The Crosby MBA program has afforded me many opportunities to learn and gain valuable experience, but the Nicaraguan consulting project has by far been my favorite. I was part of the first team to travel to Nicaragua in 2016 and consult for the women of Santa Julia. My experience was so rewarding that I chose to return on the following trip in December 2017 as the project team leader.
It is hard to know where to begin when I tell others about the wonderful experiences I have had over these two projects. The chance consult for a business in another country is amazing, but to return a year later and see the results of my team’s work has been one of the most rewarding aspects of this process. I knew after our first trip that there was more value to be created for our client, and I was elated that the Crosby faculty agreed to further pursue this project. My excitement only grew when I learned that I would be allowed to lead the next project to complete my consulting emphasis requirements for my degree program.
As the team leader, my responsibilities differed from my first trip. On our first go around, I was a part of the accounting team. We mainly built financial models and established vital tracking systems that laid the foundation for future growth for their company. This time, it was my job to ensure that things went smoothly and that our clients were served to the best of our ability. This presented me with exciting challenges that tested my leadership skills. Through the coaching of our esteemed consulting professor Tonya Wolff and the support of my team, everything went wonderfully and our client was pleased with our contributions.
It is interesting to reflect upon how the focus of our project changed over time. For both visits we prepared to the best of our ability before leaving for Nicaragua, and both times we faced far different challenges than anticipated. You read about these situations in case studies, but it is an entirely different story when you are the one living them. For example, on our first trip we found that accounting and tracking would be the main need of our client. When we returned a year later, perfect conditions made for unprecedented production and our client was presented with an entirely new set of concerns. Further, thanks to our success in the first community, we were asked to begin a relationship with a new community. This second community is in the infancy of its organization and should present exciting opportunities for future collaborations with the Crosby MBA program.
When we returned from Nicaragua, our work was not over. It fell on me and my team to lay the groundwork for the next group of students. We reflected on our experience and organized the information necessary for future teams to build upon. My final contribution was to compose a leadership guide for future team leaders. It is a bitter sweet goodbye as I graduate in May, but knowing the work that I have been a part of over the last year served to advance entire communities in Nicaragua, fills me with an indescribable pride.
I am so thankful for this opportunity to lead and grow with my classmates. I cannot wait to see what my fellow Tigers accomplish.
Justin Plassmeyer is a second-year Crosby MBA student with an emphasis in Finance and Consulting.