Becoming a business consultant at age 20

Andrew George

This past semester I was afforded the opportunity to work as a consultant for Metropolitan Flag & Banner Co. through my accounting class. Over the last four months I have basically done the work that entry-level auditors at any accounting firm would do, already I have gained an important foothold in the business world.

Accounting 1102, Principles of Managerial Accounting, is a required class for second semester sophomores in the College of Commerce & Finance. Currently, there are two different styles in which the class is taught. The normal classes utilize a managerial accounting book to provide the information necessary to create a business plan (an analysis of an existing firm and projections based upon the analysis).

The second style focuses exclusively on the business plan. However, for these classes, the business plan consists of creating a business from scratch. Finding the necessary cash to start operations, conducting market research and creating preliminary financial statements are all done by groups of students in this Business Plan Model of ACC 1102.

The Business Plan Model is the course that provided me the great experiences over the last semester. Metropolitan management approached C&F looking for assistance for its growing custom flag and banner business. My accounting professor, Dr. Noah Barsky, assigned me along with three fellow students to work with Metropolitan and produce a business plan that the company could implement.

The original purpose of our working for Metropolitan was to provide organization. As my group worked the various stages of the business plan, it became apparent to us that we needed to take a different approach than the rest of the groups. With some advice and support from Professor Barsky, the four of us began to analyze Metropolitan’s business processes. Business processes cannot be described as dull in any respect. Many students at Villanova will work for firms or go into business for themselves. Understanding how a business functions is important to isolate risks, see the market target market and become familiar with day-to-day operations. To analyze business processes our group took on more consulting tasks.

We toured Metropolitan’s factory, met the workers, saw how flags are produced and talked to competitors and industry professionals. We conducted research regarding the flag and banner business in the Philadelphia area only to find almost no formal information. Working through the many situations provided us with insight to the real business world.

All of these experiences only made the project more meaningful for the future. By the end of the semester we had put in 200-plus hours to create a 29-page plan to help organize and steer Metropolitan Flag & Banner in the right direction for the future. Now I have a tangible product to take into job interviews that shows my ability to produce usable information for a company.

One last thing to note about the project; the going rate for professional consulting that would give the same end result of my work is around $200 an hour. Although we didn’t benefit by recieving money for our labor, we obtained our first experience at consulting work. Even my grade for the course is not as important to me as the experience was.

Look for Metropolitan’s work on campus on Ryan’s Way, at the football stadium and the class banners that hang in Connelly to name just a few.