Inspiring Futures - Shubha Tobias

Inspiring Futures engages groups of students in live consultancy projects which allow them to explore and practice entrepreneurial behaviours and skills. Shubha Tobias undertook a project for a local entrepreneur as part of the stage one module: Entrepreneurial Thought and Action, which is studied by 300 Plymouth Business School students.

What insight into business challenges did you gain?

The project was interesting. We were trying to find a solution to a potentially problematic situation. We undertook a secondary research consultancy project using the internet. Our client wanted us to look into existing patents for a product in different countries. We now have a better understanding about the process of bringing a product to market. 

What transferable skills have you gained which will enhance your future employability?

  • communication 
  • teamwork 
  • time management 
  • project management.

We’ve developed our professional communication skills. Talking to our external client really helped us understand how to communicate in a business environment and that emails have to be professional. We kept the client updated about our progress throughout the project. I think I’ve gained confidence to be able to talk professionally to clients, having an open dialog with them: sending them emails, calling them, producing professional reports and presentations. I think these are skills all employers will look for. 

We got on well as a team and we communicated well with each other. Our motivation was quite high as we wanted the best grade possible. When someone had completed something, we shared it with the group so that we were kept up-to-date with the project’s progress. We arranged to meet regularly which helped and met up in the library quite a few times. We made sure we had plenty of time to practice the presentation and create the video. Communication was a key thing to make sure that everyone knew what they had to do.

We’ve learnt some project management skills. We used a Gantt chart to help us monitor the project’s tasks, allocate responsibility and keep track of project deadlines. This was really helpful to keep us on schedule. There were five of us in our group so we split up the areas of research between us. A friend and I researched Europe and the others researched the UK and USA. We then brought our research together to create a PowerPoint presentation and report for the client. 

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

I think the timing was the only thing. We wasted a week or so at the start so had to catch up to make sure the project was successful. We should have organised ourselves better at the start.

What will you take away from this experience?

The experience of working with a real client on a live project has been good and I think I’ll feel more confident talking to business people in the future. It was enjoyable working in a team and I think I’ve become more aware of what I bring to a team, including my ability to take the lead when necessary. The end product was the highlight. We achieved our goal: producing a good report and presentation. It was good to get some professional experience and work with a real life client. It was quite fun!