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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September 13, 2007

Students and their Credit Cards: How To Manage Student Credit Cards Without Sinking the Ship

Filed under: Allowance,Budget,Colleges,Finance,Student Credit Cards — deansguide @ 4:29 pm

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Students constantly search for methods to finance their college educations. What is sometimes overlooked within this formula? The rising cost of living expenses each student incurs during their school year. Many students desperate to make ends meet surrender to the credit card “spiral.” The following information will hopefully give students some ideas and advice on how best to manage their credit and debt while pushing through school.

The following are steps to help students manage their student credit cards. This information is presented by Liz Roberts, loan consultant, with New Horizons Finance:

1. Willpower: Simple concept but difficult for most people to grasp. When the mood strikes to pull out the credit card students should ask themselves one simple question: “Do I really need this item or do I just want it?” This simple but powerful idea will help students control their spending, create a conscious check before purchase, and in many cases train the “spender” by positively reinforcing the idea that their credit balance is in line with their income.

2. Pay Cash: When casinos first began in this country, casino owners understood the “value” of removing a gambler’s emotion from their money. Simply put, casino’s from that beginning until today always insist that you “change” your cash dollars into their chips. Gamblers have a much easier time losing, without regret, their money in a casino if they are betting with chips. If the gambler was forced to throw down cash for every game or bet, the regret factor would help deter their spending and lower casiono profits. Like Robert De Niro in the movie “Casino” (picture above), credit card companies rely upon your human side to lead your astray.

The exact same casino concept applies with credit cards. Paying cash gives the spender the “feeling” that hard earned monies need to be rationed. Using a credit card allows the spender to avoid this feeling. We all know the results of unconscious spending.

3 . Budget Money/Allowance: Students like housewives, should create a personal budget. List items that are monthly needs first. Attempt to cut out the “fat” that your can actually live without. If at all possible save some money each month for an emergency cash fund. This is difficult but it could come in handy in the future.

4. Be Responsible: Try to be the “owner” of your debt. Do not go to family or friends for bail out funds whenever possible. By staying within a budget, you will be more likely to stay out of financial trouble. Remember that favors from family is much easier to ask for if it is a rare occurrence rather than a monthly request.

If you have trouble remaining responsible, run your credit card debt into the “ditch”, and borrow every last dime available from family and friends then you might just find yourself in the predicament below. Be responsible stay out of the “ditch.”

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