The Challenges

On the MBA, you will put your learning to the test in four practical challenges. 

Business Management Challenge

This is a business simulation which gives you the chance to apply your learning to the complex organisational issues involved in developing and deploying a ‘go-to-market’ strategy.

Running intensively over four days, this Challenge tests your ability to think strategically when analysing complex problems and developing solutions. It drives you to think holistically about business issues, and integrates the functional learnings of the first 10 weeks of the programme – Finance, Micro-economics, Marketing and Operations. And it provides yet another opportunity to practise your team-working, deliberative and presentational skills.

You work in executive teams of four to six students, and your challenge is to manage a business through an eighteen month period. Each team is given the initial investment capital required, and you can use this money to build a factory, open a sales offices, and design brands or products.

At the end of your first year of trading, each team has to prepare an investment pitch and present a convincing case to the board of the holding company in order to acquire further funding to grow the business. For this you will need to deliver a succinct oral presentation of your business plan. You then continue trading for two further quarters, giving you time to act upon the finance decisions and make any additional changes.

The simulation is oriented around strategic corporate management, and addresses business areas such as marketing, product development, sales, human resource management, financial analysis, accounting, manufacturing and quality management. It therefore requires you to pull together your learning from across the various modules of the programme.

Entrepreneurial Challenge

This challenge allows you to apply your learning to start a business of your own choosing.

Working in teams, you are required to produce a business development plan for your new company. You have to research the market, develop a go-to-market strategy, and specify how the business will be organised and financed in the future.

The process requires you to take an integrated view of all aspects of a business; it drives you to think holistically in the identification and exploitation of business opportunities, and integrate the learnings of the first 15 weeks of the programme – Finance, Economics, Marketing, Operations and Strategy.

This action-learning challenge is engineered to stress-test your cognitive conduct – your critical-creative-integrative thinking. It also provides yet another opportunity to practise your team-working, deliberative and presentational skills, and generates a powerful opportunity for some serious reflective experiential learning that will enhance your conduct.

Consultancy Challenge

Building on your experience of the Entrepreneurial Challenge, this challenge is designed to increase your effectiveness in a consultancy context. Whether, in the end, you are a client or a consultant, the learning is a powerful asset.

The Challenge involves you working in groups, as a team of consultants, to analyse a problem or situation for a client organisation and develop implementable recommendations. These client organisations are typically medium-sized companies that are looking for support to address a wide range of business issues. Your will need to use many of the skills you have already acquired to develop and present your recommendations and action plan to your client.

The module aims to help you understand consultancy as a process of influence, oriented towards exploring opportunities, solving problems and implementing action. As you come to understand each of these processes better in class, and then go through them for real, you rapidly enhance your ability to work collaboratively on complex problems.

In the first part of the module you are introduced to a 'consultancy tool-kit'; a set of tools and skills that will enable you to address complexity and deliver targeted outcomes. We focus on you understanding the consultant mindset and gaining important consulting skills; you will examine the principles of effective consultancy, the barriers to successful intervention and how consultants manage risk. Well-armed, you then engage with the client!

Once again this action-learning challenge stress tests your cognitive and collaborative conduct, and generates a substantial opportunity for powerful experiential learning.

Corporate Challenge

A business-based consulting project or internship taking place over two months in the summer.

The Corporate Challenge builds on the previous challenges. This final consulting project is the climax of the MBA; it pulls together all the learning of the year, and sometimes leads directly to offers of employment.

It is a tough challenge, and a hugely developmental experience.

The clients and forms of project vary from year to year as the projects revolve around real issues faced by our collaborating companies at the time.

You will be expected to undertake research, and compile your findings and recommendations into a formal client report. The client will pay all reasonable expenses incurred by your team that are jointly agreed by both parties

We strive to ensure that all students have the opportunity to undertake their Corporate Challenge in London.
Accommodation costs in London are higher than in Lancaster – we will assist you with this cost difference, and in the securing of suitable accommodation in the capital.