At 7 p.m. in Davidson Library, a group of roughly 12 students are huddled around a large desk in one of the 24-hour study rooms. There is an air of excitement and nervousness among everyone. About a week earlier, these students were accepted into Gaucho Creative consulting group (GC) , and today is their first All-Hands meeting in which they find out what exactly they are doing for this quarter’s project. Their client was revealed a few days earlier during GC’s welcome and client reveal event. This particular team was assigned to Uber, and another two teams were assigned to Zoom and Monet.
That buzz and excitement around GC Marketing Consulting Group started spreading around campus ever since it was first founded by Amy Zhou and Devanshi Mehta in June 2020.
Recounting how GC started, Zhou says, “It started when me and Devanshi were both in the American Marketing Association, and we recognized that there was a lack of hands-on experiences and opportunities on campus. We noticed that when you talk to recruiters, they always ask, ‘Do you have any hands-on experience?’ But for a lot of people, it would be hard to take what they learned from a course or certification and apply it to a business and see tangible experience. So we created GC to give students that hands-on experience.”
However, creating an organization with a lofty vision like that does not come without its fair share of obstacles to overcome.
One of the initial challenges GC faced was finding clients who would be willing to work with a brand new consulting group. To aid that process, Zhou and Mehta leveraged their own skills and relationships to make it work. Even if businesses were not familiar with GC as a whole, they knew that Zhou and Mehta were incredibly hard workers and were people they could trust.
Their first client was a business that personally offered Devanshi an internship. Instead of taking on that internship, Devanshi offered a team of eight students, GC’s first members, to help with their marketing. Thus, GC had its first ever official client.
Since then, GC has been able to grow its reputation, and they have been able to land clients such as Zoom, Uber, Cisco, and more.
One key part of that success has been the unique perspective that GC brings: a thorough understanding of who our generation is and what they like.
Elaborating, Amy says, “What we’re really good at is branding to younger audiences: the college students, the Gen Z audiences. Especially in the age of TikTok and COVID-19, there’s a lot of cultural transformation within our age group and that’s something that we are really able to capture that a lot of companies see the value in … we’re not trying to compete with age-old companies on age-old issues they have, but rather, bringing the perspective of that younger audience and capturing their attention.”
Evidently, Zhou and Mehta are confident in GC’s mission and how they can fill in a gap for marketing and consulting aimed towards our emerging generation.
Another key part of their success has been the culture that Zhou and Mehta intentionally created. On their website, GC lists five core values: colorful, fun, goal-oriented, collaborative, and trustworthy.
Explaining those values, Mehta says, “For colorful, we really believe in working with a diverse group of people and we want to hear everyone’s opinion. For fun, we want to use our creativity and imagination. For goal-oriented, we want to get a lot of work done and meet deadlines.” Zhou continues, “For collaboration, we want everyone to be open to feedback and constructive criticism. For trustworthy, we trust that everybody will put their best foot forward in a judgement-free environment.”
Their values have a significant impact on how the organization is run and how everyone interacts with each other. Rather than being focused solely on work day-in and day-out, GC also fosters creativity and learning.
Talking about her first time joining GC, Van Vo says, “I came in a little intimidated, because I felt like everyone on the team had so much more experience than me and I felt behind, but after the first introductory meeting, it felt really relieving because everyone was super nice and my project manager, Milan, was super understanding. It felt like a really welcoming environment … it made me feel more comfortable with my lack of experience and it made me comfortable working with everyone on the team to gain that experience.” Vo is on her second cycle with GC as a designer.
Alison Shwartz shares a similar experience. She is in her third cycle with GC, and she is currently a project manager. “For me the social aspect was huge. During my freshman year, I was only there for five months because of COVID-19, and in those five months, I was barely involved in other campus organizations and I felt isolated. I was even considering transferring to a different school. So for me, GC was a huge social thing, and it wasn’t just about meeting people, but also about having people around me who have similar ambitions.”
Not only does GC support everyone’s ambitions, but they also do it in the best way possible. They have a channel on Slack called “prodev,” where members forward all kinds of professional opportunities on a regular basis. These opportunities include internships, jobs, workshops, and more for a wide variety of positions.
In addition to the social aspect, members talk about how impactful and gratifying it is to be able to work with real-life businesses and deliver tangible results that they can point to and say, “I did that!”
In fact, for Juan Arias, a first-time strategy consultant, the deliverables (the results and suggestions given to the client at the end of the cycle), is one of the things he is looking forward to the most.
“I’ve done some internships before but I’m excited to actually do something that’s client-facing. Interns for a really big company do a lot of bottom legwork, but here, you get to see everything that’s going on, and I’m excited to present to the client at the end,” he says.
Another new member, Pooja Kini, echoes that sentiment: “I liked the idea of being able to collaborate on projects that had an impact on people in my age group and generation. I look forward to discovering my potential through this project and having the opportunity to learn and grow in spaces that I am curious about.”
Looking forward to the future, Mehta is excited to see GC grow into a full-fledged marketing and consulting agency. Although she plans on keeping the number of clients per cycle at three for now, and thus keeping GC relatively small, the community she fostered is one-of-a-kind and the future looks bright.