Introduction

The University of Bolton places the highest importance on its relationships with employers from every sector. Engagement with the private and public sectors is key to ensuring that our programmes of study, our students and our academic staff are attuned to what employers need today, and will need tomorrow!

Building on the successful contributions of Business and Industrial liaison panels across the University, the Bolton Business Gateway is now launching the University’s ‘Vising Business Fellow’ initiative.

Visiting Business Fellows will be key influencers from a range of industrial, commercial, professional and public sector backgrounds who work closely with the University, who will typically be members of Academic School Advisory Panels.

Bolton Business Gateway and Visiting Business Fellows will work together collaboratively to enhance engagement and connectivity the University’s Academic Schools and regional, national and international employers in addressing the broad issues of education, enterprise and employability.

Visiting Business Fellows will play direct roles in contributing to the currency of our programmes, and ensuring that our students, the next generation of key influencers, have the skills, vision and experience to succeed in their careers. In addition, by working collaboratively with our students and academic staff, it will provide Visiting Business Fellows with the opportunity to include the latest academic ideas in their own thinking and their own organisations.

 

How can Visiting Business Fellows help?

2.1 Act as Guest Lecturer/Speaker

Visiting Business Fellows can make a real difference to the education of our students through contributing directly to a programme as a guest lecturer/speaker. From presenting lectures to giving live briefs, case studies or “their own story”, Business Fellows bring their own industrial perspective into the classroom and can greatly motivate and inspire our students.

Each Academic School needs support in these areas and there is also the opportunity to guest lecture to both under-graduate and post-graduate students and mid to senior level executive participants from industry, through Bolton Business Gateway’s executive education events.

 

2.2 Masters’ level and Final Year Undergraduate Projects

As an integral part of their studies, our Masters’ level and Final Year Undergraduate students (individually or as part of a group) complete substantial projects which often involve analysing and researching a topic, often based within an organisation.

Visiting Business Fellows can utilise the talents of our students at no or very little cost to undertake a project within their own organisations. Using the skills of these students provides Business Fellows with:

• A fresh, often multicultural perspective on any challenge/opportunity faced by an organisation

• Practical, creative and innovative solutions and recommendations

• Additional staff at no/little cost

• Access to expert advice and thinking and leading edge research from University staff

 

What kind of projects might be undertaken?

The range of topics which might be tackled is very diverse. Drawing on experience from Bolton Business School, examples of previous projects include:

•‘A Strategic Framework for Co-branded Marketing Promotion’

•‘Implementing Effective Communication Frameworks to Drive Performance’

•‘Differentiation Strategies in a Tightly Regulated, Competitive and Mature Market’

•‘Creating a Sales and Marketing Strategy for a Small Technology Company’

 The final report is typically delivered to senior management and will seek to address the specific challenges agreed beforehand linking theory to practice.

 

What support is provided by the University for these types of project?

Students may tackle projects individually or as a group and each student or group will work with an academic supervisor, both for guidance and as their link with the University. The supervisor would not normally directly interact with the client company. It is the primary responsibility of the academic supervisor to ensure that the academic requirements of the project are met. However, they will also provide guidance to ensure that the needs of the company are being satisfied. The company will allocate a point of contact to liaise and assist the students in setting up briefings, meetings and interviews as required.

The student will produce a project proposal, which will highlight the priorities for both the company and academic requirements which would be approved by both the organisation and Academic Supervisor.

 

Is there any cost to client organisations?

The University does not make a formal charge for projects.  However, we do recognise that the outcome of a project will often enhance a business and payment can negotiated for time spent over and above that directly required to complete the project. This would be at the discretion of the company and the student(s).

We do stipulate that students should be recompensed for any out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel, subsistence, or phone calls (where these might be at the company’s behest) or for any  specific resources required.

 

What about issues of confidentiality?

Any company based project must be conducted in accordance with the University’s Ethics policy and the Data Protection Act. We recognise that confidentially may be an issue and therefore the company can request that the project report be treated as confidential, in which case only the academic supervisor and examiners will see the final report.

 

2.3 Internships/Placements and Graduate Jobs

Bolton Business Gateway and all the Academic Schools in the University are keen to work with Visiting Business Fellows to arrange internships/placements and graduate opportunities for all our students.

Specifically, the Bolton Business Gateway is keen to arrange and fill internships for our postgraduate and undergraduate students for a range of strategic and business roles which might be on a ‘one day per week basis’ during term time, or on a ‘block basis’ during the summer vacation.

Bolton Business Gateway and the Academic Schools would work with Visiting Business Fellows to specify exactly what they want from an internship and will advise on the terms of engagement. We would select students who fit with organisational requirements or provide a selection of students for interview/assessment.

If you are interested and would like to discuss in further detail what might suit your business needs, please contact

Julie Bateman as follows:

j.bateman@bolton.ac.uk, or on 01204-903642

 

2.4 Enterprise Mentors

Bolton Business Gateway, through a variety of initiatives, is seeking to raise awareness in our students of the opportunities (and challenges) of becoming an entrepreneur and starting their own businesses. We are seeking Visiting Business Fellows to act as mentors for these students in terms of making them aware of what it might take to become a successful entrepreneur, and preparing for those first steps, and indeed acting as mentors for those students who may already have embarked on the enterprise journey.

During the year, the Bolton Business Gateway will be running a series of events and we welcome Visiting Business Fellows (either entrepreneurs, business people in their own right, accountants, solicitors, bankers, insurers etc) to engage with us and our students to make these events as successful as possible. 

 

Strategic Engagement

Our Academic Schools have worked closely with many individual companies and organisations, developing understanding of their strategic priorities, which has informed and helped us develop our own research, which in turn has helped us provide real transformation and increased growth for companies. Working collaboratively with our students and staff, we aim to deliver value by using people, at all levels, as problem solvers and innovators.

Current examples of areas in which we strategically work with industry, which are in themselves highly inter-related include:

  • Operational Excellence
  • Leadership of Change
  • Small and Family Businesses
  • Operational Risk
  • BD BA BD … Big Data, Business Analytics, Better Decisions