Kurt Zuch: A few words of advice

Students looking to launch their own consulting start-ups would do well to start by working for a large firm, says Kurt Zuch. Learn a trade there, he suggests, “preferably one that’s industry focused, as most consultancies ultimately organize by sector, and prospective clients prioritize industry expertise.”

Network early and often, he adds. “Leadership may be natural to some, but even so, nothing beats formal or informal mentorship from those who have street smarts refined from years of leading small businesses.”

Students should seek to ace Accounting 101, Zuch says. All too often, the market potential of a great idea or solution is not realized due to a poor grasp of balance sheets, cash flows, and profit and loss statements.

His own studies — the decision support sciences track in the management science (now business information technology) major — “had a material impact on my career, establishing a technological foundation that was immediately applied at my first job with Andersen Consulting.”

At Virginia Tech, he adds, he learned to work in teams and with diverse personalities and undertook thought-provoking case studies, “all of which also prepared me to manage many of the challenges I’ve faced throughout my professional career.”

Perhaps most significantly, it was at Virginia Tech, he says, that he discovered his passion for technology and people, leading him to a highly successful career as an entrepreneur and consultant.

A member of the advisory board of the business information technology department, Zuch believes he can contribute by promoting hiring of its graduates at Ernst & Young, mentoring interested students, and providing financial support.


Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Magazine Spring 2014

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