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Irish consulting club partners with local businesses

| Friday, February 3, 2023

Notre Dame students are teaming up with local South Bend businesses — solving problems, gaining experience and just having some fun. The Irish Consulting Club (ICC) is kicking off its fourth active semester on campus and members anticipate it to be a successful one. 

Founded in the fall of 2021, the ICC is a student group centered around giving students an early look into consulting through real-world experience. Club president and senior international economics and Spanish major, Bridget Paulmann explained the two elements of the Irish Consulting Club.

“There are basically two segments to the club. The first is projects, which is huge and also pretty unique for our consulting club because what we do is we work with local businesses in the South Bend community to solve business problems they might have,” Paulmann said. “We’ve worked with The Pigeon and the Hen Pottery studio, CrossFit South Bend, just a lot of local businesses to solve competitive problems.”

Paulmann also said that club projects can touch on a wide variety of issues, including “profit maximization, marketing, or financial modeling — we’ve done a whole lot of things for them.”

While these real-world projects are a highlight of the Irish Consulting Club, Paulmann said that the second component, education, can also be extremely helpful for students looking into careers in consulting.

“It’s about preparing students for recruiting and learning more about consulting in general,” Paulmann said. “So in the fall, it looks like a pretty high-level overview, where students learn about working in consulting and what a consulting project looks like. And in the spring, it’s more about the specifics of recruiting and casing itself.”

While ICC is structured between projects and education, Paulmann along with vice president and senior, Kevan O’Brien, agree that there is a third element to the club: community.

“The third thing that we really tried to do is foster a sense of community within the club and build kind of a social element to the club where everyone gets to know each other and kind of work together on the recruiting process,” O’Brien said. 

This intra-club community building takes the form of different mentoring programs, resume reviews, practice interviews or, according to O’Brien, “bouncing ideas off each other and just learning from each other’s experience.”

As for this semester’s upcoming projects, Paulmann and O’Brien assured The Observer that although they are still in the works of finalizing the list, members can expect about three projects that cover a wide range of industries. 

Both Paulmann and O’Brien concluded by reflecting on why they decided to join the ICC and what has been the most rewarding aspect of their experience.

“There’s a lot of like projects that people do in classes or other clubs, where you’re all working together in a team to do something, but it’s not necessarily like a real-world application,” O’Brien said. “But here, we’re actually working with people in the South Bend community and providing recommendations that they are actually implementing in their businesses. So, you get to see a real-world impact of our work, which I think is really cool.”

Paulmann echoes this appreciation and then adds a comment about her overall feeling of gratitude for the community and friendships she’s made through the club.

“I was drawn to consulting because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, longer-term. And consulting lets you explore a lot of different opportunities in a variety of different industries, all performing a bunch of different functions,” Paulmann said. “But I stayed very passionate about this and I’ve been involved with it because I care a lot about the social aspect. I’ve met so many great people throughout this process and I’m so thankful. I just want to be able to provide that same opportunity, that channel, for underclassmen.”

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