A group of international students studying at Leicester Castle Business School at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been given the chance to work on placements at local companies as part of the #DMUworks programme.
A total of 67 students have been paired with a mixture of external employers and internal DMU departments for the Executive Company Project (ECP), where they will spend three months on a research project applying theories learnt in the classroom to real world challenges faced by businesses in order to build their workplace experience and skills.
Students had the chance to meet their employers at an event held at the Innovation Centre on Friday. Both students and employers were given advice and guidance before a networking lunch was held to give an opportunity for questions and relationship building.
Global MBA and Project Management (MSc) students from countries such as India, China and Thailand are taking part in the programme, with placements starting on 5 February 2018.
Apeksha Masrani from India, who is studying Global MBA, will be able to explore international marketing whilst working at e-commerce art business Whoartnow.
She said: “I’m working in the marketing department so I’m going to get insights into the Australian market because that’s my specification. So I’ll be learning all the demographics, trends and demands in the Australian market with regards to art.”
Steve Barradell from Whoartnow is looking forward to welcoming Apeksha and believes the programme will give benefits to both students and businesses.
“For us it’s about having some detailed research into new markets,” he explained. “We used students in a project similar to this last year which worked really well for us and it’s supporting students into the workplace which is also a nice angle for us.
“The students will be able to understand what the real world looks like in the commercial space. There’s a wide gap between academia and commercial work and this is helping to bridge it.
“We’re a Leicester business so it’s good to be working with DMU. There’s a hotbed of talent coming out of universities so we see this as a route to getting them in front of us.”
Kai Yeung from Hong Kong will also be working at Whoartnow with a focus on the American market, she thinks the placement will provide a valuable link between academic studies and real-life work.
Kai said: “We will work in the office and get an insight into the business world. We can also apply the skills and knowledge we’ve got at university to the real business world. The work experience will also enhance our CV so it will be good for our future.”
Project Management student Sharon Mariza, from Zimbabwe, is spending three months at NHS West Leicestershire CCG and is looking forward to learning skills that apply directly to her career ambitions.
She said: “I can’t wait. I want to go into restructuring of services and they are doing a lot of that project at the moment, looking at ways to save money in the NHS.”
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The ECP also allows smaller local businesses to expand by using the expertise of international students to grow their operations.
Kevin Bragg, a director of water treatment company Green Science UK, believes the additional resources will bring a new perspective to the company and enable them to develop internationally.
He said: “We’re particularly interested in the ECP scheme because we’re at the point of launching some new products to the market so therefore our route to market approach and market research is essential for our strategy. So we’re looking for the students to actually form the next phases for the company.
“We’ve interviewed every one of the students who is joining us, so from our point of view we know exactly what their backgrounds are and we know that they will add value from their personal experiences. They are international students and the product launches are into international markets.”
Posted on Thursday 25th January 2018