Frequently Asked Questions
What skills do you look for in selecting applicants for the Carlson Consulting Enterprise (CCE)?
We are not looking for specific work experience. We are however, looking for a specific skill set. First, we look for the ability to communicate effectively. Students need strong communication skills to listen to clients, ask the right questions, and articulate their ideas. Secondly, CCE students need to have strong quantitative and analytical skills to do the strategic assessment work that we do on our projects. Third, students need to have strong teamwork skills. Underlying all of these skills is interest and motivation for wanting to join the Carlson Consulting Enterprise. Grades and work experience will also be considered.
What functional areas do you target in recruiting students for the CCE?
All functional areas are considered, including consulting, general strategy, marketing, finance, and operations and supply chain. Our work is cross-functional in nature and requires students with a variety of interests.
Will I be able to select which projects I work on?
Students are able to preference for their projects and typically receive their first or second choice. Students may not work on clients that are considered in the same competitive space as their future employer (internship or full-time).
How does the CCE use its office space?
Most CCE students use our office as a homeroom: There is space to do homework, project work, and relax and interact with fellow consultants. The CCE provides computer access, phone lines and all necessary office equipment to support project needs.
How many hours per week is required for the CCE?
We estimate that our consultants work on average 15 hours per week on their projects in addition to class time (1.5 hours per week). Although we try to manage projects to keep the weekly time consistent, as with any project work there may be peaks and valleys (i.e. preparing for major presentation may create a busier week).
Does the CCE require travel?
Most of our projects do not require travel. The CCE has worked with a few clients where travel is needed. However, this is voluntary and it is managed so that consultants do not miss class, and the client pays for all expenses.
What is the average duration of the CCE engagement?
Typical engagements average 13 weeks, however, the CCE is capable of planning a project that spans the full academic year (two semesters) and into summer, if necessary.
What content is covered in the consulting course?
The course provides problem solving and critical thinking skills that will prepare student to hit the ground running as a consultant in a professional consulting firm, as an internal consultant, or in a functional role.
How often does the class meet?
The CCE is scheduled to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00AM to 9:40AM. On Tuesdays the Enterprise Director, Phil Miller, leads a classroom lecture and discussion. On Thursdays groups are expected to meet independently on project work while Phil rotates between groups to help as needed.
What type of projects does the CCE do?
The CCE assists companies in addressing real business challenges and opportunities. We use a fact-based approach to our analysis and recommendations in driving real bottom-line results. The CCE works in the strategy and operations space and most projects are cross-functional in nature, typically dealing in multiple business competencies—strategy, finance, marketing and supply chain or operations.
What is expected of the client on a CCE project?
The most successful projects are those that have client involvement and where the project is meaningful to the organization. Depending on the nature of the project, whether it is externally research focused or more internally focused will determine the actual level of client involvement. For all projects, we ask that an internal point of contact be identified so the CCE team has someone to contact for project information, to help set up client interviews and navigate the organization, and to provide periodic reviews of project progress. The CCE team uses a weekly status report to send to project stakeholders and will schedule periodic reviews, including a formal mid-point and final presentation.
How are the student teams structured?
Students have an opportunity to preference for the projects that they work on based on their career, industry or content interest. The CCE Enterprise Director uses the student’s preference, as well as capabilities required, to structure a student team. One of those students will be defined as the Team Lead.
In addition, each team is supported by a Professional Director who has extensive consulting and industry experience. The Director will meet with the team at least once a week to discuss progress, review project work, help define research and analysis methods, mentor and coach team members, and ensure overall quality of work.
How do we sign up for a project?
CCE projects generally run on a semester basis with 13-week projects starting in early September and late-January; and 7-week projects starting in mid-March. Additionally, there may be opportunities to do projects over the summer, as well as other starting points during the year depending on student availability.
The planning cycle for projects commences approximately eight weeks before the projects start to have sufficient time for scoping and to be able to plan for capacity—the CCE generally completes 5–6 projects per semester.
Where do the students typically work?
The nature of the project (internal focus versus external focus) will drive where the majority of the work is completed. The CCE has office facilities for the students to work at the Carlson School. However, there will be times when on-sight client work or meetings will be required and necessary conference room or desk space would be needed.
If the project requires extensive on-sight work, companies will generally provide the students with temporary security badges in order to obtain building access.
How does the CCE handle client confidentiality?
We take confidentiality extremely seriously based on the work that we do for our clients. In our class our students are taught the importance of non-disclosure with regard to what they can and can not communicate and how to handle confidential documents and document disposal.
We typically sign a non-disclosure agreement on behalf of the CCE that covers all students and directors involved. As well, students will sign individual NDA’s when requested.