Previously, Wageningen students contributed to consultancy projects in other cities such as Nijmegen. Wageningen is the ninth business location of De Kleine Consultant (DKC). ‘We provide advice for organisations that cannot afford to use the services of the large firms on the Zuidas.’
Biotechnology bachelor student Yorick van der Heiden runs the Wageningen branch. The DKC concept is a simple one, says Van der Heiden. ‘We are a non-profit student consultancy agency, where student volunteers provide advice for organisations and agencies that cannot afford the consultancy firms on the Zuidas (a rapidly developing business district in the city of Amsterdam, ed.). Consider, for example, small businesses, charities and start-ups. We offer our services at a competitive rate. As a non-profit, we do not make a profit. There are three ten-week project rounds per year. You work in project groups of four to six students. During the course of a project round, you visit the client three times. First, an introductory meeting, halfway through the round there is an intermediate presentation, and at the end, the actual advice.’
Students need not be experienced in consultancy to get started at SKC, Van der Heiden says. ‘You are offered a course at the start to ensure you go into your first project well-prepared. During the rest of your time at DKC, development is key. ‘Student consultants may take on different responsibilities each round. ‘You start off as a consultant, after which you could become a project manager, or for example, branch managing director. DKC project teams are professionally coached by large strategic consultancy agencies. This helps us maintain a high-quality standard. For the large firms, we form a valuable pool of talent.’
DKC Wageningen’s first assignment was for De Buren, a manufacturer of unmanned package lockers, Van der Heiden says. ‘They aim to achieve and maintain the position of market leader. The popularity of these lockers that enable you to pick up a package at your convenience without interaction with a person skyrocketed during the covid crisis. We provided advice on product positioning and marketing strategy.’ Two new projects are set to launch in mid-September. ‘One for a tech business aiming to reduce its environmental impact, and one for a producer who wants to grow a sustainable product.’
Can a consultancy project be combined with studying? Yes and no, says Van der Heiden. ‘We expect a reasonable effort, which means some ten to fifteen hours a week for a project. If you have a light schedule, this is feasible, but some students choose to drop one subject during their work for us.’
According to Van der Heiden ‘it is great that we managed’ to officially launch DKC Wageningen. ‘A year ago, the first Wageningen students embarked on consultancy projects for DKC Nijmegen. I, too, did that in January, February and March with three others. That was successful and got the ball rolling. In April, we split away from Nijmegen and started the first project from our own branch. A week before the start of the summer holidays, we had everything made official at the notary office. The word is already getting around.’
He points out that,m so far, the students interested in joining consultancy projects are mainly students of Business and Consumer sciences. He hopes to welcome students from other domains as well. ‘DKC is about working on significant, strategic issues. Whether you study Molecular Life Sciences of Animal Sciences is not relevant.’
De Kleine Consultant Wageningen can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.