Established in 1992, MDT International is a specialist commercial capacity building company. They offer a range of in-house, tailored courses for energy sector professionals in financial and management subjects.

Gary Boyd, Head of Business Development at MDT International was looking to better understand MDT’s target market with a specific focus on international markets and attitudes towards social media. He was also keen to increase MDT’s social responsibility and thought that for these reasons, this would be a good opportunity for an RGU student to get involved. He has since worked for three months on an international marketing project with Usama Khaled El-Zarouk, a third year BA(Hons) International Business Management student. We discussed with Gary his experience of working with a student.

What was the business need that prompted you to contact Talent Exchange?

Originally I was motivated to contact Talent Exchange for the CSR (corporate social responsibility) aspect of working with a student, although Usama became a valuable addition to our team while he was with us.

Can you please describe the process which led to your engagement with a student through Talent Exchange?

After seeing a LinkedIn post on the RGU page, we engaged with Talent Exchange expressing interest. After a short meeting it was clear that the 3 month format worked for us and the skill sets available met our business need. Within 3 weeks we met Usama at RGU for an awareness session and he started with us a week or so later. There was great support from RGU in explaining the process and helping us to settle Usama in. During the 3 months we completed some simple review forms which kept Usama focused and also gave RGU a clear understanding of progress and potential outcomes. At the end of the project we completed a final review with Usama, giving feedback to him and to RGU.

Can you describe the project that was undertaken?

We asked Usama to research and develop a marketing strategy for the Middle East region linking into our overall global business strategy.

What was the outcome of the project? Did they meet (or exceed) your expectations?

During the first week I spent around 4-5 hours with Usama making sure he understood how to find information, going over the background of the business and generally settling him in. He also spent some time with other members of the team.

How do you think he benefited?

I don’t think he had worked in an office before so this in itself would have been a benefit. Overall Usama now has a good overview of how complex and interesting the Energy Sector can be. He also understands more about the process and challenges of marketing in international markets. I also think he improved his communication skills during his time with us.

How do you feel your business benefitted overall?

Our business needed and ultimately benefited from the perspective of a young person. Out target market age demographic starts at 18-20 so Usama’s insights were very valuable to us.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start?

I think the only thing is that I wish I had known we could work with RGU sooner.

What would your advice be to others considering working on a project with RGU students?

My advice would be not to underestimate how much value a student can offer your business.

What was the experience of working with RGU?

The experience was very rewarding, professional and I would highly recommend it to any business.

For more information on Talent Exchange, visit the Talent Exchange webpages or to talk to a member of the project team about a work experience opportunity email talentexchange@rgu.ac.uk or call 01224 262046.