UK Strategy Challenge: Approaching the Finish Line with ELBA

UK Strategy Challenge: Approaching the Finish Line with ELBA

Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 3:00pm


Posted by Andrew, Morgan Stanley Team Member for ELBA, London

As we approach the finish line to what has been an incredible journey, we reflect on what we learned from the Strategy Challenge and working with a fantastic charity, East London Business Alliance (ELBA). For more than 20 years, ELBA has been bringing positive change by connecting the public, private and voluntary sectors to support social and economic regeneration in East London. The charity's key focuses are community development, education and employment. In the last year, they have helped place over 800 people into work through their award-winning employment program, and have also delivered 14,000 business volunteers to 500 local organizations in East London.

We have spent the last seven weeks looking at how ELBA can position its services within the wider Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) market and what it needs to do to make these changes in an effective and timely manner. Having had continuing growth and success over the last 10 years, the charity is in a position of strength but needs to ensure its new positioning is appropriate against a backdrop of declining CSR budgets in the midst of wider operational cuts.

To get a full picture of what the charity is doing well and where improvements can be made, we had to understand the needs of the local community in which ELBA operates. We set about to analyze its members, both past and present. After an extensive survey of 20 of their corporate members, we were better able to provide creative solutions on how they can broaden their CSR strategy, including enhancing communication with their corporate members around cost allocation and fee structure and smoothing out inconsistencies in how corporate members use ELBA's services.

As we approach the end, our team is focused on preparing the presentation - formatting our research into digestible tables and graphs, and telling our story. We will give two presentations as a team. The first one will be directly to the nonprofit and is an opportunity for a deep dive into our analysis and recommendations. The second will be at the Morgan Stanley Final Event on May 15, where we will share our work with the other participating nonprofits, our managers, and a panel of judges, who will ask us questions and ultimately select a winning team.

We have spent a lot of time with ELBA at their offices working through the proposal and getting everything just right. When I look beyond the challenge to when my schedule returns to normal, I know I will miss working with them on such a close basis - but it is reassuring that the unique experiences and new perspective will remain with me.

For more information on the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge, please visit: