(Guest blog by Wofford student Caroline Winn ’16, who participated in a consulting project for The Yummy Club, a children’s television show about healthy eating. You can reach Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org)
I admit that the idea of working on a consulting project in The Space intimidated me.
I didn’t have any experience in the consulting field – to be honest, I wasn’t even sure what a consultant really did. I attended the interest meeting for the Yummy Club Consulting Project on the sheer personal inclination that I needed to do something – anything – that would involve me in The Space’s programs and prepare me for the workforce.
As I listened to Scott Cochran, Dean of The Space, explain the project during the interest meeting, I had a vague image of students in business suits offering opinions on this idea of a new children’s cooking show.
Intrigued by the concept of consulting, I joined the project. My team was charged with the creation of a thorough feasibility report for a 13-part children’s TV show focused on healthy eating. I penciled in the presentation date in my calendar: a month and a half after our group’s first meeting.
I’m going to level with you – at first I didn’t understand the term “feasibility report.” Scott sat down with us during our first meeting and cleared up all of my confusion. As consultants, we were to research the client’s proposed project and, based on our findings, suggest improvements or alternatives. Our feasibility report was to be the document that we handed to our client, the complete packet detailing our research and any recommended changes.
In the feasibility report, we answered questions such as:
- Is the proposed budget accurate and reasonable?
- Is there an interest for a new children’s cooking show?
- What is the best way to broadcast this show?
- Who are potential sponsors?
- How can we maximize the impact and viewing audience of the show?
- What are some interesting and creative titles for the program?
- How do child labor laws affect the show’s flexibility?
We researched all of this – and more.
Some of the information was incredibly challenging to find. At times, I suspected we might not be able to provide a thorough report.
Especially with regard to the budget. How could we determine how much it would cost to build a functioning kitchen to use as a site for the TV show? And where in the world would we put this kitchen after we built it? I think I grew a couple grey hairs.
On the other hand, some of the research was very enjoyable. My favorite part of working on the consulting project was my restaurant research. I called a few dozen restaurants and discussed the possibility of filming an episode of the Yummy Club TV show in their kitchen. Perhaps, I asked the managers, one of your chefs would like to demonstrate how to make one of the restaurant’s kid-friendly menu items?
I called restaurants of all types in five prominent cities. One day I talked to a classy seafood establishment in Charleston, a BBQ joint in Spartanburg, and an Asian grill in Columbia. The next day I phoned a health foods bar in Greenville and a Mom & Pop diner in Charlotte. I loved it.
Prior to the consulting project, I hadn’t realized how much goes into the production of a television show. Furthermore, I hadn’t realized how viable and serious a consulting career can be.
I learned a lot. Working in a team helped me develop communication and delegation skills. We held each other accountable, and so I learned about the professional and tactful way to keep group members on track (and how to gracefully accept when I needed to step it up). Contacting dozens of restaurants was fun, but it also required organization and tenacity on my part (some restaurant managers were evasive or very busy when I called).
At the end of our project, we gave a formal presentation to our client – but not until after we had practiced public speaking and presenting with Scott.
I hope I can work on another consulting project before I graduate. It was a valuable experience, and I had a great time working with Wofford students (some of whom I would have never met outside of the consulting project).
The best part? Our presentation went really well. We nailed it. Even the budget.