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International Consulting Experience Puts Manchester MBAs In High Demand

The International Business Consultancy Project is dubbed the ‘jewel in the crown of the MBA’ at Alliance Manchester Business School, with students working on global projects

An MBA can accelerate your career progression, develop your skillset, and introduce you to a wider global network. It’s a valuable qualification for people looking to break into the international business world too. If that’s your goal, one key component you should look for in an MBA program is the option to work abroad.

At Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS), MBA students take part in the International Business Consultancy Project (IBP), dubbed the ‘jewel in the crown of the MBA’, where they work in teams on a project brief for a real-life international client.

It’s a high-pressure, high-risk challenge with students given access to top industry figures at leading companies, the opportunity to amass up to 900 hours of experience in consultancy work, and the chance to potentially secure post-MBA job offers.

Frederico Nazareth, Sarah Rosencrans, and Cesar Llerena Castro worked on a project for smart technology company SteamaCo, spending time in India and Myanmar, for their IBP experience. SteamaCo is a venture-backed technology company headquartered at Manchester Science Park, one of the UK's leading science and technology campuses, with satellite offices in Kenya.

Working in a team of six, the MBA students say the IBP was the perfect way to put everything they learned during the MBA into practice.

How does the IBP work?

The IBP puts students in a real-life business scenario, encouraging them to work independently from their supervisors, and developing their perspectives of their futures post-MBA.

They are placed into culturally and socially diverse groups of six and allotted three-months in a consultancy role, working with market-dominant clients that have close ties to the university. Companies MBA students have worked with in the past includes Audi, Tesco, and Balfour Beatty. 32eddfafc1c52418cc55b3e030f3e0628ee27604.png

Students aren’t dropped into the deep end from the outset, as the IBP runs near the end of the program, Frederico, a Brazilian full-time MBA alum from AMBS, explains. Before they begin the IBP, students take part in two other business simulation projects: Not-For-Profit Consultancy and Commercial Business Consultancy. Each project grows in complexity and allows students to continue to build on their developing skillset, as well as continually having real-time interactions with clients. 

Frederico says the MBA first taught him how to implement business theories in real-time, manage stakeholder expectations, and analyze using the ‘Data, Dollar and Deals’ doctrine. So, the pieces are all put into place before students embark on the IBP, meaning they can fuse together what they have learned. 

Students work with their allocated client up until their final recommendation, pitching their findings from the 12-week period.

A key requirement of the module is that each group spends time working outside of the UK, in order to develop a more international business awareness, as well as handling practicalities around budget allocations, visas, and even arranging their schedules with the client.

Working with SteamaCo

SteamaCo has raised $10.5 million in funding and operates in 10 different countries to date. The company is currently working towards the wider implementation of its smart meter technology and cloud software, which runs on less than 100KB of communications data per meter per month.

Sarah, an American, now working as a strategy manager at American Express in London, explains that the project was all about helping SteamaCo expand its reach. The team investigated the market landscape and drew up a plan with SteamaCo around how to navigate their growth strategy. 81572b38b0864e053a49419551a29d38fbf5d8a2.png

One student on the team, Haadi Mand, now works for SteamaCo full-time as a customer success and compliance manager.

Managing the project in real-time was challenging, Sarah admits, even though she learned from mistakes she made. She now understands it’s better to take a more active stance; to not be afraid of making changes to your plans if there’s a problem, rather than focusing solely on the original outcome of the stated deliverables.

“We altered our project and deliverables when we realized a different approach would better provide what they needed to grow as a company,” she says.

Benefits of international consulting experience

When comparing his practical understanding at the beginning of the MBA to how he performed throughout the IBP process, Frederico says his mindset is markedly sharper.

Working in a group forced him to adjust to different dynamics; his team came from America, Australia, Brazil, and Peru, and therefore had differing ideas and business styles. They had also been prepared for this during the MBA program, as their cohort alone represented 30 different nationalities.

“The progress you make in terms of responsibility and complexity is amazing,” Frederico says. “Working in such a diverse group without an official authority you really learn how to work together, when to build on an argument to sell an idea to the group, and when to step back and see the situation from the other group members’ perspectives.” 00eb11997eef442f6689cc95ba5dbd8522684692.png

A lot of the team’s work was based in Manchester, where SteamaCo is based, but it’s the international aspect of the project which differentiates it from some consulting projects at other schools.

For Cesar, conducting field research in India was the highlight of the IBP. “It was here we challenged ourselves in a new business environment and applied what we learned from previous MBA consultancy projects,” he says.

The IBP experience as a whole, he says, wasn’t just beneficial from an academic point-of-view, but also socially, as the team of MBA students became close as both coworkers and friends.

“We all took the time to listen, discuss, and understand each other’s opinions,” he says, “which strengthened our capabilities and contributed to the project’s success.”

Student Reviews

Alliance Manchester Business School




On Campus

The course structure

The course is well structured and organised effectively. Every subject in the field of international business is covered in the course module. The lectures are of excellent quality and are simple to comprehend.   ·      The lecturers are also very knowledgeable about their subjects, quite thorough, and very helpful when it comes to answering questions and giving additional information on their subject.   ·      Students can easily access the assignment, lectures, and seminar content thanks to the blackboard technology. Students also benefit greatly from the reading materials that are posted on the blackboard.




On Campus

Practical Business Experience

3 live consulting projects, Non-for-Profit consulting, Commercial Business Consulting and International Business Consulting projects within the programme, provide us with a great opportunity to exposure to the real business world.




Quality education and student support system

What I love about The University of Manchester is the fact that, alongside with the excellent education it provides, it also takes care of the well being of the students and supports them throughout the year.




Endless networking opportunities!

I would 100% recommend this university! Throughout my 4 years there I received endless guidance and support from the amazing staff; both professors and student support teams. A particular highlight was the insightful guest lectures, networking employability events and career meetings, these significantly helped in preparing me for my future career.




Fantastic University!

AMBS provides excellent teaching and outstanding facilities, both of which combine to make a great learning experience. The teaching staff make sure we have plenty of resources to aid our learning, and always make sure we are making the most of our studies. The business building itself is the most impressive on campus, and provides plenty of places in which we can work.




Great facilities and support

It is a great university that provides extra support for its students. The teachers are very helpful and willing to support you and the environment is just great. It offers good facilities, study spaces and workshops that can help in your experience as a student.




New building, innovative teaching methods

The staff is very well prepared and pays a lot of attention to the student. The building is new and full of updated facilities. Teachers propose intriguing learning methods and there are plenty of international students to learn from.




It's an amazing University!

I think that AMBS is among the most well rounded universities in the UK. The cultural diversity among the students as well as the faculty is what catches my attention the most. The campus is very new and beautiful and has all kinds of facilities.




Quality and QS World Ranking

AMBS has the diverse set of batch where the students get the opportunity to mingle with the students coming from different parts of the world. The group of faculty is also very diverse having different skill set. I'd always recommend it for studying masters in business analytics.