Getting to go abroad for an international consultancy project is an exciting part of many top Master’s in Management programs.
Students on the MSc in Management at CUHK Business School in Hong Kong get to experience and consult on projects in international businesses as part of a cutting-edge international capstone project.
Faculty believe it makes a real difference to students’ learning and sets them apart from the competition when it comes to entering the job market.
We spoke to Dr. John Lai, the MSc in Management program director and leader of the capstone course, to find out three reasons why students should choose a MiM program with an international consultancy project. Here’s what he said:
1. You get to experience business in an emerging market
At least in the case of the CUHK MiM program, students aren’t just going abroad for their consulting projects: they’re heading into exciting emerging markets.
This significantly changes the experience they have on the projects, as it presents a different set of problems for them to solve and gives them experience managing change.
It can even mean that they get access to a higher level of decision-making.
“Students work closely with C-suite executives on a live consultancy, who bring them up to speed on the latest trends and issues in the industry,” explains John.
“[Students then] present innovative and practical recommendations for the company based on their rigorous analysis to help solve some backlog issues.”
The CUHK MiM is a pioneer when it comes to offering an international consulting project in emerging markets. And this kind of consultancy experience is invaluable, particularly when it comes to launching a career in consultancy post-MiM.
2. You get to put your learning into practice
The other big advantage of having a MiM with an international consultancy project on your CV is that it shows your future employer that you can put your money where your mouth is when it comes to your skills.
“The International Capstone [on the CUHK program] is a grand finale to the MiM program which allows students to go beyond textbook knowledge and put theories into practice,” John agrees.
“Students test their understanding of business knowledge by utilizing it in a live consultancy and solidify their learning through their application of knowledge acquired from the earlier stages of the MiM program.”
As well as proving something to employers, this allows early-career businesspeople to prove their professional worth to themselves—John says that the school likes to think of the capstone as part of their commitment to give students opportunities for self-discovery and character-building.
3. You’ll develop cultural literacy
©Jacob Ammentorp Lund
Finally, as well as hard consulting skills and international business experience, an international consultancy project can give MiM students the soft skills it can take other businesspeople much longer to acquire in the workplace.
On the CUHK MiM, students are already part of an international class in one of the most exciting international cities, working and mingling with people from around the world in their MiM cohort and the wider business school ecosystem.
An international consultancy project enhances this experience, delivering finely-tuned intercultural management skills and understanding.
“Students will have the opportunity to work together and along with global executives from different backgrounds in developing cultural literacy, in turn enhancing their capabilities in making the necessary adjustments according to culture, values, and principles to collaborate seamlessly with individuals from all walks of life,” says John.
In today’s globalized business environment, where many of the most desirable employers have offices or work with clients around the world, this softer skillset is essential.
John also believes it gives students experience of taking criticism and coping with change on their projects.
With only a couple of weeks to address a pressing business problem, students have to learn not to take feedback from C-suite execs personally and to optimize their working styles towards the best outcome.
Really, it’s a question of speed, says John.
“The International Capstone speeds up the development of the students’ abilities in embracing new ideas, adapting to change, thinking out of the box and solving practical problems,” he explains.
“It paves the path for them to become innovative managers who challenge the status quo.”
Looking at the advantages of having an international consultancy project under your belt with a MiM, the question becomes not why should you do one—but why on earth wouldn’t you?