Consulting Student Consultants

Many college students work in teams. Many engage in project-based learning. Some apply and test their knowledge, skills, and values by engaging in consulting projects, working on problems/questions given them by businesses and non-profit organizations.

Many times the students are advised by a faculty member, only ONE faculty member, their professor. But professors, even if they have Ph.Ds and years of work experience, have limited knowledge and wisdom. Their perspectives and perceptions are based on and biased by their own unique experiences. Think of the fable of the blind men and the elephant. Each of us is “blinded” by our own point of view. Thus the quality of students’ consulting work is limited by the professor’s and the students’ particular experiences (or lack thereof).

So bring in more “blind” people!

Here’s how wise practitioners add value (help us see the “elephants”):

  • Give insight into the client’s problem/opportunity
  • Give insight on the internal workings of the student team
  • Give insight on the consulting process
  • Give insight on the academic program
  • Give insight on what is holding us back!

Engaging alumni and friends in the education process is part of our not-so-secret sauce.

Asking them to advise (consult) our student consultants on intra-curricular and extra-curricular projects is just one way to do that.

And the best advisers do that simply by providing analogies and asking insightful questions.

What Makes Trinity Business Different?

We are created, called, and endowed by God to do good work. Trinity Business empowers students to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling to do that work through personal, practical, and professional learning experiences.

  • PERSONAL: we offer individual students the attention and opportunities they need to flourish—we are a small college community networked into the immense City of Chicago.
  • PRACTICAL: we offer students the ability to apply their talents and knowledge through our project-based course-work (e.g., students who are coached by consultants to consult with clients) , Chicago Semester, and our Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment, which sponsors “speed interviewing,” a community health initiative focused on interdisciplinary research and education, a student consulting team (START Consulting), and student entrepreneurs (START Entrepreneurs).
  • PROFESSIONAL: we offer students specialized Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting, Entrepreneurial Management, Human Resource Management, Finance, and Marketing. The result is that students develop Universal Student Business Qualities* and the particular skills of strategic analysis and innovation in those distinct but related business fields.

And in return students inspire us with their innovative spirit. For example, recently two of our students, Jordan VandeKamp and Craig VanderGalien, were named semi-finalists at Chicago-based Future Founders’ UPitch2016 competition along with teams from the Big Ten and other Division 1 schools. They were the crowd favorite, winning the Venture Award.

Trinity Business is a great system to be part of!



*Universal Student Business Qualities

  • Resourceful
  • Effective in Teams
  • Critical in Thinking
  • Faithful in Living
  • Innovative and Creative
  • Ethical
  • Professional
  • Technically Competent





Speed Interviewing


Speed Interviewing is a accessible and effective venue for students to learn from alums.

The event works like this: instructors of introduction to business courses form student teams around common career aspirations and alums in those careers are invited and assigned to be interviewed by student teams.  In under an hour student teams interview alums in 15-minute intervals for a total of three rounds.

Why do instructors do it?  To help introduce students to business disciplines (accounting, entrepreneurial management, finance, marketing, etc) and organizational culture from the perspective of people who practice those disciplines as a career and even calling.  Why do instructors do that?  Ultimately to empower students to better understand themselves and organizational culture so that they can better envision what life after college looks like so they can make more informed decisions about their academic program and career expectations.

But Speed Interviewing is only the beginning of our learning.

Here are examples of the questions students ask:

  • What type of work do you do?
  • What skills are especially needed to do your work well?
  • What did you major in at Trinity?  How did that help you with the work you do?
  • How would you describe your career path?
  • How would you characterize your leadership style?
  • How would you characterize the culture of your organization?
  • What advice do you have for current students?


What Happens at e-boost?*

Visit a destination (incubator**);

get ready to launch


Encircle early stage start-ups***:

  • vision
  • milestones
  • constraints: what’s holding you back?
  • strategy
  • executable plan

Share ideas and ask for feedback


Learn from and laugh with others


Share life lessons

  • Success = pivots
  • Success = focus away from self


See old friends and make new ones!


*Thanks to Hope College and Trinity Christian College students and alums for attending!

**Thanks to Omar Sweiss (1871) and Ethan Adams (Future Founders) for the tour!

***Thanks to Mackenzi Huyser and Kendra Wright of Chicago Semester for hosting e-boost Chicago!

What is the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment?

Advanced Learning

Trinity faculty and staff empower students through professional, practical, and personal educational experiences. And, in turn, we are inspired by their entrepreneurial spirit and moral character. That entrepreneurial faithfulness expresses itself through project-based learning in the classroom but especially through the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment.

One of Trinity’s strengths is experiential education. For instance, all students at Trinity are required to have an internship or field experience prior to graduation. In Trinity’s Business, Nursing, and Education programs, students regularly engage in internships, practicums, and project-based learning. Specifically, in the Business program, all students work on interdisciplinary (Accounting, Entrepreneurial Management, Finance, and Marketing) teams to address a real-world problem faced by a local business or non-profit organization. We major in application. The Center complements such programs with advanced learning opportunities to build an even better bridge between college, career and calling.


The Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment engages students in advanced project-based learning experiences to empower students to discern, develop, and employ their gifts and calling. In so doing, it provides experiences that make students even more competent and confident of who they are and what they can do and therefore more competitive and transforming in the marketplace.


  • Various professional development events. For example, “Speed Interviewing” brings together first-and-second year students and alumni to help students better understand the culture of business and the various business functional areas and roles. Similarly, “Etiquette Dinners” that helps students appreciate and learn to navigate the habits and culture of more formal business settings. Also, “Reflective Best Self” experiences called “20/20” that invite students to reach out to people who know them to write about when the students were “at their best.”
  • A Community Health Initiative involving Business, Communication, and Nursing students, and Nursing faculty. The community health initiative collects data on health needs in our internal and external communities (from Harvey to Tinley Park) and provides health education.
  • STORY Consulting is a “Dream Team” of English majors who help organizations capture their stories for publication in multiple venues.
  • START Entrepreneurs are Trinity students coached by subject matter experts on their evolving and emerging business models. They participate in and are supported by events such e-boost Chicago, activities through Trinity’s “E-Club,” and organizations such as Future Founders.
  • START Consulting is an interdisciplinary “Dream Team” of Trinity students coached by subject matter experts and the CECE director to solve business-related problems for businesses and non-profit organizations.