What to Expect
The LACI project engagement covers the course of a single semester, either fall or spring. Due to the short time frame, we expect clients to take time to understand the commitment a LACI project requires as well as the type of work they can expect from a LACI project. Our successful projects require regular communication between the client and the LACI team, as well as a mutual understanding from the beginning about the client’s goals.
While every project is unique, below is a typical semester timeline for a LACI project.
While many aspects are important to understanding LACI, we believe the following three traits are integral to understanding both the project cycle and what makes LACI different from other consulting organizations.
A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH
To effectively identify and address the challenges that our clients face, we expect clients to engage actively with their team. Clients should be open to changes in the project scope as the team's research develops. At a minimum, clients are expected to have two in-person team meetings, be available for hour-long phone calls with the project team leader, and respond to all email communication and requests in a timely manner, typically no more than 48 hours. Additionally, for our teams to be most effective, clients must be willing to share information that is relevant to their team's decision-making process, which often includes internal data. We treat issues of confidentiality seriously and always operate with the best interest of our clients in mind, and never disclose client information, including the name of the client, unless the client gives specific permission to do so.
Commitment To Social Impact
LACI is a unique consulting organization at USC in that we focus on projects that we believe will positively impact the Los Angeles community. We expect clients to have a focused social mission and expect our projects will tangibly help them achieve that mission. The most successful project proposals focus on issues where the LACI team’s work can make a tangible difference in furthering the organization’s social impact.
We expect clients to be able to articulate the idea of their project and the impact they hope it will have on their organization. This means an understanding of the issue the project will address as well as the desired outcome(s) from the project’s work. LACI teams work with their clients to flush out a full scope, but projects with a clearer direction are usually more successful. Additionally, we only take projects with a strategic focus, rather than implementation-based projects that a traditional intern would undertake. This means ideas centered on simple data aggregation/analysis, creation of marketing materials, or grant proposals are not fit for a LACI project.