My MBA consultancy project experience

14 July 2020

Full-time MBA Alumni, Kristen Rossi, provides us with an overview of her consultancy project experience and offers some advice to students who are about to start, or are in the middle of their consultancy project.

After 10 years of living in Asia Pacific and working in arts and entertainment, in 2018 I decided it was time to pursue an MBA. Warwick Business School (WBS) was my top choice for its reputation, location, and for the fact that it not only has a traditional campus but also a base in London.

My consultancy project and why I chose it

I did my MBA consultancy project with Aston Martin Lagonda, the luxury British automotive brand often seen in The James Bond films. My topic was to research the best practices of measuring marketing ROI in the luxury automotive sector and based on my findings to deliver recommendations to the firm. I was drawn to this project as having spent roughly four years working with luxury hotels as a contractor and having enjoyed the international exchange module on Luxury Brand Management at SDA Bocconi, I was keen to further develop my knowledge of luxury brands. In addition, as an entrepreneur who has often overseen my own marketing, I thought it would be interesting to deepen my knowledge of marketing ROI and the varying metrics firms use to measure it.

The skills that I developed

Throughout the MBA experience a student is constantly upskilling. With that said, over the course of my project I deepened four more skills. The first, was that I developed a better understanding of luxury brands and luxury brand management. For example, the seemingly small, but very important difference between premium vs. luxury and the effects this has on marketing and sales.

Secondly, as my project was carried out offsite, I improved my client relationship management skills.  Not being in the office meant I had to focus especially hard on building a good rapport, creating trust and managing the expectations of my client. The regularity, consistency and clarity of my communications was crucial.

Finally, the consultancy project boosted both my research and reporting skills. As the deliverable was best practices and recommendations on measuring marketing ROI for the luxury automotive sector, I had to conduct both high level academic research as well as industry-based interviews. It was crucial that I be able to fuse the information and present in an easily readable and most importantly, actionable, final report.

Words of advice

For those of you in the middle of, or about to commence your consultancy project, below are a few humble words of advice. 

  • Start building the relationship with your client early. As soon as your project is confirmed, approach the client to set up a convenient schedule that will facilitate regular communication. Be accommodating to your client. If they are very busy and would prefer less frequent communications that is fine too, but be the one to engage and make the effort.
  • Adding to the first point, especially in the beginning of your project as you are starting to frame and scope, be sure to consistently clarify the client’s expectations. Your client may not be 100% sure of what they want and even if they are, they may not have stated it as clearly as they think they have in the proposal document. Make sure that what you believe your project to be, is indeed what they are after. At the end of the first two to- three calls or meetings, after explaining what research you have carried out and what you have found, confirm with the client that this is the direction/result they want. This will help reduce your chances of turning up to a conference call in week five or six and realising that you have gone off track.
  • Thirdly, I loved working with Aston Martin and would not change my project, but from witnessing the experiences of other’s in my cohort, when choosing your project, don’t necessarily go after the company with the biggest name. A big name can be good for your CV, but employers want to know what you achieved and often it is with smaller companies that you can make the biggest impact. Additionally, employers want to see that you have the experience they need. If you want to transition into marketing, it may be better that you take on a marketing related project with a smaller firm than a non-marketing related project with a well-known name.
  • Finally, going back to relationships, once the project is over, make an effort to stay in touch with your project contact. It is highly unlikely that the project will turn into a job offer, but the contact could certainly be a useful UK reference in the future.

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Kristen Rossi is a recent MBA graduate from WBS. She is also the co-founder of The Modern MBA, a community that shares stories of MBAs on unorthodox career paths.