Live Challenges

Test your teamwork and entrepreneurial skills with the Leeds MBA live challenges

A group photo of the MBA class of 2012 outside Marks & Spencer in Leeds.

A key part of the Leeds MBA is a set of live challenges that will stretch your thinking and your abilities. Our New Venture and Consulting Challenges stand us apart from many of our competitors – and they will ensure you stand apart from yours.

Each challenge is your chance to apply what you have learned so far and reflect on your experience. It means you’re ready for senior management-level challenges in the world of work as soon as you graduate.

Challenge 1:

New Venture Challenge
This challenge forms part of the Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management module. It develops your ability to generate ideas for new commercial opportunities and turn these into viable business plans, either in a start-up or established corporate context.

Working in teams mentored by Business School staff and experienced practitioners you will have to show creativity and insight in developing a new product or service proposition and crucially the plan to put it into practice.

This project tests your teamwork and entrepreneurial skills ensuring you gain a real understanding of the new venture planning process and its various challenges.
Challenge 2:

Consulting Challenge
This challenge takes place during the Leading in Practice module. By this point in the programme your leadership and management knowledge and skills will have reached a level whereby you can confidently provide high-quality consultancy support to a business in need.

Often this is a small to medium sized-business, social enterprise or voluntary sector organisation – an organisation that may not have the funds or managerial resources to address its most significant challenges.

You engage with the client, diagnose a significant problem or issue affecting the organisation, make a positive intervention, and take appropriate action to either remedy the situation or make recommendations for further action.

Case Study: New Venture Challenge

Konica Minolta

Milan Lakhani with MBA students outside the Charles Thackrah Building

Milan Lakhani, Senior Client Principal at Konica Minolta, led this year’s MBA students as part of the New Venture Challenge. They were asked to generate commercial opportunities on four key areas of growth for Konica Minolta including; the Digital Workplace, New Health Sector, Innovation as a Service and Ambidextrous Organisations. Milan shared his experience of working with our MBAs on the challenge:

“Working with MBA students is both refreshing and rewarding, both for personal and professional reasons. The benefits brought to Konica Minolta are three-fold; firstly, to provide industry insights to students on Konica Minolta's digital transformation and evolution through innovation, secondly gaining access to new and innovative ideas through the bright minds of MBA students who range of from such a diverse array of cultures, and finally, to support the University in its development of future (innovation) leaders.”

Read the full case study 

Case studies: Consulting Challenge

MBA students have previously turned their knowledge into practice by working with Leeds-based organisations SmartAid and Red Ladder Theatre Company, to offer recommendations for expanding each company’s scope of operation and improving their overall efficiencies.


SmartAid co-founders David Price and James Waggott with MBA students Jose Bermudez Belver, Mohd Bin Mohd Ghazali, Masanori Sato, Cheng-Yang Lien, Song Wan.

SmartAid co-founders David Price and James Waggott stood with MBA students Jose Bermudez Belver, Mohd Bin Mohd Ghazali, Masanori Sato, Cheng-Yang Lien, Song Wan.

David Price, co-founder of SmartAid, worked closely with this year’s MBA student teams to address a number of key business issues within his organisation:

"The teams spent a lot of time really understanding the challenges of my organisation, especially some of the differences with us being a social enterprise, and came up with a number of new ideas and recommendations. We have already implemented a number of their ideas, which have really streamlined our marketing process. Others we are still implementing over the next few months. I would highly recommend any business to go through the process and benefit from working with a team of very high calibre individuals working on real life challenges for you."

Red Ladder Theatre Company

Chris Lloyd, Producer at Red Ladder, with MBA students Chia Yu Chiang, Jin Yu Kong, Pornnaphat Voraruth, Shuichi Shimizu, Yi Ju Liu.

Chris Lloyd, Producer at Red Ladder, with MBA students Husam Shadid, Mayank Kanagat, Wen Lin, Soekendro Harjono, Mark Lawrence.

Producer Chris Lloyd of Red Ladder Theatre Company built a strong working relationship with MBA students throughout their eight-week consultancy project and explains the business benefits gained through his experience:

"The dedication, research, politeness and attention to detail were superb. Meetings were set up in good time and the students were always well prepared and punctual. The final report was well researched and well presented, with enough scope for Red Ladder to take on some of the recommendations. 

The process worked on both sides with the students getting an in-depth view into an industry very different to their own – no shareholders, not for profit and calibrations of success not necessarily measured in financial terms. For Red Ladder, a different way of quantifying ‘soft’ outcomes, different financial models and a fresh approach to financial reporting. If you have the time to invest in the students then the process can be very interesting, fulfilling and enlightening – I would strongly recommend getting involved."

Connecting our students with business is key to the Leeds MBA. If you would like your business to benefit from working on a project with our MBA students please contact the MBA Director Dr James Roberts at If you would like to learn about other opportunities to collaborate with the Business School, please visit our Working with Students webpage.