Apply your conscience creatively

Masters courses with a strong social aspect are growing in popularity

ESCP Europe is integrating a social enterprise project into its Masters in marketing and creativity. For the past five years volunteer students from ESCP Europe have worked in deprived communities in Africa through a scheme run by The Great Generation, a community development charity.

Last year nine students travelled to Uganda to spend two weeks helping to raise money for the Kyebando Vocational Training Centre (KVTC), which works with children affected by HIV/Aids.

"An increasing number of students were enthusiastic to get involved," says Marie Taillard, associate professor of marketing at ESCP Europe, "so we decided to include the project in the Masters programme because it's exactly what creativity marketing is about. Constraints such as a tiny budget and limited access to resources means you have to be extremely creative. By putting students into these real-life situations they have to do something phenomenal with no resources, and they've responded very positively to the challenge."

Students must each raise £1,400 to cover the cost of flights, food, travel and accommodation. They meet the project leaders and The Great Generation regularly to plan their fundraising activities and tasks. In 2010 the group created a strategic business plan for KVTC and gave training in marketing and communications.

The 2011 group, which included Pietro Lo Casto, an advertising account manager in a technology company, built on the previous year's work. "The vocational training centre in Kampala had had no income for six months," Lo Casto says, "so our goal was to find quick ways to make money and keep it running. We found locals spent their spare cash on two items – mobile phone top-ups, and cakes. We decided to focus on cakes, and researched what would be popular, costed ingredients and organised a local café to train the students. We also found internships for some of them at an upmarket Kampala hotel."

Lo Castro and his fellow students built an oven for the catering venture Kyebando Ovens, drafted an action plan making recommendations on the type of products to sell and clients to target and designed new packaging for the cakes. "We also helped the students build their employability skills," he says, "by helping them write their CVs and prepare for interviews."

Lo Castro feels frustrated that this year's team will be working with a different community. "I feel we really helped these people, but it's been difficult to communicate with them since we left and I have no idea whether they turned the enterprise into a sustainable business. It would have been good to follow up and offer the Centre continuing support and make use of ESCP Europe's considerable resources, for example bringing in students from the school's Masters in Hospitality."

The experience, though, has been valuable. "Everyone was involved from start to finish, doing marketing, management and creating a business from scratch – it was a great experiment in innovation."

The Great Generation projects tick all the boxes for potential employers, claims Simon Healeas, deputy director of MBA programmes at Westminster Business School, whose students also take part in Great Generation schemes. "Students learn to work individually and in teams, and they learn how to manage complexity and ambiguity. The projects raise cross-cultural awareness, taking social entrepreneurship out of the classroom and applying it in a practical context. We want to get away from the idea of the MBA as a means of enhancing your career in terms of salary and promotions, and to give people an idea of social consciousness. It's better to do something than just talk about it."

The Westminster project runs twice a year: in September 13 students will go out to Kampala for two weeks to work with four NGOs. The Great Generation allocates projects based on students' CVs, and works closely with them in researching the country, the community and the project.

"Although there's a limit to preparing people for the slums of Mumbai – they have to experience it," says Healeas. "We take them out of their comfort zone and make them think on their feet."

"In effect our people do a management consultancy, helping to improve the charity's HR or IT systems, or producing a strategic plan" he says. "There's a time constraint because it's just one module of a 10-module degree, but the participants often remain in contact and the business school maintains an ongoing relationship with the charities. This is not the western approach of managing from behind a desk. We want to get lots of people involved so that our MBA has a very clear social conscience."

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
The Prostate Cancer Foundation is returning all donations made by Redditors 'in honour' of Jennifer Lawrence and her naked photos
news

Website users raised funds after Jennifer Lawrence nude photo leak

News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news

The Tardis-style house measures in at just 83 inches wide

News
advertising
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Teachers needed in Debenham

Competitive & Flexible: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobRandstad Educatio...

Maths Teacher/NQT/Tutor

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education are looking for Teach...

Primary Year 5 Teacher - Lambeth - September 2014

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates based on experience: Randstad E...

Year 3/4 Teacher

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: "Where teaching is e...

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York