Practice-Based Consultancy Management

Module description

A key question addressed by this module is: What does being a consultant even mean, and which types of consulting careers are in demand? Taking a practical approach to acquiring management consultancy skills this module will contextualise the consulting profession into a number of key career tracks. This context will serve as a basis to consider how consultants can promote sustainable solutions to complex business problems.

Sustainability consulting is a rapidly growing field. Many established consulting firms and independent consultants are seeing sustainability as a new way of adding value and improving efficiency for client organisations. This module introduces you to the field of applied consulting. The module will develop an understanding of the principles, tools and processes involved through a ‘hands on’ live project with an external organisation. It will be a practical experience designed to develop consultancy and other transferable skills. It will be organised around an individual consultancy assignment with a real client addressing a real issue. The module will require you to deconstruct and negotiate a project task, apply a range of frameworks to structure analytical thinking, apply techniques to complete the required research, and demonstrate effective communication skills in delivering the final results to their client. The principles of effective consultancy and project management will be introduced alongside barriers to successful intervention and how consultants manage risk.

Full module specification

Module title:Practice-Based Consultancy Management
Module code:BEP3020
Module level:3
Academic year:2021/2
Module lecturers:
  • Mr Stephen Hickman - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:




Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The aim of this module is to give you the opportunity to practice the skills you have learnt in the Project Management Module in year two and apply the learning you have assimilated through both the Business Practice modules which you undertook in years one and two. Practice – based consultancy provides an opportunity to develop an academically informed solution to a real and practice based problem. The experience you will gain from completing this module will be invaluable to your future employability. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. articulate the nature of the consulting profession and evaluate the demand for sustainability consultants
  • 2. review critical consultant-client relationship factors - including managing risk, productive relationships, expectations, handling problems, barriers to implementation, and performance evaluation
  • 3. contrast the protocols, expectations and outcomes of engaging with organisations as clients
  • 4. contrast soft-systems methodologies to help structure thinking, with the techniques for effective, efficient and project management

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. conduct critical research into contemporary businesses and societal issues (including deciding on appropriate data collection methods, analysis and interpretation)
  • 6. plan, manage and complete a consulting project to a brief, budget and timescale
  • 7. demonstrate effective relationship skills and professionalism
  • 8. critically reflect on a consultancy project experience or case

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. adapt and innovate to solve problems, and to manage in unpredictable situations and make sound judgements in the absence of complete data
  • 10. effectively present information orally and in writing, and using appropriate media, formulate and deliver logical and precise arguments
  • 11. use self-direction and self-reflection, initiative and planning in the context of independent learning and the management of a major piece of analysis

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 and Teaching Activities 22Workshops These will take the form of tutorials/workshops rather than formal taught lectures
Independent Study120Preparation for workshops, plus research, proposal and clients report
Mentoring84 x 1 hour face to face meetings and 4 hour review sessions

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Draft project proposal1,000 words5-6Written and verbal

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
Project Proposal201,0005-6Written and verbal
Analytical report803,5001-4, 7-11Written and verbal

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Project Proposal and Analytical ReportProject Proposal and Analytical Report1-11July/August

Syllabus plan

Workshops will cover:

  • Introduction to management consultancy for business
  • Consulting as a profession, a skill, and the role of a consultant. Key competencies for effective consulting
  • Types of consulting careers
  • The process and cycle of consulting: the Boscard model; understanding client needs; appreciative inquiry; understanding the client organisation - stakeholders and the systems perspective
  • The characteristics and challenges of consulting in the area of sustainability
  • Project management issues: causes of success and failure
  • Preparing to meet the client
  • Preparing the proposal
  • Consulting processes, negotiation and problem-solving
  • Systems thinking and soft-systems methodology for consulting
  • Developing insightfulness in consulting
  • Experiences on the receiving end – the client’s view

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that you are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Convener;

Biggs, D., (2010) Management Consulting: A Guide for Students, South-Western.

Galea, C., (2009) Consulting for Business Sustainability, Greenleaf Publishing.

O’Mahoney, J. (2010) Management Consultancy, Oxford University Press.

Wickham, L., & Wilcock, J. (2016). Management Consulting 5th ed: Delivering an Effective Project. Pearson Higher Ed.

Witzel, M. (2016) Management Consultancy, Routledge.

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