MBA Project

Module description

This module introduces you to the field of applied management consulting and develops an understanding of the principles, tools and processes involved through a ‘hands-on’ live project with a client organisation, or a research-based dissertation.             

Internationalisation:  client organisations are based in the UK and research topics international in scope

External Engagement:  guest speakers from the world of research and consulting will contribute to the module, and you will be engaging with external client organisations and supervisors throughout the duration of your project.

Employability:  You will gain valuable, transferrable skills through the undertaking of a consultancy project or primary research as part of the module.

Sustainability: a number of consulting projects will focus on the area of sustainability

Ethics and Corporate Responsibility: the module will specifically address ethical aspects of data collection, research and consulting

Full module specification

Module title:MBA Project
Module code:MBAM914A
Module level:M
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Nicolas Forsans - Convenor
Module credit:24
ECTS value:






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

2 days

Duration (weeks) - term 2:

2 days

Duration (weeks) - term 3:

2 days (+ 10 hours 1:1 supervision)

Module aims

This module introduces you to the field of applied management consulting and develops an understanding of the principles, tools and processes involved, either through a ‘hands-on’ live project with an external organisation aimed at addressing a real issue set by the organisation or a research-based dissertation on a topic of relevance to the MBA programme. It is a practical experience designed to develop consultancy, research and other transferable skills. The module is organised around an individual consultancy assignment with a real client which the Business School might have sourced for you, or a consultancy project you might have sourced yourself.  In some circumstances the MBA project can be linked to an internship and/or a new venture creation. The module requires you to deconstruct and negotiate a project task and/or scope and design a research project, 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.  The principles of effective consultancy, research and project management will be introduced alongside barriers to successful intervention and how consultants manage risk.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. plan, manage and complete a consulting or research project to a brief, budget and timescale.
  • 2. understand methodologies to help structured thinking, and the techniques for effective project management.
  • 3. scope the project and design a proposal.
  • 4. manage relationships with a client – including managing risk, productive relationships, expectations, handling problems, barriers to implementation, evaluation. Understand the protocols, expectations and outcomes of engaging with organisations as clients.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. conduct research into applied issues (including deciding on appropriate data collection methods, analysis and interpretation) and generate insights to inform recommendations.
  • 6. demonstrate effective relationship skills and professionalism.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

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 Activities28Lectures and Research Methods Workshop
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities101:1 Supervision
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities14Transitioning into Management Consultancy Workshops
Guided Independent Study188Reading, Writing, Research

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Discussion: group and 1:1Throughout the workshops and 1:1 meetings with supervisor1 - 9Oral 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
Consultancy proposal (individual) (C)203000 words1-3, 7, 9,Written feedback and grade
Consultancy report (individual) (C)608000 words1, 5, 7, 8, 9, Written feedback and grade
Client assessment or External Appraisal (individual) (C)20n/a4, 6, 8, 9, Written feedback and grade

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Consultancy Proposal Consultancy proposal (C) 30000 words1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 6 weeks from briefing
Consultancy reportConsultancy report 8000 words1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 6 weeks from briefing

Syllabus plan

The module will include workshops aimed at promoting key mindset and transferrable skills and will cover:

  • Introduction to consulting and research
  • Consulting as a profession and skill, and the role of a consultant
  • Key competencies for effective consulting
  • The process and cycle of consulting
  • Understanding client needs; appreciative inquiry; understanding the client organisation - stakeholders and the systems perspective.
  • Project scoping, research design
  • Research methods: data collection and analysis
  • Project management issues: causes of success and failure
  • Preparing to meet the client
  • Preparing the consultancy and research proposals
  • 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

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

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

Saunders, M.N.K., Thornhill, A. and Lewis, P. (2012)  Research Methods for Business Students, FT Prentice Hall.

Bryman, A and Bell, E. (2015) Business Research Methods, OUP, Oxford.


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