Category Archives: Consulting

Consulting: A path to greater expectations

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Sora Yi with client Synthia Melton, owner of Dimension Law Group.

Sora Yi, Foster BA, Class of 2017, talks about how her internship at the Consulting & Business Development Center exceeded her summer expectations.

Before embarking on my summer internship at the Consulting and Business Development Center, I was anxious to learn what lay ahead. Coming previously from a science track background, I hardly even knew what consulting entailed. I imagined myself working closely under supervision and maybe even being micro-managed. However, I learned early on that this would not be the case.  The expectations that I had coming in and the reality of the internship could not have been more different.

What I did not expect was how much of an impact that I could make on the three businesses that I was assigned. It was amazing to see the level of trust and professionalism given to me as a student intern by some of the most passionate entrepreneurs I have ever met. All of the meetings, project deliverables, and long hours put into these three companies have turned into actionable  recommendations that have been implemented by these three businesses, which is a very, very rewarding feeling.

What I did not expect was the network of professionals that I gained and the support that they provided me through this consulting internship.  I had the opportunity to work with professional advisors from three very different industries who helped me throughout my projects and contributed to my own personal and professional development.

What I did not expect was the new support system I gained through my fellow student peers and the staff at the Consulting Center. I was so lucky to work alongside other supportive and hardworking student interns. Additionally, I am lucky to have been able to work under supervisors who are so passionate about the mission of the Center and value the learning experience of the interns.

Ultimately, what I have gained this summer is a new found passion for consulting, a new found sense of confidence, and a whole new network of people of whom I am so fortunate to have worked with. I would recommend any student who is even remotely considering pursuing consulting to apply to any of the various programs that the Consulting and Business Development Center offers.  For my clients, the culmination of my work this summer lead to recommendations that I hope will bring them large dividends.  For me, the extensive personal and professional growth that I’ve gained through this experience cannot be quantified.


Putting Learning into Practice

Jacob Since, an incoming senior studying Finance and Technology Innovation at University of Washington Bothell, reflects on his experience at the Consulting & Business Development Center.IMG_5855

My first experience with the Consulting & Business Development Center was at a week-long Microsoft Dynamics CRM training this past June. About 40 students, including myself, learned how to use and customize this powerful platform. After the training, I felt like I could see myself as a consultant, and was thrilled when I learned about an opportunity to be a consulting intern over the summer.

In July, I joined a team with two other students from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM training and began implementing a new CRM system for the Consulting & Business Development Center. This unique consulting experience allowed me to not only gain invaluable consulting skills and see a full-cycle development process, but I was also able to gain a deep understanding of the students, community members, and organizations that the Consulting & Business Development Center has impacted over the past 20 years.

With more than ten programs offered throughout the year, there is always a chance for the Consulting & Business Development Center to improve the lives of students and members of the local community. Over the eight weeks I worked with the Consulting & Business Development Center, I have come to realize that the programs they produce are needed not only at the University of Washington by students and local organizations, but Centers like this should be available in Higher Education institutions all across the United States.

Lessons learned in a 3,000 mile drive

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Megan with summer clients Shae, Greg, and Jayden Frichette of Frichette Winery.

Megan Whitman, Foster School of Business, BA Class of 2016 reflects on her summer as a Consulting & Business Development Center summer student consultant.

In May, immediately after being hired as a student consultant in the Consulting & Business Development Center’s Summer Consulting Program, my first duty as a new employee was to attend a Foster alumni event in the Tri-Cities, hosted the Center. It was my first time going over to Eastern Washington in many years.It was the first time I met the team I worked alongside this summer. That first trip marked the beginning of an incredible journey. Ten weeks and seven trips to the Tri-Cities later I have traveled approximately 3,000 miles and learned so much along the way.

When my fellow intern and I would make one of our numerous trips to the Tri-Cities, we would invariably manage to make a wrong turn and end up on an entirely new route each time despite the fact that one of us would always have our phone out with the directions pulled up. Although our debacles with the GPS were most likely the fault of user error rather than the actual device, our challenges gave me a new level of respect and admiration for the small businesses I worked with this summer.

Running a business does not come with step-by-step directions.  It does not come with a GPS. At best, there are road signs that lead you towards your destination, but without specific directions, it is hard to know which signs you are supposed to be looking for and whether or not they will connect to the places you want to reach down the road. As a student consultant I learned to be the GPS for the small business owner, not the driver. I learned how to offer insight on where focus should be directed, to provide analysis on the traffic and other potential roadblocks, and to develop strategies to support the driver in deciding which route is the best fit for them. Over the course of the summer I was able to play this role and produce a set of deliverables for each client that will truly have a tangible impact on their business.

So I would say that the 3,000 miles were worth it — sure, it was exhausting (but that wears off with a large cup of coffee), and now I am just left with a much stronger foundation of business knowledge, a close bond with the intelligent and talented individuals with whom I shared an office space, and the confidence that I am well prepared to be successful no matter my destination.


A budding career in consulting

Jaren Nakamura, Foster School of Business Class of ’15 reflects on his experience as a student consultant for the Consulting & Business Development Center.

Jaren Nakamura with clients Jane Yuan and Collin Hunter from Simple & Crisp and representative Joe Sky-Tucker from Business Impact Northwest.
Jaren Nakamura with clients Jane Yuan and Collin Hunter from Simple & Crisp and representative Joe Sky-Tucker from Business Impact Northwest.

My experience in the Summer Internship Program for the Consulting & Business Development Center was exactly what I was looking for.  I found myself doing meaningful work for real clients, conducting research that I later transformed into applicable material, and delivered tangible results to meet my clients’ expectations.  That last part was by far the most gratifying part of this entire program.

I appreciate the Center’s desire for its student consultants to make recommendations around certain areas for the clients.  Personally, I like to create action and deliver a tangible result that is ready for implementation—that’s always been my prerogative, even since I took the Center’s flagship business consulting class  (MKTG/MGMT 445).  Whether it was delivering the customer research for an online sales database, securing a microloan with a business plan presentation, or presenting the balanced scorecard and action plan to a client company—having the ability to go beyond making simple recommendations was what attracted me not only to this program, but to  a business consulting career.

Starting with the flagship business consulting class in the winter of 2015,   I took on a project with Ultrafino Panama Hats, an E-commerce company that sells high-quality hand-woven Panama hats.  While the project included components of a marketing plan, the main body of work revolved around growing the business in a sustainable fashion: driving sales, increasing capacity, and funding the overall project.  Taking all that I learned from the class and applying it in the Summer Consulting Program allowed me to reflect on and learn from past mistakes, and then reapply my experience for the new clients’ projects.

I do not consider my experience with the  Summer Consulting Program from just June through August—to me, this summer was a continued experience from the winter quarter class.  This experience was exactly what I was looking for in order to start my own consulting career.  Doing this type of work gave me insight on myself as a budding professional, and helped me realize how much I enjoy working in collaboration with others for their success.  This work is rewarding, eye opening, and diverse as any job.

I do not have a lot of “favorites”.  I did not have a clear vision for my career path coming out of the Foster School.  Hardly anything is definitive for me, save for my girlfriend, my friends and family, and my wonderful time at the UW.  However, I can proudly say that my experiences as a student consultant for the Consulting & Business Development Center have been the most educational and entertaining  within the realm of the business school.  Applying business acumen into meaningful client work is not  easy to come by  at Foster, and I have been lucky enough to meet the right people and land the right projects to have created such a wonderful, wholesome experience here.  I highly encourage anyone considering a career in consulting to begin here with the Consulting & Business Development Center.

One more item: the staff at the center are some of the friendliest and most welcoming folks I have ever had the pleasure to work with.  Great clients, great staff, great coworkers, great internship.

Share your story with the Consulting & Business Development Center!

This year the Consulting and Business Development Center is celebrating its 20th Anniversary!

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After two decades of serving the business community in the State of Washington, the Center has given generations of University of Washington Students the opportunity to work with hundreds of businesses, created thousands of jobs and helped generate millions of dollars in revenues. The Center has done all of this by connecting people and allowing them to have a hand in changing one another’s lives.

Now, as we celebrate 20 years of bringing learning that matters to students and creating jobs where they are needed the most, we want to hear your story!

This year leading up to our annual awards banquet we’d like to celebrate and share your stories and the difference you have made in the community through our social media (blog, website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).  Some of your stories will be featured at the celebration through the printed program, in video production, and even shared onstage!

Share your story with us today! 

Keep an eye on our website for registration information coming soon or email Megan Sevigny at for more information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities!

Foster School and Evans School Students Gain New Perspectives on Strategic Leadership  

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Gloris Estrella – MPA ’15

The Board Fellows Program is a unique opportunity for Foster School of Business MBA students and Evans School of Public Policy and Governance MPA students to learn together as they explore the unique leadership role that comes from being a member of a board of directors. MBA and MPA students serve for nine months on a nonprofit board while participating in seminars that teach effective leadership and governance principles. Gloris Estrella – MPA ’15, reflects on her experience as a 2014-15 Board Fellow:

As a second year MPA student at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, the Board Fellows Program offered by the Consulting and Business Development Center at the Foster School of Business proved to be invaluable to my development and career. The chance to sit on a nonprofit board seemed unreachable to me as a young professional, but the Board Fellows Program brought the opportunity within my grasp. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from and participating with the board I was selected to be part of, and was able to put classroom materials into play in a local organization whose mission I felt strongly about.  It was also a fantastic opportunity to work with Foster School graduate students to make cross-sector connections in order to engage in addressing social issues in the Seattle area. 

One of my favorite memories of the program was the day we had two guest speakers: one from the public and the other from the private sector.  Their personal insight about their experiences on boards allowed me to better understand how to make a stronger impact on the board I was participating in.  It encouraged me to step up and voice my opinions and offer more of my skills on the board.  As a result, I was able to join the strategic plan subcommittee and provide a lasting impact on the future of the organization.  Because of my active and positive participation, the Board Chair and Executive Director asked me to join the board as voting member following my allotted time as a Board Fellow.  That opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the Consulting and Business Development Center and the Board Fellows Program.

Colours By Design | reflections on the Business Certificate Program

Patty Maggard Prediletto, owner of Colours By Design, an interior design firm based in Yakima, Washington, reflects on the value of the Business Certificate Program offered by the Consulting & Business Development Center. This program wrapped up this May with more than 100 graduates since January of 2015.

Patty_PhotoMy name is Patty Maggard Prediletto and my business is Colours By Design.  As a sole proprietor of a home-based interior design business, I was surprised when the Consulting & Business Development Center asked me to tell the story of my company.  My initial thought was that a larger firm, due to their higher number of employees, crews, and supervisors to manage would make a better story about the impact of this program.  Then I realized just how diverse the mix of my fellow classmates was in the Business Certificate Program.  These included owners of small businesses (like mine) as well as employees from large companies.  I’ve come to realize that although we have different perspectives on business, the tools that we learned can help us all in different ways.

I may not have a staff or a board of directors, but I do have clients and subcontractors that I work with; I make decisions with and for my clients on a daily basis; and I have to brainstorm how to approach a project and how to make snap decisions to keep jobs flowing.  It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is.  We all work on the same principles, we are here to make a profit, and I’ve realized through the BCP that companies both big and small use the same tools to accomplish these goals.

BCP teaches three major subjects: marketing, management, and finance & accounting.  Here are my takeaways that I was able to bring back to Colours By Design.

Marketing: I know my name is long, but that is part of my brand.  I was Maggard for the first 20 years of my career and built up that name recognition.  When I remarried I knew I needed to keep that name as that is my brand and how I am known.  This class has helped me to put that into focus and helped me to better understand how important identity or branding is.  I knew that branding was important but BCP showed my why.

Management: When I am dealing with a couple, many times there are differences of opinions and tastes. It is my job to bring both sides together and come to a decision that everyone is happy with.  I joke that I have a marriage counseling degree!  With this course, I now have more tools in my toolbox to help me mediate the decision-making process.

Finance & Accounting: I have written a business plan and I readily admit that I am more creative than a financial whiz.  However, I know it is a very important part of any business to have an understanding of how money flows and how to adjust to changes.

I would like to thank Domex Superfresh Growers for bringing the UW Foster School of Business to our community.  I found the instructors were very engaging and entertaining.  The teamwork exercises were fun, creative, and really helped me understand the concepts.  It doesn’t matter what size your business is, this course is for all businesses, large or small like me.

2015 Undergraduate Consulting Challenge

Big Time Brewery owner Rick McLaughlin with winning student team from South Seattle Community College – Louise Bayona, Amber Jiang, Gosay Mohammed and Aliya Zhaxylykbayeva.
Gargoyles Statuary owner Gayle Nowicki with winning student team Jeremy Santos, Anthony Li, Emmeline Vu, and Jennifer Louie.
Panache206 owner Elizabeth Morris with colleagues and winning student team Ataur Rahman, John Tran, Alan Cai, and Anthony Shen.

On Friday, May 8, the Consulting and Business Development Center hosted the Undergraduate Consulting Challenge, pairing three local small businesses – Big Time Brewery,  Gargoyles Statuary, and Panache206 with teams of students who were given a week to create a plan that would aid in the growth and development of each client.

Approximately 60 students formed teams of three or four to research and analyze the companies in order to develop recommendations to present at the competition.  For the first time, the Consulting and Business Development Center extended the invitation to compete beyond UW to business students from community colleges throughout the state. South Seattle College and Yakima Valley Community College each sent four students to compete in the challenge – with the South Seattle team winning first place for their recommendations to Big Time Brewery!

Each student team presented dynamic ideas and data to the business owners and panel of  judges from event sponsors Key Bank and Target as well as professionals from  Community Sourced Capital, Crown Moving, PaintBox Labs Media Group and Project Management Institute who volunteered their time and expertise. Following the presentations, all attendees gathered in Deloitte Commons for a celebratory lunch and networking opportunity for students, business owners and professionals. After lunch the winning teams for each business were announced and each winning team member received a $200 gift card prize.

Congratulations to all involved with the 2015 spring Undergraduate Consulting Challenge!

For information about the next Consulting Challenge email:

Thank you to James Dennis Professional Photography