Two female students stand and chat at the business consultancy awards

Use your skills on client-led projects

Put your learning to work and provide consultancy and business solutions to local organisations

If you're joining the University as a business student, you can apply for an optional Business Consultancy module during your course – where you'll work for a client on a real brief.

You'll work in a team with 3-4 other students to bid for a business project from a local organisation. Your team will then work on this project with the organisation.

You'll liaise with your clients and get to work off-campus, getting valuable experience of working with key stakeholders and conducting tasks such as customer surveys and interviews.

By taking part in a Business Consultancy Project, you'll develop employability skills such as teamwork, project management and consultancy. You'll also learn to practically apply many of the business concepts you've studied during your degree and draw on the University's expertise in research.

Experience you'll get

Your project might include tasks such as:

  • Using marketing theory to develop social media strategies
  • Conducting competitor analysis to highlight gaps and opportunities in a business
  • Drafting a sustainable business plan based on your research
  • Conducting staff interviews to optimise internal business processes
  • Evaluating customer feedback to generate solutions

Employability skills you'll develop

During the project you'll develop skills that will increase your employability by:

  • Working as a team in a changing, uncertain and cross-cultural environment
  • Practising your communication and conflict management skills
  • Building relationships with a client and other stakeholders
  • Using creative problem-solving and project management methods
  • Successfully developing and managing a consultancy project
  • Critically applying business and management concepts to your client's situation
  • Developing sustainable recommendations (based on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals) with an outline implementation plan

Examples of past projects

You'll work with small-to-medium sized organisations. These could be from the private, public or third sector (such as charities, not-for-profits and community organisations).

Organisations that students have previously worked with include the following:

Past projects

Portico is the deep-water cargo port in Portsmouth, and has run several projects with BCP. Examples are:

  • Explore options for the business case for using green energy sources in the Port.
    Though not having technical skills in the energy sector, the team researched the options available from a business strategy perspective, and carried out an in-depth cost/benefit analysis. Proposing a series of options for the customer to take forward. The team highlighted the diversity of stakeholder perspectives to consider in this challenging task.
  • Investigate new sources of income for Portico's Customs Agency.
    The student team were faced with the challenge of exploring areas of growth in imports that the Customs Agency could take advantage of, given the changing regulations post Brexit. This was a complex project given the vast range of types of goods and countries of origin, and the students applied a structured and strategic approach to narrow down the opportunities and the associated income growth.

Alpus is an International group of companies carrying out property developments and providing training in construction management.

"Thank you very much for the excellent presentation that you made to Alpus Group today. You have demonstrated that you have understood the problem very well, in relation to this relatively new niche market of Commercial to Residential conversions.

You have identified the many competitors that my company has. You have identified some realistic actionable steps that will enable me to communicate with my chosen target market using the Avatar that you created.

You have appreciated that my marketing on Social Media needs to be focused on this particular niche, and you have also given me clear actionable steps to take, which I can implement quickly, and with a relatively low budget.

Well done for bringing your report and conclusions together in a short timescale, having done a lot of background research."

Feedback from Alan Edwards, Managing Director

The student team worked with Spark Community Space to develop a thorough marketing plan that would serve to increase the charity’s awareness in the local community.

The students used academic models to critically analyse Spark’s current business model and marketing strategy. The team carried out primary research (with over 100 survey responses) and secondary research to develop a clear understanding of the problem and generate viable solutions. The team researched the national and local charity sectors, Spark users, and potential new target audiences and funders.

As a result of the project, the charity launched a fundraising campaign “to get moving for 25 mins a day for 25 days in May” which integrated the use of the Strava and Spotify apps to increase donations.

“Working with the BCP student team brought me new ideas that I had not even considered. Hearing their perspectives really helped us to think about new ways of marketing. I asked them at the start to dream and think big - and they came up with a new campaign which we are now implementing”
Feedback from Becki Simmons, Trustee & Founder

DCR manufactures and sells alloy specialist cutting lathe technology, targeting the growing global market of vehicles fitted with alloy wheels. The student team’s project was to create solutions to improve the firm’s sustainability using the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Circular Economy concepts and propose enhancements to marketing.

The team adopted a Design Thinking approach characterised by the different stages of: empathise, define, conceive, prototype and test. As part of their research into the US market the team provided evidence that the client included in DCR’s pitch to venture capitalists and this directly contributed to DCR securing £500,000 in funding for expansion into the US market.

The team developed a number of practical recommendations including a revised mission statement, better web and social media marketing and ways to monitor customer experience.

“We have been very impressed with the level of detail that the students from our selected BCP team have been able to provide and the data they have been able to find. We have used the data in the reports gained by the students to fill in some gaps in our investor Pitch deck and as such we have had very positive feedback towards this. We see that working with the students from Portsmouth University BCP has enabled some great insights to our business and its future.”
Feedback from Tony Neville, Group Operations Manager

How does the Business Consultancy Project work?

After your introduction to the business, your client will introduce you to their key staff and stakeholders, and provide direction and guidance. But for most of your time you'll work as part of an independent team, managing your own priorities to achieve the project aims.

We encourage a sense of experimentation and innovation, and you'll learn key skills in seminars, workshops and lectures with support from your seminar tutor.

You’ll give your client regular updates on the project, and get feedback from them, other students and staff. You'll submit individual assessments and finish the project with a group presentation and written report. Clients won't mark or assess this presentation or report – but your work will be formally assessed by your academic tutors.

At the end of your project, you'll be invited to a celebratory event where you can network with representatives from the organisations who have participated with BCP and those who want to in the future.

Applying for the Business Consultancy module

The Business Consultancy Project is a core module on our BA (Hons) Business Management and Entrepreneurship course. You can also apply to do a Business Consultancy Project if you study one of the following degrees: