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Cass EMBAs work with Argentinean start-ups and SMEs

Ninth annual EMBA consultancy trip to Argentina

On July 26th, 58 Cass Executive MBA students travelled to Buenos Aires for a week long consultancy field trip.

Small teams of students partnered with 12 different companies. Each team was given a project objective, helping their organisation to develop its business strategy, product or service concepts for local customers.

At the companies, students collected data and analyzed the customers, markets or internal organisation. They shared their initial findings in a formal presentation to senior management at their company's local office on the last day of the trip. Now back in the UK, the groups are working to complete their full consultancy reports within five weeks, to send to the companies.

The consultancy projects are always practically-oriented. The teams use reliable qualitative and quantitative research techniques to investigate and resolve the project objective.

The organisations the students worked with included four start-ups: Modesta (Eco textiles), Gholo (textiles for children), Napias (Clown noses) and ThinkAnimal (products for pets).

These small businesses needed the Cass team to bring specific conceptual, research and analytical skills helpful to new venues.

For example the team working with Gholo brought their expertise to a new business pitch, successfully winning the business on the spot. The new contract doubled Gholo's business.

Cass EMBA student Glenn Poulter commented:

"Working with the founders of Gholo, a baby accessory start up business was a wonderful experience. Combining fundamental knowledge learned throughout our MBA course with our own individual business expertise was challenging but incredibly rewarding. We integrated Gholo's raw entrepreneurial drive and passion with a financial framework that allowed them a controled growth strategy."

His colleague Riaz Kanani said:

"The trip to Argentina allowed us a rare opportunity to see a start-up in a completely different environment to London. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, not least the exhilaration from pulling together a model to allow the company to close their biggest deal yet. The week gave us the ability to use the Cass EMBA in the real world whilst also seeing firsthand the challenges facing a start-up business in Argentina. I met many amazing people who I plan to stay in contact with and the trip is something I will remember for the rest of my life."

Cass Senior Lecturer Dr Joanna Zaleska led the Buenos Aires trip with Cass EMBA Course Director Professor Steve Thomas.

Dr Zaleska commented:

"The labour market requires MBA graduates with enhanced entrepreneurship skills who can think on their feet and be innovative in a global economic environment.  The research process in the real world is complex. Whether working for start-ups or bigger established organisations, MBA students are expected to demonstrate project management skills such as planning, organising, securing, and managing resources.  They may find that they will be constrained by different factors and they have to be creative, show initiative and be flexible. Innovation as well as adaptability in approach to their international assignment was essential."

Teams of EMBA students also worked with Odebrecht (Engineering/ Construction), Digital Express (IT), Social Snack (Internet Communications), Openfarma (Retail Pharmaceutical), SMS (Accounting Consultancy), Sudocean (Maritime Logistics), Ecotren (Tourism) and Azzurlaq (Eco textiles).

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