Oct. 24, 2002
Vol. 22 No. 3

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    Eckhart Consulting has some advice for other RSOs

    By Carrie Golus
    News Office

    Members of Eckhart Consulting (left to right) Diana Lucas, Nick Cincotta, “principal director” of the group, and Michael Tyree, “managing director,” have developed a Recognized Student Organization that gives advice to other RSOs. Mirroring professional consulting firms, Eckhart Consulting provides advice to groups on their marketing strategies, brand image, strategic image and fund-raising.

    At last month’s Student Activities Fair, more than 100 student organizations set up tables in Hutchinson Courtyard, trying to lure new members with fliers, sign-up sheets and bowls of candy.

    One table, however, was noticeably different. On the last really hot day of the year, this club’s members had chosen to wear not T-shirts and shorts, but neatly ironed shirts and ties, and rather than handing out sugary products, their party favors were business cards.

    The members of Eckhart Consulting, one of the newest student organizations on campus, model themselves after the employees of professional consulting firms. The club’s leader, fourth-year Michael Tyree, is known as “managing director,” and has a business card to prove it.

    The slightly top-heavy organizational structure currently includes four additional members of the senior management team, four middle managers and five rank-and-file consultants.

    “We provide actual consultations to different RSOs (recognized student organizations) here. If they need help with their marketing, brand image, strategic image, fund-raising, whatever it might be, we’re here for them,” explained third-year Nick Cincotta, also known as the “principal director.”

    Launched last spring by then-fourth year Kurt Kimmerling (A.B.’02), the group is named after Eckhart Hall, where the first meetings were held. Kimmerling’s older brother, Kevin (A.B.’01), a consultant at Deloitte & Touche, agreed to serve as a mentor, as did three other Deloitte & Touche consultants, Brian Karlsson (A.B.’01), David Jachym (A.B.’01) and Pat Mulcahy.

    Almost immediately after Eckhart Consulting was formed, it began offering free consulting services to any RSO on campus. During Spring Quarter, the group signed up four clients.

    One RSO client asked Eckhart Consulting to advise on fund-raising for the large concert it organizes every spring. After interviewing various group members, the five-member consulting team and a Deloitte & Touche mentor met every Saturday to discuss possible solutions. “Obviously a lot of brainstorming took place at these sessions, but we did capitalize on the training that we had received from Deloitte (& Touche),” said Tyree. At the end of the five-week engagement, the consulting team prepared a summary of its findings–in Powerpoint, just like the professionals–and presented it to the clients.

    Another five-member team performed similar services for Mock Trial, which asked for advice on a variety of problems, including “travel efficiency issues,” Tyree explained, “coordinating van rides, hotel reservations, dining plans, booking practice rooms while on the road”–just the kind of logistical problems consultants excel at solving.

    Currently, Eckhart Consulting is in the process of selecting two or three engagements to take on this quarter. The group also is looking to expand, but just as it is at Deloitte & Touche, the recruitment process is competitive. Interested students were asked to submit applications and go through a formal interview process, and only eight will make it into the group.

    Despite its professional focus, Eckhart Consulting members are not necessarily set on consulting careers. “I’m not exactly sure what I’d like to do when I graduate,” said Cincotta, an International Studies and Economics concentrator, but he noted that his experience “has definitely made me interested in the world of consulting.”

    Tyree, who is concentrating in Economics and Biology, hopes to enter the investment banking field, though he is interviewing with a few consulting firms this fall.

    “Regardless of what field I ultimately choose to go into,” he said, “ I feel Eckhart Consulting gives me a leg up over other job candidates.”