ONE-YEAR AT GOIZUETA: CHRIS LUDERS – On Management Practice

One unique aspect of the One-Year program at Goizueta is the Management Practice course — over the course of the summer, this course combines classroom education with practical experience as we solved real-life business problems for a real-life client! The two-year students receive the same classroom instruction as we do over the course of the fall semester, but they don’t actually get a chance to practice those skills with a real client until their spring semester. As one-year students, we actually get a chance to learn problem solving and communication skills in the classroom and apply them to a real business over the course of one semester!

The view from our last Management Practice lecture with Prof. Brandon Mikel Smith: 

The course gives students a great chance to experience a business project from start-to-finish – as a management consultant, the structure and content of the project reminded me of a number of projects I worked on at Deloitte. Rather than having a team of managers and partners setting direction for the work, however, each of the student teams had a chance to plan their own work, take their own approach to solving the client’s problem, and present a final deliverable that contained the team’s analysis and recommendations. My team and I spent a lot of time together working through the project, but it was a great experience and we learned a lot from each other!

We wrapped up our Management Practice course earlier this week when we delivered presentations to both the Goizueta faculty and client leadership. Although I have a confidentiality agreement barring me from identifying our client, I can tell you that it was a Fortune 500 business and global industry leader located in the Atlanta area. It’s a great opportunity for students to get a chance to solve real business problems – but it’s even better when we get exposure to the problems facing one of the most successful companies in the world!

The night before our presentations to the client, each of the nine teams in our one-year class presented its recommendations to an audience consisting of ours peers and a panel of Goizueta faculty. After completing those presentations, the faculty convened to identify which teams would be given the opportunity to present their findings to a client audience consisting of about a dozen managers, directors, and VPs. Though my team’s presentation was *clearly* the best, we were not one of the two teams selected to give our full presentation – but we were one of two teams chosen to present a two-minute pitch for our recommendation to the client. Since I had done a lot of the analysis regarding our recommendation, I was the member of my team chosen to present our pitch.

It was a nerve-wracking experience – at approximately 10pm on Tuesday night, I was notified that I would be giving a pitch to a client audience at their headquarters at 9am the next morning. An extra difficulty was the fact that my normal pitch during our presentation lasted around 5 minutes – and I was asked to compress all that content into 2 minutes for the pitch! My team helped me that night as I figured out which points to use and which points to throw away given the time constraints, and by the time the morning came around I was feeling a bit more prepared! My actual pitch went well on the morning of our client presentations, and the summer semester concluded on a highpoint.

Team Fish enjoys a champagne toast after finishing our presentation:

In the next week or so, I’ll post a reflection on the entirety of my summer experience. Between now and then, however, my wife and I are taking advantage of the break between the summer and fall semesters – we’re heading to Colorado for a wedding and a few extra days of relaxation!