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Five weeks have gone by so fast! As we prepare to head back to campus, here is a quick recap of our amazing experience with this organization - WEConnect International.

We arrived in DC in the beginning of Feb and instantly connected with the WEConnect staff. The following days saw us running around and conducting interviews to collect as much relevant data as possible. Of course, this led to us receiving a huge warehouse of information that we had to comb through to find what we needed for our work. Thanks to a very comfortable workspace (“the bubble”) arranged by the client, we were able to transition into our “consultant” modes pretty soon. Within a few days, the bubble was transformed into one of the Snell rooms at Thunderbird with a work plan chart, a scheduler, a to-do list and innumerable number of post-it stamps mounted on the glass walls. As days passed by, we did experience what TEM Lab alumni warned us about – the “stress”. The good part was that we were equipped to deal with it; we spoke to each other about how to approach developing solutions to our deliverables, worked in sub-teams and took “chocolate” breaks! We followed strict deadlines and a multiple review cycle when it came to weekly reports, interim presentations and other deliverables. This process gave us confidence because our client requested us to present a week in advance! As we started integrating our individual deliverables together, we brainstormed on how we could effectively communicate with our client and get its buy-in for our recommendations. We did not want the client to consider us as “typical business school students” that were trying to coax the client with academic frameworks and heavy financial tools learnt at school. Instead, we wanted WECI to think strategically about their organization, comprehend our assessments and findings and use those to assess their potential to reach greater heights.

One of the T-bird alumnus that we met who has tremendous experience in the non-profit sector advised us to conduct workshop as opposed to a usual presentation. We sent out invitations for the workshop, made a detailed agenda sheet and prepared ourselves for a challenging day. Though the COO of WECI informed us in advance that her team members may drop in and out of the session, we were successful in having the entire team engaged in our workshop for 3.5 hours straight, all through a working lunch! The WECI staff actively participated in the workshops and one of them remarked and I quote, “We wanted someone to tell us that non-profits are also businesses, you did that for us!”. As we bid adieu to this amazingly talented group of individuals, we wish to thank them for the opportunity they provided us to learn and experience the non-profit world and consulting.

Truly an incredible experience.

 

Author: Soumya Sivadas