WBS alumus, Solomon Ahadzi, shares how he developed key learnings from his consultancy project in the Full-time MBA course and how they have supported his career.
Consulting is one of three career spaces I planned stepping into after completing my MBA at Warwick Business School. As a salesman in consumer-packaged goods with over a decade’s experience and the opportunity of working across multiple geographies and cultures, I was certain that selling had enabled me to hone the relevant skill-set required to lead a successful career in Consulting. As such, right at the start of my MBA, I was certain I was going to do a project sponsored desertion.
WBS’s reputation as a highly ranked Business school in Europe and its network with well-established International Consultancies such as Paul Kucher and Deloitte gave me the confidence to source my project through the School. The project offered me the opportunity to immediately apply knowledge and experiences from the course modules, and also relate strategies and tactics acquired through multiple customer-facing roles we simulated with the CareersPlus team and external coaches.
Additionally, the consultancy project presented an avenue to have coaching with an academic supervisor who reviewed my proposed solutions to my client’s brief. In this way, the consultancy was a safe space to practice a probable career.
The client was in the energy sector; the firm was focused on innovations and value addition to existing products to bring about efficiencies in mechanical parts and ensure a more sustainable environment.
The brief was to develop a go-to market plan for a potential product that was somewhere within the firm’s innovation pipeline. The product had an international market, niche as it was, and that enabled me to connect to users across the globe – a refreshing challenge.
Different layers of research revealed the ubiquity of the product in the daily lives of ordinary people, and that eventually helped with my final recommendations.
My Clients perspective for the work was quite clear from the very start, they wanted to develop a playbook that will form the basis of a commercialisation process. The sponsor was very supportive and took steps to ensure I had access to all relevant corporate data required. That was a really cool, soft-landing to the rest of my research in the market.
Apart from leveraging data from the project to shape my dissertation for an academic degree, I personally aspired to present a piece of work that was backed by research and relevant to the organisation. This was significant for me as it was going to be a good index to success in a potential prospective career. My research data was gathered through a brief questionnaire and my data analysis, and subsequent output of that work was relevant to my write up and satisfactory to my supervisor. After submitting my academic paper, I then went on to provide a presentation to my sponsor.
The project taught me two significant lessons; effective time management and clarity of identifying a problem. My project spanned three months, and my market was international. That demanded a rigorous and consistent schedule in order to deliver on expectations to my stakeholders; my academic supervisor and project sponsor.
I had a clearer appreciation of the need of establishing what was expected of me from every engagement, be it with my sponsor or supervisor. I ensured I summarised and checked with various participants what I noted from sessions and had their express confirmation regularly.
The attributes I developed during the process are very relevant to me now. At present, I consult for two organisations back home in Accra, Ghana as a side hustle. One of the firms is an agro-based start-up, that adds value to fresh vegetables from the farm to extend product shelf life. The other is a bottled water entity, keen to list and establish its brands in key markets across the country.
I developed a Go-to-Market strategy for both organisations (a replication of what I did for my project), and I am currently supervising the execution of these strategies in the market. The experience from the Consulting Project has been invaluable as the learnings can be applied in several ways.