possible, I began consulting with a few start-ups and small businesses on my own during the semester. While it was a great way for me to bring my diverse areas of learning and experience together, what was more motivating was the reality that when working with small companies, every conversation can directly impact the business. I always admired those who have the knowledge, skills, and bravery to bring a business to life. Now I have a deeper understanding of just how difficult and complex starting and growing a company can be, but also how much innovation and discovery comes from the process. Getting the chance to continue to learn and work in almost every facet of business, from finance to operations, in sectors as wide ranging as healthcare and energy, while also helping leaders bring ideas to fruition is the exact opportunity I was looking for, making the VERGE Consulting program an ideal internship.


Why I spent my summer with Verge

Why the Verge Consulting Program?

Similar to many MBA students, I had a special interest in joining a consulting firm in the summer. I thought the chance and responsibility to work with external clients would serve as an excellent learning opportunity for my future career aspirations. I enjoy seeing how business work and wanted to utilize my analytical skills and business knowledge to solve complex business problems and generate significant impact on the client’s firms. In addition, I was keen to implement, in the real business environment, the most relevant business concepts I had learned in-class during the first year of my MBA. My expectations of the Verge Program were exceeded.  I was exposed to firms at different life cycle stages and from across industries provided the me and the team multiple challenges that not only expanded hands-on learning, but also improved our skillset.

Projects and Team Dynamics

Our team worked on multiple projects with clients ranging from early stage startups trying to find the most appropriate business model to established companies expanding their business. Their industries include healthcare, medical devices, consumer products, and construction. Accompanied by SBDC Advisors, the first step of a project included meeting with the client to gain better understanding of their objectives and challenges. Then we would come up with a scope of work describing what deliverables we would later provide to the client. Next, the team would extensively discuss potential approaches to overcome business problems and drive business growth (as we had done many times in classroom during the first year of the MBA program). During the project execution phase, we relied on multiple business research database to gather and analyze information. The deliverable included a final presentation to the client, which was my favorite part of this experience. Many times, the relationship with the client transcends the scope of work itself. Noticing the entrepreneur’s passion for the business is contagious and inspiring.  Knowing that we actually have the chance to contribute to their success is priceless.

Skillset development

Overall, I was mostly engaged in activities involving creating strategies for customer acquisition and customer conversion, which requires extensive market research and analysis. In addition, I learned startup valuation and finance modeling, both of which were new to me. However, the most valuable skill I learned as a Verge Consultant was to validate business hypotheses using a data-driven approach. The resources available at Verge Consulting paired with the solid business foundation gained through the first year of the MBA Program allowed me and the team to effectively make insight-driven recommendations to drive business decisions.

https://ccei.uconn.edu/programs/verge/

This post was written by:

Murillo Silva
MBA, Class of 2019

UConn School of Business


The Verge Consulting Program: Practical, Experiential & Entrepreneurial

Last summer, I had an excellent opportunity to work with the CT Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI). I was a part of the Verge Consulting team, a program coordinated by CCEI in  collaboration with the SBDC, consisting of six UConn graduate students. As a Verge Consultant or “business consultant”, we worked with SBDC Business Advisors to aid startups and small businesses of the state of Connecticut.

Exposure to startups

One of the primary reasons of my application to Verge Consulting program was the promise of exposure to challenges and business conditions unique to startups. The program certainly delivered on it’s promise. I worked with startups and small business from industries spanning healthcare, medical devices, food, cosmetics, analytics, e-commerce, mobile applications, online education, apparels & technology. I was exposed to a plethora of business factors affecting these industries, which was all brand new information for me learn. Our clients faced multiple challenges some of them unique to their businesses and some were caused by macroeconomic factors. Deciphering their needs and prioritizing them was just the beginning. We carefully curated our services and equipped our clients with required tools, knowledge and advice to face their challenges better.

Entrepreneurial Stories

My favorite part of the program was meeting each entrepreneur. In client meetings we had a chance to meet the founders and executives of the businesses that we worked with. Many times I found myself inspired by their stories because their passion for entrepreneurship was contagious. The challenges, triumphs and mistakes they shared were both thought provoking and contributed to my knowledge and understanding of how to start and sustain a business. The feedback that I received from our clients was also immensely helpful and insightful.

Experiential Learning

Business education was new to me when joining the MBA program and so were many concepts of business. Verge Consulting provided me an opportunity to apply the business concepts that I learned in the classroom to real world business problems. The classroom concepts were a solid foundation to get me started. I learned quickly that there was no predefined way to proceed in a business. We advised our clients and provided them with required tools and knowledge to enhance their capability to face their business challenges to better set them up for growth. For each client and unique challenge they faced, the advice was different.  We had the ability to design analytical dashboards to formulating acquisition, engagement and monetization strategies, all of which were new skills I was able to add to my arsenal.

Excellent Mentors

Our team of consultants worked with and reported to SBDC business advisors. The business advisors are industry veterans who are entrepreneurs themselves. From education at Ivy League universities to years of experience and success stories, their qualifications and subject matter expertise were second to none. They gave us our freedom to learn and enhance the knowledge and skills that was of interest to each of us. Most importantly they tried not to influence our decisions but rather guide us. This paved way for us to define our unique approach to problem solving. This program allowed me to be mentored by the best I could have asked for.

Peer Learning

Our team of business consultants was the cherry on the cake. With our entrepreneurial backgrounds and expertise in various industries and domains we constituted a diverse team. The best element of this team was knowledge sharing. To state a few, I learned market research techniques from Szu-Tung, financial analyses from Keshav, medical device knowledge from Guanwei and search engine optimization from Surya. Our team was dubbed “the dream team”. We were effective presenters who finished each other sentences to a point of scary coordination.  It was combination of our skills and varied areas of interest that allowed us to work with so many different small businesses and startups.  We were each able to contribute to the problems we were solving in a meaningful way, all the while, learning from each other.

Overall, I not only have gained working business knowledge and entrepreneurial skills but also have made friends and mentors for life. If you are looking for a great summer learning experience to work on business problems that would expand your learning and skills, Verge consulting is an excellent program to consider. Learn more about the program through the link below.

https://ccei.uconn.edu/programs/verge/

This post was written by:

Sreeman Kumar Podisetti
MBA, Class of 2018UConn School of Business