Priyanjana Deb, Class of 2019 looks back on the Not-for-Profit Project, the first consultancy project on the Full-time MBA journey
"When I started planning my MBA, Alliance Manchester Business School stood out with its focus towards learning-by-doing: a practice which kicks off with the Not-for-Profit (NFP) Project, just a week into the programme. Students get a unique opportunity to work with a UK-based not-for-profit client and deliver a live consulting project as a part of a cross-skilled team. As business leaders of tomorrow, the project helped us get a first-hand perception of the third sector in the United Kingdom, an experience which is sure to influence our mindset towards the importance of corporate social responsibility in the future. It also gives a great opportunity for international students to give back to their host community, with the guidance of the business school.
"I was fortunate to be part of a dynamic team which had a range of skills from marketing, finance and entrepreneurship to engineering and technology. Our client, Prof. Alexander Heazell of St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester is the Clinical Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre in Manchester and also the lead clinician in the Rainbow Clinic – a group of specialist clinics which provide women who have previously had a stillbirth with support and clinical expertise for subsequent births.
"Our project was to create a business plan for the sustainable expansion of the clinic and its operations across the UK. Needless to say, it was an intimidating mission, but with the help of Dr. Mike Arundale our supervisor, we moved steadily towards achieving our end objective one iteration at a time. For someone like me, who had previous experience consulting clients to adopt Agile in their workspace, it was refreshing to see the same principles of iterative delivery being applied to our NFP Project as well.
"Needless to say, it was not all smooth and easy – the complexity of the case, the sensitivity that the topic required, and the challenges of making connections between our findings and recommendations demanded our time, effort and patience. But this is where our real learning came from. Personally, I realised that the three-month project was a steep learning curve; I didn't only learn from the classes and our supervisor, but more so from my other team members – Danzhang, Alex, Jon, and Siaga. The success of the project did not come from an individual, but from the collective efforts of the team. Even when we disagreed with each other, we created something new and better out of the creative dissonance process.
"The NFP Project is not just an academic exercise, it is a cultural immersion: working with four other people from contrasting cultures, and learning organically from each other and from our esteemed academics in a safe yet creative space. The highs and lows of this experience will stay with me and give me the self-awareness and confidence to deal with larger challenges in the future."
"Participating in the NFP project with students from Alliance Manchester Business School was a really positive experience. They brought their skills and knowledge from many walks of business and industry and used them to help us develop our clinical service. The students were great to engage with and produced a high-quality report which has helped us to plan our next twelve months work." - Lead clinician Prof. Alex Heazell