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Circular Economy Corporate Challenge

Module description

The Circular Corporate Challenge module builds on previous iterations of the Exeter MBA’s corporate challenge and consolidates important aspects of the core subjects in the first semester. By using the contemporary idea of a circular economy, the participants will deal first hand with a real-world business challenge. This module creates an important opportunity for synoptic assessment across the first phase of the MBA while utilising and embedding the lens and thinking of the circular economy. It assesses the students across Finance and Accounting, Economics, Operations, Marketing, and Strategy. It achieves this by requiring the MBA cohort teams to present their solution in respect to each of these subject matters. This results in a comprehensive deliverable for the client partner and reveals the complexity of using new innovation frameworks when crosscutting traditional business verticals.  Beyond these subjects the module develops skills in defining the business problem and identifying and validating possible iterations of the proposed solution.

Internationalisation: The module encourages participants to present solutions in regards to our interconnected global challenges.

Employability: The participants will be able to demonstrate a high level of ideation and synthesis across core business functions while applying the latest business thinking.

Sustainability: The module explores ‘sustainability’ from the point of view of both risks and business opportunities, as a driver of new forms of value creation.

External Engagement: The Circular Corporate Challenge is in partnership with a multinational company who sets the circular challenge and judges the final outcomes.

Ethics and Corporate Responsibility: This module will be based on the idea that business can ‘do well’ and ‘do good’ in the context of our global challenges.

Research in Teaching: This module will draw on the expertise of faculty from the newly formed Exeter Centre for Circular Economy and their relevant research. It will also lean on current institutional research from organisations such the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, SYSTEMIQ, and McKinsey and Co. It will also encourage curiosity in the cohort and shine a light on possible areas for further individual research. 

Full module specification

Module title:Circular Economy Corporate Challenge
Module code:MBAM950
Module level:M
Academic year:2019/0
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Fiona Charnley - Convenor
Module credit:10
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:

5 Days

Module aims

  • The module aims to: (1) apply circular economy thinking (2) successfully work across multiple subject areas at the same time (3) synthesise multi-disciplinary information in order to present implementable solutions (4) build creative confidence.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Formulate circular economy business solutions
  • 2. Integrate pertinent aspects of Finance and Accounting, Economics, Operations, Marketing, and Strategy to a circular economy innovation proposition
  • 3. Distinguish between ‘linear’ and ‘circular’ business processes

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate a working business knowledge of Finance and Accounting, Economics, Operations, Marketing, and Strategy
  • 5. Apply theoretical concepts and research to the analysis of the proposed corporate challenge solution

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Complete individual research and learning tasks in support of a team output
  • 7. Work in a high performance multicultural and multidisciplinary team

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 activities 16Lectures and workshops
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities 8Guided online content
Guided independent study76Reading, research, writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Workshop exercises, presentations, and discussions.In class1-7Oral 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
Team presentation 1510 minutes1-7Oral Feedback
Team peer review weighted mark15Peer feedback form1-7Written Feedback
Team commercial slide deck 7040 slides1-7Written Feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual Individual assignment (3,000 words)1-6Four weeks after briefing

Re-assessment notes

The new assignment will have a brief which contains a different emphasis to the initial assignment.

Syllabus plan

Formative two-day Circular Design Challenge feeds into this module and builds the participants capacity to engage with vital skills such as design thinking (DT), user experience design (UX), and circular design principles.

Leading into the module the teams will form tutorial groups to look at the latest thinking from around the world that offer ways of value creation.

The corporate challenge will be set on the first day of the module and through coaching will develop the proposition to be presented and assessed on the final day.  

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Ellen MacArthur Foundation. 2015. Towards a Circular Economy Business Rationale for an Accelerated Transition.

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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