The Cambridge MBA’s Global Consulting Project (GCP) certainly lived up to expectations and the hype around it being one of the highlights of the MBA programme. Working with World Rugby on a live issue in their business presented an opportunity for experiential, team-based learning. The student-sourced project represented the second instance of World Rugby partnering with Cambridge Judge Business School on a GCP, with many thanks to a 2022 MBA alumnus who was our primary client contact.

Our MBA team, comprising rugby fans from around the globe – a Scot, a South African, an American, and a New Zealander – was grateful for the opportunity to work on a creative, commercially orientated project for a sport that we love.

Rugby has had a celebrated history. ​However, for children today, its popularity and participation levels may be at risk of decline. There are a multitude of alternative entertainment options (including those in the digital space), and we understand anecdotally that parents and children have safety fears about rugby. World Rugby’s strategy to grow the game is thus set against a challenging backdrop.

The intent of our GCP was to propose innovative ‘Ways to Play’ initiatives and commercial opportunities that would support rugby’s cultural relevance with families and children in the UK. Our recommendations were informed by research into current practices in other sports, consideration of stakeholders in the wider rugby eco-system, and alignment with World Rugby’s data-led revenue and fan engagement strategies. World Rugby’s consideration of actively taking forward some of our proposals was the best feedback we could get.

Visiting World Rugby’s offices in London provided an opportunity to meet with several colleagues in the organisation, and we experienced the benefits of modern, flexible workplace practices by spending some of our time working remotely in Europe.

Reflecting on the four-week GCP period, these are some of the lessons we learned:

* The GCP is a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure to a new industry, diversify one’s work experience, and apply learnings from the Cambridge MBA in a practical way;

* A team comprising individuals with a diversity of minds and experiences generates creative problem-solving and a richer outcome;

* The quality of the people one works with – both at the client organisation and in the MBA team – has a significant impact on the success of a project.  

Ultimately, our Cambridge MBA GCP was special because it provided both a valuable experiential learning experience, as well as an environment to strengthen friendships and relationships within the MBA cohort and Class of 2022/23.