Completing my MBA consultancy project
25 July 2019

Full-time MBA participant, Jialiang Ye (Patrick), provides us with an overview of his MBA consultancy project and offers his key takeaways for future students.

During the MBA programme, you will undertake two consultancy projects, one from the LeadershipPlus module as a group, as well as an individual project and dissertation. The whole year of study is a transformational process and prepares you with the skills needed for the business world, whilst keeping you focussed on the final stage of the consultancy project. Both academic study and networking play an enormous part in preparing you to undertake your consultancy project.

You need to arm yourself with different theories and frameworks to understand the project and the client’s requirements. More importantly, networking is a very efficient way to gain industrial information and learn more about the local market. Thanks to our culturally diverse MBA cohort, I have had tremendous exposure to colleagues from a wide range of different backgrounds. This has allowed me to stay open-minded during the project and progress enormously, from an apprentice to a competent candidate, into the real consultancy world.

Here are some of my key takeaways from the consultancy project and my advice to future students:

  1. Stay positive and curious about new things: Make the most of the wide range of resources available to you at WBS. My strategy was to engage as much as possible, such as participating in workshops and seminars, utilising the library resources, joining the case challenges or other competitions. The more you engage, the more skills you will have when dealing with real and complicated client situations. 
  2. Do not hesitate to ask questions: There is no such thing as a stupid question, so be brave and ask others, including colleagues, careers team, lecturers, guest speakers or even your project clients. Practice makes perfect and you will learn from failures, which will increase your ability to deal with different circumstances. 
  3. Develop the key skills of a professional consultant: This should be consistent from the pre-project period to future ongoing processes. Coordinate well with the school and your project sponsor, make sure you conduct market and industrial research before kicking off the project and make time for academic preparation. Time management is essential, as well as being responsive to keep everything on track. Teamwork and leadership abilities are very important, but having a strategic mindset is crucial in the consultancy world, so make sure you keep going back to review what you have learned during the year and apply this. 
  4. Learn to speak like a consultant: From my perspective, this is the most challenging part. In the consultancy world, you need to know how to speak persuasively, diplomatically and professionally as this will influence the client’s decisions. My suggestions are to keep practising and attend the workshops offered by WBS such as ‘Cracking the Case Study’ and ‘Presenting to the Board’. 

My final tip is to be positive and most of all enjoy the consultancy project! If you look at it as a learning experience and progressing period, you will cherish every single moment.

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