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Learnings from the Global Consulting Project

As our current Cambridge MBA cohort return for the Easter Term, having spent four weeks with clients working on Global Consulting Projects (GCPs), they’ve been reflecting on their experiences and how they’ve applied what they’ve learnt on the MBA programme so far.

Students discussing a project document

Students worked for a wide-range of companies in a wide-range of sectors, from FinTech to social innovation, each one providing the group of four to five students the opportunity to apply their MBA learning to a live client project. We caught up with a few students after their projects.

Arman Moussavi and his GCP team worked with Graphcore, an early-stage start up based in Palo Alto, California. The GCP team were working on recommendations on how the business can best leverage AI within the cloud computing space. One moment which stands out was meeting the Chief Technology Officer of Graphcore, Simon Knowles. Arman says:

“He had a discussion with the group about what it is to be a human being and if there will come a point where we begin to get replaced by drones or robots. It was quite a chilling moment, but also a very eye opening at the same time.”

Dixie Laing and her GCP team worked with Citibank in London, the aim of their project to assist them in the development of their consumer to business (C2B) collection space. Citibank are interested in the future payments landscape, what role they can play shaping it. For their project exploring how Citibank can intermediate the C2B flows of global e-commerce clients, the group had access to a lot of different people within the organisation. Dixie says:

“From technology to the client-facing side, from people working in FinTech payment to the blockchain space, people were really open to speaking with us.”

Student Tom Stanley sourced his own GCP based in his hometown of Christchurch. Having been a structural engineer, he saw an opportunity to connect the University of Cambridge with his home and help it get back on its feet after the earthquake which damaged the infrastructure of the centre of the city.

Working with his GCP team, as part of the project Regenerate Christchurch, the client wanted them to draw lessons from cities which had undergone a similar regeneration of a city centre. The team travelled to London, New Orleans, Portland, Manchester and Melbourne to undertake research.

The group found different barriers for bringing business and living back to the centre of Christchurch, New Zealand with various groups having different needs, however Tom says:

“The Organisational Behaviour and Management Praxis lessons that we were taught early on in the MBA were really critical in us being able to provide solutions and recommendations that were implementable, reasonable and effective.”

Aurelia Kassatly and her group worked with BRAC, the largest NGO in the world. They had the opportunity to be in Dhaka for two weeks. The team were taken out to a rural part of the country right next to India and they had the opportunity to meet with a lot of beneficiaries of BRAC. She says:

“Our project was to help BRAC develop more social enterprise models around legal land and property services. So we were also able to draw directly on learnings from those electives and apply them to the project in terms of social enterprise models, factors to consider, revenue generation, etc.

Current Cambridge MBA student Monica Jenkins decided to do her GCP with L’Oreal because of her background in cosmetics, as well as her interest in digital and personalised marketing. Their project involved developing a CRM strategy for the Maybelline brand for 2018. She says:

“L’Oreal introduced us to their agency and they were engaged with the project. It was incredible to see their interest in the project and with us and the feedback that we got after the presentation was beyond any of our expectations.”

The GCP is a key part of the Cambridge MBA programme, providing a valuable opportunity to apply learning, experience new sectors or roles, travel and build networks. And for the companies themselves a refreshing input from a diverse and committed group of MBA students.

Students will take this experience forward into the new term working on their concentrations, as they deepen their knowledge of sectors and develop their understanding of how to make an impact at organisational level.