Velocity Consulting gives Carthage students customizable work experience
When Professor J.J. Shields began Velocity Consulting, LLC 13 years ago, it was the first 100 percent student-run, full-service consulting firm in the United States. Since then, many other universities have been inspired by the model, such as the Harvard School of Business.
Velocity is a fully operational firm in which students work on projects for local, national, and international companies, as well as non-profit organizations.
While the jobs are unpaid, students gain invaluable work experience to add to their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Students also have the opportunity to apply the theories and concepts they have learned in the classroom.
Companies often pay Velocity for its work. This helps fund day-to-day operations, as well as the free pizza, soda, and other treats students enjoy during their weekly meetings at 4:15 p.m. Tuesdays, in Clausen Center 106.
Velocity’s sales team finds potential projects and companies, and as the advisor, Prof. Shields meets with the potential clients. This process helps identify the best clients from the pool while also keeping the projects introductory to ease students into the consulting world.
This year, students are working with two companies: Mama’s African Kitchen Restaurant in Urbana, Illinois and TRT Speech Labs, which creates web-based software for speech pathologists. Some of their tasks include perfecting marketing strategies, improving website design, compiling market data, and creating promotional materials for the companies.
In years past, students have done a financial annual report for the Racine Urban League, product testing, competitive analysis, consumer surveys, rebranding, and more.
Prof. Shields emphasizes that Velocity is not just an opportunity for traditional business majors. As of this year, the employees’ areas of study also include data science, graphic design, and political science. With job titles like lead designer, data analyst, account executive, and market research analyst, Velocity gives students an unmatched ability to customize their work experience while still in school.
Co-CEOs Taylor Wimberly ’24 and Sahar Kherani ’25 stress that Velocity lets students get familiar with business practices before entering the industry, “bridging the gap between classroom learning and real-life experience.” While Prof. Shields asserts that due to the nature of Velocity itself, the employees are all students who are there because they want to be there.