Smith & Smith brought
consulting know-how to campus
Jason Smith and Geoff Smith have more in common than the same last name
and the fact that they were both transfer students, business majors, slightly
older than traditional seniors (Jason is 27, Geoff is 24) and heading into
promising jobs following graduation.
During their junior year, Geoff and Jason cofounded the Undergraduate
Consulting Club (UCC). "We were doing so much research into the consulting
business, we knew other people would be interested in this information,
too," said Boston native Geoff. "I knew we would give others a
While conducting research for jobs, the two realized that consulting
companies have stepped up their undergraduate recruiting significantly,
said Jason, who transferred to the business school from Brevard College
in Cocoa, Fla. "We saw that there were a number of other undergraduates
interested in the consulting industry."
This evolved into the idea of bringing together students and advisers
to properly research companies and prepare for the interview process. Emory's
MBA Consulting Club helped lay the groundwork for the undergraduate club.
From there, Geoff and Jason identified contacts in the field, "almost
cold-calling," according to Geoff. "We told them we didn't know
that much about consulting and asked if they could talk to us for a minute.
They were amazingly receptive."
Patrick Noonan, associate professor of decision and information analysis
and director of MBA programs, became a UCC adviser. When Geoff and Jason
approached Noonan and other professors about advising the club, "they
sold us," Noonan said. "A consulting club can build up a library
of information about the firm, [provide a network] of contacts and build
a level of awareness and understanding. This results in students with a
high level of preparation that makes them shine in interviews."
"It's difficult for [recent graduates] to get jobs even if they
are prepared academically," Noonan added. "The MBA Consulting
Club has played an important role in getting students to be more competitive.
We want to make sure they are prepared from day one. Students who succeed
have a sophistication about them-knowing the consulting industry and the
firms in the industry."
This is exactly the approach Jason and Geoff took to form the undergraduate
club. "We worked to build great relationships with the undergraduate
recruiters in area firms," Jason said. In addition, they established
a bank of networking contacts that can help other students get a foot in
The club's first meeting in the spring of 1997 was well-received by both
students and faculty. One of the first goals was to increase awareness of
the club within the college; any Emory undergraduate-not just business majors-can
join. Membership now fluctuates between 40 and 50 students.
In the fall of 1997, Jason and Geoff hosted a workshop that focused on
topics such as writing a targeted resume, researching companies, networking
and interviewing techniques, especially case-based interviewing. "We
invited consultants and alumni to share their knowledge and experience with
club members," Jason said. Representatives from Andersen Consulting
conducted mock interviews.
Although the club meets twice a month, Geoff and Jason tried to make
themselves available anytime to students who needed advice. "A few
have approached me in the hall and said, 'I have an interview for a summer
internship; what do I need to know?'"
Their own networking and research efforts have paid off. Both seniors
will soon join Atlanta's Kurt Salmon Associates, a global retailing and
consumer products consulting firm. Jason will work in the advanced technology
division and Geoff in the strategic division.
But their graduation doesn't mean Jason and Geoff will leave the club
they started out to dry. "We are concentrating now on taking a couple
of juniors up to speed to take the club over next year," Jason said
earlier this year. And now that they've left Emory, the two Smiths plan
to serve as consultants to the club.
to May 18, 1998 Contents Page