Developing professionals: Student experiences of a real-client project

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This study investigated the learning potential of the student experience of working with real clients in a final-year undergraduate unit that aims to develop professional skills. Students, working in consultancy teams, developed communication strategies for a not-for-profit organisation. A teaching intervention was trialled late in semester to promote the sharing of client-interaction experiences amongst student teams. Student worksheets were analysed to explore student perceptions of the challenges of the client project and their responses to those challenges. The findings revealed that assumptions cannot be made about the value of real-client projects and suggest that such learning activities need to be carefully structured to make the links between academic learning and professional development explicit and beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-503
Number of pages13
JournalHigher Education Research & Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • client projects
  • professional skills
  • work-integrated learning

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