As a high school senior, I visited Towson and was instantly drawn to their signature program - The Associate, a competition modeled after the hit T.V. show, The Apprentice.
Senior business students compete for a job during an eight week period solving real problems and present their solutions to local businesses.
After applying and becoming one of 8 students chosen to compete, I was ecstatic to participate in something that sealed the deal for me to attend Towson in the first place.
1. Understand your client's needs - thoroughly.
My team consistently lost each week and it seemed as if we had a recurring theme to why we fell short - we didn't present the client with what they were looking for. Often times, this stemmed from the fact that the opposing team exceeded the business's expectations.
When you have a client, ask as many questions as it takes to fully grasp what the client's problem is and how you can best solve it. I noticed that the client was more happy with a solution that they didn't suggest. Just because they're asking for something, doesn't mean it is the best solution. You're the expert, prove it to them by going beyond what they ask for.
2. Productive meetings are the key to success.
Having a full course load while participating in The Associate can completely take over your life. As a team, we found it extremely difficult to meet in person. My team often substituted phone conferences for in person meetings. It wasn't the phone meeting that was the problem - it was how they were conducted that was.
Maybe it's the project manager coming out in me, but holding productive meetings is the only way to get something done. They need to have structure by beginning it with stating the objective of the meeting and ending it with specific action items for each person- and ensuring the person understands their action items!
3. Passionate presentations carry more weight.
When it came time to discuss my team's performance each week, it was consistently brought up that I have excellent presentation skills. In fact, my whole team did. Many times, the "Donald" was surprised that our team would lose, because we had such an excellent presentation. But as said before, our team fell short because of our content, not our presentation.
With that being said, my presentation skills helped me to hang on until the end. So much so, that Johnell Campbell, the winner, chose me to come back and help her present the final case. Long story short, my final presentation on beacon technology was noticed by an employee at R2integrated and I was offered a job! Putting passion and excitement into your presentation can intrigue your audience and get them mentally committed to listening (just make sure you have solid content).