A team of new University of Bath MBA students has supported Julian House with consultancy services, inspired by a gift of socks to the homeless charity.

Students joining the MBA this year received a welcome pack from the University, which includes MBA-branded socks supplied by ethical socks company Stand4socks who donate one pair of socks to a chosen charity for every pair bought by customers.

“Of all the items in the welcome pack, the socks really fire up the students’ enthusiasm! This year we nominated Julian House to receive 300 pairs of socks,” said Paula Hawkins, MBA Marketing and Communications Manager at the University’s School of Management.

“Then, we thought, let’s take this further and asked Julian House to be part of our ‘Big Team Challenge’, where our MBA students – who already have extensive business and professional backgrounds, careers and experience – use their skills to help the charity solve their business challenges,” she said.

On Friday 30 September, around 50 new MBA students took part in the ‘Big Team Challenge’, an exercise that introduces them to the importance of working effectively as a group and to get them working on the client-based project, both of which will feature regularly over the course of the year’s MBA.

Julian House staff opened the session, presenting the students with a short ‘sprint challenge’ – a real business issue that the charity is facing and which provides the students with the opportunity to act as consultants and provide real-world recommendations that will be of value to the organisation.

“After partnering with the School of Management earlier in the year, with the Stand4Socks donation scheme, we were excited to be invited to take part in the MBA Big Team Challenge as their first ever charity to set a challenge for the students to tackle,” said Rachel Avent, Senior Community and Events Fundraiser at Julian House.

“To see them work effectively as a group as fundraising consultants was fantastic and the quality of work they produced and then presented was impressive. They sparked some original ideas, which we at Julian House will look to explore further.”

The MBA features regular external consulting opportunities. As the programme progresses, the students will partner with external organisations on longer duration two-week and three-month consulting projects where they will have more time to research and provide recommendations. These projects are undertaken as part of the Bath MBA’s multi-project suite where the students have four opportunities to work as consultants.

Julian House is a charity that supports vulnerable and at-risk individuals. These include adults and young people experiencing homelessness, escaping domestic abuse, adults with learning difficulties and people who need support after leaving prison. The charity operates more than 40 different projects, accommodation sites and social enterprises across South West England, including homeless outreach services, and a 20-bed emergency access hostel.