In October when we learned PNC was going to be our fall consulting client, it was intimidating. Some students were surprised that we would be working with a bank on digital transaction challenges rather than social or environmental issues. As we heard from one of the executives from PNC, “Profit is not a trade off to social good. It says you created more than you consumed.” We were tasked with working on the sustainability of the institution of banking in a smart commerce era.
McKinsey and Company recently released their list of the Top 10 articles in digitization. The article at the top of the list, Strategic Principles for competing in a digital age, gives seven trends that could redefine competition for businesses worldwide. One of the overarching themes of many student presentations was the emergence of non-traditional competitors in the financial services sector, a trend McKinsey ranks as number two. The “digital dynamics often undermine barriers to entry and long-standing sources of product differentiation” according to McKinsey.
The fall project is designed to help first semester MBA students see what is expected of managers in premier companies. Past fall clients have included PwC, Alcoa, and Heinz, who are all leaders in their industry.
This project challenged us to work in an industry where no one had any full time work experience and to think far outside our comfort zones. It was a great opportunity and something none of us will forget any time soon. The growth from the beginning of the semester to the end is amazing to see. Our client saw major upgrades from our midterm presentations to the final. We are extremely proud of our growth.