5 Key Tips to Being a Great Student Consultant
Cherry Consulting is Temple University AMA’s student run marketing consulting firm that offers real world experience for students and affordable marketing expertise for a variety of clients. Even though our students are highly motivated, it is often difficult to manage a project and adjust to the needs of the client. These 5 tips below highlight our main guidelines for our students to follow when working on a client project.
1. Research the client, the organization, and the industry you’ll be working in.
Familiarizing yourself with a client is an important first step before working with them as it provides insights into the company’s mission, past work, and future goals before the first meeting. Researching this basic information will help you understand the culture and organizational values so you can come prepared to work during your first meeting. Simple steps such as visiting their website, reading articles about the organization, or even a quick Google search will provide enough information to give you a solid foundation of knowledge. After the first meeting this research will serve as a guide to produce work that is representative of the organization you are working with.
2. Establish effective communication channels with your client.
It is important to clarify which channels of communication work best for the client and your team to stay updated throughout the project. Frequent emails, phone calls, or face to face meetings will keep a project’s goals in focus and everyone on the same page. Keep in mind that these channels all have different benefits but can be utilized throughout the project depending on your clients needs and organizational structure. Having a solid communication system that fits the needs of your client will allow you to ask questions frequently to increase productivity.
3. Be aware of your capabilities and use the people around you as a resource.
While working through a project, there are points where your team will need assistance. It is essential to recognize what you and your team are capable of, so you can ask for advice when needed. Within your organization there are multiple student professionals, beyond your own team, with real world experience in a vast array of areas. This source of knowledge is a resource that should be used as often as possible to assist your team. Professors can also be an asset to the project as they have professional experience in various industries and academia. Reaching out to students and professors around you will help to strengthen your ideas, gain outside insight, and address any questions you have throughout the project. It is important to be self aware and utilize the people around you for assistance.
4. Maintain a timeline by utilizing time between meetings.
Punctuality is a vital aspect of project management. It is important to record and be conscientious of deadlines so you can use time during and between meetings efficiently to keep your team on schedule. Creating a timeline with set dates for completion of each part of the project will allow you to manage the overall workload efficiently. Utilizing time between meetings will give you an opportunity to compile what you and your team accomplished and format it to satisfy your objectives. This can mean supplementing what was accomplished during a meeting with additional work that was not finished during a meeting. Having a relevant timeline is a tool that will serve as a guide to improve your time management and create awareness so you can complete objectives on time.
5. Create an agenda to follow during meetings.
Creating an agenda provides a guide that will improve the effectiveness of meetings by coordinating the focus of your discussions. An effective agenda can include logical talking points to address, objectives to reach, and freedom to allow flexibility. When forming talking points it is important that they are specific, but not too narrow. Talking points that are too specific can limit the amount of conversation and reduce productivity, while objectives too broad can allow a discussion to become too unfocused. These talking points will provide your meetings with a comfortable, but productive pace for your consultants to follow. Having a flexible agenda is important to maintain the efficiency and flow of a meeting. Certain topics will garner a more fluid discussion than others. It is important to allow conversations to proceed even if they take longer than expected when originally planned. A flexible agenda will help you generate a discussion that yields the most productive output.
We hope this is helpful for you to tackle your next project!