Post-grad project is win-win for both sides
Getting research expertise or finding the time to carry out the required research within any busy organisation is often challenging, as it is both time consuming and resource intensive. But it needn’t be. Increasingly, businesses are learning that their local university students can help, and in turn provide students with a valuable opportunity to practice business skills. Experiential projects allow degree students to undertake a pre-agreed challenge, gain valuable experience and a chance to flex their research and commercial muscles. At the same time the business involved gets fresh insights and access to new research skills. The projects are typically a credit bearing part of the degree and therefore highly structured and supported by university staff at each step, with outputs including written and verbal reports. The IoD East Midlands region discovered this for themselves during summer, when they challenged a team of MSc Marketing students from Nottingham Business School, part of Nottingham Trent University, to immerse themselves in a project. They challenged the student team to design a communication strategy for IoD members.
Cari Grice, Regional Events Manager at the IoD said the project was a great success. “We thoroughly enjoyed working with our group of four students throughout the project. They appraised our current marketing and communications strategies and explored different and better ways we could communicate with members to increase engagement. “At all times it was very professional. We have taken on board many of the points they raised and have already put in place some of the new strategies they suggested, and will take the remainder of their conclusions into serious consideration.”
Cari was equally delighted that the exercise proved to be not time consuming as far as the IoD was concerned. “We run the IoD office on a small staff and it is hard to find time to engage in anything that doesn’t impact directly on the here and now. However, the students needed very little input from us after the initial meeting. I would highly recommend getting in touch with your local university to see if you can gain a fresh insight into an area of your business you feel needs updating.” Angela Scott, Experiential Learning Coordinator at Nottingham Business School said: “Our students tell us that the project is one of their favourite modules, and it’s a been a pleasure to include IoD East Midlands as one of this year’s project clients. “The challenge they set had clear parameters but allowed our students to be creative. I’m delighted they’re one of the 95 per cent of project clients who tell us that they plan to take forward recommendations the students have made”.
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