The Group Consulting Project (GCP) is one of the highlights of the MFin programme for many of our students, providing the chance to work on a real-life project with a client of their choice. So what’s it all about?
What is the GCP?
Taking place during the Easter break, this four-week project sees students work in teams of five to six to carry out research and analysis for a financial organisation.
Students are given a list of project proposals to choose from, with the option to rank their top five preferences (they can also choose to source their own client). Each team is guided by an academic supervisor who’ll provide advice and support, in preparation for a final presentation to the host company.
What type of projects can you expect to work on?
Host organisations can be from any area of finance – past clients have ranged from Barclays to Blackrock, Citibank to Standard & Poor, and some have taken place overseas (examples have included China, Hong Kong, Portugal, Abu Dhabi and Mongolia).
Projects have spanned everything from the Chinese private equity market to M&A valuation, real estate analysis to the impact of Basel III. In recent years, students have worked with Barclays to investigate how holding large cash balances offshore can affect growth and returns within the pharmaceutical and technology industries.
Another team looked into new app ideas to improve the customer experience at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, while another group worked with Mistubishi UFJ Financial Group to explore the role banks will play in supporting the future of healthcare in Africa.
Every GCP is designed to give students the chance to have real-world impact, and they often do; a number of reports from past projects have been published by their host companies, including Capital Generation Partners, BNY Mellon and Invesco; others have appeared in publications including The Financial Times.
What’s the aim of the project?
The GCP is designed to help students put the knowledge and skills learned on the MFin into practice. “Students deploy the analytical tools they’ve picked up on the programme to come up with a solution, guidance or insights to address the client’s problems,” says Marwa Hammam, Executive Director of the MFin. “It’s an opportunity for students to hone their problem-solving skills and analytical capabilities, and to almost pave the way for their return into industry after the MFin completes.
“It’s one of the main hands-on projects we do, and we find students really enjoy the practical aspect of the project,” she says. “They get to work with real-life financial institutions and other companies, building connections in the industry.”
How can it help with career opportunities?
Our students develop multiple other skills while working on the project – from team-working and networking to presenting and managing stakeholders, as well as the ability to carry out projects under time and resource constraints. All of these can help prepare them for life after the MFin and prove a valuable addition to the CV.
Working with clients can also open doors, says Rowan O’Dalby, Employer Engagement Finance Lead at CJBS. “Although securing a job isn’t the objective, relationships built through the project have often resulted in summer internships and full-time career opportunities,” she says. “Unlike an interview, the client gets to see the students over a prolonged period of time, understanding how they interact with their colleagues in a professional environment and the work they’re capable of.”
But it’s not just about getting a job – it’s also a chance to develop personally. “Being able to work with real-life companies and scenarios and witnessing the value they can add as a team is hugely rewarding, and the learning curve is often incredibly steep,” says O’Dalby. “The GCP is often considered one of the most enjoyable and useful aspects of the MFin, and it’s a core part of our programme here.”