Take off for international consultancies as Bayes MBA students support plans for growth

EMBA students return to Portugal to assist start-ups as part of International Consultancy Week.

Bayes Business School students packed their bags to support European business projects as part of International Consultancy Week.

The 34 Executive MBA students travelled to Lisbon to work for seven start-ups for a week, representing companies in a variety of industries, including finance, education, social media, and ecology. Projects focused on providing consultancy advice on marketing strategies, entry to new markets, and business plans.

During the pandemic, students and teachers had been unable to engage in this popular module, with virtual ‘tours’ provided as an alternative to real life trips.

Led by Dr Joanna Zaleska, with support of their Course Director Professor Stefan Haefliger and MBA Dean Professor Stephen Thomas, the students worked with: The Inventors, developers of educational experiences to inspire children in engineering, arts, and creativity, which wishes to establish themselves in the UK; CV Riser, whichprovides CV Analytics and CV screening capabilities to businesses and want to support pre-seed start-up by creating a social media strategy; and Doutor Finanças, a successful financial intermediary firm, which wants to develop a business plan to support an expansion project to Italy with its mortgage brokerage service.

The other companies were: Do-zero, whose mission is to reduce packaging waste and promote sustainability and wants to focus on a business development plan to add services to its online store; UshowMe, an interactive live stream and Video-On-Demand platform for live music shows, which needs a comprehensive business plan with a focus on marketing; Creatura, a digital marketing agency planning to enter UK and German market; and PackIOT, a digital solutions business which focuses on machine learning and artificial intelligence, and wants to expand to other areas of manufacturing through a form of merger or acquisition.

Students in Portugal

Regarding the interactions with students, António Moreira, from The Inventors, said: “The data collection was very robust and gave us a strong input regarding the market competitive landscape and the geographical targeting. We will have this work in consideration when we expand our business to the UK.”

Silvano Júnior, Co-founder & CEO from CV Riser, added: “The most important conclusions came from the interviews the students performed with employees and potential customers – the product vision was spot on. We have already started to collect more feedback from potential customers and are looking for a HR founder."

Fernando Côrte-Real, from DoutorFinanças said: Some of the outputs of the report helped us validate our approach, as well as fine-tune and develop new proposals. We are now considering adjusting our customer experience.”

Fernando Pacheco, from PackIOT, added: “The project team was able to thoroughly understand our challenges and put in interesting comments and recommendations for internal reflection. The students' intellectual capacity, professional background, and curiosity meant that they were able to quickly absorb in-depth information. They were very capable and prepared to understand our context.”

One of the participating students was Polina Arienti, who is in the final year of her EMBA. She described International Consultancy Week as “a golden trove” which provided valuable experience.

We all came home with new ideas having had the incredible experience of supporting young, promising start-ups. After a year of reduced in-person interaction, International Consultancy Week also gave us the chance to spend valuable time to build lasting relationships within our cohort.

“In one week, our efforts made a difference for our clients ventures. We discussed project plans, deconstructed and rebuilt them using MBA frameworks, negotiated scenarios, and worked through errors, successes and misjudgments until we could present our findings with confidence.”

Professor Haefliger, Programme Director of the Executive MBA, said: "The vibe and pulse of central Lisbon was palpable every day in our work as students shuttled between co-working spaces, temporary offices, and conference facilities. The urgency of the consultancy challenges and the appreciation from the entrepreneurs turned this trip into a lasting experience for everyone.”

Dr Zaleska, Module Leader, said: “Hiring a consultant can be a real asset to start-ups. Our students were able to help guide these businesses, with different students specialising in various industries and areas. The pressures that small business owners face is intense, and they often find themselves having to play roles in finance, HR, sales, and marketing all at once and very often having no time to do it all. These field trips and international modules expose students to new things and boost their creativity.”


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