Connecting with business

June 4, 2019

Durham University Business School offers businesses the opportunity to work with MBA students to harness their knowledge and experience on an identified need through strategic business projects. Here is one example of how Forest Carbon benefited from collaborating with Durham MBA student Irshad Paurobally

Irshad Paurobally started the Durham MBA in September 2017 after having read law at Durham University as an undergraduate. He chose the Business School for his MBA as he knew the institution could provide him with an excellent environment in terms of support, research and opportunities.

As part of his MBA programme, Irshad chose to undertake a Strategic Business Project with Forest Carbon, a company which operates in the carbon capture industry and was established partly as a consequence of Director Stephen Prior’s own Durham MBA business project in 2005.

Irshad’s brief was to devise a social media strategy for Forest Carbon, which would help the company to expand its reach and raise awareness around climate change and sustainability.

To help identify the best social media platforms for Forest Carbon to use, Irshad used a combination of industry insights and company information. He decided to use LinkedIn as the main social media channel as the platform would enable both the company and its employees to engage with users through thought leadership posts.

To ensure his business project was a success, Irshad felt that it was crucial to build a rapport with the company stakeholders and gain their support, which he did through continuous engagement and site visits.

Irshad explains why he chose this particular business project:

“I wished to learn more about the emerging area of social media marketing. Moreover, I believe passionately in sustainability and the good work of organisations like Forest Carbon in making the world a better place,” he says.

Using a holistic model, 14 recommendations were proposed to Forest Carbon, including a tested marketing implementation plan. In drafting the recommendations, the willingness, as well as the capacity of Forest Carbon to deliver on a social media strategy, was considered to ensure the relevance of the proposal.

“Durham gave me the confidence to face the challenges posed by disruption by providing me with cutting-edge research and access to thought- leaders,” Irshad adds.

“My plans are now to work in a challenger bank in the City in the field of banking strategy and innovation. My MBA and Strategic Business Project will prove helpful towards this.”

Stephen Prior, director of Forest Carbon, says: “The Durham Full-time MBA business project is a great way of bringing in a smart and dedicated mind to focus on a business problem, while at the same time benefiting from the academic discipline and independent thought provided by the Business School.

“Having had a good experience with a previous project, we didn’t hesitate in offering one as we needed some strategic thinking and research around our LinkedIn marketing strategy. Irshad completed a really thorough and detailed piece of work, and most importantly a useful one.”

Durham University Business School
Photo: (left) Irshad Paurobally, (above) Stephen Prior
To learn more about how your business can work with students, visit:

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