In the summer term, students on our MSc Strategic Marketing programme worked on live client projects during the consulting project elective, which helps them prepare for their roles post-MSc.
Acting in a consulting capacity, students apply knowledge from the Master’s programme to come up with a solution to a real business issue. They work with a corporate partner who presents a challenge facing their business.
This year, students were assigned projects for companies across multiple sectors and sizes. From IBM to automobile groups Bentley Motors and Lotus Cars, Johnson & Johnson and food giants Arla Foods and AB InBev, to name a few. There were also projects with startup e-commerce businesses including Little Tummy and Vênoor Living.
Students work on their consulting projects for six weeks, working closely with the client from their assigned company to gain feedback along the way. At the end of the project, they present their findings to their company representatives and a panel of industry experts who provide feedback on the proposed solutions.
We speak to the students and client, who worked on the Johnson & Johnson project about their e-commerce business, on how both parties benefited from the consulting project.
Petros Kalkanis, Johnson & Johnson
Have you benefited from working with Imperial College Business School students on this project?
Yes very much so. It was a project that was asking them to focus on our e-commerce business as if they were consumers, which they did very well. The thinking process was very thorough. They followed a strategic framework to come up with their analogies and recommendations, which are very useful to us.
Do you see long-term implementation of the work that has been done?
In some areas, absolutely. From the project, I can see one or two areas that they can focus on and improve in the short term and long term, in pricing, for example.
How did you apply learnings from your Master’s to this project?
I have learnt a lot of concepts on the Master’s including marketing frameworks, structures and strategic thinking methods. I used them on the consulting project, alongside external academic thinking from outside of the programme.
How did it feel presenting your project to a panel of industry experts?
It was challenging but at the same time interesting because it was the first time we delivered an assignment which wasn’t purely in a theoretical approach. We needed to be more practical and see what the industry is doing. We tried to combine both, but it was really difficult. It was the first time that we presented to industry experts which was really nice because we worked in a different approach.
Do you feel like you’ve made a real impact with the project?
I feel that we did. Petros specifically said that it confirmed a lot of the things his organisation is already doing or planning to do. In that way, it brought him solace and confirmed he was on the right track because in many ways we are the audience. You learn in branding that you can have all these things going on in the organisation and it makes sense to you, but you’re not ultimately sure how it’s going to be delivered. I think us coming in confirmed a lot of that potential doubt that might have been in his mind.
Lubaina Mansoor Shaherwala
How did you prepare for the presentation pitch?
For the presentation pitch, we looked at our report and broke it down into six parts so that each of us would have something to talk about. We also had coaching sessions with Jaka Levstek, Executive-in-Residence at the Business School and Co-Founder of D.Labs. He gave us a nice strategic approach of how to tackle the problem in a framework we could use to structure our presentation.
Sravanti Punya Uppaluri
What was it like working with Johnson & Johnson?
It was very different working with them because they did not give us a lot of data and internal guidance. They left it to us to interpret how people view their company. This meant it was quite open-ended, broader and it gave us the freedom to come up with everything, instead of being limited to how they do things and limited to their data. I really enjoyed working with Petros Kalkani and Johnson & Johnson as a client.
What was the most enjoyable part of the project?
Working with my teammates, everyone is amazing. While we were all very stressed, we were very hardworking. Also, something I didn’t expect was how this project led me to do more research like competitor analysis, and trends in e-commerce and the FMCG industry. It was way beyond what I imagined I would do in the summer term.