Illinois Business Consulting hopes to answer the most common questions here. Nonetheless, if you have any other general inquiries, please contact Phyllis Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can IBC benefit me?
IBC provides an unparalleled professional development experience. Students are afforded the opportunity to network and gain valuable experience through their client engagement. Your IBC experience will help you “tell a story.” These experiences can directly translate to assisting you in your search for, and success in, an internship or full-time position.
Is IBC only for students in the College of Business?
No. IBC is open to all students and all majors across the University of Illinois campus. Many of our projects can benefit from the skill sets of students from outside the College of Business.
What skills do you look for in hiring consultants for IBC?
IBC looks for three skill sets: communication skills, analytical skills and the ability to work in a team environment.
In order to be a successful consultant, a student needs strong communication skills to effectively share their ideas with their teammates and clients. In addition, strong analytical skills and deductive reasoning help students think “outside the box” to come up with reasonable and well-supported recommendations. Lastly, students need to possess strong teamwork skills to work in a cross-functional, cross-cultural team environment.
How many hours per week does IBC require?
On the average, IBC consultants spend between 10-20 hours per week on their projects. However, throughout the course of the project there will be peaks/valleys that will require more or less time (e.g. preparing for a presentation might call for more hours).
Do I get to select the projects I work on?
Yes and no. Students will have the opportunity to indicate their top five project choices, but project staffing responsibilities ultimately rest with the IBC staff. We will take into account your project preference as well as your skill set and match it with the needs of the project to appropriately staff you to a project. IBC does not guarantee project placement.
How long is the average IBC engagement?
A typical IBC project lasts 12-14 weeks. The projects begin with the kick-off event that takes place during the first couple weeks of the semester and culminate with the presentation of the final deliverable near the end of the semester.
Do I need to already possess consulting skills?
No, prior consulting experience is not necessary for IBC but it is beneficial. Training on how to do market research, consulting basics, how to improve your presentation skills, etc., will be provided for students participating in IBC. In addition, the combination of experienced consultants and first-time consultants on the same team will help bridge your development.
How many students interview for IBC and how many are accepted?
Over 300 students apply to become an IBC consultant each year. Around 100 meet our rigorous standards and are selected for the program. Nearly all of our eligible consultants return after their first engagement for additional consulting assignments.
What is the organizational structure of IBC?
IBC is a student-run organization. Each project team consists of consultants, a Project Manager and a Senior Manager. Consultants are the backbone of the organization. The role of the consultant is to do necessary research, hypothesize new ideas, and ultimately create the final deliverable. Project Managers are responsible for the day to day activities of the team. Their primary responsibilities include assigning tasks to each consultant, communicating with the client, and scheduling all team meetings. Senior Managers are primarily responsible for ensuring the highest quality deliverable and client satisfaction.
Overseeing the overall organization is the Student Director. He/she is responsible for providing leadership and guidance to the organization as a whole.
How do I get promoted within the organization?
Promotions within IBC are handled internally by the Senior Leadership Team, which consists of the Senior Managers. Each Senior Manager and Project Manager are responsible for evaluating the performance of each of their team members. Based on performance, as well as the needs of the organization, students may be promoted to the next level within IBC.
Project Managers are promoted from our consultant class twice per year in a highly selective process. Each has demonstrated outstanding leadership, project management, interpersonal communications, and business consulting skills along with exemplary work performance and project “ownership”.
Senior Managers are selected from among the best Project Managers and oversee multiple engagements during a semester.
Student Director is selected from Project Managers or Senior Managers who have shown outstanding leadership abilities. Candidates must provide a personal written statement regarding their qualifications and go through an interview process with the Senior Leadership Team and the IBC staff.
What type of interview does IBC conduct?
IBC conducts a behavioral as well as a case interview. This allows students to show their analytical skills, communication skills, and problem solving abilities. It is important within the interview setting to take your time in formulating your answers in a way that you can explain. Being able to explain why you did what you did, or how you reached your conclusion is just as important to us as the answer itself.
What is the best way to prepare for an IBC interview?
Practice, practice, practice. Treat your IBC interview as if you are interviewing for a job. This is an excellent opportunity to sharpen your interview skills. Know your skill sets and past experiences where you can draw your stories from. Even your extracurricular activities when you were in high school can provide excellent stories that showcase your communication skills, time management skills and the ability to work with a team. Internship or part-time jobs can also provide you with stories to tell.
A case interview is a specific type of interview aimed to test your ability to think analytically and how you handle ambiguity. It is used to evaluate poise, self-confidence and level of enthusiasm for solving problems. Potential employers, especially those in consulting, banking and other financial institutions, typically use case interviews as part of their hiring process.
The best way to prepare for case interviews is to practice. There are website such as vault.com and casequestions.com that can provide tips on how to successfully handle a case interview. Some may even offer sample case interview questions that can help you practice. Here are tips from Business Career Services:
What is appropriate attire for my interview with IBC?
Business casual is acceptable for your interview with IBC.
When will I hear back from my interview?
Once we have had a chance to interview all of our applicants, we will begin extending offers to qualified candidates. Usually this will take place within 2-3 weeks of your interview date.
What is IBC?
Illinois Business Consulting (IBC) is the premier student fee-based consulting organization in the nation. We have successfully completed over 900 consulting projects for over 600 clients since its inception in 1996. In a typical year, over 200 students -- comprising of both graduate and undergraduate students in a variety of disciplines -- complete more than 50 projects. While we are housed in the College of Business, we draw students from across the University of Illinois campus, and because of the vast resources available through the University, our capabilities can be enhanced and broadened as necessary to meet client needs.