- Associated Press
Sunday, January 15, 2017

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A student-run consulting firm at Wichita State University is giving undergraduates a chance to gain experience and make mistakes before they enter the workplace.

The firm, called Barton International Group, offers data analysis, digital marketing, feasibility analysis and market research, The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/2jbNQWu ) reports.

Adviser Kate Kung-McIntyre, who founded the program in 2008, said students have the opportunity to “practice and apply what they are learning outside of co-ops and internships.”

Now with 30 members, the group initially consisted of 13 business students who felt they needed more professional experience. Most participants are business students, although the group is open to all undergraduate students at the university, BIG marketing director Carmen Resco said.

Current BIG CEO Jacob Archer said the members’ strength lies in their ability to learn.

“We don’t have years and years of structured corporate regimens,” Archer said. “We have a different perspective, and we use that perspective to benefit our clients.”

One of those clients is Rusty Eck Ford President Les Eck, who consulted with BIG in 2016. He said he was told marketing was something all companies struggled with, so he figured it would be a good idea to get a younger generation’s perspective.

Eck said BIG “did their homework.”

“They may just be kids, but they’re good, young professional kids that did a lot of good research and spent some time on it,” Eck said. “They’re going to be a success somewhere in the world.”

Besides working with clients in Wichita, BIG has taken trips around the world, to do research and to talk business, Resco said. Past destinations include Taiwan, New York, Silicon Valley in California and Malaysia, with Seattle slated for this year.

Kung-McIntyre said it makes her proud that BIG has gone from “handholding all the time” to being nearly independent.

“Today, what we are, this was the ultimate dream,” she said. “We got it.”


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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