University students have plenty of opportunities to write academic texts and do research, but it is rather rare to work closely with a real business client.
Because of that reason, I was thoroughly intrigued by the Group Business Project, which is a project that Masters students can undertake instead of writing their Dissertations. It involves working in groups of 4-5 students, who act as marketing consultants for a company of their choice. My group chose to work with Millers’ Refillers, which is a zero-waste shop based in New Mills near Manchester – we were tasked with reviewing the shop’s current marketing activities and providing recommendations on how the shop could improve.
The project itself has taught me the importance of organizational skills and teamwork. With complex tasks such as extensive literature reviews, market analysis and the collection of primary data on customer shopping habits, we couldn’t have done without a clear action plan and reasonable deadlines. The project also taught us that in uncontrolled environments, backup plans are imperative because things rarely go as you have planned. We had to experiment a lot with the administration of our surveys, and if we had left that to the last minute, it could have been a real headache!
The most rewarding aspect of the project was definitely putting the marketing knowledge I have acquired throughout the course into practice. It was really satisfying to go through notes to underline important theories and frameworks and draw parallels between the different courses that I took. And most of all, it was amazing to see how all the skills and knowledge I have developed throughout the last year can really make a difference to a sustainable business and the community itself! After establishing a close rapport with the shop owner, staff and the customers, our motivation to do well grew even more.
I would definitely recommend students to take opportunities such as the Group Business Project. It may seem a bit daunting at first, but the learning experience is unparalleled. It will allow you to develop transferable communication, organization, and teamwork skills alongside a broader understanding of business operations and needs. As a graduate, you will also be able to demonstrate your experience in overcoming challenges, managing tight deadlines, and developing a rapport with various stakeholders. Furthermore, you will still get to write an academic piece on a chosen subject – an individual report that is shorter than the dissertation, but still lets you develop a deeper understanding of an area that interests you!