College Planning Specialists

October 11, 2007

College Students Preparing for Work Life: “Consulting” (Entrepreneurial Career) Can Be Lucrative And Absurd

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Courtesy of www.pendotech.com

You have spent the majority of your life learning, preparing, and fretting over the next step: work life aka “real world.” In that time you have concentrated your studies on a major-minor core curriculum. While you were performing your best work, you kept an eye on your eventual job prospects. Summertime was for internships and making business connections so that your transition from college life could be a smooth and rapid one. Finally you girded yourself for the possibilities that you will have to look long and hard for the job and career you want.

After all of this preparation, I bet nobody informed you about the world of “consulting.” It is entrepreneurial and it’s main requirement is that you have “expertise” in a specific field. This knowledge and your ability to bring this knowledge forward in a manner that is instructive are the major necessities to becoming a consultant-and hanging out your own shingle.

Now the fun part. The following story is true and it was reported in the October 11, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle “Bay Area” section of the paper-the headline reads:

Berkeley:

“LAW SCHOOL DROPS BOALT, $25,000

“Officials at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law spent nearly $25,000 on a branding consultant to help them give the school a new name: ‘UC Berkely School of Law.’ . . . “Dean Christopher Edley Jr. said the money was-spent because people will now understand that the law school is tied to UC Berkeley.”

HUH? WAH? You mean to tell me one of the preeminent academic officials in one of the most respected universities in the world deemed it necessary to hire a “consultant” to formulate that brand name? How utterly absurd is the thought that all of this brainpower at the disposal of UC Berkeley through administrators, professors, and students was never tapped?

Analysis:

Why didn’t the UC Berkeley brains behind this branding move simply poll their professors, adminstration, alumni, and current students? Why not open it up as if it was a “Branding” contest: Winner receives a $10,000 grant?

Instead Marshall Strategy Inc. was handed a $200,000 contract to “design the school’s magazine, Web site and brochures for fundraising and student recruiting.” Within this $200 “large” was the $25k fee for the “name.”

Even more disturbing is the fact that UC Berkeley has allowed a wonderful opportunity in public relations and recruiting slip through it’s fingers. How great a tool would it be for the university to have tasked it’s Business school and Law school with the jobs of branding, media brochure materials, publicity, and marketing?

Why not give the consulting contract to it’s own students? Why not keep the money in-house? Why not use this type of project as a senior thesis which could provide real world experience a graduate could point to when interviewing for a position?

Finally why not bring the component of blogging into the picture? Blogging or citizen journalism would be a wonderful course that every business school should, unfortunately administration does not get it, provide in it’s curriculum.

Incredulous is the idea that anyone with half a brain could have come up with this “branded” moniker. What is wrong with this picture besides the fact that it must make every UC Berkeley student wonder where their hard earned tuition fees are being spent?

So there you have it in a nutshell. Consulting is a business and it is lucrative. It does not necessarily require brains or even expertise. It requires the skill of being able to sell even the most absurd idea to the smartest people without those smart people pushing back your idea.

Go forth and conquer! Young consultants unite and prosper.

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