Every year in October and November, Cambridge MBAs undertake their Cambridge Venture Project (CVP), the first live team project where students apply their learning from a key core course of the MBA – Management Praxis.
Over the past five weeks MBA teams have been working for real-world clients examining market trends, assessing project viability and undergoing competitor analysis for their respective clients, before delivering recommendations which clients can subsequently implement.
Students are working with a wide range of established companies including ARM, Redgate, Lloyds, London Air Ambulance and the Animal Health Trust, as well as taking advantage of the large number of sector ‘disrupters’ located in the Cambridge, working with spin-offs and startups such as Persado, Healthera, and SkillSnap.
This year several projects are focussed around digital innovation, particularly the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud software and app development. One team has been working with games experts at PlayFusion undertaking market research for their augmented reality platform; another with FITXR, founded by two Cambridge MBA alumni, looking at the market for gamified and immersive workouts.
FITXR Co-founder Sameer Baroova (MBA 2015) remembers his CVP experience clearly and wanted to make the experience valuable for both sides, he says:
As ex-students, we know how important the CVP is for students, so we wanted to ensure everyone had a great experience. We challenged the team to look at the feasibility of taking our augmented reality products to the B2B market. They integrated well and the whole process was incredibly smooth, we definitely intend to use some of the students’ recommendations.
In addition to working with startups, students have been working on new ventures within established companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, where students have been assessing whether there is a market for an amphibious utility vehicle, and with Lloyds Bank investigating fintech solutions to help those in financial difficulty.
In Cambridge city, two groups have been working with organisations which aim to enhance the visitor experience in Cambridge, Cambridge BID and Cambridge Junction. For Cambridge BID, the group have been working on a digital visitor experience which will encourage tourists to seek out the more hidden aspects of Cambridge, and for Cambridge Junction, how they can improve training opportunities for their staff.
The CVP is an essential part of core Cambridge MBA course Management Praxis, which develops students’ self-awareness and the impact that their performance has on a business outcome. The course is unique in that students are given a project with real-world clients to use as the basis of their experiential learning, meaning that they are constantly reflecting upon their actions as they work.
Dr Keith Goodall, Senior Faculty in Management Practice and course co-designer for the Management Praxis says:
The CVP is an integral part of Management Praxis. Only when technical and analytical skills are combined with a high level of personal and interpersonal effectiveness is there a sound foundation for achieving results in business.
Speaking about his CVP experience, Rainer Macatangay, from the current Cambridge MBA class, says:
It was great to work with Redgate as none of us came from a background in tech, and we learnt a huge amount about the database industry. The skills from the Management Praxis course were incredibly useful, especially the ‘funnel model’, which allowed us to be very open at the beginning in our discussions of the project, but then focus down when we needed to.