Students seize global opportunity with international consulting project

February 28, 2024

Lender School of Business Dome

Quinnipiac’s Central European Institute has launched a Student International Consulting Project where undergraduate and MBA students will advise international companies on U.S. expansion.

The Central European Institute works to provide students with experiential learning on an international level in three main areas – academics, business and culture. This semester, the Central European Institute is providing students with the opportunity to provide consulting work for international companies, primarily from Hungry, Poland, and Romania.

The project, which will run for the entirety of the semester, consists of third- and fourth-year business undergraduates as well as MBA students. Each member of the consulting firm is divided into teams of three to four students, each with a designated team leader who maintains direct communication with the company representative. In addition, each team is supported by two faculty members and a seasoned entrepreneur or consultant who oversees their efforts.

Students are expected to develop a business plan to help companies establish a presence in the U.S., analyze company websites for clarity and usability, create partnerships across academic departments, launch pilot projects on campus, collaborate with local businesses to collect relevant data and conduct market research. Upon completion, students are expected to report and present their materials to their assigned businesses, diplomatic officials, investors and other stakeholders.

Combining education with real-life experience, Quinnipiac students are provided the opportunity to strengthen their business, marketing, planning and communication skills on an international level.

Gedeon Werner, faculty adviser and endowed Novak Family Polish Chair, said the project is designed to help students develop the skills they will use in the future.

“Part of the rationale for the project is that students learn the skills that will equip and prepare them to function after graduation as consultants,” said Werner. “This experience stands out not only because it’s real-world consulting but also because it’s international, a distinguishing factor for these students and a great talking point in an interview.”

Stephanie Muzulu ’23, MBA ’24, is a team leader.

“A primary objective for my team is to maintain effective and timely communication ensuring that everyone is well-informed and aligned,” said Muzulu. “From this experience, I hope to become a better leader, gain a deeper understanding of consulting and become more creative in my solutions.”

Not only will students put their education and skills to the test, but they are challenged to refine their communication strategies to adequately navigate the international landscape and cultural barriers. Muzulu emphasizes the importance of transparent communication and effective time management to meet the needs of their company’s working hours.

“The strategy I will employ in communicating and collaborating with the company that I am advising is establishing clear communication channels such as email and Zoom,” said Muzulu. “I will prioritize active listening to grasp the company’s needs, challenges and objectives accurately and ensure that the client in informed of any development or changes that may impact their business.”

Student participant, Gabrielle Yanitelli ’24, MBA ’25 said she feels grateful to be involved with the initiative.

“My motivation to participate in the Central European Institute's Student International Consulting Project stems from a deep interest in international business and a desire to apply my skills and knowledge in a real-world setting,” said Yanitelli. “I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to helping companies establish a presence in the U.S., particularly Poland, where I can leverage my cultural understanding and language skills.”

Although the project is centered around business, students of various majors are encouraged to participate in the program as they bring a unique perspective to the project and gain professional skills.

“Just like in a company, the ideal student mix includes areas of specialties,” said Christopher Ball, director of Central European Institute and Istvan Szechenyi Chair. “We typically see students take on leadership roles, delegate tasks, improve time management and presentation skills, as well as furthering team building skills. I would say overall business and industry knowledge also improves, as students are gaining firsthand experience of the business world and what is required for them to be successful.”

As the semester progresses the students will work collaboratively with each other as well as their corresponding companies. This experience will provide students will real-world experiences at an international level as well as invaluable skills in leadership, communication and international business. This project emphasizes CEI’s commitment to providing Quinnipiac students with experiential learning opportunities that can impact the trajectory of these young professionals’ future careers.

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