About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3129-3136
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1700

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

BUSINESS SCHOOL MSC CONSULTANCY PROJECTS: STUDENTS SUPPORTING BUSINESS OR BUSINESS SUPPORTING STUDENTS?

J. Rosborough, A. Hiller, A. Smith

Nottingham Trent University (UNITED KINGDOM)
There has been a growing recognition of the need for management education to embed the ‘practice’ of management in curricula, and more effectively manage the relationships between organisations and business schools (Thorpe and Rawlinson, 2013). Many business schools have introduced consultancy projects into courses as a way of bringing this practical experience into the curriculum, and in some cases they are being ‘scaled up’ to replace dissertations or other major projects. At Master’s level across Europe, The Rotterdam School of Management (2013) find that 29% of final projects take the form of a field project, normally via an internship or consultancy project.

All MSc at NBS undertake a 40 credit point module in their final term replacing the dissertation. The objective is to provide a learning experience which allows students to consolidate knowledge and skills in a format which provides ‘real world’ action learning. Students work in pre-selected small groups with an academic supervisor, and work directly with an organization to provide recommendations on a set business problem. In this study, the MSc Marketing students were selected as a point of focus.

A number of strands of literature in business education which can be broadly classified in one of three broad domains: firstly, the connection of marketing education to practice, or the disconnect between theory and practice (Fortuin and Bush, 2010; Stringfellow et al., 2006); secondly, the skills required for marketing practice and developed in students by such projects (Ardley and Taylor, 2010; Gray et al., 2007)and thirdly, the role specifically for consultancy projects as a form of action learning in achieving both of these aims; that is, connecting theory to practice and developing an appropriate student skill set.

In relation to the use of consultancy projects themselves, Lamond (1995) has noted that further research is required to investigate the difficulties faced by students undertaking consultancy projects, and whether such projects actually enhance the learning experience. Further studies have been undertaken by Culpin and Scott (2012), Camarero et al. (2009), Heriot et al. (2007), and Thomas and Busby (2003) who respectively note a number of issues worthy of further exploration as follows: a lack of development of soft skills; complexity in projects presenting a barrier to student learning; a lack of student self-management across the whole cohort. The research presented fills some of these gaps and reflects specifically on whether students see the projects instrumentally or intrinsically. Moreover, from an employer perspective there is very little research on the theory into practice from the business perspective.

Interviews with students and employers have identified that theory does play a role in influencing business practice. Additionally employers see the benefits as being beyond the recommendations, value is also derived from giving back through advising students particularly with the softer skills. Students also highlight softer skills as being absent from their learning and describe the consultancy experience as providing a ‘bridge between the classroom and the workplace’. Through their consultancy experience students also recognized the importance of softer skills. The presentation will highlight further benefits and share the antecedents to improving university and business relationships.
@InProceedings{ROSBOROUGH2018BUS,
author = {Rosborough, J. and Hiller, A. and Smith, A.},
title = {BUSINESS SCHOOL MSC CONSULTANCY PROJECTS: STUDENTS SUPPORTING BUSINESS OR BUSINESS SUPPORTING STUDENTS?},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.1700},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.1700},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {3129-3136}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Rosborough AU - A. Hiller AU - A. Smith
TI - BUSINESS SCHOOL MSC CONSULTANCY PROJECTS: STUDENTS SUPPORTING BUSINESS OR BUSINESS SUPPORTING STUDENTS?
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.1700
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 3129
EP - 3136
ER -
J. Rosborough, A. Hiller, A. Smith (2018) BUSINESS SCHOOL MSC CONSULTANCY PROJECTS: STUDENTS SUPPORTING BUSINESS OR BUSINESS SUPPORTING STUDENTS?, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 3129-3136.
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