Starting off a semester fully online was out of the ordinary. It is not easy anymore to make connections with your classmates on Zoom, however, this practicum was different. Being placed in a team from the very beginning made it easy to have classmates who you can reach out to for anything. Something my team and I had in common was that we had no idea how to begin our project. To give a little bit of a background, none of us had direct experience with consulting or experience with working towards an end goal that you were not given a roadmap for. This allowed us to trust one another from the start enabling us to form strong communication regarding the project and deliverables but also checking in with one another to see how we are doing. Later we learned that this is what consulting is about, you are given a problem and must gather the understandings that will direct you to deliver the best recommendation or solution to the client.
When we began our project plan, I was overwhelmed and afraid. As I have mentioned, I have never done such a thing before and did not have the necessary technical skills to build a proper and efficient solution for our client. Nonetheless, I did not allow the self-doubt to get to me and began learning right away. I took initiative in my team and volunteered to take on the majority of the technical aspect of the project. After countless hours of watching and reading tutorials, and testing out what I learned, I began to gain confidence. I found myself being able to explain programs being used, such as Microsoft Power Automate and Microsoft Power Apps, and introduced useful functionalities that could improve the client’s workflow. Gaining this knowledge and teaching others was quite astonishing because a couple of months ago I had no idea such amazing Microsoft platforms existed.
Throughout the semester, my team and I agreed that we did not want to overcommit to certain deliverables that we thought would be out of our reach and ultimately did not want to overpromise the client. Looking at it now, I am glad we kept it that way as we gained confidence and, in the end, we over-delivered. I was able to assist the team by building an application through Microsoft Power Apps that had a better user interface compared to the client’s previous system. Despite my previous experience of building an app before, I learned so much more and was able to reminisce on the computer science introductory course I took freshman year. It reminded me how enjoyable it is to build something, being able to test it and see it work. We were very proud to present it and recommend how they can expand it within their current operations but possibly launching it elsewhere. We know that our recommendations and work does not end here, that we hope our team will be trusted to advise our client’s team in the coming months.
Overall, I am very grateful that such a class is offered to students and wish more would take advantage of it since you will walk away with a great experience and more knowledge. This was a great way to be introduced to a consulting project, especially with the support of the faculty that guided us and made us grow confident in what we were taking on. I hope that my peers gained a better understanding of what they can be capable of and that they have a stronger idea of their career goals because I certainly did. Moving forward, I am more motivated now to pursue teaching myself concepts or tools that can prepare me for my career or do any fun side project.