Excited to be back at Warwick Business School, over the recent weekend, once more helping to mentor MBA students as part of their ‘Case Study Saturday’. The School puts a lot of effort into this, inviting consultants with varied backgrounds to contribute on the spot coaching and assessment of the proposals and presentations developed by groups of students.
It’s always a fantastic inspiration, and also not a little scary, to see such a concentrated amount of talent and determination in one room. Students are thrown together in groups - usually they are all total strangers - and given a case study that makes most pitch briefs I’ve received in the real world look rather thin on detail by comparison. By mid-afternoon we expect them to have firm recommendations, backed up with reasoning, and to be able to sell these to a bunch of hard-nosed operators who (I guess) will average 30 years’ experience between them. Most of the MBA people we saw are in their early 20s. They were universally lovely. Considering that most of them don’t speak English as a first language, assimilating what they were given to work with in the time available is quite remarkable – let alone coming up with some decent insights on top of that.
Of course, the majority of business people manage perfectly good careers without going anywhere near a world-class Business School like Warwick. That didn’t stop me being somewhat saddened to see so little evidence of British students in attendance. We do love to celebrate the Alan Sugar, Richard Branson and Karren Brady stories in this country – people who Did It Their Own Way rather than following a classic business education/corporate route. Arguably, there is virtue in both.