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Learning the ropes

Program expands scope for greater insight for MBA students, startups


By Jeff Green

Ann Ssengendo Baliewabwe is passionate about business.

Wearing a black and white shirt, Ann Ssengendo Baliewabwe is seen leaning against a rail.
Ann Ssengendo Baliewabwe
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

It’s little wonder she jumped at the chance to apply to a unique Memorial program that matches startup companies with MBA students to assist with projects.Ms. Baliewabwe, who is originally from Uganda, recently completed the Insight Business Consulting Program led by the Research Innovation Office (RIO), a unit within the vice-president (research) portfolio.

The program is free for companies. They receive creative solutions, new insights, knowledge and resources; participating students gain real-world experience and industry connections.

Connecting with startups

Graduate students from the Faculty of Business Administration work with local startup companies connected to Memorial’s entrepreneurial support groups.

Ms. Baliewabwe consulted with NotificationAPI, a Genesis client, where she expanded its market reach.

“I reviewed and revised the business strategy to set up a detailed action plan to achieve short-term objectives and key performance indicators to measure success,” she explained to the Gazette.

“I also did market research and conducted a cold outreach campaign, targeting potential clients to create more brand awareness and boost subscriptions to the startup’s service.”

‘Immeasurably beneficial’

Thanks to a new partnership with Barrington Consulting Group, a leading IT and management consulting firm, participants are also gaining valuable insight on everything from business planning, project management and strategy.

“This program provides an immeasurably beneficial and practical opportunity for experiential learning and professional development.” — Ann Ssengendo Baliewabwe

The company is also coaching students and meeting with them one-on-one.

Ms. Baliewabwe says the partnership enriched her experience.

“This program provides an immeasurably beneficial and practical opportunity for experiential learning and professional development,” she said.

“One of my biggest takeaways from this experience was developing my ability to adapt to, and work competently on, projects in unfamiliar sectors, preparing me for the diverse consulting industry. I also gained valuable experience in professionally managing client relationships.”

Feeling supported

That feedback is welcome news for Rolene Pryor, senior consultant with the Barrington Consulting team.

Wearing a dark shirt, necklace, dark glasses and a light coloured jacket, Rolene Pryor leans her arms against a rail.
Rolene Pryor
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“We are growing our presence in Newfoundland and Labrador, so we were excited to show our commitment to the province through this pro bono partnership,” she said.

“Also, as a Memorial grad three times over (B.Sc.’01, B.Sc.(Hons.)’02, MASP’04), I’m excited to be more connected to my alma mater. Go, Sea-Hawks! I started consulting as a second career and I remember what it’s like to be starting out in the consulting space. It’s important for me to work with these students so that they feel supported as they learn the ropes of consulting. We want to bring them the behind-the-scenes guidance they may need to feel confident working with their startup clients.”

‘Significant contributions’

Angela Avery (B.Comm.(Co-op.)(Hons.)’07, MBA’17) is the business development advisor with RIO.

Her job is to assist in developing successful research collaborations between Memorial and industry, while helping students enhance their networks with the local business community.

“We have seen students make significant contributions to their partner startup companies,” she noted.

Wearing a dark coloured shirt, necklace and light coloured sweater, Angela Avery leans against a rail.
Angela Avery
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“This partnership with Barrington Consulting, and the strategic expertise that their team brings to this program, will complement what students are learning in the classroom, enabling them to further develop their skills and directly apply that knowledge in their work with their partner companies.”

Ms. Baliewabwe, who is set to graduate next year, says she appreciates the opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience.

“With the support of Angela, and the mentorship of Rolene, I was supported not only through the consulting project I was assigned, but also as a professional looking to pursue a career in consulting. Overall, I gained valuable insight into the consulting industry.”

Full-time MBA and MBA-SEE students, from diverse backgrounds, are invited to submit applications to the Insight Business Consulting Program.

More information is available online.

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