Inspiring Futures engages groups of students in live consultancy projects, which allow them to explore and practice entrepreneurial behaviours and skills. While studying the undergraduate BSc (Hons) Business Management degree at The University of Plymouth, Shubha Tobias undertook a project for a local entrepreneur as part of her module.
Learning through challenging tasks
During the project, Shubha learnt a lot from working collaboratively in a team, finding a solution to a challenging problem. Using the resources available to them, Shubha and her teammates undertook secondary research to identify existing patents for a product globally. By undertaking this research project, Shubha developed a deeper understanding of the process behind bringing a product to market.
“Talking to our external client really helped us understand how to communicate in a business environment. We kept the client updated about our progress throughout the project. I’ve gained confidence to be able to talk professionally to clients: having an open dialog with them, sending emails, calling them, and producing professional reports and presentations.”
What has Shubha gained from working with industry?
- An awareness of how crucial communication and teamwork are in a business environment, in particular when seeking a resolution to an issue.
- Key professional skills, including developing time management strategies, to ensure that tasks are completed to a given deadline.
- A unique opportunity to gain project management experience, working on a real, client-given brief.
Personal and professional growth
Through working slightly outside of her comfort zone, Shubha was able to develop key skills, which have equipped her for life after graduation. Working in a professional capacity, to a very high standard, gave Shubha greater confidence, motivation and self-esteem as she entered the world of work.
“The experience of working with a real client on a live project has been good and I feel more confident about talking to business people in the future. It was really enjoyable working in a team and I’ve become more aware of what I bring to a team, including my ability to take the lead when necessary.”
Finding solutions to challenges in a supportive environment
Shubha reflected that, at the beginning of the project her team hadn’t appreciated the level of organisation required, so fell behind where they needed to be in order to meet the deadline. To ensure the project was successful, the team pulled together, arranged regular team meetings to discuss the project’s progress, delegated tasks based on each member’s strengths, collaborated on a PowerPoint presentation and allotted time to practice their presentation together, ensuring a smooth and professional delivery to the client.
“We used a Gantt chart to help us monitor the project’s tasks, allocate responsibilities and keep track of project deadlines. This was really helpful to keep us on schedule. The end product was the highlight of the project. We achieved our goal: producing a professional report and an engaging presentation.”