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Metropolitan Police brief gives LSBU students an employability edge

A brief from the Metropolitan Police shows how undertaking commissions adds value to London South Bank University's Marketing degrees

For the third year running, groups of LSBU Marketing students will be adding valuable experience to their educational experience by presenting to the Metropolitan Police as part of their studies. Three cohorts will deliver group presentations based on a live brief, with postgraduate students from our MSc Marketing Communications joining second and final year students from our BA (Hons) Marketing degree.

The groups were set the challenge of increasing the effectiveness of CCTV images in Brent by improving the number of people who view the circulated images in a bid to identify suspects. In doing so, the students' proposals would need to be capable of significantly reducing crime over a six month period from the campaign launch date, and to achieve and sustain reductions at the new, lower level.

Sensitive issues

The brief was set by Iain Maddison, Detective Chief Inspector with Brent Borough Police, and captures the sensitive issues that real-life police marketing briefs often face. As well as raising public confidence in the police and ensuring as many people as possible are aware of CCTV images that might lead to positive identifications and prosecutions, it was also important that the students did not portray the area as crime-ridden, to avoid causing unnecessary concern that could impact on visitors to the area.

Academic assessment

Course Director Kim Roberts says the students are determined to live up to the success of previous years, where winning campaigns have been used by the police to cut crime across London Boroughs. "It's a very serious part of their academic assessment," she explains, "and is worth about 20% of their mark. The presentations are the culmination of very heavy research and analysis which the students have had to complete. The police will select a winning team, but LSBU academics will also be present to mark the students. They are assessed on academic rigour, the depth of their research and analysis, and the relevance and appropriateness of the solutions they propose, as well as their oral presentation skills." The police also clearly benefit from the exercise, returning for a third year after last year's students were praised for the 'effort, enthusiasm and creativity' that they put into their proposals.

Live briefs

Providing the opportunity to put theory into practice in this way is a hallmark of LSBU's marketing courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The Masters-level students involved in this live brief have already delivered presentations to a business director from Ogilvy's Advertising Agency, and most students have at least two opportunities to work on live briefs with practitioners as part of their degrees.

Getting careers off the ground

"It certainly helps our students get their careers off the ground," says Kim. "Students rise to the challenge and produce excellent work throughout the projects. Working on live briefs adds value to their C.V's  when they're applying for jobs because the students have great experiences to discuss, as well as showing that they can work under pressure in the real world, with current industry problems that have to be solved within deadlines and budgets. Their confidence grows, they become proud of their achievements, and they support and foster the 'give-back' culture that our teaching team encourages among our alumni!"