Eitana McClerklin, BSBA ’21, wrote this post for the Olin Blog.
During the spring ’21 semester, I had the opportunity to work on the CELect global team alongside my colleagues Hailey Kleban, BSBA ’22, Albert Kao, BUCS ’22, Nicole Lew, BSBA ’21, and Yiting Wang, JD ’21.
Over the eight-week span of the course, we worked together to support FanCam, a South Africa-based crowd-imaging and data analytics firm that focuses primarily on capturing crowds at sports events.
Our client was looking to expand both into a different industry and into a different country, and COVID-19 presented unique challenges to both of those goals. One of the Olin pillars of excellence states that students will understand the global opportunities and challenges facing businesses, and I was grateful to work on a diverse team of scholars from Olin, McKelvey and the WashU law school who were all willing to combine our different abilities and rise to the occasion.
We conducted research on which industries and cities in America were best suited to support our client, both throughout the remainder of COVID-19 and afterward, and we presented our client with a timeline and steps to expand into these areas.
The CELect program offers students the perfect ratio of autonomy and assistance needed to improve research, strategical and communication skills. After assessing the needs of the client, we decided on weekly team meetings to conduct research and bi-weekly meetings with the client to deliver this research, receive feedback and redirect our focus.
Aside from the occasional comments we received from the other teams and Steven J. Malter, senior associate dean, special projects and experiential learning, it was up to us to ensure that we were delivering everything the client needed in an efficient way. All our meetings were via Zoom, including the midterm and final presentation, which required more use of nonverbal communication skills and challenged us to get creative with our presentation style and method.
If working on the CELect global team during COVID-19 taught us anything, it is that experiences are only as rewarding as the amount of work you are willing to put into them. Despite the fact that my teammates and our client were spread across three different continents and time zones, we still made the commitment to put forth our best efforts to ensure that both the team and the client gained something from the experience.
We had an amazing time working with our client, who was more than willing to give us feedback and advice after our final deliverable. The experiences we gained from the program will last us a lifetime, throughout the remainder of our time at WashU and beyond.
Pictured in photo: Hailey Kleban, team lead, BSBA ’22, Eitana McClerklin, BSBA ’21, Albert Kao, BUCS ’22, Nicole Lew, BSBA ’22, Yiting Wang, JD ’21, Tinus Le Roux, founder and CEO of FanCam, Markus Coetsee , CFO of FanCam. Photo taken during client communication meeting.