Presentation on theme: "Implementation and challenges of commercial student led consultancy projects at level H Background information I have been advising final year students."— Presentation transcript:
Implementation and challenges of commercial student led consultancy projects at level H Background information I have been advising final year students engaged in Consultancy Projects since BABS,BATS,BALM, and BARM and BAHM since I wanted to ensure that our graduates had the requisite business and commercial skills that would make them stand out and enhance their careers. The Consultancy Project pre dates and mirrors ‘Fusion’ in that it straddles education, research and professional practice.
Implementation and challenges of commercial student led consultancy projects at level H In a recent article in the Sunday Times about graduate employment the value of courses with a vocational focus was highlighted ‘Companies want more than just academic qualifications. The key attributes they identify as important and in short supply are communication skills, an ability to work in a team and an understanding of business, often gained through work experience’ There is no doubt that the sandwich year helps to prepare finalists for the Consultancy Project at level H
Key benefits of Consultancy Project Improves employment prospects Improves ability to become a senior manager Retail alumni – 10 Chief Execs/M.D’s, and 26 Directors plus numerous Heads of Marketing, Heads of Buying, etc. Develops leadership and team working skills Improves consultancy skills Enhances presentation skills Builds personal networks
Implementation and challenges of commercial student led consultancy projects at level H Make sure you have selected the companies, and the key contact well before the start of the autumn term. It is preferable to target alumni as they are familiar with BU and may well have engaged in a consultancy project themselves so understand the nature of the challenges faced by the finalists. Wherever possible select a well known company who has the resources to support the intervention and may well hire graduates later in the year
Critical success factors Selecting the right companies at the outset, preferably blue chip/well known companies Guiding the clients on the strategic nature of the projects Compatibility of the personalities involved in each team and ability to handle conflict Focus on the client’s needs Awareness of underlying problems Regular contact with external and internal client Expect and demand outstanding interventions As a tutor deal with any problems and resolve them quickly and effectively
Critical success factors Determination, creativity, teamwork, research skills, quantitative/qualitative analysis Awareness of constraints Establishing of priorities Awareness of the client’s intentions Honesty in specifying what can be delivered Encourage groups to select a strong team leader
Essential reading Levi, D - Group Dynamics for teams 2 nd edition, Sage publications Wickham, P.A – Management Consulting, FT publishing
Characteristics of successful teams Hackman’s 5 factors for successful teams Clear direction and goals to focus efforts Good leadership to manage internal/external relations Projects should be complex and challenging requiring the integrated efforts of team members Necessary resources to perform tasks. Client/tutor Supportive environment. Organizations must allocate sufficient power and authority to allow team members to make and implement decisions
Characteristics of successful teams Levi and Slem(1995) 4 factors for team success Evaluation and rewards: teams need fair and objective criteria for evaluation Social relations: teams need social skills so they can resolve internal conflicts and function smoothly Projects should be complex and challenging requiring the integrated efforts of team members Task characteristics: teams need clear direction and goals, tasks that are appropriate for teamwork, and work that is challenging and important Leadership: leaders need to facilitate team interactions and provide assistance when problems occur
Common features of successful teams Teams have clear goals that provide direction and motivation Team leaders structure tasks and facilitate group processes Their organizations provide supportive contexts for the teams to grow Teams are held mutually accountable for the success of their teams and rewarded for their efforts
Motivation and social loafing The potential of teamwork is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts However, working together can cause a decrease in motivation due to social loafing, which is the reduction of individual contributions when people work in groups The ‘sucker effect’ (Johnson & Johnson, 1997) is when good performers slack off in teams because they do not want others to take advantage of them When work teams are given challenging tasks, when they are rewarded for group success yet have identifiable individual performance indicators, and when there is commitment to the team, social loafing does not occur
Motivation and social loafing A balance of individual and team based rewards is necessary to encourage both a commitment to the team and an incentive for individual performance. (Thompson, 2004) The more people value membership in the group, the more motivated they are to perform. Cohesive groups are less likely to experience social loafing (Karau & Williams, 1997) Highly cohesive groups have more commitment to their tasks and perform better (Wech, Mossholder, Steel, & Bennett, 1998)
Cooperation and Competition When individuals or teams in an organization compete against each other, changes occur that prevent the team from being successful (Tjosvold, 1995) A successful team has members who work together to reach a common goal. When team members compete against one another, individual goals can conflict with the team goal. Team members then distrust one another because they are uncertain of one another’s motives. Over time, internal competition reduces communication within the team.
Cooperation and Competition Groups that work cooperatively have less tension, fewer conflicts, and fewer verbal confrontations (Tjosvold, 1995) Team members sometimes go along with the team leader’s solution to avoid disagreements and conflict. This can lead to poor decisions and the formation of sub groups. Team members should speak up in meetings and communicate their real feelings to avoid future fragmentation.
Consultancy Projects Feedback Finalist feedback ‘I feel that the Consultancy Project has and will prove to be the most worthwhile and important piece of work that I have undertaken this year. I believe that it is the commercial experience that this project provides which sets the Bournemouth retail degree apart from others’
Consultancy Projects Feedback Finalist feedback ‘Overall the Consultancy Project has played an invaluable part in my development this year and I believe that the experience will stand me in good stead to leave University and move into an excellent graduate position.’
Consultancy Projects Feedback Finalist feedback ‘Effectively the Consultancy Project is what separates the Retail Management degree at Bournemouth from other degrees and is highly respected amongst employers’
Consultancy Project Group report50% Group presentation50%
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Question time I am happy to answer any questions