Always Move Forward

Looking back on the semester, this was the first time I worked on a client based project quite like this. While concurrent to the Information Systems and Operations Management Practicum I was also in Illinois Business Consulting, it was fascinating to be able to see two different types of client facing projects at once. This class also taught me some things I could only learned from a more unstructured project where I had more responsibility. While I was accustomed to a project plan and timeline being already made for me in previous client facing projects, in this class, we had the responsibility of creating our own. As such, I learned about the importance of creating that plan and team structure together.

The first main lesson I learned was about communication, both with my team and the client. As the project liaison, I was expected to maintain contact with the client. It was my first time taking on a role like this as usually in the past I left it to other teammates. It was a little hard on my end as my schedule was erratic and night based, while I wanted to try and remain professional by only contacting the client during work hours–aka before 6 PM or so, but this wasn’t always possible especially with our team’s tendency to work at night as well. We encountered problems where some information from the client was not clear to us, and it led to several roadblocks. Looking back at it, I would be more assertive and clear in what our team wanted from the client to avoid these delays in progress.

In addition, communicating with my team was important as not everyone could meet at every meeting. As such it was integral to catch everyone up to speed when someone was out of the loop. Sometimes I felt out of the loop, as I was not technically inclined to the main parts of the project, specially the EOQ formula and PowerBI parts. Therefore, when I was confused it was important for me to be able to express that in order to work effectively with my teammates. As a result, I was able to contribute to the team a lot more when it came to research and supply chain information, which was also new to me but a lot more realistic to be learned during the course of the semester. Learning a thing or two about supply chain was interesting as someone with little to no past exposure to the industry.

As a whole, BADM 395 IOP showed its true value to me and the team when the client was impressed by how much effort we put into our final presentation. Although we encountered some technical errors along the way, we were able to move forward. In addition, being able to connect with these industry professionals in a free-form way was an experience that was great for all of us regardless of the fact that the team was made up of several different majors. I’ve found myself recommending this class to underclassmen studying IS as a way to get some hands-on experience in the real world that most normal classes don’t really offer. I find that this type of experience is hard for undergraduates to attain outside of consulting organizations with application barriers. I hope that future classes continue to have great experiences and I appreciate the experience it has given me.