Wednesday, August 21

Bruin Consulting Case Competition preps students for life in the business world

Christine Au had no idea she would ever want to be a consultant.

But after working on the Bruin Consulting Case Competition, Au, a second-year communication studies student, completely changed her career plans.

Bruin Consulting is a campus group for students interested in a career in consulting, or advising companies on projects they are working on.

“Five months ago, I had no idea what consulting was,” Au said. “Who’d have thought that I would now be on the board of Bruin Consulting, working on case competitions.”

She added that working on other case competitions on different subjects, being under pressure and learning about a variety of different fields is what makes consulting interesting for her.

“Consulting is such an interesting and fast-paced field. A consultant is a jack-of-all-trades. You have to know a little about everything intuitively and be able to research very quickly,” Au said.

Bruin Consulting helps students find internships through events like career fairs and resume workshops.

The group also runs the Case Competition, a simulation of a real-life business challenge, once a year.

This year, students were given the task of selecting a renewable energy proposal out of 15 choices for the right energy company to supply renewable energy to Southern California Edison, an electricity company. They then had to come up with a presentation to convince judges that their proposal was the best one.

There was just one catch ““ the teams had to do all of this in 36 hours. The case was distributed on a Thursday night, and the presentation had to be ready by 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday.

Nine teams competed, one from Bruin Consulting and another from the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi.

“I think that this is a great opportunity for students to get a real-world business experience. You are working under a tight deadline in a team with a lot of collaboration required, and you’re working with a lot of information to sort through,” said Pedram Pourmand, judge and Edison project manager.

Pourmand stressed the importance of the competition in terms of improving presentation skills for students who want to go into business.

“Presentation skills are really important in the business world. A lot of times you’ll spend weeks on a project and only have a few minutes to present and make it count. The ability to do that is key,” he said.

He said judges were looking for good analysis of the proposals, good presentation, originality and ability to answer questions on the spot.

“Bruin Consulting has given me a competitive edge in developing my career. UCLA has no business major, but being part of Bruin Consulting has helped give me business experience,” Au said.

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