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    Harper Students Solve Business Problems

    Posted 3 May 2005

    Students at Harper Adams University College have been praised by business advisors after taking part in an exciting project to help real businesses to tackle their problems. Final year Business students at Harper Adams studying Management Consulting have been putting theory into practice by finding solutions to the real-world problems experienced by businesses.

    The students formed themselves into small work teams, setting out their strengths and experience in the form of a group capability statement. Giving themselves names such as ‘Extreme Consulting’, and ‘IMPACT’, they set out to manage and perform a project for a company in their own area of interest.

    John Marchaselli, of Business Link, has been extremely pleased with the students’ work. “The projects give us an opportunity to extend the services we provide at a very popular, cost-only basis. Business Link customers have been extremely happy with the work produced so far and I have been astonished by the quality and depth of output delivered by the students.’

    Nadine Evans, who runs the module at Harper Adams, adds: “Our students gain a fantastic amount from this module. Project management, team working, negotiation and consulting practice skills are all taught and applied by students to real and current problems within their own disciplines. Whilst our students are the key beneficiaries, businesses with problems which they do not have either the time or money to address, find themselves pulled towards a fast and innovative resolution.”

    Previous students have worked with companies as diverse as farm shops and housing businesses, advising on marketing and segmentation, organisation and communication. This year’s subjects are even more diverse with marketing, engineering, dairy farm and home diversification projects, and even one for a Chamber of Trade where service offerings and their prices are being researched, and recommendations given towards their delivery and marketing. The seven pieces of work this year are based in Shropshire and Wales.

    The benefit of this type of project to student experience and to the richness of university life cannot be overstated. Tori Brown, currently working on a diversification project, has no doubt of the benefits presented by the challenge. “The module is really useful to us as it gives us the opportunity to put principles into practice whilst gaining experience of different sizes and types of organisation.”

    Harper Adams is well experienced in project work at both staff and student level and this module is only one of those providing benefit to both students and outside agencies. As well as animals, crops and agriculture the university college is involved in work on food, and land use in the form of leisure and estate management as well as diversification activities. Specific Business Management and Marketing courses are a fairly recent and successful addition to the portfolio of offerings. Students, therefore, have a wide range of skills and work within an environment that facilitates their application towards business benefit.

    The college is always happy to consider projects and can normally perform them on a cost-only or cost-effective basis. Should your company feel that it could benefit from this type of activity, please contact Nadine Evans at the college on 01952 820280.

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