The Smeal College of Business and its student organizations are notoriously good at preparing students for interviews and internships, but one organization stands out from the crowd – Nittany Consultant Group (NCG). It serves as a group for students to share their consulting experiences, ask questions about the field, and to learn more about the skills necessary to be a successful consultant.
Founded in 2013 by Chris Marthers and Noor Nahavandi, NCG’s mission is to bring consulting experiences to all Penn State students, not just business students. Just as the Nittany Lion Fund has distinguished itself as the leader in introducing students to Wall Street firms and landing jobs for students there, NCG has established itself as the preeminent student organization for the consulting field. If you’re interested in a consulting career, look no further than NCG.
While there are several consulting organizations around Penn State and in Smeal, where NCG sets itself apart is with its Consulting Training Program (CTP). CTP is as a selective and rigorous 10-week consulting boot camp that teaches students how to approach complex problems and provide solutions to them. Only about 20% of all CTP candidates are accepted. Those who do make it into the program work in teams over the course of the semester across three business cases to apply what they learn.
“Throughout my experience in the program this semester, I saw myself grow more confident in both my leadership ability and presentation skills,” current CTP member Gabrielle Romeo said. “These soft skills are invaluable in the professional world across all disciplines, but are sometimes lacking in the classroom.” CTP members are taught the consulting mindset, hard and soft skills, and how to present their solutions from experienced NCG Alumni, Penn State faculty, and consulting professionals.
“Our training program and the hands-on experience we provide our members will hopefully help Penn Staters excel in consulting which in turn convinces companies that Penn State is serious about consulting,” NCG Executive Director Varghese Paul said. Paul’s experiences through NCG have landed him a full time job in New York City with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) after he graduates in May.
CTP’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed by industry leaders. PwC, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, and Ernst & Young are all sponsors of NCG because of the talent they’ve been able to develop.
“NCG has assisted in my career search by surrounding me with like-minded students,” Director of CTP John George said. “My success during my internship search stemmed from the networking resources and interview preparation that everyone in NCG has provided me over the last three years.” George will be interning this coming summer at Big Three consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
After completing CTP, graduates are eligible to interview for NCG’s consulting practice. NCG consultants work pro-bono to provide small businesses and even other student organizations with strategic guidance across marketing, management, and process improvement. This past year, nearly all of NCG consultants landed internships with major companies and consulting firms because of the training they’ve received from CTP and the professional experiences they’ve had as consultants.
“I see NCG continuing to grow the consulting community at Penn State,” Paul said. “In a couple of years, we want more companies to seriously see Penn State as a university that produces top consulting talent.”