How does the world of management consulting evolve? The Cologne Business School (CBS) and the renowned California State University, Northridge (CSUN) jointly explored this exciting subject as part of a pilot project in which international business students from Cologne and Northridge worked on a project together. Students from both universities were given the task to examine the market and trends for management consultancies in their own country and prepare a presentation. The Californian students, supervised by Prof. Dr. Daniel Degravel, even travelled to Cologne for five days to present their findings. Four teams of four students from CBS and one CSUN team additionally developed recommendations imitating a real consulting mandate: How should small and medium-sized consultancies prepare for the next five years, and what should graduates pay attention to when starting a career in management consulting?
The simultaneous work on the topics revealed differences between Germany and the USA. These insights are of course not only interesting at the academic level, additionally they are relevant for the entire industry. While on campus at CBS, the German teams and the Californian team, presented their results to representatives of the universities and to a world-class expertise audience, including representatives of Deloitte Zurich, PWC and SKP. The presentations were limited to 25 minutes in order to train the precision and speed of top consultants.
“The cooperation between CBS and CSUN is a great opportunity for joint research and for the career opportunities of the students because experience in international teams is a key competency in today’s fields,” says Prof. Dr. Malgorzata Zmuda, Vice Dean of International Business at CBS.
Further Application: Case LYOFOOD
The next day, students were able to prove how well they had mastered the techniques of management consulting by working on a case. The Polish-German start-up LYOFOOD is a pioneer in freeze-dried, tasty organic food with a product line targeting outdoor adventurers. Wioletta Godek, a cologne-based co-founder, was present to brief the students. The German-American teams were given only half of a day to develop a number of solid ideas for LYOFOOD’s further growth. It was particularly interesting for LYOFOOD to simultaneously gain a European and a US-American perspective on its own brand.
The German-American cooperation was not only intensified at the working level, but also with typical Cologne highlights: the group of students visited a Cologne Brauhaus and a local Christmas market.
For partnering companies, a cooperation with CBS is a rewarding idea: In addition to access of current business school research, companies also have an opportunity to start research projects with highly qualified students, of which are much sought after by many businesses once graduated.
Credit: California State University Northridge