New course opens door to consulting as an attractive career option

July 1, 2018

Untitled-2A new College of Business course, “Consulting for Finance,” helps prepare undergraduate and graduate students for the potentially lucrative role of business consultant, one who can provide the experience and skills business owners need, but don’t possess, and successfully tackle problems they lack the necessary resources to resolve on their own.

“Our goal is to open up the concept of a career in the consulting industry, which has been one of the fastest growing industries over the past 30 years in the United States,” said L.J. Mahon, who designed and is the primary instructor of the six-week, elective course. “The employment opportunities in consulting should broaden for any student interested in companies that provide consulting services.”

Regardless of a student’s academic foundation, careers in consulting can provide an opportunity for challenging work, continued self-development, access to important social and professional networks and, over time, significant financial rewards, said Mahon, a member of the finance faculty and an expert in international and corporate finance who founded his own private equity firm in Ireland and has extensive experience consulting for firms and governments across the globe.

The course incorporates simulated consulting projects and case studies, as well as recommended and required readings that shed light on the complex roles consultants and consulting firms play in resolving, strategizing and implementing solutions for their clients. By the end of course, Mahon said, students are expected to have gained an understanding of the nature and rigor of consulting; developed skills in the fundamentals of consulting; learned how to identify, analyze and negotiate consulting opportunities, which is important in building and expanding a practice; learned the overall process of consulting; and sharpened executive writing and presentation skills.

In addition to learning from Mahon, who holds dual bachelor’s degrees in business and history from the University of Notre Dame, an executive MBA from Harvard Business School, a law degree from Indiana University and studied Spanish and Russian languages at the University of Houston, students will benefit from the insights of professionals from a variety of global firms. These include FSU graduate Michael R. Hollomon II, CEO of Missouri Cobalt, one of the largest cobalt reserves in the U.S., and Bob Foresman, an expert on Russian-U.S. business relations and vice chairman for UBS Investment Banking.

“We’re continually adding relevant courses that advance our students’ career options, and this consulting course is an excellent example,” said Michael Hartline, the college’s dean. “We are fortunate to have industry experts on our faculty and a tremendous network of professional consultants and corporate executives, who add a breadth and depth of perspective to this new offering.”

- Barbara Ash