Reflections on Judging the B2 Consulting Challenge

By: Brett Clifton – Managing Partner, RedCloud Consulting

As part of my role on the advisory board for the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business Consulting and Business Development Center (CBDC), I recently had the opportunity to be a judge at the 8th annual Consulting Challenge. Put on by the CBDC, the competition placed a diverse set of 30-50 incoming UW freshman into seven teams who were then paired with a local business and tasked to develop an organizational growth strategy. Teams went to work after being paired in late August and were judged by myself and other business leaders from the community last week. As judges we graded the teams based on four key criteria: presentation, creativity, problem solving and financial analysis, but honestly I felt that the value for each team and individual was the process they went through, not the end results.

Aligning directly with RedCloud’s “Time, Treasure and Talent” community support program, the Consulting Challenge is the culmination of a four week-long academic and residential immersion program hosted by the Foster School’s Undergraduate Diversity Services.  The powerful program integrates leadership and strategy skills throughout the curriculum, coupled with professional development; career exploration and leadership activities that focus on tools and resources which the students can leverage.

The competition was a unique way for students to get real-life experience and interact with local business leaders like myself. It was inspiring to see the hard work, heart and soul the teams put into their projects and I truly enjoyed hearing and seeing their creative ideas during the presentations. In just two weeks, as young people yet to take a single business class at UW, they showed great promise, and early understanding of key principles and the eagerness that will serve them far into their futures.

It was not only a fun day to be with tomorrow’s leaders, but an honor to give back to my alma mater and our greater Seattle community as a whole. I can’t wait to see these young people in the near future, hopefully we can hire a few in just a few short years!