Interested in getting hands-on professional experience? Join our pro bono consulting projects with real clients!
Kogod in Practice (KIP) provides pro bono consulting projects to students via a competitive application process. We represent an out-of-the-box, innovative approach to experiential learning for the Kogod School of Business and American University as a whole. All students are welcome from any program across all AU schools, including masters level, undergraduate, US, online and international students. These extra-curricular projects allow students to gain hands-on experience with a real client, doing meaningful work and providing real deliverables. No prior consulting experience is needed - you'll be learning together with your team. KIP works closely with the AU Consulting Club to deliver training to the incoming student consultants.
The projects are mainly remote (some may be hybrid) and generally with small to mid-size growing companies in the US and in various countries. We've also done projects with global organizations. Projects go for 3 months, are staffed with 5 students and require an average of 6-8 hours/week of the students’ time. Students get direct, regular/weekly interaction with clients on their project teams.
Since Spring 2020, we've already launched 60+ consulting projects that have provided hands-on experiences for 220+ students. The projects have included US and international clients from different industries with unique business needs, such as financial modeling, marketing strategies, supply chain logistics, market-entry strategy, social media strategy, business development, and KPI strategies.
Students are encouraged to check in with their academic advisors to be sure there are no program schedule conflicts before they sign up for a project and/or accept an offer to participate on a pro bono project team.
In order to meet the project application deadline, we strongly encourage international students to apply the first week the application is open, as there are extra steps to be taken with their academic advisor and AU’s ISSS office (International Student and Scholar Services). International students may apply for a project once they receive confirmation from their academic advisor. They may participate on a project only when they receive employment authorization.
F1 & J-1 Visa Holders
Pro bono projects are considered employment. Since every country has unique visa restrictions, international students must receive employment authorization per their visa. For example, F-1 students must first check in with their academic advisor on whether they are eligible to join a project. Some international students have been able to join a pro bono consulting project by doing the project as an internship for credit (also known as CPT - curricular practical training). Students who are not F-1 or J-1 should confirm with their visa sponsor.
Students who are F-1 visa holders will first need to check in with their academic advisor to confirm if they are eligible to do a pro bono consulting project as an internship for credit (since these projects are considered to be “employment"). They must do this BEFORE they submit their pro bono project application to participate on a project – this process can take up to two weeks, so plan your time so you can have time to apply before the project application deadline.
If you are a J-1 student, please send an email to J1EV@american.edu to be advised on your work authorization options.
International students must submit (within the project application) a screenshot of an email from their academic advisor stating that they are eligible to complete their Internship for Credit form (for CPT), to be able to work on a pro bono consulting project. Failure to submit this proof/email will result in not being considered for these projects.
After the student has submitted their pro bono project application (with the above screenshot) and is invited to be on a project team, the student can then complete/submit their internship for credit form with their academic advisor.
International students can email KSBGradAdvising@american.edu (the graduate advising team), or KSBAdvising@american.edu (the undergraduate advising team), and they will guide you through the process for the Internship for Credit (CPT) form, which also includes input from AU's International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office. You can use the email subject line: “Request for Internship for Credit/CPT for Pro bono Consulting Project” and copy Angela Petras and a quick reply will follow.
All Other Visa Holders
All other visa holders (who are not F-1 or J-1) will need to first check in with their country sponsors for employment authorization before they can participate on a project – participation will depend on the requirements of the student's specific visa, and whether the student is in the US or in their home country. Please review the ISSS site for more information.
The pro bono project application can be found here.
You’ll gain valuable practical experience as a member of a real consulting team. Just like a consulting firm would, we assemble the best team based on the business needs of the client and the backgrounds and interests of the students.
You’ll work alongside students from across American University programs whose experiences complement your own. You’ll grow your network and learn from one another. You’ll work with exciting companies often in the early stages of their business, giving you the opportunity to do a lot and see real results.
On past projects clients have offered team members internships and/or full-time jobs.
You’ll learn to manage project timelines, how to engage with a client and create client deliverables. You’ll develop your communication and critical thinking/problem solving skills in a non-classroom context, while at the same time, you can apply what you've learned in the classroom and from your past experiences. Your team will work closely with the client throughout the project and will establish a deep relationship. Over half of our pro bono partners are AU alumni, so you'll be growing your network as well.
You’ll learn new skills based on the project you’re assigned. In past projects, students have developed the following kinds of client deliverables:
• logistics and operations strategy
• financial modeling
• data analytics
• management consulting
• internal training strategy
• marketing strategy
• go-to-market strategy
• social media strategy
• business development strategy
The Kogod in Practice (KIP) team works closely and regularly with the student consulting teams throughout the project to develop the student consultants along the way. Angela Petras, Kogod’s assistant dean for experiential learning and director of KIP is a former Accenture consultant who oversees all projects for team professional development and quality control of all deliverables. Additionally, an engagement manager supports your team and the client on a regular basis throughout the project. You'll have faculty mentors and AU resources. KIP partners with the AU Consulting Club, American University's student-run club, to provide assistance in sourcing students and providing hands-on training before the launch of the projects.
Students generally spend an average of 6-8 hours per week on projects. Students can expect weekly meetings with either their clients and/or project engagement managers. Teams (4-5 students) will also meet independently to complete weekly deliverables.
Students will coordinate their schedules with their teammates for team meetings. Team meetings occur at mutually convenient times.
All students will add value. First year students and beyond are welcome. No prior experience is required, and as an American University student, whatever you bring is valuable. Your diverse life experiences and passion are what clients are looking for.
All students on project teams will receive training prior to their project. Students will also be trained along the way – they will gain valuable, real-world tools and skills while they are in their student consultant role on the consulting team. The skills gained on these projects can add value to any career and all resumes.
Students do not need to be a member of the AU Consulting Club or focused on the field of consulting to be on a project - however once on a project, they will become a member of the AU Consulting Club.
Students can select/rank their top three project choices. Efforts will be made to staff students on their preferred project (their first pick). In the event that a student is unable to be accommodated on their first-choice project, the Kogod in Practice team will attempt to staff the student on their second or third choice.
Projects are generally three months in duration.
Students who are employed (whether full time or part time) are invited to apply, though students must be mindful of the 6-8 hours per week time commitment for the consulting project. Students may do their weekly 6-8 hours at any time that is mutually convenient for their project team. Some students have done this after work hours, early mornings, during lunch breaks or other breaks, etc.
Our clients are from a variety of industries and are different sizes. Generally, students can expect to work with young, growing companies and mid-size organizations. Some are global companies.
Projects include all students from across all AU schools; students can be from any AU program and can be full-time, part-time, and/or online students. Students can be international or from the US. The diversity of our projects brings various perspectives and strengths and makes our collective experience very rich and rewarding!