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Practical work aids learning and employability

By Ross Haining - Posted on 22 July 2020

Ross Haining talks about his experience of the MSc in Business Analysis and Consulting and how its practical elements helped him gain real career experience.

Prior to starting the MSc at Strathclyde, I was studying International Business Management at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. In the final year of my undergraduate degree there was a module on Business Analysis. This gave me my first insight into what a career in Management Consulting or Business Analysis might look like. After I graduated, I worked for a freelance consultant in Edinburgh over the summer who introduced me to the profession. This brief introduction was all that I needed to confirm that consultancy was a career I wanted to pursue.

After deciding that this was my chosen career path I looked into applying to graduate schemes for some of the larger firms such as KPMG, PWC, EY, Deloitte (the 'Big Four’) and potentially every other firm in the UK (the 'big forty’). It was apparent that consultancy graduate programmes are notoriously competitive, and it was clear that most candidates also had similar degrees and ‘relevant’ work experience. Thus, I believed that something extra was needed to differentiate myself from the competitive field and that led me to the MSc in Business Analysis and Consulting (BAC) at Strathclyde. Strathclyde Business School has a reputation for being a leading school in Scotland, UK and further afield – therefore it was an easy choice.

The MSc in Business Analysis and Consulting is a great opportunity for anyone who is looking to explore a career in Business Analysis, Operational Research, Consulting and wider afield. The programme was well structured and delivered throughout both academic semesters. Modules presented students with an opportunity to improve both technically analytical ‘hard’ and consulting ‘soft’ skills. I personally enjoyed the module ‘Becoming an Effective Business Analyst (BEBA)’ module which involved solving an external client's problem using the ‘hard’ technical elements we had learned and then presenting our solutions back using ‘soft’ consulting skills.

BEBA was a unique programme running through both semesters and into the summer dissertation. It gave students an opportunity to work with others on the course under occasionally pressurised situations – much like in real life. Students also had an opportunity to win academic prizes internally throughout the year, one of which was the ‘Valentia partners prize’ in BEBA - I was delighted the team I was working with managed to perform well enough to achieve a solution for the external client and claim the award.

The external summer project was again a unique opportunity to work with one of the many external clients that Strathclyde has links with. The project I selected was a start-up spirits company that required help with their business strategy. This was a great experience to adapt ‘hard and ‘soft’ elements I had been taught throughout the course individually (under the supervision of a supervisor) to a client. This gave students a unique opportunity to be given ‘real’ responsibility and actually solve a ‘real life’ problem for a client.

If someone is thinking about this course, then I'd say go ahead and apply: they should apply if they are serious about getting the best possible introduction to a career in Business Analysis, Operational Research, Consulting and more.

One piece of advice for anyone considering applying to the programme is to enjoy the MSc - it passes very quickly and is a unique place where every student, regardless of whether they have just completed an undergrad or come out of 10 years in industry, has something to offer and it will improve your employability skills.

To find out more about the MSc in Business Analysis and Consulting please click here



Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114
 sbs-adviser@strath.ac.uk 

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119
 sbs.admissions@strath.ac.uk

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Strathclyde Business School
University of Strathclyde
199 Cathedral Street
Glasgow
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