which they share their on-the-job lessons. One thing Ana Ponguta has learned is that sometimes projects aren't as straightforward as they appear.On a recent project she was supposed to analyze data for a Fortune 500 company but the data were amess, so first she had to clean it up. "That really pushed us to do new things," she said. In the end, theyknew more about the data than the client did, Miller said. The students also learned business realities. Just as the student consultants were about to sign a contractto work on a Web strategy project for PricewaterhouseCoopers, the company put it on hold, saying its budget had been frozen. A few weeks later, the students learned what had happened: IBM had purchased the consulting arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Next up for the student-run business is a 12-week project for a Fortune 500 company and another project involving logistics and Six Sigma, the quality control method best known for its effectiveness atGeneral Electric. Two of the student consultants have had Six Sigma training, Miller said. The studentsalso are beginning work on two marketing studies for Northwest Cargo, including a Korean marketstudy to help Northwest Cargo prepare for the launch of its direct freight service there next summer. In a tough job market, participating in the class also gives the students an edge in landing a job. In better economic times, many students would have been cherry-picked by consulting firms, Miller said. Now, rather than hiring three students from the Carlson School of Management, the consultants aresaying they might hire one student. But when the interviewer says something such as "tell me a story" or "what was your greatestchallenge," the students have real experience to draw on, he said. In addition to saving money, Northwest Cargo's Friedel likes working with Carlson ConsultingEnterprise because he gets to see the students in action for spring hiring. His company hires three to six people with MBAs a year, not all from Carlson. While Northwest Cargo doesn't need consultants, itneeds the management skills that consultants have, Friedel said, including the ability to break downcomplex problems into bite-sized pieces and then communicate that to people. Recently some of the students gathered in the newly finished university "office" on the lower level of the Carlson School of Management, which includes a large conference table, laptops and plenty of whiteboard. The consensus among the students is that consulting skills are valuable for any of their future endeavors. About half of the students taking the course want to be consultants, Miller said. But Caceres has plansto head to Europe and get into business development. Ponguta wants to work in marketing, and through an internship, she is one of the few students offered a job before graduating in May. She will be a marketing manager for Ecolab. Colombian-born Ponguta isan example of the kind of student Carlson wants to attract - an international student who wants to stayand work in Minnesota. She went back to Colombia after attending the University of Iowa on ascholarship but wanted to return to the Midwest. "I love the people here," she said. She also thought there would be more job opportunities here becausefewer people would want to live in the cold weather.