One leader of Tuck Student Consulting Services talks about why he and his co-chair were drawn to work with the student-run club, and what they've gained from the experience.
by Eric Winn T'14
Tuck Student Consulting Services, a Center for Business & Society affiliated club, is a free consulting service for local nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs and small businesses. It provides students the opportunity to use their skills and business knowledge, and to give back to the community. T’14s Eric Winn and Alena Harrison, this year’s co-chairs for TSCS, talk about their interest in the student-run club.
Alena and I shared similar reasons for deciding to chair TSCS. In fact, we were on the same TSCS team during our first year, and we took many of the same lessons from that experience. We believe in the potential for TSCS to have an amazing impact on both the students as well as the organizations it serves, and we felt that we could add value as leaders of the organization by creating some structural guideposts and support mechanisms. We wanted to add to the professionalism of the organization, both in terms of the deliverables of the student teams, and the clients for whom they would work.
We both have learned quite a bit about consulting for small and nonprofit organizations. More broadly, we’ve gained leadership skills. We’ve learned about showing leadership toward clients, by both vetting their applications to TSCS as well as guiding them through the process. We also learned about the importance, in leadership positions, of striking the balance between autonomy and formal structures for the student teams.
Our experience with TSCS offers an important lesson for new students forging a path through their time at Tuck. We could have taken our positions as co-chairs lightly, and simply kept the wheel turning. Instead, we pursued the opportunity for specific reasons and embraced the role by trying to add value back to the community. We are working hard to leave a legacy with TSCS and make it a better organization, poised for even more improvement and growth in the coming years. Tuck offers a multitude of opportunities like this. Our advice: embrace these opportunities and create value for yourselves and for the broader community at Tuck.
(Watch a video about 2013-2014 TSCS projects here. Photo: City Center Ballet, a TSCS client.)