Behind the scenes of an MBA consultancy project at a top business school

The MBA program at NUS Business School is one of the leading MBAs in the world. But, what does one of their MBA consultancy projects involve and how does it benefit MBA students? We visited them to find out.

In short

An introduction to the NUS Business School MBA

The full-time MBA program at NUS Business School in Singapore is one of the leading MBAs in the world.

Forbes placed it at #6 in their two-year MBA ranking in 2019 and it reached #21 in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking in 2022. It has also been ranked as the #2 MBA in Asia by QS.

But, what are the secrets behind its success? The numbers behind the program are certainly impressive: 94% of its students receive a job offer within three months of graduation, with 83% accepting a role in those first three months. 

NUS MBA graduates also see an average salary increase of 149%. That’s one of the highest increases of any MBA program in the world, according to Financial Times data.

In terms of the course itself, NUS puts experiential learning at the heart of its MBA. In other words: “learning by doing.” And nowhere is that more evident than in the program’s consultancy project. A module that lasts 2-3 months, the consultancy project at NUS has been offered at more than 150 different companies across at least 12 different industries. 

One of those companies is grow platform, a business incubator part of the Bosch Group. We decided to visit them in Singapore to learn more about their partnership with NUS Business School.

What an MBA consultancy project at NUS looks like

Jochen Lorenz heads up the grow platform Innovation Hub in Singapore. They work with startups that originated from within Bosch, providing them with the help, support, and resources they need to scale their business.

As part of their MBA consultancy project, NUS MBA candidates work closely with grow platform’s network of startups. Because these students are working directly with companies during an important stage of their growth, Jochen says grow platform is very selective about who they choose for the project.

“We look into diversity – not only male or female – but also their background and culture,” he says. “We then select candidates based on their diversity, their domain, the skills they have, and most importantly, their attitude.” (01:46)

“We’re definitely picky, but at NUS so far the performance has been great,” he adds. (02:42)

Once grow platform has chosen the MBA students they would like to work with, the students set about applying the knowledge they’ve gained during the program to the challenges faced by grow platform’s entrepreneurs. Jochen says this rapid shift from theory to practice is a real eye-opener for some MBA students.

He shares, “In my case when I did my MBA, it was all theory. But this is real life, and it’s happening right now. Usually, when we have our kick-off meeting, students look at me and say, ‘How could we ever answer this question?’ My answer is: ‘Welcome to reality!’” (02:57)

NUS MBA students taking part in the consultancy project receive plenty of support. It’s a steep learning curve, but one that has immediate benefits once you reach the other side of it.

“We give them some coaching along the way with regards to methodologies that are maybe new to them,” says Jochen. “Then, once they come out of the project, they can see how they have impacted real business situations.” (03:19)

How an MBA consultancy project helps further your career

Taking part in a consultancy project during your MBA doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fixated on a career in consulting. In reality, the true value of a consulting project is the opportunity to apply the skills you’ve gained during your MBA to real-life business scenarios.

NUS alone has worked with 150 different companies across 12 different industries, so you can put your knowledge to use in pretty much any industry you choose. That’s a valuable bit of experience to have – no matter which industry you’re hoping to break into post-MBA.

The company (or companies) that you work with during your consulting project may also provide you with career opportunities further down the line. Jochen says it’s common for the Innovation Hub to retain MBA candidates even after their consultancy project has finished.

He confirms, “It also happens that we attract and incorporate some of the candidates into our teams. We may also bring them up to our Innovation Hub or find them some other positions within the company. We don’t let the brilliant people go – we let them stay!” (03:38)

An MBA consultancy project represents an invaluable opportunity for MBA students to apply their learnings from the program to real-life businesses. You might, for example, analyze business challenges, develop a business plan, and then communicate it to key stakeholders. The decisions you make and the advice you offer will have a direct impact on real businesses, so the stakes couldn’t be much higher.

It’s intensive, it’s challenging, and it’s very hands-on, but the rewards at the end of a consulting project are more than worth it.

If you want to learn more about MBA consultancy projects, feel free to reach out to one of our ambassadors.

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