May 15, 2018

OnSite Global Consulting Project with Impact Hub

By Catherine Boysen T’18

When I decided to come to Tuck, there were so many opportunities available that it was hard to predict exactly how I’d spend my two years. I knew I’d tackle certain concrete skills in the core curriculum, but other skills, like honing my problem-solving ability and developing a more global mindset, were intangibles to be sought from a variety of offerings. When I heard about the projects offered by OnSite Global Consulting this past fall, I was excited to have the chance to challenge myself and achieve some additional learning goals.

I joined a phenomenal team of four other students developing the global media strategy for Impact Hub, a network of social innovation co-working communities headquartered in Vienna, Austria. In the immersive part of our experience, we spent three weeks in Europe visiting the local centers of these communities, called Hubs, in Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid, Zurich, and Vienna. We worked directly with the Global Brand and Communications Manager, who sought recommendations for how to leverage and understand the media value chain in the social sector. What were elements of a successful story? How could they cultivate relationships to place stories in the most impactful publications? What could Impact Hub do to amplify those stories once they are published?

Tuck student consulting team at Impact hub

Each Impact Hub has a distinctive look and culture. This one, in Zurich, is built in an aqueduct.

Without a background in media, these questions were entirely new to me. With the support from an outstanding team and a structured process, however, I was pleasantly surprised by the progress we made together. It was an incredible confidence boost to understand how much we could learn quickly about a new, complex problem when we dedicated our time, resources, and a structured research plan to it.

To build a knowledge base early on, we interviewed experts in media relations, nonprofits, and even an editor at a major publication. Our faculty advisor, Emily Nichols, whose prior experience included media relations in the social sector, was invaluable in helping us understand the space and suggesting contacts who could deepen our analysis.

Relying on the tools and methods from Julie Lang’s Consulting Project Management course, we refined our key questions, broke down research into specific tasks, and developed timelines for the work. Internally, we leveraged skills from every member of our team—Lindsey’s detail-oriented planning, Charlie’s curious and questioning mind, Ramon’s exceptional ability to put an idea to paper, and Mark’s relentless dedication to get the right interview and actionable insight. Our client, Flora, who spoke six languages and navigated cultures so fluidly, pushed me to fully embrace the new environment by eliminating any perceived barriers of working cross-culturally. 

By the end of the project, we’d developed solid recommendations that we were proud of, and our final meeting was a conversation with the executive director in which we could share insights and discuss strategy as though we were colleagues. 

Looking back now, I can see that my time Europe was one of the greatest learning periods I’ve had at Tuck. I came away with increased confidence in my ability to apply a problem-solving process to a complex issue within a new industry and culture. I’m incredibly grateful that this has been a part of my Tuck experience.