Global Learning Opportunities

MBA - Experiential Learning Opportunities - Global Consulting Projects

Global Consulting Projects

Put your academic learning into practice with a consulting project during the second year of your Darden MBA. Darden students have the opportunity to work with global clients through either a faculty-led course abroad that includes a client project or by working on a Global Consulting Project. Students gain real-world, hands-on experience by working on a particular pressing need or challenge, and often discover nuances about working in a new culture during the process.

What are Global Consulting Projects?

Global Consulting Projects (GCPs) are MBA electives that give small teams of students the opportunity to provide consulting services to an international company or organization while working closely with a Darden faculty member. About half way through the project, students conduct an onsite visit to build on-the-ground knowledge and conduct additional research. GCPs are managed by the Darden Center for Global Initiatives (DCGI).

Why should you consider doing a Global Consulting Project?

Participating in a GCP will help you build your leadership and business skills in a truly global setting. You will work with clients from a different country and culture, navigate the nature of virtual work teams across borders and boundaries, and ultimately gain hands-on experience in the practical nature of global business.

GCPs also give you access to working with a Darden professor in a small group setting and allow you to put into practice what you learn in the Darden classroom.

  • Examples of Darden Global Consulting Projects

    While GCPs change from year to year, below is a list of examples of previous and current projects:

    Freeset Global (India)

    Freeset Global in Kolkata, India, manufactures custom bags, shirts and other garments. By providing jobs for the women it employs, Freeset addresses the growing problem of human trafficking — freeing the women from forced participation in the sex trade and providing a better life for them and their children.

    What Students Seek to Address

    Students generate a detailed analysis of the current Freeset business strategy, customer base and marketing strategy, and they envision a large-scale growth strategy that will provide an increasing number of women the economic alternative to indentured servitude. This includes identifying product diversification/positioning opportunities, new distribution partners and a communications plan.

    World Bicycle Relief (Zambia)

    World Bicycle Relief (WBR) alleviates poverty by providing local citizens with bicycles that enable children to go to school, parents to access health care for their families and entrepreneurs to bring products to market.

    What Students Seek to Address

    The number of individuals who can benefit from the bicycles WBR offers is outstripping the organization’s capacity, as it often participates in large-scale disaster-recovery efforts. Students must address:

    • How can the organization solve complex business challenges related to its technical and supply chain capabilities?
    • How can it increase available capital in order to serve more people?

    Read about one recent student's experience on this Global Consulting Project in our Global Voices blog.

    INASante (Tunisia)

    INASante is a newly-founded social enterprise, aiming to be the first healthcare services accreditation agency in Tunisia, with the ultimate intention of serving a wider African market.

    What Students Seek to Address

    • What type of business model is needed for this organization to generate the first quality management process in the country’s healthcare industry?
    • How can it promote the adoption of, and adherence to, standards that ensure effective and equitable treatment access for Tunisians?

    Working jointly with fellow MBA students at the Mediterranean School of Business, the team creates financial models for the enterprise, conducts market research and develops systems for measuring impact.

    Learn more about this GCP by reading the following article: UVA Darden School MBA Project Creates New Social Venture in Tunisia.

    Rotary Club of Calapan City and Baruyan (Philippines)

    Rotary Clubs bring together business and professional leaders to serve and build their communities around the world.

    What Students Seek to Address

    Working with community leaders in a rural Philippine village, students address:

    • What would characterize an innovative and sustainable economic development plan for the area?
    • How can natural resources be protected and cultural traditions honored while addressing high unemployment and poverty?

    Confidential Company* (Indonesia)

    The student team in Indonesia addressed complex issues related to the business plan for an organic food product. The students performed a detailed review and analysis of the current company business plan, provided recommendations based on that review, and created a revised business plan to be used in the strategic planning process going forward. The student team also delivered a business development plan for introducing a new product to the local and global market.

    *This client has chosen to remain confidential, due to the sensitive information that the students worked with on the project.

    PRONicaragua and the National Chamber of Leather Footwear (Nicaragua)

    PRONicaragua — a non-profit, public-private institution whose mission is to generate economic growth and job creation in Nicaragua by attracting high-quality foreign direct investment — requested a team of students to work with the National Chamber of Leather Footwear and related goods with a focus on drafting an export strategy plan to break into the U.S. market.

    Alzheimer's Family Assistance and Branchless Banking (Tunisia)

    In Tunisia Darden students teamed up with peers from the Mediterranean School of Business to develop business plans that will bring support to families facing Alzheimer’s disease and branchless banking to Tunisians for the first time.

    Global Sustainability in Practice (Philippines)

    Low-income economies face deep challenges of poverty and unemployment that require them to employ innovative approaches and instruments to achieve sustainable growth without further stressing and degrading natural resources. The goal of this Global Consulting Project is to apply business and sustainability principles and holistic and participatory approaches to solve persistent economic and environmental problems in a rural village in the Philippines.

    The World Bank (Tanzania)

    The World Bank requested a team of students to work with the Bank on a project to promote growth and economic development through access to practical information technology training and education for area residents.

  • Global Consulting Project Client Information

    Global Consulting Project Client Information

    Global Consulting Projects facilitate collaboration between Darden MBA students and organizations facing a pressing international business challenge. These challenges are current and relevant to the overall success and growth of the organization. Generally, they are non-recurring issues or projects that impact the organization.


    Darden students receive academic credit if chosen to consult with a client through a Global Consulting Project. Students are organized into small teams (two to four members) and work closely with Darden faculty to provide remote and/or virtual consulting to solve the client's current business challenge. Students are required to visit the client location in order to scope the issue, build on-the-ground knowledge, provide deliverables and discuss solutions with the client.

    Client Benefits

    • Gain a cost-efficient, realistic analysis or solution to a current business issue
    • Access to a team devoted and motivated to focus exclusively on one particular challenge
    • Benefit from outside and diverse perspectives examining the challenge from multiple angles
    • Develop relationships with future business leaders who are specifically interested in your industry, country and region
    • Opportunities to learn from the students as they learn from you, providing mutually beneficial collaboration and cross-cultural engagement
    • Results from a team that has been mentored by top Darden faculty

    Student Benefits

    • Gain additional experience solving real-world problems and enjoy the ability to affect real change
    • Hone international leadership and cross-cultural skill sets
    • Learn to navigate remote business relationships and to work on a virtual team
    • Work under the guidance of a client and a faculty member

    Client Testimonials

    • "There were several projects that I had not been able to start on my own due to the lack of resources and time. Having the Darden team actually forced me to start these pilot programs. It was sure great to have them help me with the pilots" - Spring 2017 Global Consulting Project Client based in California and Japan
    • "The students added to the thinking process around our capital campaign, both with comparative case studies and suggestions." - Spring 2017 Global Consulting Project Client based in France
    • "The Darden Team not only delivered an outstanding product and taught us some new tools, they also had a very positive impact on our team. Our team was impressed with their energy level, curiosity, intellect, drive and collaborative approach. We are looking forward to having another team join us soon." - Fall 2016 Global Consulting Project Client based in Hong Kong 

    Project Proposal

    If your organization has a pressing global business challenge and you would like to work with a team of second year Darden students, please contact:

    Meaghan Patrick
    Global Programs Manager
    Darden Center for Global Initiatives
    [email protected]