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Students participate in the OHIO International Consulting Program (OICP), create technology driven business proposals for Fortune 500 companies.

Friday, September 28 2018 11:55am

The OHIO International Consulting Program gives students real-life consulting experience in the comfort of Athens.

By Meghan Morris

Looking to gain international experience without the cost of studying abroad? The OHIO International Consulting Program (OICP) gives Business Bobcats hands-on experience consulting with global companies while staying on campus. 

Through OICP, students can apply what they have learned in the classroom to explore tangible solutions for international companies. The program is available throughout each semester and  fulfills the internship and global perspectives requirements needed for graduation with a business degree.

Since 2014, the program has operated in partnership with Sogeti, a multinational information technology consulting firm, in an effort to obtain clients and mentors for the program. The collaboration has impacted more than 120 students.

Sogeti introduces clients that have an international footprint and tend to be early adopters of emerging technology. When choosing companies for OICP, the Sogeti coaches pay attention to technological advances happening around the world. Hilton International was a part of the summer session because it started implementing Amazon Echos in its hotels.The program has also utilized companies such as NCR Corporation, Tesla, Mattel, and Paypal. 

“It’s very valuable because you’re in a familiar environment and truly experience what it means to create a proposal for a large company,” Martin van den Berg, a Sogeti coach for OICP, said.

For 10 to 12 weeks, students work on culturally-diverse consulting teams to develop mock recommendations that analyze international expansion and technological integration opportunities for their client.

“We needed to become experts on Sogeti, our client company, and the client’s industry in order to be successful,” Morgan Sims, an OICP participant and senior studying international business and business analytics, said.

The teams are required to meet with coaches from Sogeti in-person on two occasions. They first present their initial ideas at midterm presentations and provide final recommendations at the conclusion of the program. In between these presentations, the Sogeti coaches check each team’s progress during weekly Skype calls.

“The weekly check-ins with Sogeti coaches were fundamental to the team's success,” Sims said. “Our mentor helped us find our focus in a vague project and answered questions that we couldn’t answer through our research.”

Many students that participate in OICP have not had prior exposure to consulting work before and have to incorporate technology they’re unfamiliar with into the business proposal. Previous projects have involved technological advances such as cloud computing and virtual reality.

To determine what technology to use, the teams must look at their client’s industry best practices, innovations in the field, and opportunities to expand internationally. Kandel’s team developed recommendations for PayPal to build a mobile wallet platform for the Sub-Saharan African market that uses predictive analytics and biometric security.

 “Through researching the region's political, financial, technological, and social trends we steadily became familiar with the environment,” said Matthew Kendel, a senior majoring in Finance. “This allowed us to create clear recommendations to PayPal regarding target markets based on our research.”

Sims also created a proactive business proposal for Tesla that introduced autonomous driving into the global market. Her team researched the safety measures that Tesla would have to implement and what limitations might be reached with this idea.

Building connections, improving leadership skills, and working on creative solutions are just a few takeaways that Sims had from OICP.

“I hope to work as a consultant for international market expansion and OICP and Sogeti will help me jump start my career,” she said.

Learn more about OICP.