We started the New Year with a Finance exam and went straight into the second semester. New subjects such as consultancy, strategic management, negotiations and financial strategy were on our timetable.
Our consultancy module consists of workshops and a real consultancy project! We are consulting clients about their business issues and experiencing the real life of a consult. The clients selected their own teams of MBA students, according to skill sets they needed for their business. To get a well-rounded view on a business issue, most clients put their teams together by selecting students with different backgrounds and strengths.
A week into our second semester we received the consultancy brief and met the client for the first time. We prepared the meeting diligently and looked company’s products and services up. We brought ourselves very quickly up to speed on what is required for a consultancy project. We wrote our first consultancy brief outlining our scope of work, timeline and deliverables and are ready to start our consultancy project as soon as the brief is signed off.
In strategic management, we hit the ground running immediately. We were given an international footwear company with revenues of $238 million and net earnings of $25 million. In the business simulation game we are competing against other footwear companies managed by our colleagues. We have to manage our production capacities in Asia Pacific and North America, hedge foreign exchange rate movements, import footwear into Europe, Africa and Latin America, plan our marketing activities and raise funding through an IPO. Every other week we have to complete a quiz. We also have to present our strategic business plan to our lecturers. In class we are discussing strategic theories and case studies and pitching business ideas to our tutors.
In financial strategy, we started off with reading financial newspapers and looking at the key financial ratios to access a business performance. We looked at the capital structure of businesses, working capital management, discussed the Modigliani–Miller theorem and calculated the relative proportion of debt and equity.
In negotiation, we identified key influencing skills and discussed how best to start a negotiation and manage existing business relationships. In order to train our personal negotiation and influencing skills, we were given real life scenarios and had to negotiate business deals as buyers and sellers.
Even though the pace is fast, we are all keeping up and are looking forward to the next month of teaching before we go on our study trip to China and Vietnam.
About the author:
Cristina Schoenborn is a MBA student at Westminster Business School graduating in September 2014.
Before starting her MBA, Cristina worked nearly 10 years in the translation industry. She has a master’s degree is in Spanish, Portuguese and German translation.
After the MBA, Cristina would like to use her cross cultural and language skills to influence positively global and international business relationships.
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