Our Full-time MBA students arrive in Manchester and as soon as induction is over, they are deep into their first consultancy project, the not-for-profit project.
This project usually sits with local not for profit organisations which gives our students the opportunity to get to know the north west of the UK. It is also a great way to start the MBA programme, learning to work together in teams and a first taster of the real-life consultancy element of the programme.
One of this year’s client was Cheshire West and Chester council. Will Pearson who is climate change strategy manager for the council shared the benefits of hosting an MBA group for the not-for-profit consultancy project.
Will explained his role for Cheshire West and Chester Council, “A climate emergency had been declared on behalf of the borough, as we want to become carbon neutral by 2045. By doing this we need to work with a large amount of stake holders across the borough as well as a wide range of sectors including energy, housing, transport, land use and recycling so we can encourage everyone to drive down these emissions as much as possible. My responsibility is bringing all these sectors and people together to reduce those emissions as rapidly as possible.”
Based on data collected for the council, they found the biggest challenges facing Cheshire West and Chester council are the emissions from industry. Will said, “this is because we are home to one of the UKs biggest industrial clusters which is based around Ellesmere Port and the M56. This area is economically valuable and supplies a huge amount of the UKs petroleum products which contribute to the current state of the economy. The Council also identified that emissions from agriculture were of particular interest due to the area’s proud agricultural heritage and extensive dairy farming.”
The project for the MBA students was to look at anaerobic digestion (AD) within agriculture. The students looked at how the council could support the process of helping farmers in Cheshire retain their business and transition to a new net zero economy.
Jose Antonio Razzeto was one of the students involved in the project. He said, “the objective of the project was to research the feasibility of installing anaerobic digestions plants on dairy farms in Chester. With dairy cattle being one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions, this would help with the council’s goal of transitioning to a new net zero economy.”
Jose said for him the most enjoyable part of the project was the field work. “Our team visited the farms in Chester and learnt first-hand how the AD process works. I had the opportunity to talk to several farmers and learnt more about the challenges to migrate into a sustainable way of farming. From the field work we realised just how much our project will have an impact in the future of sustainable farming, giving us extra motivation to put together the best possible recommendations for our client.”
Cheshire West and Chester council have been part of the not-for-profit projects with our MBA students for 2 years. Our students have worked between the council and Mersey Forest. The first project was a hugely positive experience which is why the client decided to use our MBA students again. The students research and findings are always so valuable to the council which is why they continued to work with them.
Will continued, “this project has given us a piece of research that we can really take action on. I believe it will allow us to engage with farmers and prove the case for the installation of the plants. We would not be in this position without the help of the students and their project. It will have a real material impact, helping with the roll out of the plants, hopefully making us a trail blazer.”
Both the students and the client enjoyed working on the project. For the client they said they enjoy being able to work with the students and at a fast pace. “The students were always proactive, talking to stakeholders and got stuck into the meat of the problem. The different skill set they brought to the table was apparent, also the diversity of the team contributed to a really different set of perspectives that we wouldn’t have otherwise had.”
Will found the whole experience positive and the students attentive, always meeting their needs. “The project was done virtually with regards to meetings and the final presentation was done in person. This format worked well for both us and the students.”
Overall, Will said the enthusiasm and pace that the Alliance Manchester Business School MBA students worked was incredible and he would highly recommend working with a project team to other businesses.