Putting on the Big Hat: Small Consulting Firms = Big Opportunity

From my experience as a college professor, most of the students I worked with set their early career goals on a job with a big name company because of the prestige and relative security that these kinds of jobs offer.  McKenzie, Boston Consulting, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Accenture were the typical "big name" firms that most students put at the top of their lists.  The problem with these larger firms is that you are a little fish in a very big pond, and generally have a minor role in your engagements during your first couple of years.  In fact, many of these big firms only give new college graduates a two-year contract.  Few students consider the great opportunity that a smaller consulting firm offers.  Microsoft Dynamics is a division of Microsoft that produces software for smaller / midsize businesses, primarily focusing on the accounting, finance, distribution, manufacturing & sales processes.  Microsoft does not sell directly to customers, rather, we utilize a network of "partners" (read consulting firms) that sell and implement the software solutions.

Working for these smaller consulting firms can provide a recent college graduate with a lot of experience very early in their career, because these smaller engagements may require only a single person or two-person team to complete.  Which means that the early-career student has a much larger range of responsibilities than would be typically at a big-four consulting firm.  Additionally (and possibly more gratifying), engagements with small firms often can have a huge impact on the customer's operations, so a student can see (and measure) their contributions.

To help connect students to these opportunties, Microsoft has created the Student to Business (S2B) program.  The S2B program provides value to the Dynamics Partners, schools and students in the following ways:

  • Consulting firms get connected with local universities that are producing qualified job applicants for their business

  • Schools get connected with partners as guest speakers, curriculum advisors, and firms to hire their students

  • Students get insight into career opportunties while still in school and can be confident the courses they are taking will lead to internships and job opportunties, plus they get connected with local firms that they can work for during and after college

On the S2B website, the student link provides access to a portal containing job listings, interviewing tips, etc.  The industry link allows consulting firms post their job openings, and to look for universities that are producing students that have experience with Microsoft Dynamics products. The university link provides college professors with lists of local consulting firms that have indicated that they are interested in partnering with universities to provide internship, jobs, and support.  For more information check out the short video on Channel8 and then get additional info at Student 2 Business.


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