Verge Consulting Program


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