Spirit of Social Change – Endeavour offers students insight into how management consulting can be used to help communities, at Schulich’s 2009 GLOBE Conference

Author: Sara Maki, Director of Marketing and Consultant, Endeavour; International MBA Candidate 2011, Schulich School of Business

As an international MBA student and Endeavour volunteer, I was delighted to have the opportunity to co-lead Endeavour’s workshop at the 2009 GLOBE International Management Conference with fellow Endeavour executive, Wasib Muhammad.

The two-day GLOBE conference, hosted by and at York University’s Schulich School of Business on November 13 and 14, 2009, focused on the need to have an international perspective to succeed in today’s global business world. One hundred business students were selected from across Ontario to attend the conference, which offered delegates the opportunity to hear keynote speakers such as Francoise Faverjon-Fortin, VP of Export Development Canada, to understand Canada’s growing place on the international stage. Along with the international tone, the conference promoted the spirit of social change, with keynote speaker Marc Kielburger of Free the Children addressing the importance of making positive contributions to society.  

In the spirit of social change, Endeavour was invited to lead a workshop offering students insight into how the practice of management consulting can be used to give back to the community; seventy delegates participated in Endeavour’s Case Simulation. To highlight the importance of having an international perspective in our consulting work, we featured an Endeavour project that required understanding of the client’s international market.

Our workshop led the students through a brief introduction to Endeavour, followed by an explanation of how the consulting method can be used to support the strategic growth of non-profit organizations.  Wasib who volunteered as a consultant with Endeavour before joining the Executive Team as Director of Knowledge Management, walked the students through the origins of Endeavour and described our unique mentor model where seasoned professionals work with university students and young professionals through a six-month consulting engagement.  He shared how Endeavour has helped make a difference to more than twenty non-profits since 2007 by providing management advice in corporate, marketing, organizational and operations strategies.  

Following the overview, I facilitated an interactive case simulation, giving the students a chance to step into the role of a management consultant to help a non-profit.  We went through the five key steps of a case analysis, from information gathering to final recommendations.  Following this, we had the students tackle an actual Endeavour client case: a US-based international relief charity that recently entered the Canadian market required a marketing strategy to build its Canadian market. The participants broke out into groups of six to accomplish the following tasks: 1) recommend the most appropriate target donor markets for the client; 2) define the brand for the client’s key target markets in Canada; and 3) create an initial marketing strategy.

The students dove into their role and asked important questions to help craft strong final recommendations, such as “What was the marketing strategy in the US? Who are the major funders in the US? What is the average amount donated per individual?” The activity simulated the challenge of collecting appropriate data, asking relevant questions, and constructing short- and long-term strategies all within a time-constrained setting.  These skills are important for students entering the demanding world of international business, and critical in management consulting.

Endeavour’s workshop was a tremendous success. It raised awareness about consulting for the non-profit sector; it showcased what an organization like Endeavour can do for our communities; and it encouraged students to consider volunteering to sharpen their skills, and most importantly, make a difference in their community.

We thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with the GLOBE International Business Society, and look forward to participating in next year’s conference.  

In the words of Gandhi, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world”.  Thanks to the GLOBE conference for encouraging this spirit of social change! 

You can learn more about the GLOBE International Management Conference by visiting the Globe International Business Society Facebook Fan Page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/GLOBE-International-Business-Society/40238036205?v=wall 

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