SBP
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EHL Student Business Projects: Developing Hard and Soft Skills

Student-Business Collaboration is a great opportunity for students to develop a broad range of skills, but not only. Maya Gharbi, Senior Lecturer at EHL and Student Business Projects Coach, shares her perspective on the key benefits for students.

Student Business Projects provide real life experience and exposure

Student Business Projects (SBP) provide a bridge between school and the professional world. As companies invest real money to have students work on real projects, SBPs are therefore an exceptional opportunity for students to validate their education in the real world and to apply concepts learned in school and convert them into industry skills. The academic world is no longer the main focus as the journey takes the students into the world of work.

As a SBP coach, I am in daily contact with students, and I can guarantee that their perspective changes drastically after the 9-week project. The real business problem serves as a practical application of the knowledge they have acquired at school, while presenting an opportunity to develop new skills as they tackle problems they might have never been exposed to while studying.

All the topics studied at EHL finally merge.

The soon-to-be professionals have to be capable of using not only the skills acquired during their studies, but the full range of their hard and soft competencies, including their creativity, their imagination, and their sense of initiative to develop and propose truly innovative and valuable solutions.

Student Business Projects are similar to the work environment, as they provide the space to develop key skills such as problem-solving, communication and time management. It is not unusual to see students working in the middle of the night at school when the deadlines for the reports are getting closer.

Students get connected and develop a professional network.

The concrete implications of these 9 weeks are tremendous. SBPs often lead students to make choices for their future career and make them realize what kind of job they would like to apply for. It’s not uncommon to see students starting their professional life in the sector directly linked to their SBP. Some clients consider the SBP as “an extended interview”, and a great opportunity to spot talents they might seek to hire.

A client was telling me, with a glass of champagne in his hand at the closing ceremony last February, that earlier that day, he had sent job offers to several students who worked on his project.

 

Both hard and soft skills are mobilized throughout the project.

Interpersonal skills

Working on real assignments for real organizations will also develop students’ interpersonal skills needed to work effectively with others. Final-year students have to be able to communicate with clarity and diplomacy with the clients: this means that sometimes they will have to know when to take the lead and when they have to take a step back and listen.

Building confidence

They have the chance to build their confidence within a professional working environment which allows them to grow when interacting with professionals outside of their own networks. Having to learn how to create and develop professional relationships with clients is an essential skill that will be used during the entire career.

The maturity that the students acquire throughout their last assignment at school is incredible and is only possible thanks to the exposure to the “real world” they get during the SBP.  

Teamwork

Working in a team where the teammates vary drastically in terms of nationalities, learning styles and experience can significantly change the way they see things. It can create challenging situations, as I experienced recently in a team I was coaching. Students with strong personalities and coming from very different cultural backgrounds had to find ways to handle extreme tensions and to control their level of stress, anger and frustration in order to continue working serenely towards their common goal. Not only has the group succeeded in its task, but it got invited by the client to spend one night in his property as a reward for its striking contribution.


Student Business Projects are consulting projects lead by final year students to deliver practical solutions for your business issues and challenges. They offer services to a wide array of companies, industries or startups, including hotels and restaurants.
 
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Creativity, professionalism and passion are put at the service of the companies

The enthusiasm and professional attitude the students demonstrate throughout the project are outstanding. Their exceptional dedication and contribution to real business issues are remarkable. I appreciate the creativity of the work they produce and their ideas are not only innovative and original but feasible, too. The clients use their recommendations for their business challenges and welcome the concrete, serious and structured approach used during this unique experience.

The final presentations are often mind-blowing. The innovative and refreshing ideas are presented in a fun and out of the box manner. I am often impressed by the quality of the work of our soon to be graduates and immensely proud of having contributed to this fabulous adventure.  

Student Business Projects are an unforgettable adventure

The young and inexperienced men and women who joined my class in their first semester of studies at EHL have blossomed and transformed themselves into competent and capable professionals proud to be part of the EHL community.

The SBPs contribute greatly to this feeling of belonging and attachment and allow the students to gain an unforgettable life experience and to have the opportunity to take a deep dive into professions, industries and organizations they either barely knew or only dreamed of before.

 

 

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Maya Gharbi
About the author

Before starting her professional career in the academic world, Mrs Gharbi worked for many years in the banking industry. As a portfolio manager at UBS in Geneva, her duties involved investment decisions on financial markets. As a Financial Analyst in Dubai, her field of expertise included the analysis of the North American stock market.

She has a passion for the subject that she teaches and for transmitting her knowledge to the younger generation. The combination of her past experience in the financial world with the pedagogical training acquired throughout the years at the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne has enhanced her interactions with the students through up to date cases. Also acting as a coach for business projects of Bachelor students’ final semester, she aims at reinforcing the real world applications of topics taught at school.