Teaching Consulting

Last updated: March 3, 2023.

Teaching Management Consulting

Management consulting is a popular career path for business school students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Consulting skills are also increasingly in demand in a variety of other career paths. As a result, business schools generally provide a variety of curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for students to gain familiarity, skills and connections related to consulting. Having taught management consulting at both the University of Virginia and the University of Denver for many years, this page summarizes resources and approaches that exist in this subject area, in the hope that the material is helpful for students, faculty and industry participants.

My Current UVA Consulting Courses

COMM 4660 – Management Consulting and Advisory Services – Offered in both fall and spring semesters for 3rd/4th year UVA students. Management majors and 4th year McIntire students receive priority enrollment but students from all UVA degree programs are eligible to enroll. The course has three main components – learning about the consulting industry and its structure, learning about the consulting process (both problem-solving and relationship management) and practicing consulting through a group project with a real-world client organization. Student teams in the course have worked on consulting projects with a variety of organizations and have benefitted from interacting with a number of guest speakers.
Fall 2019 – Banner Signs & Decals (Denver, CO)Data CapableForge (formerly Hack Cville)Kung Fu TeaTrinity Irish PubUniversity Programs Council (UPC), UVA Aquatic & Fitness Center. Guest speakers: Tom Archer, Gail Rand.
Spring 2020 – COVID Response Projects for The Biltmore, Virginia Liquor Stores, Virginia Elementary Schools, The Tattoo Industry, College Bookstores, Restaurants, Local Fitness Studios. Guest speakers: Carroll Ross, Collaborative Solutions, Jennie Blumenthal (PWC) and Yeon Lee (PWC), Jeff Green (Ankura), Gail Rand.
Fall 2020 – Challah for Hunger at UVADrunk Fruit SeltzerGovSmart Tactical,  King Family VineyardsInternational Relations Organization at UVA, Rivanna Solid Waste AuthorityVibez Music AppThe Virginian Restaurant. Guest speakers: Jennie Blumenthal (ex-PWC), Sindhu Zachariah (PWC), Bernie Woolfley (Ankura), Austen Murrow (Accenture), Chip Bond, Jeff Green, Natalie Weinberg
Spring 2021 – Blue Ridge PizzaSigma Alpha Lambda, The Yolk ShackOpex South Brooklyn Fitness Center. Guest speakers: Bryan Myers (ex-BCG, Sweetgreen, solidcore), Colston Carr (Google), Jennie Blumenthal (ex-PWC), Zach Scharf (Alix Partners/BCG), Kylie Philbin (BCG)
Fall 2021 – Lampo Pizza, IX Art Park, Kung Fu Tea, McIntire Investment Institute, NSID Club, Fly Dog Yoga, Sammy’s On The Corner (2 teams). Guest speakers: Jennie Blumenthal (ex-PWC), Zach Scharf (Alix Partners/BCG).
Spring 2022 – Astraea (Satellite Data Company), Blue Print Leadership, Comm Council, Jefferson Speech & Debate Society. Guest speakers: Jennie Blumenthal (ex-PWC), Chip Bond (Keurig Dr. Pepper, ex-BCG). Project feedback: Brendan Boler, Sally Armentrout, Holly Tillet.
Fall 2022 – Formula Fitness, Red Hub Food Co., Treasures by Tresure, Duck Donuts, OneLove at UVA, UVA Cheer, Spirit Lab Distillery, Pro Re Nata. Guest speaker: Gail Rand.

GCOM 7252 (previously 7560) – Consultants and Other Advisors – This MS in Commerce graduate elective course provides an abbreviated version of my undergraduate course. Student teams in the course have worked on consulting projects with a variety of organizations.
Spring 2020 – COVID Response Projects for Auto Dealerships, Breweries, Live Entertainment Venues, Fitness Chains, Boutique Fitness Studios, Independent Restaurants
Spring 2021 – The StandardUVA Women’s Club Basketball, McIntire Transfer Program, El Retiro de Aigua (Uruguayan agritourism business)
Spring 2022 – Run Cville, High Tech Outdoors & Archery, Winn Transportation, Pronto!, Light House Studio, UVA Housing & Residence Life.

COMM 4881 – Leadership Practicum – This new course, designed for Leadership Minor students, includes a consulting project focused on leadership practices of a real-world organization. Student teams in the course have worked on projects with the following organizations:
Spring 2021 – IX Art ParkCASH Program at Madison House.
Spring 2022 – Crozet Pizza, Fly Dog Yoga, King Family Vineyards, UVA Aquatics, VABA

Books I Have Used in My Consulting Teaching

  1. Cracked it! How to Solve Big Problems and Sell Solutions like Top Strategy Consultants (2018) by Bernard Garrette, Corey Phelps, and Olivier Sibony. This book was written for practitioners but also works well in the classroom and can be helpful for case interview preparation.
  2. Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used (2011, 3rd Edition) by Peter Block. Online SummaryThis book was written for practitioners but also works well in the classroom with some context and support.
    Interview with Peter Block on Why Relationships are Paramount
    Interview with Peter Block on Learning Outside Your Area of Expertise
    Interview with Peter Block on ‘Contracting’ With Your Client
  3. Management Consulting Today & Tomorrow (2017, 2nd Edition, 468 pages) by Flemming Poulfelt and Thomas Olson (Free UVA Library Link for UVA users only). I used this textbook at the University of Denver but stopped once I adopted CrackedIt. It is a collection of separate essays/articles on consulting rather than a cohesive textbook.

Other Books Specifically Focused on Management Consulting (Newest Listed First)

Management Consulting: Delivering an Effective Project (2016, 5th Edition) by
Louise Wickham & Jeremy Wilcock, Pearson
The Experiential Student Team Consulting Process: A Problem-Based Model for Consulting and Service-Learning (2016, 5th edition) by Ronald Cook and Diane Campbell, Wiley
The Practice of Professional Consulting (2012), by Edward G. Verlander

The McKinsey Engagement (2008) by Paul Friga – Introduces a consulting approach based loosely on McKinsey principles, with examples from industry and business schools.
The Advice Business: Essential Tools and Models for Management Consulting (2004) by Charles Fombrun and Mark Nevins, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 9780130303738
The McKinsey Mind (2001) by Ethan Raisel and Paul Friga. A more applied discussion of  how to apply the McKinsey principles described in the McKinsey Way in businesses other than McKinsey, based on the experiences of McKinsey alumni.
True Professionalism: The Courage to Care about Your People, Your Clients, and Your Career (2000) by David Maister
The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking (2010, 3rd Edition) by Barbara Minto
The McKinsey Way (1999) by Ethan Raisel. Provides a broad overview of the McKinsey consulting approach. Descriptive, not prescriptive, but with some helpful suggestions and concepts.

Books Focused on Case Interviewing
Case in Point 11: Complete Case Interview Preparation by Marc Cosentino (2020)
Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng (2012)

Books Focused on Strategic Management
Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by Roger Martin and Alan Lafley (2014) (Amazon, HBR Page) – I consider this the best and most concise strategy overview for practitioners, written by Roger Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management and co-head of Monitor Consulting.
Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt (2011), (Review #1, Review #2)

A Sample of Management Consulting Cases

Management Cases that Could Also be Used in a Consulting Course

Management Consulting Syllabi at Other Schools

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