• Johannes Kretzler

Perspectives on Recruitment: The First Weeks of a Semester in YUCG

The first weeks of the semester often feel chaotic. With hundreds of student organizations across campus holding recruitment events and information sessions, where do you begin? YUCG’s application process can itself feel confusing or intimidating, but we are here to help alleviate these feelings as much as possible. This blog post provides personal insights of current and past YUCG board members into the organization’s recruitment process. A more detailed recruitment timeline can be found on the YUCG website.

A few days before moving to New Haven to begin the fall semester of my first year, I scrolled through a list of Yale’s student organizations, quickly finding myself overwhelmed by the variety of opportunities available to me. I started a list of clubs of interest to me, which to my rising concern quickly extended onto its second, then third, page. Tucked in between art organizations, service opportunities, and outdoors clubs was the “Yale Undergraduate Consulting Group.” At the time I didn’t really know what consulting was, nor was I particularly captivated by the few contexts in which I had heard the field discussed. Nonetheless, YUCG — and the companies and nonprofits they had worked with in the past — sounded interesting enough to earn a spot on my list. As the chaos of the first week of college ensued, and my inbox filled with countless emails from clubs encouraging me to learn more about them, I momentarily forgot about YUCG.

I only rediscovered the organization at Yale’s extracurricular bazaar the following week, held online due to Covid-19 restrictions. I scrolled through a list of Yale’s clubs and once again stumbled across the “Yale Undergraduate Consulting Group.” Although I was initially hesitant, I decided to join the Zoom link listed next to the name of the organization.. I was promptly greeted by the excited faces of two YUCG board members. Our conversation about my first days of college slowly turned to the organization they were representing. I was given a personalized, elementary description of what consulting was and how YUCG approached the field. I asked a few questions, learning more about YUCG’s project work and the community it fostered. Excited by the enthusiasm of my conversation partners, I left them my contact information and added “YUCG” to a new, much shorter list of clubs I planned to apply to.

As I attended more recruitment events hosted by YUCG, I not only became more familiar with the scope of the organization’s work, but also its culture. At the info session, YUCG members discussed different approaches they had taken to the same problem and how they had worked together to consolidate these ideas into a comprehensive solution for the client. In breakout rooms, a board member told us about her fondest memories from her time in the organization: spending time with other YUCG members at an escape room and at organization-wide dinners. Before leaving the information session, attendees were encouraged — almost begged — to reach out with any questions as they came up, "no matter how dumb" we thought they were.

The casing workshop I was invited to after being offered an interview introduced me to the interview’s format and gave me the opportunity to practice a case in a small group. This helped me know what to expect and left me feeling far more relaxed. Once my interview began, any remaining nervousness immediately dissipated when, rather than going straight into generic, consulting and YUCG-related questions, I spent the first five minutes of my interview having a conversation about my German roots and my American hometown with my interviewers. Other members of YUCG have shared similar experiences:

“One of my interviewers and I both happened to play classical piano AND were interested in learning the same song, Liszt’s La Campanella. I just remember going off on that tangent for at least a few minutes; I didn’t even notice that we probably third-wheeled the other interviewer.”

-David Jiang, YUCG President (2021-2022)

“I remember in my interview we talked a lot about classes I took in the classics and architecture departments. I think having a diverse range of perspectives is very valuable for problem-solving, so I appreciated the organization’s attention to that.”

-Howard Li, YUCG Vice President of Client Recruitment (2021-2022)

A few days later, I received an excited call from my interviewers. They welcomed me to YUCG and invited me to the organization’s initiation the following weekend — a highlight of first year for many YUCG members:

“Initiation was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my time at Yale. We split up into teams on a Friday evening and basically competed for points in fun challenges around campus. I remember wheelbarrowing across Old Campus, tracking down random senior members of YUCG for group photos, and harmonizing to Spice Girls outside of Good Nature Market. It was a really great bonding experience and I’ve remained close friends with many of the people on my team.”

-David Jiang, YUCG President (2021-2022)

Beyond the formation of such memories, there are many reasons to join YUCG. Reflecting on their own time in the organization, and why they decided to apply to it in the first place, past members of YUCG’s board shared the following:

"I joined YUCG because of the awesome interactions I had with YUCG members at the extracurricular bazaar and info session. Everyone was really excited at the prospect of having first-years join the club and created a very welcoming and fun atmosphere. As someone just arriving at Yale and knowing nearly no one, it was great to have a group of people who I felt I could go to with questions about life at Yale and to get advice on internships and other stressful things."

-Jen Huang, YUCG President (2020-2021)

“I had never done real consulting work for a client before, but my project managers made it such a great experience. They provided just the right amount of guidance and freedom for me to add my own creativity to our project deliverables. I learned so much from them that I definitely couldn’t have gotten from reading consulting books or even practicing casing.”

-Steph Hu, YUCG Finance Director (2020-2021)

"Even beyond consulting, YUCG gave me a structure to approach problems in any line of work. It is a great way to prepare yourself for after college, all while gaining a real sense of community."

-Andres Guerra, YUCG Vice President of Client Recruitment (2020-2021)

“Besides serving as a foundation for my experiences in management consulting and entrepreneurship, being a member of YUCG has introduced me to extraordinary people on campus, from Arts to Mathematics, many of whom became close friends of mine.”

-Fernando Alonso, YUCG Analyst (2019-2020)

And so, while Yale students choose to join YUCG for a variety of reasons, new members almost always have one thing in common: a desire to join a dedicated, ambitious, and tight-knit community of creative thinkers and problem solvers.

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