At EDHEC Business School in France, Francisco Suescum and his team are working on a marketing strategy for Europe’s largest space satellite manufacturer.
None of them have prior experience in the industry, but that doesn’t matter. “We are trained to adapt the knowledge we've gained through the MBA, and apply it within diverse settings," Francisco explains.
Francisco’s is just one of a plethora of consulting projects underway at EDHEC, with MBA students working on real projects for real firms, ranging from small startups to major multinational companies.
In recent years, MBA students at EDHEC have had the opportunity to work on a digitization project for Airbus Helicopters, develop a marketplace entry strategy for a fintech startup, and create a franchising model for a major NGO. Past and current sponsors of EDHEC Global MBA consulting projects included Google, L’Oréal, Microsoft and Schneider Electric as well as startups and SMEs—the goal is to find a diverse mix of clients and projects.
"The consulting project is a crucial part of the MBA," says Francisco, who worked in the hospitality, insurance, and construction sectors before business school. “Of course, theory is important, but at the end of the day we will work for real-life companies, and students need to feel at ease navigating unfamiliar industries."
Consulting projects conclude the MBA program at EDHEC, easing students' transition from their academic studies back into the labor market. While around half of the cohort choose to do consulting projects, candidates can also undertake corporate internships, carry out research projects, or create plans for new businesses initiatives.
EDHEC’s consulting projects run full-time through the months of May and June. Beforehand, partner companies pitch their consulting projects and a competitive bidding process takes place among students. The types of projects on offer to students vary in terms of industry, company size, and project topic, providing many options to choose from.
Lisa Nezam sources and manages EDHEC Business School's consulting projects for students. "EDHEC's students stand out to companies because of our cohorts' diversity and level of experience," Lisa explains.
Students had, on average, eight years of work experience in the class of 2017, and 36 different nationalities were represented in the cohort. Lisa says that students' level of experience "means that they are quickly operational and require little day-to-day support from companies." This explains the projects' high satisfaction rate per year, and the school's many repeat clients.
Clément Guerrucci is undertaking his consulting project at Amadeus—the world’s leading Spanish provider of IT services for the global travel and tourism industry—providing recommendations on business strategy. "The extent of the responsibility we have been given shows how confident Amadeus is in their partnership with EDHEC Business School," Clément says.
For Clément, the consulting project provides the opportunity to not only apply concepts learned in the program within a concrete business setting, but also form valuable networks within industries.
"The most valuable lessons I've learned through this project are to do with leadership. I've learned what it means to find your leadership style, how to coach, and negotiate differences within a team" Clément concludes.
EDHEC's MBA candidates leverage the skills acquired and the networks gained through consulting projects to advance their careers around the globe—on average, around 59% of graduates are employed outside their home country. MBA candidates also transition to diverse industries, with almost a third of the cohort working in the technology sector; around a fifth taking up roles in finance; and the rest securing jobs in consulting, manufacturing, healthcare and energy.