Here at Westminster, we are redefining education by actively incorporating work-based learning across the entire university. This initiative aligns with the Employability and Education objectives within the wider Being Westminster Strategy, offering employability-led learning and allowing our students to engage with businesses and industry whilst completing their degree!
A successful example of this is the Consumer Insights module, led by Maria Bortnovskaya, a lecturer in Marketing and management. This gave 164 students from three courses, Digital Marketing BA, International Marketing BA and Marketing Communications BA the opportunity to collaborate with six external businesses.
Maria Bortnovskaya, leader of the Consumer Insights module said: “This opportunity allows students to explore real-life challenge marketing practitioners face, develop critical and analytical thinking and apply insights to design efficient marketing activities. Apart from that, our students benefit from enhancing their CVs, making industry contacts and expanding their network.”
During the module, students worked on ‘live projects’ with clients from each of the six businesses involved; as a result, real-life impacts on consumer behaviour, such as the cost-of-living crisis, had to be considered. Students designed recommendations for businesses using theory learnt in class to explain how these impacts can be addressed through marketing activities. They then presented their briefs to the clients and received feedback.
The student feedback received about the implementation of work-based learning in the Consumer Insights module really underscores the success of this approach, with many thoroughly enjoying the module and finding it incredibly useful to put their knowledge into practice. Some students have kindly shared their experience on the module with us:
Rebekka Justus, 2nd year student at Digital Marketing BA: “Working with a real client has been an invaluable experience. This practical exposure has not only deepened my understanding of marketing concepts but has also allowed me to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios. Engaging with a real client has provided a unique perspective, enhancing my problem-solving skills and fostering a sense of responsibility in delivering results. Overall, this opportunity has been instrumental in bridging the gap between academic learning and practical application, preparing me for the challenges of the professional marketing landscape. I would most definitely recommend this and do it myself again.”
Liana Ibrahimi, 2nd year student at Digital Marketing BA: “I found the client pitch project to be an exhilarating and enlightening experience. Engaging with real-life scenarios was particularly enjoyable and valuable, as this allowed me to present in front of a business client, pitching informative solutions and generating recommendations to help better their company. This experience not only provided me with insights into the business world but also equipped me with practical skills and knowledge that will be beneficial in my future endeavours.”
Blair Morton, 2nd year Digital Marketing BA student, added “Engaging with real-life clients was an invaluable experience. It not only enriched my learning, but also bridged the gap between academia and the practical business environment.”
Dr Richard Berry the Head School of Management and Marketing Westminster Business School shared his thoughts about the initiative: “Through engagement with the industry, we provide students with authentic structured opportunities for learning. They are designed, monitored, and evaluated in partnership with employers, which allows students to be able to address current workplace needs. By actively embedding a variety of initiatives into the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum at our School, we support students in enhancing their employability skills as part of their studies, and in engaging with the latest practices in the industry”.
The module was supported by WeNetwork, which is Westminster’s entrepreneurial network that facilitates many opportunities, programmes and events to help students learn transferable enterprise and employability skills. The team at WeNetwork helped to connect students to the companies which made this module possible!
Jennie Baptiste, Industry Engagement Officer at Westminster Enterprise Network added: “WeNetwork is the University’s enterprise network supporting students and graduates to become self-employed, work freelance or start their own business through masterclasses, funding and competitions. WeNetwork also works with courses to bring entrepreneurs into the classroom to work with students on real-world projects”
The success of the Consumer Insights module is a testament to how the implementation of work-based learning is working to enhance our student’s experience at Westminster. Westminster Business School will continue to provide valuable opportunities for students to work alongside companies and apply their knowledge to real projects in the future to better prepare students for the climate they will be working in!
If you would like to learn more about WeNetwork and the opportunities in which they facilitate click here
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