Gaining Hands-On Consulting Experience with BCAP
Every MBA student dreams of being a consultant – finishing that fancy presentation while sipping on the 3rd cup of coffee, occasionally looking through the big glass window to see the sun setting behind the city skyline. Is that what a regular day is like at the Boston Consulting Group? We don’t know yet, but Babson does prepare you for that day with the one of its kind Babson Consulting Alliance Program.
The Babson Consulting Alliance Program (BCAP) is one of many Signature Learning Experiences you are provided with as part of the Babson MBA. BCAP is a for-credit 14 week course in the second semester of the first year. You are part of a 5-6 member group and each group is assigned a partner organization who they work with to recommend a solution to a real world problem.
My group of 5 – an American with a PhD in the healthcare field, one Peruvian with experience in the agricultural field, an American with consulting experience and one Chinese with customer relationship experience were assigned to Partners Healthcare Innovation. Partners Healthcare Innovation is the innovation arm of Partners Healthcare, a non-profit association of 15 hospitals in the Boston area. At first, four us wondered why we were assigned to a healthcare company and based on our experience we should have been assigned to a consumer goods company.
In our first BCAP class our mentor, professor Mark Carr, gave us insight into the project. Our task for Partners Healthcare Innovation was to help them develop a go-to-market and pricing strategy for a Virtual Reality device that would be used by radiologists in the detection of cancer. This meant we had to research on the VR product, its features, who its end users would be and what price the users would be willing to pay for such a product. We were excited to learn about healthcare and the application of this device in cancer treatments. By the end of the first week, we are scheduled to meet with our client for a formal introduction and discuss the objectives of the project.
My team meets weekly in our corner office (a.k.a our designated BCAP rooms) where we draft a working scope, define timelines and deliverables and have bi-weekly calls with our client. We update the client on our findings and make sure we are staying just in line with our research and providing value to our client.
BCAP not only allows you to learn in detail about your clients industry, but also gain insights on the clients and industry of clients of other teams. In our BCAP class, the professor facilitates a discussion where teams are encouraged to speak about the issues they face with their clients and even within their team. With 5-6 different personalities in a team, you are definitely going to have some differences and it’s great to learn how to handle different personalities from everyone’s experience.
Over the five weeks since our first BCAP meeting, we as a team, are now so involved with our client and the VR product that all the client references have switched from you and your company to “we”. We feel we are part of the company and the product is our baby too and we want to see it launch successfully in the market. We go above and beyond the scope of the project with our research because of just the interest we have developed in the use of VR in healthcare that we have to keep reminding ourselves, maybe we are going too far. I think that consultant sipping his coffee overlooking the skyline as he completes his presentation would be a tad bit jealous of us working in the BCAP.