Students formed a new group called Eckhart Consulting this quarter to assist Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) and provide interested students with consulting experience.
Operating on an RSO client-by-client basis, Eckhart Consulting will advise RSOs free of charge, according to Kurt Kimmerling, a fourth-year in the College and a founding member of Eckhart Consulting.
Eckhart Consulting was created to fill a niche created by the specific problems of an RSO. "When you need to get help with a paper you go to a Harper tutor, but when you're an RSO and you need help with marketing, retention and recruitment and a budget there's no one you can go to for help," Kimmerling said.
The loss of leadership and expertise due to graduation were cited by Kimmerling as problems Eckhart Consulting hopes to alleviate.
Eckhart Consulting intends to help RSOs plan for the future. "Most RSOs don't think of a long-term strategy, five to 10 years in the future. People don't look past the four years it takes them to graduate," Kimmerling said.
Kimmerling pointed out that, for the most part, students who participate in RSOs do not do so to balance a budget, fundraise, or work in public relationsall roles Eckhart Consulting looks to fill. "It makes sense to outsource what you're not interested in," Kimmerling said.
Kimmerling pointed out that Eckhart Consulting is in a unique position to advise RSOs since it is composed of students familiar with the workings of the College.
There are 14 students involved with Eckhart Consulting at present; these students receive guidance from three alumni volunteers employed by Deloitte Consulting, located in downtown Chicago. Eckhart Consulting does not receive funding from the University and has no plans to become an RSO itself. "We're a bunch of kids getting together thinking," Kimmerling said.
Eckhart Consulting has signed contracts with three RSOs to date; however, the names of these organizations are not available since the agreements with Eckhart Consulting stipulate confidentiality.
Along with helping RSOs, Eckhart Consulting was conceived of as an opportunity for student members to gain consulting experience that doesn't rely on case studies in the classroom.
Kimmerling stressed that Eckhart Consulting is not open only to economics majors wishing to pursue a career in consulting; many of the 14 members are international relations or political science concentrators, according to Kimmerling, who is a mathematics concentrator. Kimmerling also pointed out that a grasp of economic theory was not essential to understanding the workings of an RSO. "When it comes to RSOs, you're not selling anything," he said.
Eckhart Consulting has plans to expand its operations next year after gathering information and laying down the groundwork of the organization this quarter. The group's president will be Michael Tyree, a third-year in the College, and membership will be open to anyone interested.