Business and Retail Management BSc consultancy project provides students with a behind-the-scenes insight into the operations of Waitrose and Partners
At Surrey Business School’s Department of Marketing and Retail Management, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of programmes informed by the industry and business world. Amongst our offering is our BSc Business and Retail Management course, which was one of the first of its kind when it was first introduced in 1989.
Throughout the programme, we encourage an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit through engagement with real-world business issues to give students a realistic insight into the retail industry. Our final year students were lucky enough to work with Waitrose and Partners as part of the Retail Consultancy Project module this year. The students were presented with a number of live business retail topics which become the focus of the group project.
This year the consultancy project focussed closely on the topic of sustainability. Waitrose has cut their use of plastic since 2009, and as part of their ongoing ‘plastic plan’ they are working towards further eliminating the use of unnecessary plastics, encouraging customers to avoid waste, tackling plastic pollution through grants, donations and funding, as well as working closely with suppliers to find better ways of addressing the issues within the supply chains. Other business issues presented to the groups included maximising the food service in-store, thus resulting in reducing food wastage.
Students are expected to analyse these issues, research them further and provide their recommendations back in a business report and final presentation to a Senior Management panel from Waitrose and Partners.
Monica Hope, industry practitioner and programme leader describes the module and experience; “The Business and Retail programme is based on contemporary learning through business engagement with retailers such as Waitrose and research-led teaching from cutting edge, world-class academics. Within a supportive environment of small group teaching, you will understand how the British retail environment is the most advanced in the world and discuss with industry practitioners how retail can offer you a dynamic global career opportunity”.
Throughout the project the students have access to a number of Waitrose partners, this year a visit to the Guildford store allowed them to get a behind-the-scenes tour, which highlighted the back room activities that take place to support the smooth running off the store. There was also an opportunity to interview branch partners, all useful resources to support their final presentation.
Further activities included a trip to the Waitrose and Partners Head Office in Bracknell. A tour of the distribution centre and a number of presentations from various experts allowed the groups to advance their learning of the business issues. Student Jack Duggan described it as a “great experience” commenting on how useful it was “being able to delve into the operations of such a large food retailer. An opportunity like no other, particularly as we’re all still students!”
Student Brian Ivory reflects on the module; “As a group, we have found this Retail Consultancy Project very interesting and a fun challenge. It’s a breath of fresh air in comparison to sitting in lecture theatres in other theoretical based modules. Talks from Waitrose industry experts and professional consultants have provided valuable insight into how food retailers operate. The Waitrose head office visit was particularly intriguing and very useful regarding the completion of our assignment. Thanks to Monica and Georgia (teaching fellows) for making it interesting and a useful learning experience.”