Consulting in a socially distanced setting

By Lawrence Lloyd-Jones

Bachelor of Commerce student Lawrence Lloyd-Jones takes us inside the Global Management Consulting subject, with a twist.

Global Management Consulting is an intensive subject that typically involves students in teams of five being dispatched to host companies in countries all over the world. These teams tackle business problems or challenges determined by a host company, which could include analysing market characteristics, commercialising new products, or even changing how a business operates. However, in response to government’s COVID-19 border restrictions, the subject was conducted remotely in the 2020/21 Summer period. This presented unique benefits and challenges in the subject, compared to the previous format involving international travel and attending the in-company period on-site.

My team’s client was the CSIRO, and our project involved developing a commercialisation strategy for a proprietary technology with potential applications across many industries. My team were required to perform market research and find the most appropriate and lucrative use-case, as well as a business model to realise the CSIRO’s goals.

BCom Student, Lawrence Lloyd-Jones.

Given the remote subject format, I expected my experience to be less interactive, with little communication amongst team members. Fortunately, all of us were enthusiastic, present, and available. We designated a six-hour stretch each day to work together, and using the online platform ‘Discord’, we were able to easily hop into live chat sessions where we could get assistance and make decisions. For students considering the subject in its remote form, establishing expectations of availability right at the beginning of the project is a must. The use of platforms like Discord or Microsoft Teams is key for sharing information easily.

Completing the project remotely was also valuable for developing our organisational discipline and efficiency. We learnt how to make the best use of client meetings by preparing questions in advance that tested our hypotheses and guided us on how to proceed. As a result, we usually came away from meetings closer to our final solution. While our research shed light on new information that impacted the project scope, we improved our responsiveness to these changing circumstances. This is critical in workplace situations; and it was invaluable to develop this skill in a realistic, time-pressured project.

Completing Global Management Consulting in a remote format provided a great professional experience. However, it was not how students have previously described the international, on-site experience. Part of the subject’s appeal was in travelling overseas with fellow students and undertaking an intense project while feeling the wonder of being a new environment. As this is currently not possible, the remote offering may be less intense given the flexibility it offers. Regardless, the subject will improve students’ remote working abilities. The remote delivery introduces new elements to the subject and does not compromise on the intellectual challenge. If you are looking for a thought-provoking and comprehensive real-life project, then Global Management Consulting is a great choice.

Many thanks to Alison White of the University of Queensland and Simon Puttick of the CSIRO, who were incredibly welcoming and helpful. Thank you to the CSIRO for allowing my team to work on such an interesting and impactful project.

Are you a business interested in having a student team consult on a project for you?Please contact us to discuss how we can work together here.

Are you in the Bachelor of Commerce and interested in a Management Consulting subject?

Find more information here.