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Sharing your expertise and business knowledge with current students is an excellent way to help them achieve academic success and career goals. One way of doing this, which also provides you with practical business solutions, is by providing consultancy projects.

By supplying a tangible business case for students to work on not only aids companies by providing new ideas and approaches, but you are also helping students apply their learning in the UK market and developing their business acumen.

“Our students are able to apply the business knowledge they have gained on their programme, as well as previous working experience, in an applied context, addressing real business solutions. Many of our students are also able to provide the added value of an international perspective to the projects. Some of the companies we have previously worked with include John Lewis Partnership, Rolls Royce, Lloyds and Shell. It is a win-win situation as the testimonials of our corporate partners attest,” commented Sarah Ranchev-Hale, Employer Relations Manager.

“We were very impressed with the approach and methods employed by the group. Their recommendations are in line with what we would adopt in-house and with what we would expect from an agency partner on a campaign of this type, ” reported Skyscanner.

“The recommendations are very interesting and practical, well divided into quick hits and longer term aspirations, which we want to start investigating straight away”, said John Lewis Partnership.

“The most successful projects are ones that are clear in scope, expectations and deliverables,” says Sarah.

The benefits to the companies include access to fresh and innovative thinking, practical recommendations and business solutions, as well as access to a pool of talent for future recruitment. And for the students they are able to hone their ability to work in a team environment, understand how to work with clients, develop consultancy skills and learn how to apply classroom techniques to the real business world.
Sarah Ranchev-Hale
Employer Relations Manager
Staff member Karen Tweddle

Our alumni network is a valuable source of these projects, covering all industry types and we are reaching out to you for applications. This is what you will need to consider when submitting a project:

  • Regular contact with the students is encouraged as this helps the projects stay on track and contributes to a successful final submission of findings and recommendations, so think about how much time you can commit
  • How would you like the project to add value to your organisation?
  • Which programme would you like to align the project to? For example, is it best placed with a specialist programme or a generalist programme. Participating programmes are;
    MSc Business Analytics
    MSc Economics and Strategy for Business
    MSc Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    MSc International Health Management
    MSc Management
    MSc Strategic Marketing

“Topics range from broad, strategic issues to more specialist business matters. Requests for market entry strategy, competitor analysis, new product innovation, or marketing strategy are particularly welcome,” advises Sarah.

If you would like to submit a project, you will need to send a project brief to the Employer Relations Team between December – February. This should include a short description of your organisation, the project scope and an outline of the potential deliverables. The level should be appropriate to those who have studied business, marketing or healthcare, but who may not yet have significant work experience (average age 23). For a more experienced student you should consider submitting a project to the MBA programme (average work experience 6 years). This will be followed up by a discussion with the relevant Programme Director/ Manager to address the suitability of the project and refine the project brief.

In May you will then be allocated a group of 6 or 7 students (with the exception of the MBA programme, where the company will select the student they wish to work with).

There is no cost associated with the consulting projects, apart from reimbursing reasonable travel expenses, if needed. This isn’t an internship and minimal supervision is required on your part. Official project start dates are July for approximately an 6-8 week duration.

Shell Project Case Study

“The projects are very successful,” says Sarah, “and we have several instances of a desire for continued working with the students. Many companies identify student talent throughout this process and begin discussions with relevant students about how to continue working together, whether via an internship or full-time employment.”

A group of MSc Economics & Strategy for Business students consulted for Shell to devise a model which would help explain the benefits for governments to monetise their natural gas reserves. Shell wanted the students to create a case based on social and economic reasons why governments might consider selling oil reserves, which Shell could use in international negotiations.

“The fact that we had a strong multi-cultural team with members from Russia, Italy, Norway and China was what enabled us to look at the problem from a unique perspective and offer up some new ideas,” said Erling Fiskerud.

The main challenge the group faced was the technicality of the project and the time spent developing and testing models. “We didn’t anticipate the amount of time needed to understand the complexity of the industry and its value chains,” said Ekaterina Solodkova “But we got there in the end,” she added.

Throughout the assignment, the students regularly meet with Shell at their London offices. It was a great opportunity for them to learn from senior executives with over 20 years’ experience in the oil & gas industry and to grasp a better understanding of Shell’s business.

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Celia Pearce

About Celia Pearce

Alumni Communications Executive
Celia is responsible for all the communications to Business School alumni and this includes the monthly newsletter, alumni profiles and features, alumni blogs, event marketing, the website and social media. Please contact Celia if you have any queries regarding communications to alumni of the Business School.