What makes client relationship effective in Development Advisory Team project? How to teach an engaging class? 

Spring 2016 student, Joel Ostdiek, had a fruitful conversation with his mentor, Stephen Zerfas. Read on to find out the three most crucial elements for client interaction and class design.

Joel Ostdiek: 

There were three big insights related to the DAT project:

1) Recognize that what the client wants is not the same as what the client needs. To do this, it is essential that you understand the entirety of the problem before moving forward. Get radical clarity on the issue at hand. Solidify that understanding by producing a "Concept Memo" (a 1 or 2 page statement of the problem and the scope of the project). 

2) Communicate precisely with the client. Follow up each call with an email detailing what was talked about during the meeting, what the next steps are, and asking the client to modify anything within the email for further clarification. Always prepare for the meetings in order to make the best use of everyone's time. Sometimes cultural differences can cloud communication; recognize when this could be an issue.

3) Tailer questions to directly address the situation. Be neither too big nor too small with your questions. It is important to steer the conversation out of "rambling territory" and keep everything on task. 

There were three tips related to designing lesson plans:

1) Find something that is applicable to the class and become an expert in it. You will read many papers; the class may one read one. Become knowledgeable so that you can lead others.

2) Engage the class as quickly as possible. Find ways to get them involved early into the lesson.

3.) Spend a bit of time up front teaching whatever it is you are focusing on, and then spend the rest of the class time grappling with that issue by involving the entire class.



Mentor: Stephen Zerfas (Spring 2014) 

Stephen Zerfas

Stephen Zerfas

Following five months in Santiago, Chile working with Ensena Chile as an Impact Analyst after graduation, I'm wrapping up a full year as an Associate Consultant at The Bridgespan Group, the management consulting firm that advises nonprofits and philanthropists. International Development II shaped both my career aspirations and my ability to pursue those aspirations.