Virtual Teamwork with Global Management Consulting

By Zhiwei (Eriksson) Luo

Hear from BCom student Eriksson Luo about his experience of the Global Management Consulting (GMC) course.

Global Management Consulting (GMC) is a management elective that provides Bachelor of Commerce students with opportunities to engage in a team-based consulting project hosted by an international organisation over several weeks. As the COVID-19 pandemic brought about lockdowns and social distancing policies, physical project collaboration in a foreign country became infeasible. Therefore, unlike previous cohorts, the GMC went virtual in 2020.

Although students could not travel, the virtual program opened opportunities for participation from any location. My team was assigned to provide insights into one of the strategic planning methodologies with key monitoring parameters for Telekom Malaysia, one of Malaysia’s largest telecommunication companies.

Eriksson and his GMC team.

Before taking GMC, consulting was new to me. I had never imagined providing recommendations as an undergraduate student to senior managers with years of industry experience. Mixed feelings of excitement and uncertainty dominated my mind leading up to the subject commencing. It wasn’t until attending the project briefing session when I learnt that two members from the client team were University of Melbourne alumni, and one was a former GMC participant. This was reassuring, and my team were also supported by our subject coordinator. This support, online learning modules and daily stand-up meetings gave us the resources required to explore the world of consultancy. As a result, in my team’s final presentation to our client, we were able to confidently present our project deliverables.

Having multiple communication channels was crucial in working effectively as a global team. Some of the major platforms my team used included Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive and Messenger. All these are great collaborative tools, each having its unique functions. In order to deliver the final presentation within three weeks, my team created a Gantt chart to proactively track our progress and ensure tasks were completed on schedule. Despite coming from various cultures and academic backgrounds, our shared goal of producing high-quality work enabled us to collaborate effectively and capitalise on our strengths. When we encountered challenges, we were determined to succeed.

My team delivered several presentations throughout our project. Although only the final presentation ultimately determined our marks, we treated all presentations as equally important. We prepared slide decks to ensure findings were logically presented. The visual material kept our client engaged and displayed how their suggestions had been incorporated along the way. An advantage of having prepared presentation material from the start was that only minor adjustments were required before the final presentation.

Throughout my project experience, I learnt a lot and gained new employability skills which have helped prepare me for my career. Adapting to uncertainty is vital in the ever-changing global environment. With COVID-19 continuing to accelerate digital transformations, the virtual project experience provided a great opportunity to engage with international organisations adapting to the current business environment. I also gained essential skills in virtual teamwork. Without any physical contact, maintaining regular communication allows members to better understand each other, avoiding misunderstanding that could compromise the project. Also, when it comes to challenges, I’ve learnt to focus on changing what can be controlled and not to allow external difficulties to define potential outcomes.

My experience in GMC was a journey of collaboration, resilience, and self-actualization, a highlight of my university experience. I would like to thank my team, our subject coordinator and the client team at Telekom Malaysia for the successful collaboration and support provided throughout the GMC. I would recommend this subject to anyone interested in consultancy or wishing to enhance their employability skills. Regardless of how the subject is delivered, the experience, network and skills gained are invaluable for any student’s career development.

Are you a business interested in having a student team consult on a project for you?Please contact us to discuss how we can work together here.

Are you in the Bachelor of Commerce and interested in a Management Consulting subject?

Find more information here.