For three North­eastern stu­dents, devel­oping “senioritis” this semester meant wel­coming added respon­si­bility and hours of hard work after being selected by pro­fes­sors to join a pres­ti­gious D’Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness stu­dent group.

Jennie Vildzius, Jacobson Truex, and Dennis He, all DMSB’16, are mem­bers of Hunt­ington Man­age­ment Con­sulting, an under­grad­uate orga­ni­za­tion that gives stu­dents expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties in man­age­ment con­sulting and strategy through inter­col­le­giate com­pe­ti­tion and vol­un­teer work for local firms and non­profit orga­ni­za­tions. The trio, hand-​​picked by pro­fes­sors, offi­cially joined the team in Jan­uary and have worked under the tute­lage of Ray­mond Kin­nunen, asso­ciate pro­fessor of inter­na­tional busi­ness and strategy, whom stu­dents call “Coach K.”

It’s like a roller­coaster,” said He, describing the expe­ri­ence. “After grad­u­a­tion I want to do con­sulting, and working on this team is a great oppor­tu­nity to get some hands-​​on experience.”

Last week the trio, along with David Bur­dette, DMSB’17, placed third in the 27th Sco­tia­bank Inter­na­tional Case Com­pe­ti­tion at the Uni­ver­sity of Western Ontario’s Ivey Busi­ness School. The student-​​run com­pe­ti­tion included par­tic­i­pating col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties from Canada, Mexico, China, Hun­gary, and the Netherlands.

It is basi­cally strategy con­sulting in the form of a case com­pe­ti­tion,” Vildzius explained. “It’s a real com­pany with a real problem and we pro­vide real solu­tions, but it is put in the set­ting of a con­densed com­pe­ti­tion. It’s kind of like a sprint.”

Par­tic­i­pants find out about the case when they arrive at the com­pe­ti­tion. This year, the teams were tasked with helping the Strat­ford Fes­tival, an inter­na­tion­ally renowned Shake­spearean fes­tival, diver­sify its audience.

When stu­dents research a finan­cial case in class, Vildzius said the goal is to examine bud­getary line items and deter­mine that if a com­pany is spending a lot in one area, where it can spend less in others. But with these com­pe­ti­tions, the stu­dents must ana­lyze the company’s route problem and find ways to impact change on a greater scale.

This really takes class­room and co-​​op learning to the next level,” Vildzius said. “By being thrown into the deep end of having to con­sult, you have to con­sider every aspect of a business.”

To prac­tice for a com­pe­ti­tion in which they don’t yet know the spe­cific case, the North­eastern stu­dents spent most of their week­ends this semester repli­cating the fast-​​paced com­pe­ti­tion envi­ron­ment and working on cases from pre­vious competitions.

The way Coach K always frames it is ‘expert intu­ition,’” Truex said. “You try to learn as much as you can about every­thing you can pos­sibly con­sider. So it is a lot of prac­tice and drawing tid­bits of infor­ma­tion from a variety of subjects.”