By Karina Valdes
A new student-run consultancy is ready to take on clients at University of Miami School of Communication. Orange Umbrella Student Consultancy recently opened, offering an array of services to clients including public relations, advertising, interactive media, film production, research, and web design.
The name for the consultancy was inspired by the orange umbrellas that dot UM’s campus and denotes the diverse student workforce and services provided under one umbrella. The consultancy employs students from a variety of disciplines including film, advertising, business, and public relations.
“The word umbrella in the name has to do with being that overarching entity that brings together all of the fields of study within the school. It’s very inclusive in showcasing our capability to provide a wide-range of services in one place,” said Melissa Jane Barnes, managing director for Orange Umbrella Student Consultancy.
Orange Umbrella operates out of the state-of-the-art Koenigsberg and Nadal Interactive Media Center, a new space that was officially dedicated in December 2016.
“The Koenigsberg and Nadal Interactive Media Center is critical for the students to have a collaborative working environment and a professional place to bring clients. The consultancy could not exist otherwise,” said Barnes.
Current clients include an investment company, The Lennar Foundation Medical Center, a startup subscription-based box service, and several businesses needing assistance with website redesign, blogs, and social media.
“It’s amazing to work with these startup clients and non-profits, but also some really thriving businesses, like a financial company that you would think would be like ‘oh we’ve got this, we know how to do branding,’ but they’re coming to students for help figuring out how they can communicate their business model on social media,” said Barnes.
For students working at Orange Umbrella, the experience gained is invaluable.
“It’s been a really good experience for us as students. After I graduate, I’ll already know how to communicate effectively with clients, have held a managerial position, and know how to delegate positions and work to employees,” says Kaley Surman, account director for Orange Umbrella Student Consultancy and a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing.
Any student whose academic skills can be used to fulfill a client’s communication needs are welcome to join Orange Umbrella Student Consultancy.
“The intention is to open [the consultancy] up to any and all students who want to be a part of this. Ideally, clients are getting a full range of services across all of the fields and majors of study at the school, and doing anything essentially a business might need under the umbrella of communication,” said Barnes.
Students outside of the School of Communication can also apply to work at Orange Umbrella. This summer, a School of Business student is working to help manage the consultancy.
“We have a School of Business student, Alex Gallin, who has been helping us develop the business plans and strategy behind the whole consultancy and how we are going to operate,” said Surman.
Gallin, a rising senior from the School of Business double majoring in entrepreneurship and business technology and minoring in exercise physiology, is the consultancy’s director of business development. His role includes overseeing various business aspects including human resources, operations, and finances.
“It’s one of the best opportunities I’ve ever gotten. Orange Umbrella fills that gap in my education experience that was kind of outstanding for me,” said Gallin.
Gallin’s father owns a small business in Switzerland and he grew up seeing the back-end of the business’ operations. Last summer, he worked at Amazon and saw how an international business works. The last component he says he was missing was the startup.
“It’s literally a small startup without any risk for me. We’re dealing with real clients, we have a real budget,” said Gallin.
As Orange Umbrella grows, the hope is to have students from across the university and from various majors adding to the diverse services the consultancy provides clients. Barnes welcomes students “whether they have skills in music, or art, or something else” that can be provided to the right client.
“From an education standpoint, when you break down those barriers of ‘well, I’m in the school of art so I only take these classes and I only interact with these professors,’ you can see not only the tremendous opportunity for creativity, but for productivity, and for new and bigger ideas,” said Barnes.
If you are interested in the services provided by Orange Umbrella Student Consultancy or if you are a student who wants to join the team, visit https://orangeumbrellamiami.com/.