Oxford United enlist consultancy help from MBA students

Thursday, 26 April 2007


Brookes business students are working with Oxford United football club to help them understand their fan base, develop increased brand awareness, and increase links with the local community.

Oxford Brookes business students are working with Oxford United football club to help them understand their fan base, develop increased brand awareness, and increase links with the local community.

Over the coming weeks, four students on Oxford Brookes Business School’s MBA programme will be meeting with groups of fans, and talking to season ticket holders and Oxford United staff. After analysing key aspects of the club’s operations, they will present a final report to United chairman Nick Merry, director Kelvin Thomas and secretary Mick Brown next month.

Philip Edwards, an MBA student who is leading the research team said: "We have a clear idea of what United would like us to achieve. Their priority is for us to look at how they can forge closer links with the community and fans, so we will be holding meetings with focus groups to get them to give us their views on what they like about the club and what they don't. We want to learn more about what makes a United fan tick."

Club chairman Nick Merry said: "This is a great chance for the club to work closely with some focused students who will look at all aspects of our club."

This is one of many consultancy projects carried out by Oxford Brookes MBA students as part of a module in entrepreneurship. First, students taking the module develop a theoretical understanding of entrepreneurship through a programme that includes high profile guest speakers from businesses such as Glaxo, Camelot and Pret a Manger. Then the students are plunged into the business world where they are tasked with working with a client to negotiate the scope of the project, agree objectives, and present a final report that client is happy with.

“The entrepreneurship module has proved to be the most popular optional module on our MBA programme,“ says Richard Beresford who leads and teaches the module. "It's a fantastic module because it helps the University forge closer links with business, but it also gives our students the opportunity to apply learning from the MBA during first hand experience of business consultancy."

Students have worked with a range of social, hit-tech and low-tech businesses including the Fabulous Bakin Boys, Webmart, several businesses based on Milton Park, and The Marlborough School in Woodstock, known for its emphasis on business and enterprise.