consulting challenges

each program year in tks, we do month long challenges with different global companies on impactful problems to solve. in 4 weeks, teams make executive standalone decks.


why challenges?

  • most of education is a simulation contained within a case study. these challenges make it real for tks students in ways that no sessions can.

in my role as program director and coach

  • i managed 120+ teams in 7 challenges
  • i led partnerhip relationship with each challenge partner and ran 30+ workshops for team building, training mental models, and skillsets needed to go 0 to 1 in challenges delivering high quality results
  • 500+ hours of team coaching and feedback.
    • random highlight: got offered a consulting gig when talking to a team at a coffee shop because recruiter liked the overheard mental models.

featured challenges

check out a few highlight standalone decks from selected partnerships.

1. net zero carbon economy with shell

problem statement: how might we identify major problems to tackle to start leading to a net zero carbon economy by 2050?

mikael and aahaan have a hypothesis to capture the ~20k MWh of wasted heat in refineries and researched to see if it could be used to produce green hydrogen.

check out deck →

naila and team look to repurpose oil platforms into electrical substations for wind energy systems, potentially saving $4.65M in decomissioning costs.

check out deck →

karthik and team explore ways to use sensors to predict pipe corrision with a potential impact of lowering operational costs by $71M annually.

check out deck →

2. global gender equity with united nations

problem statement: how might we get more women and girls across the world more active in the digital economy by 2030?

dasha and team designed mock ups for scalable english teacher training using sms to increase literacy rates in rwanda with the goal of helping 1.6M students.

check out deck →

henrik and team want to help increasing the earning potential of 85,000 working mothers in dhaka through digital training paired with day care centers.

check out deck →

emina and team have the idea to help upskill 1.5M young women in the informal economy in jakarta with digital design skills to make them employable for new jobs.

check out deck →

3. pandemic tracing with pathcheck

problem statement: how might we get 1 million sign ups on new statewide digital, contactless tracing apps for covid-19?

manasi and team researched ways to increase adoption from 1M millennials gen z using different strategies across social media platforms.

check out deck →

lauren and team explored ways to use snap chat filters and social word of mouth on college campuses across minnesota to reach 15% of the population.

check out deck →

oscar and team figured out a way to partner with grocery retail partners to increase awareness and adoption at the point of shopping.

check out deck →

additional challenges included

techstars boston:

how might we increase mentor engagement by 50%?

x-prize carbon capture:

how might we increase globale participation in our $100M challenge?

unicorn ($b) wearable:

how might we create data partnerships for increased customer experience?

kidogo: how might we scale early childhood development services out from nairobi, kenya?

what success looks like

1. identify a problem supported by data. understand what's causing the problem using case studies, industry data, and quantified research.

2. validate assumptions with perspective. talk with dozens of industry experts to support main assumptions.

3. include clear next steps. map out action items for a pilot to test and larger tactics for implementation.

4. design a great standalone deck. logical structure and flow of ideas paired with simple copy and great visuals.

core sessions and mental models

this is a four week intensive training helping young people who have never worked before deliver professional consultant level results as well as train real world problem solving

session structure


topic: identify problems w/ case

skillset: team culture

mental model: m.e.c.e.


topic: make a mock up

skillset: slide design

mental model: first principles


topic: hypothesis driven ideas

skillset: asking good questions

mental model: nth order thinking


topic: problem identification

skillset: giving good feedback

mental model: inversion

mental models

first principles

thinking in base line truths and reasoning upwards

hear more →


asking "if this would fail, how might we prevent that?"

read more →

nth order thinking

asking "then what?" to understand consequences

read more →

post mortem

what i would keep doing

what i would do differently

thank you to all of our challenge partners for giving your time, guidance, and feedback for helping the teams train problem solving skills 🙏

resources to explore more

mckinsey mind by ethan rasiel

a great overview of processes and structured thinking that is used by one of the top consulting firms. this personally helped me train a consultant's way of breaking down probelms. check out the book →

calling bs: the art of skepticism by carl bergstrom

this books help build understanding for how to break down data driven assumptions and think critically for where things do not make sense check out the book →

mental model blog from farnam street

shane parish helps break down 100+ mental models with stories and examples of how to use them across different decision making and problem solving. check out the blog →

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made with 🖤 in sf.