Student-run consulting group hopes to help campus orgs

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 3:09pm

Students and other audience members gather for an event in Rackham in 2015.

Students and other audience members gather for an event in Rackham in 2015. Buy this photo
Emilie Farrugia/Daily

In a Capital Consulting Group meeting Monday evening, LSA sophomore Shriyance Jain laid a bold future for his organization, the University of Michigan’s newest consulting group.

“We are underdogs right now, but I feel like that within the next couple of semesters, we will be up there as well,” he said. “I believe the other consulting groups better watch out.”

Founded in the fall of 2015, Capital Consulting is student organization aiming to provide business consultation to other organizations on campus. The group of six executive board members split between LSA and the Ross School of Business, as well as more than 20 consultants, recently elected LSA freshman Boyang Yu as the group’s president.

Executive board member Aaron Small, a Business sophomore, wanted to apply what he was learning in his courses to help student organizations.

“I really wanted to leverage the things that I am learning in class to help organizations … that maybe don’t have as many people interested in business,” Small said. “But in every organization, there are business aspects to it.”

The Business School already boasts numerous consulting groups such as Nexecon, 180 Degrees and BOND Consulting, all extremely selective in whom they admit and consult, primarily focusing on local businesses and nonprofits. Capital Consulting executive board members feel their organization differentiates itself from those groups. Capital is betting that its startup mindset, executive board membership of diverse backgrounds and desire to prove itself as a formidable club will help it establish itself as a viable consulting group. Yu believes these factors distinguish Capital from other consulting groups with more experience, bigger staffs and lengthier client lists.

“Because we are a startup, I think it is less structured and there is more overlap in our roles, but that also means we have a lot more opportunities for our members,” Yu said. “Every member has the luxury of taking on an initiative if they think it is the right thing to do, instead of just following orders from who is above you.”

Establishing the club as a fast-growing presence in the Business School did not come without its challenges. Enlisting clients, recruiting consultants, narrowing down the list of candidates and developing a website all proved formidable tasks. Though Small is excited to begin working with clients such as Pierpont Commons, WCBN-FM and LEAD scholars, the previous months of helping Capital establish itself as an organization proved challenging.

"We had a meeting during exam week last semester and I was just sitting there like, ‘Guys, with where we are at right now, we weren’t left with many resources and we very reasonably might have to take a semester off,’ ” he said. “We all looked at each other and were like, ‘Is this going to be it?’ ”

Yet, board members were determined to see the organization succeed. They worked throughout Winter Break to develop marketing material, redesign the website, prepare for recruitment and reach out to prospective clients. With their first consulting projects for the semester almost underway, the executive board is confident its team is ready to tackle issues as diverse as club recruitment, brand marketing and financial acumen.

However, due to the executive board’s relative inexperience and unproven track record, this semester will still present numerous difficulties for Capital Consulting Group. Jain believes Capital’s core principles are truly what will allow the group to grow in the future, despite the obstacles established consulting groups on campus pose.

"We want to fundamentally institute growth for student organizations on campus,” he said. “If we can help them grow, if we can increase their brand value on campus, not only are we doing ourselves a favor, but we’re also enhancing student life and we’re improving the overall Michigan experience for students.”