Small Business & Consultancy: Exploration of an Experiment with Student Consultants

Authors I. Hollaender
Publication date 2007
Type Report


In this paper I’ll discuss the first outcomes of an explorative research concerning the consultancy projects of a consultancy-based learning programme (Minor Consultancy 2006 - 2007, half-year bachelor programme University of Applied Sciences, Hogeschool Utrecht, The Netherlands). In order to improve the programme on consultancy and to get information on the phenomenon of small business1 consultancy, we explored the success and failures of junior and senior consultants in 8 small business consultancy cases. Junior consultants reviewed their experiences by using elements of the Critical Incident Technique (determining and reviewing just after finishing the projects). What, when and how did they learn and was at the same time effective and beneficial for the client / project? Clients and senior consultants were interviewed and we explored their perceptions of performance, interaction and learning. First results indicate that clients perceive the performance of junior consultants as positive. Juniors and clients need to collaborate in order to achieve adequate project results. Junior consultants / students learn from their consultancy experience. They improve their communication skills and become more self-assure in the relation with a client. Senior consultants / teaching staff members learn from juniors and become aware of their complex role. Clients need reflection to understand that they have learned during the project and consultancy can bee seen as a learning opportunity. Future research: we want to continue to collect process-data of small business consultancy cases in order to get a better understanding of the practice of small business consultancy and (consultancy-based) learning.

Language English