MSF Students Deliver Consulting Presentations Around the Globe
Students in the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program completed their Global Consulting Projects this April, traveling across the world to present their analysis and recommendations to a wide variety of multinational corporations, regional firms, local firms, and nonprofit organizations based in Johannesburg, South Africa; London, United Kingdom; Madrid, Spain; and Windhoek, Namibia.
For six weeks, the students worked intensively in teams on a consulting project and researched the history, business, political, and regulatory environment of the client’s country. They then traveled to the client’s location to finalize their projects, delivered presentations to the client, and enjoyed business and cultural site visits with their cohort.
“The Global Consulting Project course is the capstone of the MSF program, where the students apply much of what they’ve learned throughout the program to a real-world project for an international client,” said Allan Eberhart, senior associate dean for the MSF program and professor of finance.
“It’s a testament to the students, faculty, administration, and the clients when you see the extraordinary quality of the project deliverables and presentations,” added Tom Stowell, associate dean for MSF career management and strategic initiatives.
This year, the student teams worked on a variety of topical issues for financial organizations across the world, ranging from the assessment of digital assets and crypto trading with the region’s exchange group to global infrastructure investment opportunities in emerging markets to the impacts of an aging population on retirement pensions and more.
Christine Lee (MSF’23) and her team worked with a European-based investment management firm that specializes in the energy sector, where they were charged with analyzing the key investment considerations associated with traditional oil and gas companies transitioning to renewable energy markets. Aside from applying the technical concepts she learned throughout the program, Lee shared that her biggest takeaway from the Global Consulting Project was an exercise in team communication and leadership.
“I learned that leadership and the people that you work with are two of the most important factors when working on such a high-impact project,” she said. “It was a great experience to work with other students in the program, each with different strengths and perspectives, in order to set the strategy and come up with a final presentation that was meaningful to the client.”
Patrick Celsus (MSF’23), whose team explored ESG investing regulations with a leading financial institution, found value in engaging with a client who was exploring their project scope in real-time.
“I really appreciated getting to work with this institution because despite being experts and looking into this topic themselves, they took our perspectives seriously and treated us like actual colleagues on the project,” said Celsus. “It was, in every sense, a legitimate consulting assignment.”
Each team worked with their client throughout the course, meeting weekly to update the client on the team’s work, refine the project’s scope if necessary, and more generally receive feedback from the client leading up to their final presentation at the client’s office. As a result, the students received invaluable real-world experience in managing client communications, building relationships, defining project goals, and delivering on those goals.
The final presentations occurred in the second half of the final week spent in-country, preceded by practice rounds with their faculty advisors and a brief overview presentation with their peers. Students also enjoyed guided tours with their cohort to immerse themselves in the local culture of the city, including a historical tour of the Tower of London, a walking tour of the Plaza Mayor in the heart of Madrid’s old quarter, a visit to a game reserve near Johannesburg to view Africa’s indigenous species, an exploration of national liberation in Namibia, and other interactive experiences throughout the week.
“The sightseeing and cultural tours definitely provided more context to our experience in London and how the history of a city impacts modern society,” said Lee. “It was so great to talk with locals about their perspectives of their own country and understand the cultural differences.”
The MSF’s signature blended online experience allows students to live anywhere in the world while working through asynchronous materials and attending weekly classes in person or online in the program’s revolutionary blended classroom. The program also has a required in-person residency and many other optional in-person and online activities – including summer clinics, winter clinics, summer seminars, holiday celebrations, monthly coffee hours, and many more – to help strengthen the connections among a diverse group of classmates. The required Global Capstone Project course provides an opportunity for students to celebrate the friendships and connections made throughout the program. Besides exploring the international culture together during the course, many chose to stay together following the course’s conclusion for in-country group vacations.
“There is a special sense of camaraderie within this group, especially since it’s a group of people you’ve been working with for a couple of years,” said Celsus. “You’ve eaten together, studied together, and grown together, and put in long hours together – so it’s an incredible experience to explore another country together too.”