An eye-catching piece from the Financial Times highlights a new trend in the consulting industry. In a nutshell: firms seeking to cut costs on consulting services are hiring teams of MBA students to do the work a consulting firm might have done instead. It seems like a win-win situation for all concerned: students get the opportunity to work on real-life cases (in some instances for internationally renowned companies), while those companies save a bundle on the fees (the article suggests that the student work goes for around 10 percent of what a mid-tier strategy outfit would charge). The students even get credit for the projects, working on them as part of a class with a faculty supervisor.
Despite the fact that we'd never heard of the practice until we read the article, it would appear to be reasonably common knowledge in the corporate world; companies of the ilk of GE, UPS and Coca-Cola have all partaken of the services, according to the piece. The key seems to be that the average MBA student tends to have something of a flair for business and a reasonable amount of work experience behind them. Or, as a source in the article puts it: "It's not as though you're trading McKinsey for a bunch of slackers."
--Posted by Phil Stott
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