- Community Impact
- Our City/Our Campus
- Undergraduate students
- Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
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As a first-year student and Pittsburgh transplant from Dresher, Pennsylvania, Michelle Furmansky was eager to learn about her new city and uplift the local community. Early in the semester, she came across a tabling event where she discovered an organization that would enable her to do both. She applied to the University of Pittsburgh’s Incline Consulting Group (ICG) the next day.
Now a senior and president of ICG, Furmansky said joining the organization was the best decision she’s made at Pitt.
Founded in 2012, ICG is a student-run organization that provides pro-bono consulting to Pittsburgh nonprofits. Students have developed social media strategy plans for Coraopolis Youth Creations. They’ve created databases for the Cancer Caring Center. They do youth volunteer outreach, fundraising, budget and event planning, program design and more.
“I describe it as a way to get hands-on professional experience while actually doing good for the community,” said Furmanksy, an economics, politics and philosophy major minoring in Portuguese with a certificate in global studies. “It’s professional development meets community and investment.”
ICG boasts an impressive list of community partners, including the Black Political Empowerment Project, a local nonpartisan organization dedicated to enfranchising Black voters founded by Pitt alumnus Tim Stevens (A&S ’67, GSPIA ’74) and Dragon’s Den, a learning environment with a state-of-the-art therapeutic and educational challenge course, including a 160-foot zipline and 20-foot climbing wall in Homestead.
The group has also worked with Sisters PGH, a center and advocacy group for people of color, trans and nonbinary people in Southwestern Pennsylvania; Food21, an organization committed to building a sustainable food economy in the region; and the Accessible Prosthetics Initiative, which aims to increase access to prosthetic technologies and care.
On average, ICG provides more than 4,000 hours of service each semester to partner organizations; six teams helped local clients in fall 2022.
Executive board member Sohum Goyal said the time is just as beneficial to students as it is to clients.
“Students receive real-life consulting experience on multiple projects, which translates well when it comes to applying to internships,” said Goyal, a senior economics major minoring in statistics in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. The Dallas native joined ICG during his sophomore year and said the group’s vast network and mentorship opportunities are major perks.
“Many of our alumni have gone on to work in consulting firms or started their own companies,” he said. “They love working with our current student population because they know what we're capable of. We’re setting students up with experience now — post-grad connections, real opportunities, real careers.”
Notable ICG alums run the gamut, with some who have landed at Deloitte, Target and The Hackett Group. Others have gone on to medical school, become entrepreneurs and UX designers or are conducting environmental policy research.
“You have alumni in different fields, but also corporate sponsorships,” said Furmansky, naming ICG’s main sponsor, Connors Group, an industrial engineering management consultancy. “That presents many unique recruitment opportunities to our members as well.”
ICG promotes skill development that benefits all students regardless of interests or academic pursuits, according to one of its executive board members.
“A large part of our recruitment process is looking for people with different backgrounds, [which] is a major benefit when tackling a problem,” said Brendan White, who is also ICG’s vice president of recruitment. The senior environmental studies major from Squirrel Hill joined ICG because it presented opportunities beyond the “artificial classroom environment” with real clients, people and deadlines.
He, Goyal and Furmansky all said this approach means ICG members walk away with transferable skills like project management and goal setting, an enhanced understanding of organizational needs and a deeper appreciation for diverse perspectives.
“What makes us unique and innovative as an organization is that we aren’t so focused on a certain path or a certain type of person,” said Furmansky. “We work better as a team, more creatively and bring more tailored and unique solutions to these nonprofits because of the diverse backgrounds of the people on these teams.”
“People get to see the outcome of their work years down the line,” Furmansky added. “ICG has given me something to talk about in interviews, professional experience that got me internships, made me a better student, and frankly, a better thinker and person.”
— Kara Henderson, photography by Tom Altany