Kogod School of Business Students Gain Practical Learning Experience with Alumni-Led Firm

Kogod School of Business undergraduate and graduate students worked with alumni entrepreneurs at global expansion firm Factum Global to develop a unique model to grow their business development pipeline.

Person looking at Factum Global website on laptop



The most memorable learning experiences for many students during their academic careers are the ones involving practical, real-world experiences with actual businesses and clients. These unique opportunities give students insight into the operations of companies seeking to grow revenue, deepen their sales pipeline, operate more efficiently, introduce new products or services, discover innovative marketing solutions, or employ creative technologies to further differentiate from competitors—just to name a few.

And for many students, their academic experience doesn’t end at commencement. Kogod alumni remain highly engaged with students, faculty, and staff well after commencement to offer their support in making the Kogod experience as pivotal, or even more so, than the one they had when they were on campus.

So when two Kogod alumni offered to partner with the Kogod in Practice experiential learning program during the fall 2021 semester, students jumped at the opportunity to provide pro bono consulting services for Factum Global, a fast-growing, DC-based international consulting firm and disrupter in the management consulting industry.

 


Disrupting the Consulting Industry

Factum Global helps businesses and associations expand globally by bringing transparency, personalized senior-level service, and a roadmap for growth to their clients. The firm is a disrupter, laser-focused on internationalization, and different from traditional consulting firms.

But what grabbed even more prospective consultants’ attention was the unique opportunity to work with two Kogod alumni, founder and CEO of Factum Global Francisco Gomez, Kogod ’07, and COO Jeff Smith, SPA ’04/Kogod ’07.

“The interest in Factum Global during the application process was quite incredible, actually,” said Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning Angela Petras. “Students were drawn by the opportunity to work with two passionate alumni entrepreneurs who are successfully growing an international firm in the consulting industry—one which often proves quite complicated to break into.”

Gomez, a native of Colombia, had previously served as the director of global strategy and market development for the American Chemical Society and consulted in the human capital and healthcare industries.

Smith, the CEO’s right hand and chief operator, was running his own communications firm when Gomez first contacted him about Factum Global. Smith thought he was signing a new client—little did he know, Smith was being asked to become a business partner.

Since then, Gomez and Smith have shown a continued dedication to AU and the Kogod community by hiring talented AU students and alumni; frequently interacting with students; and participating in panel discussions, mentoring programs, and other networking events.

“Giving back to and remaining engaged with the Kogod community is important to us because when we do, we experience individuals who are talented, dedicated, and curious about business,” said Gomez. “Why wouldn’t we expand our talent pipeline and network to a business school where we were so fortunate to cultivate our own skills?”

Giving back to and remaining engaged with the Kogod community is important to us because when we do, we experience individuals who are talented, dedicated, and curious about business.

franciscogomez

Francisco Gomez

CEO of Factum Global

 

Joining the Factum Global Team

After sifting through applications, the Kogod in Practice team selected four students to lead a pro bono consulting project focused on supporting Factum Global’s business development strategy—Yash Singh, Kogod/MSF ’22; Charles Barthelemy, Kogod/BSA ’23; Sofia Manrique, Kogod/SIS ’23; and Lisa Francis, Kogod/MBA ’21.

“From the very first meeting with Francisco and Jeff, we immediately felt as though we were a part of their team,” said Singh. “We fed off their passion in developing creative and practical solutions that they could use right away to continue to grow their firm.”

Manrique was equally enthusiastic. In fact, her experience solidified her interest in ultimately pursuing a career in the management consulting industry.

“As part of the student team and in my direct interaction with Factum Global executives, I gained first-hand experience in a field I had been considering as one of my possible career paths after graduation,” Manrique said. “This experience taught me some of the intricacies of consulting, provided me with an opportunity to deal directly with a client, and confirmed that this is a field I am genuinely interested in pursuing long term.”

Through their business development research, the team identified several industries experiencing tremendous growth and a model for identifying future opportunities. In the end, the team produced a list of target companies ripe for global expansion.

I was greatly impressed by the students’ ability to gel so quickly as a team and deliver such a high-caliber deliverable in a matter of months.”

jeffsmith

Jeff Smith

COO of Factum Global

 

A Happy Client Is a Repeat Client

“I was greatly impressed by the students’ ability to gel so quickly as a team and deliver such a high-caliber deliverable in a matter of months,” said Smith. “We truly believed we were working with experienced consultants at many stages of the project. Francisco and I are proud to continue to partner with Kogod on this and other programs to help enrich the student experience.”

Added Petras, “Not only did students walk away with a sense of great accomplishment for the robust work product they delivered, but they have a true appreciation for all of the hard work that goes into growing a business and obtained real work experience in doing so.”

Although the project was only a semester long, Factum Global offered one of the team members an opportunity to stick around a while longer.

“Following our engagement, I was thrilled to be invited to continue my relationship with Factum Global as their newest business development associate, where I look forward to continuing to broaden the firm’s sales pipeline,” said Singh. “The late nights and long Zoom calls proved to be well worth it.”

Gomez and Smith look forward to continuing their professional relationship with their alma mater and working with the talented students at Kogod who are following the same educational path that they both took.



If you are an organization and would like to work with AU students on a pro bono consulting project, visit our employer information page.

If you’re a student and want to join a consulting project, visit our student information page.