Leveling the Playing Field: Consulting Club started by MSLS Students

By Shawn Westcott

Like most of my fellow classmates, I was attracted to the MSLS programme for its unique focus on developing sustainability leaders. The 'whole-systems' strategic planning we learn makes us well suited for careers as thought leaders. For many of us, that means a future career in consulting. But MSLS students come from a range of backgrounds and careers, so to ensure we all re-enter the working world with the necessary skills and knowledge, I founded the Consulting Club in order to 'level the playing field' and arm MSLS students with the tools they will need to supplement their education.

The Club was founded to provide a forum for students interested in pursuing a position in the consulting field, along with those looking for general knowledge of working with the business world, the opportunity to learn about the Industry and its practices; advance their personal and professional skills to effectively market themselves; and develop, expand and utilize their personal and professional networks for future employment or professional purposes.

The organization's mission is accomplished through weekly member-led skills workshops that last approximately 2 hours. By engaging the myriad talents of fellow MSLS students, as well as those in the BTH and professional communities, the club covers a range of topics that include personal visioning, CV and cover letter preparation, interviewing techniques, networking and objection handling. In addition to these topics, other initiatives include lectures and videoconferences with leaders in the field of consulting, as well as 'real world' application of the group’s skills and knowledge.

While the club was developed for MSLS students, it is open to all BTH students, as well as those outside of the BTH community. After all, while we focus on strategic sustainability, the personal and professional development skills learned in the class are applicable to any number of academic specializations. With highly qualified professionals coming from a range of fields, the group dynamic contributes to a broad range of experiences that help the club serve its participants.

The club has been a great an example of co-creation. A number of side projects have evolved from the business-minded atmosphere of club meetings that have included new business ventures, the creation of a community Arts and Music Festival and auditing work with ClimateCounts.org.

If you're interested in connecting with the Consulting Club to offer advice, to speak to the club, or to share professional opportunities, please email Shawn Westcott at shawn(dot)westcott(at)gmail(dot)com.

This article is included in the Spring 2008 edition of the Trunk & Branches. Download the full newsletter here.


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