In early February this year, a diverse group of 147 postgraduate students from Mumbai’s Universal Business School (UBS), the first green business school in India which is endorsed by 60 CEO’s, came up with an idea to voluntarily provide pro bono strategic consulting services to local businesses reeling under COVID 19 impact.
According to a recent survey by data firm Dun and Bradstreet more than 82% of businesses have suffered a negative impact on account of COVID-19 and 70% expect it will take almost a year for demand to recover to pre-pandemic levels. “Taking cue from the current business environment, students took the pro-bono approach which is an extension of our Consulting Aptitude Project (CAP), a prominent feature of all PG Programs at UBS. It is a model that ensures immersive learning through hands-on experience,” said Prof. Vijay Tandon – Director PGDM (NBA Accredited) & International Programs. Normally CAP is a six week intensive paid project and a mandatory credit based activity for all masters level students.
Namak- a multicuisine restaurant in Karjat near Mumbai was struggling to keep pace with the dwindling footfalls. It was one of the 25 local businesses spanning across sectors like healthcare, agriculture, education, logistics, hardware, apparels that these students approached between Feb-March 2021 as a part of this consulting project. Other clients in the hospitality space namely Sweta residency was provided with consultancy on financial strategies to estimate revenue and cost for the new projects and Nalin’s travels were provided with consulting on tour packages, customer engagement, customer retention, promotional strategies, ease of booking and strategies to increase the revenue and visibility. Kleening bee a company based in Jaipur, Rajasthan was provided with consulting services on how to gain superior consumer insights, competitive landscape, and marketing campaigns that were aimed at increasing sales.
Consulting guide constructed a multidisciplinary team of 5-6 members each from engineering, humanities, science, management and other undergraduate backgrounds for each such project.
“Diverse and dynamic team with a wide range of backgrounds and skill sets worked cohesively to solve real-world business problems for identified clients,” added Prof Tandon.
Consultation involved aspects such as scaling up of business, increasing digital presence, market research for exploring market opportunities, campaigns for launching new products, business process improvement, increasing the customer base through acquisition, customer empathy mapping, service improvement, brand communication and so on.
“Strategic solutions have helped Namak restaurant slowly but steadily increase its footfall. The students also helped to identify cost areas and scope to build differentiation thus improving the overall health of the business,” said Prof Tandon.
“As consulting projects link theory to practice, they enhance pedagogical experiences that engage students by complementing their classroom interactions. They empower them with an ability to solve real business problems, acquire experience of real value and demonstrate professional attitude,” said Tarun Anand, Founder and Chairman, UBS.