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What I Learned From My MBA Consulting Project With British Gas

Nupur Sikka had plenty of business experience before starting her MBA. But doing a live consulting project with British Gas opened her eyes to new ways of thinking

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By  Jasmine Lee-Zogbessou

Mon Nov 11 2019

BusinessBecause
New business innovations can often resemble quirky fashion trends: here today, gone tomorrow. Keeping up with the pace of change requires a real-time understanding of business. That’s why you can benefit from doing live consulting projects during your MBA.

Nupur Sikka had six years of experience in corporate law, and launched her own software development startup in India, before she joined the MBA at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) in the UK.

She pursued an MBA to accelerate her goal of moving into a strategy consulting role, eager to gain an overall perspective of business.

For the final class of the LUMS MBA, students take part in a six-week Corporate Challenge, working in groups on live consulting projects for selected organizations. Nupur was matched with British Gas and worked with three teammates in London to deliver solutions for the company.

Here’s what she learned:


Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork

At the start of the project, Nupur and her team were tasked with addressing the real issues British Gas faces today: what other industries were achieving, how the company could leverage other startup businesses, and how it could incorporate business solutions to drive growth.

The team would then share its progress with British Gas every week and present their findings.

Despite her experience, Nupur was one of the youngest in the group and she was unfamiliar with the work of her colleagues from other sectors and with real-time data.

Instead of fixating on the team’s differences however, Nupur says that combining everyone’s skills and levels of experience, as well as working with the senior corporate professionals from British Gas, proved to be a successful solution.

“I’ve never been led by someone before,” she says. “I mostly lead people. So, I saw a very different perspective of doing things.”

Nupur has already taken that on board when communicating with her business partner, who currently lives in the US. She says that, in the past, their different viewpoints meant they would often clash. Now, she’s able to appreciate his way of thinking rather than see it as a clash of ideas.

“You learn to collaborate, discuss, and appreciate other people’s ideas more. That’s what I feel has changed within me,” she says.


Testing out new ideas

Nupur and her team were also tasked with an insurance project for British Gas. They were initially against conducting a consumer survey to determine the type of products consumers would want from the company.

They quickly rectified their mistake once they realized they were missing this vital piece of information. This learning process has helped to develop Nupur’s mindfulness moving forward in her career.

“I am now not just focused on what the client wants but what the consumer will be looking for,” she says.

“Everything is becoming customer-centric so having that perspective is very important. It helped me to develop a wider picture of working practices and the organization.”

Nupur also took part in business management and entrepreneurship challenges during her MBA, where she worked through case studies and developed an overall picture of getting into business.

The MBA experience as a whole, she says, is preparing her for the strategy consulting role she wants in the future.

“You can’t be 100% prepared for anything, but the MBA gives you an idea and perspective to take on when you enter into the real world,” she says. “During your MBA, you can be wild with your ideas—think, experiment, and test them.”

Student Reviews

Lancaster University Management School

Jesse

Verified

28/09/2018

An exceptional educational establishment in the North West of England.

This university has been a fantastic life experience as well as a great academic one. I first decided to go to Lancaster University Management School due to its exceptional business education facilities and have not been disappointed. I recommend the university to anybody that wants to put themselves in a strong position for a career upon graduation.

Student

Verified

24/11/2022

On Campus

Student Ambassador

Overall, the instruction is decent, however it also depends on your department. The people are friendly, in my opinion. The sporting events are enjoyable, and there is a good sense of community. Although the city is quite remote, it is nonetheless attractive.

Student

Verified

3/08/2020

Lancaster University honest review

The education system in the university is excellent especially that of the Management School. The campus has great facilities for students to study and live in a relaxed manner. The students can engage in various activities through the socities.

Student

Verified

17/06/2020

Great opportunities to think beyond

Lancaster University provides a lot of good opportunities to think beyond.There Entrepreneurship in residence program helps students to meet and seek guidance about entrepreneurship and the challenges.Their Work in progress program help to fabricate your startup idea and further to pitch to the potential investors.Apart from that there are lot of programs like Enactus, guest lectures and guidance from seniors to help and shape your career needs. They provide lot of opportunities to shape up your employability skills.

Student

Verified

9/10/2020

On Campus

A top university in the UK for management science!

If you’re interested in management science studies, Lancaster University is one of the top universities in the UK. The faculty is renowned and have a sterling reputation for research in management science. Candidates specifically interested in Forecasting would find the Centre for Marketing Analytics and Forecasting especially relevant to their field. Besides, the ROI is good as the overall cost compared to other universities is less.

Student

Verified

10/04/2019

Great university for academia – not great for 'entrepreneurs'

Please keep in mind that my review is nuanced by my expectations of an Entrepreneurship degree :) I came to Lancaster University because it was one of the top universities to have a course in Entrepreneurship. After 4 years in this degree, my most valuable experience has been my placement and not the actual course. The course is heavily focused on impractical elements, which is a bit odd for an Entrepreneurship degree. There are some modules that involve hands-on work but the faculty support for such things has not been great. My course also involved a lot of teamwork which has been fantastic and really prepared me when it comes to dealing with the diversity of opinions. In terms of career prospects, the management school does A LOT to host events, workshops and support sessions to help you build up your employability skills. Although, I wish there was more acknowledgement of SMEs/startups as a viable career option. The entrepreneurship team which is meant to support budding businesses is really stepping up their game with tons of guest speakers, workshops and pitching opportunities. The location is a concern if you're not in STEM, Law or Accounting and Finance. Business requires networking with the broader community. However, for Lancaster students, the best bet is a trip down to Manchester or London. On the flip side, living in Lancaster is much cheaper! Overall, if the purpose of your university experience is to receive top academic education and have great facilities at your disposal, Lancaster is a great choice. But if you want to be in business and entrepreneurship, I would look elsewhere.