What are you looking for in an applicant? Do you consider freshmen and non-Marshall students?
LACI looks for students who have a genuine desire to serve and improve the Los Angeles community. Our projects are team-based, so we look for applicants who will be valuable and effective team players. Commitment, problem-solving ability, and overall fit are key qualities that we emphasize. We highly encourage freshmen and non-Marshall students to apply. You do not need any prior consulting or business experience to join; LACI educates all new members on the consulting process through new members workshops.
As a non-Marshall student, what will I get out of LACI?
During the course of a semester, you will have the opportunity to work on a consulting project which will teach you skills that are widely applicable. At the core, consultants are problem-solvers: they break down and analyze the problems that clients face, think critically and develop solutions, and propose strategic recommendations to address these challenges. In addition, LACI works with nonprofits and small businesses from a variety of sectors and industries, giving you the opportunity for broad exposure. Moreover, LACI provides a hands-on experience in which you can apply your specialized classroom knowledge to real-world business problems.
Can you describe each part of the application process?
Written Application: The written application is centered around three background questions and four involvement questions that give us a glimpse into who you are and why you want to join LACI. Two LACI members grade each application. Invitation to the 1st round interview is contingent on merit of the written application.
1st Round Interview: The 1st round interview is a 15-20 minute interview about your previous experiences and motives for joining LACI. Applicants are interviewed by two LACI members. Invitation to the 2nd round interview is contingent on merit of both the written application and 1st round interview.
2nd Round Interview: The 2nd round interview is a team-based case interview that lasts up to two hours. The case will involve an organization similar to a real LACI client. This interview helps us understand how you work on a team and in a consulting environment. You will have one hour to read and analyze your case with a team and prepare a presentation. A panel of LACI members will watch your team’s presentation and follow with a short Q&A period.
Note on the 2nd Round Interview: You are not competing directly with those on your team. There is no limit to how many members we will select from each team, so we encourage you to collaborate as closely as possible. In past semesters, there have been teams from which no one was selected and teams from which everyone was selected.
How many new members do you take each semester?
There is no quota on the number of members we select, so each semester is different. However, we invite between 10 and 15 applicants on average to join LACI. We look for strong applicants who fit well with LACI, so we encourage you to focus simply on demonstrating your strengths.
I can’t make it to one of the info sessions/events; will that hurt my chances?
Our info sessions and events are completely optional and designed for your benefit. Our aim is to give you multiple opportunities to learn about LACI, ask questions, and meet our members. Your attendance at these events is not required, and nonattendance will never count against you in the application process.
At information sessions, we give a 20-minute presentation that introduces you to our organization, what we do, what our consulting projects look like, and how the application and membership processes work. Our mixers and service events give students another chance to get to know our members personally and experience LACI’s fellowship. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to any of the events; all the essential information is listed on our website, and if you have additional questions, feel free to reach out by email.
What is the time commitment for LACI membership?
New members can expect to commit 3-8 hours a week to LACI, which consists of weekly team meetings and periodic client meetings, research work, new member workshops, and board presentations. The time commitment tends to be lighter at the beginning of the semester and increase in later weeks. The time commitment also varies depending on the type of problem your client has and how, as a team, you decide to space out work over the semester.
What does a typical project look like?
No two projects are the same. There is no “typical” project because every client brings unique problems for us to solve. Much of the fun of being on a LACI project is identifying the highest priority challenges facing your client and finding a way to address those challenges within a ten-week window.
How are members assigned to projects?
All LACI members are sent a list of the current semester’s clients, which includes detailed descriptions of the proposed project. Members complete a survey listing their top five project choices, and a board committee assigns teams based on a number of considerations, including project preference, member experience, and skillset. Each project team consists of 4-5 LACI members (with one experienced team leader) and is assigned to one client for the entire semester.
How many projects does LACI work on each semester?
The number varies from semester to semester depending on how many people we can staff, but we usually work with 10-12 clients each semester. Each client translates to one ten-week project.