This past semester, I had the opportunity to work in a Collaborative Innovation Program project where my team and I helped a large corporation, one of the Mack Institute’s corporate partners, understand the current landscape of crowdsourcing. Our final presentation advised the company on how to implement customized solutions derived from these learnings. My team consisted of four other women with a variety of backgrounds from both Wharton and Penn Engineering.
I found that while this project challenged me with areas and processes that weren’t initially familiar to me, I learned a lot and was able to make a meaningful contribution. While I had a fantastic team, an interesting project, and a supportive client, it was the level of support we received from the faculty that really set this project apart for me.
Despite my lack of knowledge on both crowdsourcing and consulting, I always felt like I was given the tools to learn and succeed. First, we had multiple sessions with Professor Charlotte Ren where she talked us through how to successfully deliver the client’s deliverables, from setting correct expectations to understanding the real need. Second, we had multiple meetings as a team and with the professor, and I always left feeling like everyone played an important part and we had made real progress. While I was admittedly overwhelmed by the project specifics and scope after our initial meeting, I ended up feeling like we accomplished a lot. Most importantly, we had a happy client at our last meeting just three months later.
Since the end of this project, I have found myself constantly referencing things I learned in the process for other projects and work that I am doing. As an example, I am doing a consulting project this current semester, and I’ve been making sure throughout the semester that the scope is clear and that we are addressing the client’s real needs. While taking these steps require extra work, I know from CIP that they are well worth the effort and actually end up saving a lot of time and energy. For anyone who is thinking about participating in CIP, I highly recommend it! It can be intimidating initially, but you will be supported and learn about industries and parts of business that will positively impact your career moving forward.
About the Author
Meredith Sigler is a second year MBA student at the Wharton School majoring in Marketing and Strategic Management. Before Wharton, Meredith attended Washington University in St. Louis for her Bachelors in Economics, and then worked for the Nielsen Company for six years doing market research in CPG and media. After she graduates Wharton, she is moving into brand management at Mars Chocolate.