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University of Exeter Business School

Business Project

Module titleBusiness Project
Module codeBEMM149
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Professor Tim Coles (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description


Available only to students on the MSc Management, this module offers you the opportunity to tackle a real organisational problem via an applied research approach.  Working in a group, your consultancy team will investigate an authentic business challenge specified in a client’s research brief.  From initial discussion and design, you will conduct an in-depth investigation using appropriate methods, concepts and theories, culminating in interpretations and the dissemination of your findings to the client in a report and presentation.  You will engage and liaise with the client (assisted by the module lead), with the intention of offering a set of recommendations and/or a solution relevant to the client’s needs.  At the end of the module, you will reflect on your experience and the next steps in your professional development.

Additional Information


The module considers international perspectives on management consultancy and some of inter-cultural challenges faced by this ‘global’ form of business.

External Engagement

You will engage with a company or organisations as your client.


You will develop skills, knowledge and experience that are highly transferable, beneficial and valuable in a number of career paths including, but not restricted to, consultancy and contract research.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module is an opportunity to conduct independent research to tackle a real organisational problem as prescribed by a client.  Working as a group of no more than five other students ideally, the aim is for you to learn how to undertake business consultancy across the entire lifecycle of a project.  This includes the realities of engaging with a live client; working as part of a consulting team; and applying the knowledge, skills and expertise you have developed so far in the programme.  You will develop consulting skills; practice your research skills (i.e. using quantitative and/or qualitative approaches; primary and/or secondary data); exercise critical judgement; and you will learn how others find working with you.   Ultimately the intention is that, with your colleagues, you will successfully deliver rigorously-researched, evidence-based work to your client.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Critically evaluate and enhance an organisation’s specific competencies and/or capabilities in the core and optional areas of study.
  • 2. Relate real world situations to subject-specific knowledge from previous and current learning, using appropriate academic literature to inform your approach, arguments and recommendations.
  • 3. Interpret protocols, expectations and outcomes by engaging with the client’s internal strategies, policies, contexts and needs

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Design, construct and execute an extensive research consultancy project
  • 5. Critically engage with a variety of research materials and approaches, including primary research where appropriate
  • 6. Critically analyse a business problem using both practitioner and academic perspectives.
  • 7. Demonstrate effective relationship skills and professionalism.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Develop creative approaches to solving problems; managing in unpredictable situations; and making sound judgment in the absence of complete data
  • 9. Effectively present information orally and in writing, including the formulation and delivery of logical and precise arguments.
  • 10. Demonstrate self-direction, initiative and planning in the context of independent learning and the management of a major project
  • 11. Effectively apply reflective practice to explore and identify learning needs for your future development

Syllabus plan

Topic area as agreed with supervisor, supported by several preparatory workshops, including:

  • Consultancy, consulting skills and engaging with clients
  • Building effective project teams
  • International and inter-cultural perspectives on consultancy
  • Applied research: using your knowledge and skills to meet the client’s needs.
  • Research project design and management
  • Reflective practice for continuing professional development

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities16Lectures
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities4Project oversight: team briefings with tutor
Guided Independent Study280Reading, skills acquisition and/or uplift, preparation for classes and assessments, meetings with group and client.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Client assessment = Students will receive feedback from the clients (ongoing and/or at the end of the project). This feedback should inform the reflective report. N/A1, 3 7,9,10Verbal or written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Business proposal (group – indicating breakdown of tasks by individual)101500 words1-4,8-9 Written feedback on proposal and grade
Business report and/or other agreed artefact, plus a client presentation of no more than 15 slides (group)8010,000 words1-3,4-6,7-10 Written feedback on report and grade
A reflective report (individual)101,500 words9,11 Written feedback on report and grade

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Business proposal Critical commentary on proposal (1000 words)1-4, 8-9Relevant re-assessment period
Business Report Change Log+Action Plan. 2500 words, individual paper reflecting on feedback from tutor and client, and proposing next steps1-3,4-6,7-10Relevant re-assessment period
Reflective paperReflective paper (1,500 words), to include experiences across module including since first submission.9,11Relevant re-assessment period

Re-assessment notes

For mitigation purposes, students may be deferred in each component separately.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Bell, E., Bryman, A. and Harley, B.  (2022). Business Research Methods.  Oxford: OUP, 6th edition.

Biggs, D.  (2010). Management Consulting:  a Guide for Students.  Australia: CENGAGE.

Davidson, J.  (2019). Everyday Project Management.  Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Knaflic, C.  (2015). Storytelling with Data.  A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals.  Chichester: Wiley.

Williams, K., Wooliams, M. and Spiro, J.  (2020). Reflective Writing.  London:  Red Globe.

Wickham, L. and Wilcock, J.  (2020). Management Consulting:  Delivering an Effective Project. Harlow: Pearson, 6th edition. 

Key words search

Business, applied, research, consultancy, report, presentation

Credit value30
Module ECTS


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date