Bridging Theory and Practice: Lessons from my Strategic Planning Practicum at Schultz & Williams

Over the past ten months, my time as a strategic planning practicum student at Schultz & Williams has bridged the gap between theory and practice. My hands-on experience has enhanced my academic studies, as a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership student at the University of Pennsylvania, and provided me with a deeper understanding of strategic planning and consulting in the nonprofit sector. 

One of the most significant lessons I have learned is the importance of consistency in the strategic planning process. At Schultz & Williams, I observed the strategic planning team maintaining constant communication with their clients to ensure the plan aligned with their expectations and was accurate. Inclusivity and collaboration play a critical role in developing a strategic plan that reflects the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders. I had the opportunity to conduct research– primarily benchmarking data and background research for their plans, sit in on internal and external meetings with the clients, and review documents. This experience underscored the importance of thorough research and being fully prepared to contribute meaningfully to discussions. 

My time at Schultz & Williams has highlighted the importance of flexibility and adaptability in strategic planning. The nonprofit sector is constantly evolving, and plans must be flexible enough to respond to changing circumstances. I have learned the value of regularly reviewing and revising strategic plans to ensure they remain relevant and effective. 

Overall, learning from Lauren Hansen-Flaschen, So Jung, and Maurisa Warren, has been a transformative experience that has enriched my academic studies at the University of Pennsylvania. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from professionals in the field and am looking forward to applying my knowledge to the real-world setting during the next step of my career.