At the start of 2020, our team of three decided to join forces for our Master Thesis, as we all wanted to work on the Group Consulting Project (GCP) and thought our individual skillsets complemented each other. The GCP was the obvious choice for us, as we saw it as an opportunity to put into practice all the key learnings from the different modules and skillsets we acquired and developed along our Part-time MBA journey. Also, since the GCP has to be conducted in groups, it was an excellent opportunity for us to gain more valuable teamwork experience and work on an exciting topic which reflects ongoing global trends.
Our first priority was to find a partner company. Through personal contacts, we managed to partner with a global asset management firm that showed great interest in our project proposal. As we had pitched to provide analysis and corresponding solutions to industry and company-relevant pain points, they showed great interest in our project proposal. We began the project by creating a project plan, clarifying the scope, setting task priorities, and detailing all project deliverables that should be delivered to our client. We also interviewed key internal stakeholders for a better understanding of the pain points and contacted external experts to exchange ideas and thoughts to develop our solutions.
The GCP was an opportunity for us to make a real impact as we could bring added value to a business. As it is conducted in the same way a typical consulting firm would, it gave us the platform to engage and work with our partnered client in a real-world setting. We were motivated and determined to deliver excellent and executable results to our clients. The different skillsets, industry experiences, and perspectives of each team member created a perfect talent mix that proved useful across the different project phases, an important factor that gave us the confidence to take up this challenge.
Despite the excellent team, client, and interesting project we had on our hands, we faced multiple challenges during the GCP. First, working full-time while conducting such a client-facing project required appropriate planning in advance. Second, the global pandemic added to the logistical and planning challenges, especially when organising interviews as we had to settle for a virtual approach in most cases. Third, since we were dependent on the input of multiple stakeholders, we had to be flexible and adapt to their schedules or find alternative ways of attaining similar information to proceed with the analysis. Nevertheless, it was a great learning experience for the team because we managed to navigate through these challenges and achieved an outcome that satisfied both the client and our team’s goals.
Communication was the key. Conducting a project remotely made constant communication amongst team members even more critical. We arranged regular virtual meetings during weekdays to discuss and align on the weekly progress and prioritised in-person meetings on weekends whenever possible to discuss ideas and upcoming tasks. We also stayed connected with both our project supervisors from the university and our client to ensure that all parties were updated on the project status and aligned to the direction we were headed to.
The GCP was a great experience for all of us. Not only did we have the opportunity to connect and engage with top management within the client company, but we were also able to extend our network with various stakeholders and experts within the industry. Some of us gained insights into a new industry while others deepened their knowledge. Most importantly, our team successfully met the client’s expectations and provided them with valuable insights and solutions to the key pain points, bringing great satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment to the team. It was certainly an exciting yet challenging experience, but the learnings and knowledge gained made it all worth it. The GCP shall remain a great experience and milestone throughout our professional and personal lives.