Collaborating and Sharing Ideas in Management Consulting

By Shiyi Cai (Cathy)

Hear from Shiyi Cai (Cathy) about her experience in a student team on Management Consulting.

Management Consulting (MC) is a challenging but rewarding subject that allows Commerce students to draw on their prior knowledge to resolve real-world business issues. This experiential subject enabled me to improve my problem-solving skills while providing an incredible opportunity to enhance my teamwork and communication skills within a professional setting.

My team was assigned to Monitor Deloitte, aiming to provide recommendations on how traditional Australian retailers respond to the growing prevalence of online marketplace businesses. The first lesson I learned was how to manage ambiguity in the workplace. Initially, our team members were unsure where to start since the retail industry is a broad sector, and we did not have access to all the necessary information. After an initial consultation with our coaches, Kris and Bessie, and Deloitte supervisors, Cordell and Alastar, we agreed to focus on three areas in the sector; Groceries, Fast Fashion, and Homeware. This focused approach ensured the relevance and accuracy of our final recommendations. In addition, we set up regular client meetings and updates, with at least three discussions per week to ensure that we could resolve issues swiftly by proactively taking action. At the end of this process, we built our confidence and felt comfortable with providing recommendations in ambiguous circumstances.

My team named ourselves Codeaas we focussed on working together through collaboration and sharing our ideas in MC. We communicated with a range of stakeholders throughout the subject, including university mentors, clients, industry experts, and classmates. Given that the language used in the workplace is different from everyday communication, we tailored our communication with various stakeholders, enhancing my verbal and written communication skills. One of our assignments was to provide a professional presentation in front of the class and clients. Not being able to meet in person added some difficulty to preparing for the presentation. To present coherently, my team rehearsed over ten times via Zoom. Our efforts paid off as we achieved high scores and our clients were impressed with our performance. The completion of an MC project provided us with an excellent opportunity to test and improve our ability to effectively communicate with various stakeholders. It has given me a solid foundation in efficient workplace communication.

Although there were challenges to completing this subject remotely, I had lovely group members - Jasslyn, Christian, Farrel, and Aditya - who encouraged and supported each other. To ensure open and efficient communication, we collated information individually before discussing our opinions in group meetings. Although we sometimes had differing views, our ultimate decisions were based on evidence and facts. Our open communication and independent problem-solving helped us generate realistic solutions, which ultimately earned our team good grades.

Management Consulting was an impressive and unforgettable experience - I would recommend the subject to all Commerce students. The transferrable and interpersonal skills gained through the experience will certainly benefit a student’s future career.

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