Meaning is really motivating 

Imperial College Business School | School La Petite Source

Business School students experience leadership through “meaningful” social impact project 


“This is your project to run. We’ll give you the tools and support you, but we’re handing it over to you…” 

This is what our Projects Director Steve Hughes told 61 Imperial College Business School students at the start of their Splash Project in Belgium last month. 

Their professors included a Splash Project in the Leadership module of their course, during their two-day European Immersion Experience, to give them the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and rise to the challenge.

Their task? To create a mini stadium, a train and carriage, sand pits and picnic tables for children at School La Petite Source, in Biez, Belgium, which focuses on special educational needs support.  

Their motivation? The kids, of course. 

Melanie Toussaint, School Director, said:

“Improving our outdoor space has been our wish for a very long time, the children are so excited by this.” 

This was reflected the moment the project ended when they all ran on to the sports pitch. 

Dr Esther Canonico, Senior Teaching Fellow in Organisational Behaviour at Imperial, added:

“We know from research that meaning is a very significant motivator, and that’s been really powerful for the students; this project hasn’t just benefited them, but others.” 

The students, said: 

“Seeing all the different personalities and leadership approaches come out, has been really interesting.” 

“What I’ve learnt, is that you shouldn’t hesitate to explore new things.” 

“It’s important to give back to others, especially if they’re disadvantaged in some way. And it’s really fulfilling.”