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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Learning Valuable Skills Beyond the Classroom: Loyola Consulting Group Offers Professional Experience for Students

Alexa Junikiewicz
Sophia Pulskamp (left) with fellow consultants at the final deliverable event.

Looking for the opportunity to gain professional experience by working with local small businesses and startups? Loyola Consulting Group might be the club for you. LCG gives students the chance to work in a real-world professional setting and learn practical skills for their future endeavors. Since the start, LCG has rapidly grown under the leadership of several individuals, including Executive Director Alexa Junikiewicz and Consultant Sophia Pulskamp.

Projects in the past have included designing intricate websites, developing marketing strategies, evaluating and enhancing search engine optimization, curating social media posts and plans, and delivering specific recommendations for financial services and programs. Additionally, if students put project preferences on their application LCG will cater to their interests and place them accordingly on a project that is suitable for them.

“There’s no other club or internship experience that you can gain knowledge from your first year up until your senior year,” Junikiewicz said. “These skills utilize your classroom knowledge in a real-world setting while also working directly with a client, maintaining consistent communication, seeing the overall aspects of their business model, and supporting the work that they’re doing.”

Established in 2020, LCG was created by Tomas Fernandez ‘21. After spending a semester abroad in New Zealand and joining their school’s consulting group, he decided to bring the same concept back to Loyola. Since the beginning, the club has grown immensely by word of mouth and marketing to professors and students. According to Junikiewicz, all majors are encouraged to join the LCG community and learn the ins and outs of business While many of the members are business students, different majors offer a variety of perspectives that can make for a well-rounded project.

LCG’s trek to Clearview Consulting Group (Alexa Junikiewicz)

Junikiewicz also mentions that working on team projects gives students ample opportunities to learn collaboration and leadership skills along with professional development. She began as a team lead, which are now known as “consultants,” and worked her way up to the vice president position in her sophomore and junior year. Now, the executive director. 

As executive director, she coordinates each weekly meeting, plans events, generates client schedules, finds clients, and creates contracts and overview sheets. Junikiewicz also oversees every project and progress being made, ensuring everyone is on the right track. She is joined by other officers: Director of Membership, Bridget Harrington, Director of Marketing, Taylor O’Brien, and Moderator, Dr. Dave Luvison. 

The club has had three guest speakers this past semester, in addition to an on-site visit to a local consulting firm to gain real-world experience. At the end of the semester, students present their final deliverables to their clients. This allows members to meet clients, network, and highlight their work from the semester. 

Members of LCG presenting their final deliverable presentation (Alexa Junikiewicz)

“So, there’s a tangible outcome to all of the amazing work that students are doing throughout the semester of projects here,” said Junikiewicz. “It’s honestly just a great real-world experience. It challenges you to think outside of the box, to tackle projects in a way that strategizes problem-solving and enhances business excellence. It also builds meaningful relationships with your peers and the clients,” Junikiewicz said.

Pulskamp, who joined LCG in August of 2021, shares the highs and lows of her journey in LCG. The club has had a major impact on her communication, leadership, and teamwork skills, especially after becoming a consultant this past semester. She also appreciates the flexibility to explore interests outside the classroom through LCG, and being able to write what one’s interests are on the application form. Although her experience with LCG has had positive outcomes on her professional skills, Pulskamp discussed how she navigated and learned from challenges along the way. 

“Initially it was a smidge difficult learning to navigate how to properly lead. One of the biggest challenges was being a liaison between the team and the client. The client was very set in his ways and lacked in showing respect for me and my team,” Pulskamp said. “He was very demanding of my team and began to ask for things outside of our scope. To mitigate this, I put my foot down and explained to him that he was being disrespectful to our team and not valuing our time.” 

Through the support of Junikiewicz, LCG’s officers, and her team, Pulskamp was able to steer her team to complete their final deliverables, despite the challenges she faced along the way. She mentions that managing different personalities and opinions was difficult at times, but in the end, it was a valuable skill to learn, especially in a professional setting. 

“Learning to organize events and fine-tune my time management skills was huge. I try to mention my experience with Loyola Consulting Group in every job interview I get because I have learned so much from it. And shocker, employers eat it up,” Pulskamp said.

Junikiewicz says another hindrance that students face when joining is not knowing how to approach a project, but she believes this is their greatest advantage. She encourages every student to take the leap into the business and consulting world because there are a multitude of things to learn and apply in future endeavors.

“This is the opportunity to learn and grow. This is the place to do all of that. The consulting group is an amazing spot to learn new skills, meet new people, to gain a vast skill set within a variety of different industries with different clients with different communication styles. There are so many things to learn. I tell students, ‘wherever you are in your journey, if you’re learning and growing, you’re on the right track,’” Junikiewicz said.

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    Theresa ReismanFeb 2, 2024 at 1:10 pm

    I thought the article was so spot on that there will surely be a lot of students interested in joining the Club. Wonderful to see young people who want to further their learning with experience. They are the ones who will make a difference in our world. We need them! Absolutely loved the article.
    Theresa Reisman