My key takeaways from the Executive MBA consultancy project
24 August 2020

Executive MBA (London) student, Urmi Dutta-Roy, provides us with an overview of her MBA consultancy project, explaining why she chose her research project and the key learnings she gained.  

I had wanted to diversify my work for some time in order to develop a sustainable ‘portfolio’ career for the future. As such, I chose to pursue an Executive MBA at Warwick Business School (WBS) taking the opportunity to learn, network and transact with stakeholders from a variety of business backgrounds. 

The rationale of my research project and why I chose it

I undertook my MBA consultancy project at a market leading, FTSE 50 global events, intelligence and scholarly research group with an active M&A strategy. The objective of my research was to uncover the barriers to unlocking value from recent M&A transactions carried out by the firm. The research was to be used for diagnostic purposes, so that the company can better reconfigure internal teams, systems and processes in order to improve value derived from M&A deals in the future. I was drawn to this project as it had a real tangible business justification, coupled with my own experience of being extensively involved with post-deal implementation and the difficulties this presents for firms. Hence, I was keen to enhance my knowledge of the M&A landscape particularly through the lens of a global firm.

Key learnings

Undertaking research at a company you work for requires balancing a tight rope. Different stakeholders can have competing priorities and be reluctant to engage with a research topic if they cannot see a direct benefit to their area. As such, one needs to develop and exercise tact and diplomacy to aid effective communication, especially during negotiation and when attempting to persuade participants to take part in the project. Using tact and diplomacy appropriately can lead to improved relationships with others and are a way to build and develop mutual respect, which in turn can lead to more successful outcomes.

Secondly, part of my research was carried out offsite using online video conferencing technology during the global pandemic and lockdown. This meant that extra focus was required on building rapport, creating trust and managing expectations of the research sponsor.

Finally, as the research project had very real implications on the business, it was important to deliver findings and recommendations in a practical and actionable way to the senior leadership team. This involved fusing academic literature and market data with the responses from interviews conducted both internal and external to the company.

So what next?

Working on different consultancy projects is a useful way of quickly garnering a wide range of skills and areas of expertise, providing a solid foundation for many careers. Project work also boosts research, reporting and presentation skills which can be transferred to the workplace. If your goal is to diversify or change careers, undertaking different consultancy projects is a beneficial way of learning about other sectors or operational areas.

On a final note, do think about relationships. When a project concludes, make an effort to keep in touch with the contacts made, as you never know when your paths may cross and work together again.

Find out more about our Executive MBA (London).