As our current Cambridge MBA cohort return to the School, having spent four weeks with clients working on Global Consulting Projects (GCPs), they’ve been reflecting on their experiences and the impact they’ve made.
GCPs this year reflect an increased focus for organisations on digital innovation, as well as a range of projects looking at logistics, increasing market share, and measuring impact.
Three GCP teams this year looked at blockchain projects, including IBM blockchain, energy provider Illwerke in Austria, who have been working with their GCP team on how to use blockchain technology for the secure exchange of energy data; and R3, a company who deliver a blockchain solution specifically focussed on individual business needs.
Following on from the R3 project, participant Brian Nolan will be keeping in touch with the organisation, with a view to collaborating with them after his MBA.
Much closer to home, a team worked with Cambridge University Press, on a project with their Innovation and Digital team to improve their online offering. The team conducted 28 interviews, used data from 1390 survey respondents, and digested 55 academic papers to deliver their final recommendations to the client.
Understanding the value that a GCP brings to the student experience, many Cambridge MBA alumni invited project teams, or recommended them, to their organisations.
David Wood, who did his GCP with Gympass, a fast-growing app which allows users to join classes in different gyms, tailoring their exercise plan to their needs, says:
“We worked with a client who had been through the Cambridge MBA and it was great to see the calibre of that individual in the workplace. Gympass asked us to help them to reach out to more people to get them doing activities that they really love – I think they saw the value in our project and they were really clear about that”
Students also joined Cambridge MBA alumni Josh Oppenheimer (MBA 2014) and Weijia Li (MBA 2014) CMO and COOs of Transformative, a startup focussing on predictive analytics in healthcare, working on a project to pivot the organisation and focus on a new commercial opportunity.
Near and far
One of the projects furthest from home was working with Lori, a logistics company based in Nairobi, Kenya, who enable the costs of logistics within Africa to be reduced. Raul Echegoyen says:
“Lori has been operating for one-and-a-half years and they have already reached a good level of revenue, but they are looking at a strategy to expand the business. They asked us to look into which parts of their operations they should improve in order to scale up because they want to expand into the whole Northeast Africa.”
Other projects this year were based in Switzerland (World Health Organization), the UK (Actis), India (Waterbridge Ventures), and China (Kylin Prime).
Challenging the norms
Some of the GCP teams took a different approach to usual, and the team working with Uber EMEA designed their project with an interim deliverable. Firas Marafie says:
“Although the GCP only requires one final presentation, we designed ours so that we would have an interim presentation with the client allowing us to pivot or make adjustments to ensure that our approach and process were optimised and aligned with the client’s expectations.”
A different approach was also taken by the Actis team, who encouraged by their academic supervisor Professor Paul Tracey, Professor of Innovation and Organisation, and Co-Director of the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation, to challenge their thinking and really understand how to measure impact across emerging markets.
Working with a diverse team
Isabel Siragusa and her team have been working at Carnegie Hall in New York on a project to solve an industry-wide problem in the arts; reducing churn on single ticket buys. She says:
“I was the only one with a performing arts background, but with a diverse background, both in work experience and culture, each member of our group attacked the problem from a different direction. If a few key changes can decrease churn even by a few percentage points, we can make a significant financial impact.”
Head of MBA Business Development and Projects, Sadia Cuthbert says:
The GCP is an important part of the Cambridge MBA programme, providing the opportunity for students to apply their skills, experience new sectors or roles, travel and build networks. And for the companies themselves, it offers a fresh perspective from a diverse and committed group of MBA students.