Responsible Business in Context

Module description

One of the educational aims of the Exeter MBA is to enable you to gain an understanding of the systemic challenges facing businesses and managers in different contexts.  In particular, it is important that managers of the future understand and appreciate the emergence of business models shaped by different economic, political, social and ecological environments.  There are immense benefits to be achieved by taking you out of the UK context and studying for a short period in a different country. 

Working in partnership with the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) this module will take place overseas working with local WFTO members on a short piece of consultancy.

Through engagement with micro social enterprises in context, you and your fellow participants will work as a consulting team to understand the challenge that is presented to you in order to propose creative ideas to solve it.

Bringing together the learning from across the MBA, you will work to identify new market opportunities, shape new business models and help your clients identify ways in which to achieve more sustainable operations.

NOTE: If you are Registered Disabled or have specific accessibility needs then this module can be undertaken and a full RA will be carried out prior to the module starting as it includes international travel.

Full module specification

Module title:Responsible Business in Context
Module code:MBAM956
Module level:M
Academic year:2019/0
Module lecturers:
  • Ms Jackie Bagnall - Convenor
Module credit:10
ECTS value:


Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 3:

5 day block taught

Module aims

The overall aim of the module is for you to use the learning from across your MBA to engage in a consulting challenge posed by your WFTO social enterprise client.

This module gives you an immersive experience in an international context, challenging you to adapt and thrive in a new business environment while establishing a positive client relationship. It affords you the opportunity to make use of the tools, critical thinking and consulting process to bring positive impact to members of the local WFTO network.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Analyse the complexities of the economic, political, social, cultural and ecological environment in the host country, using this to offer viable and ambitious growth strategies for the client business.
  • 2. Establish the unique sustainability challenges that are facing the client business, and devise appropriate circular economy strategies to meet these challenges.
  • 3. Synthesise knowledge from across the Exeter MBA in the design of new business models which meet the ethical requirements of a global business.
  • 4. Critically evaluate the role that social enterprise can play in supporting local communities, exploring how global markets deliver value back to local communities.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Demonstrate cultural awareness when creating a client brief, mindful at all times of the ethical sensitivity when designing possible business solutions.
  • 6. Critically analyse the implications of engaging in international business, exploring how a micro business can make the most of technological and digital solutions.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Communicate in clear and professional manner, engaging a variety of stakeholders in an effective enquiry process.
  • 8. Reflect critically upon own immersive cultural experience, drawing the salient personal development opportunities therein.
  • 9. Work effectively as part of a multi-cultural group in complex, uncertain and unfamiliar contexts.

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 activities8Lectures & facilitated group discussions
Experiential Learning30Visits to companies
Guided independent study62Reading, research, writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation to client whilst overseas20 minutes1,2,5-9Peer 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
Written Assignment (Group consulting report)503,500 words all Written feedback
Individual reflection.502,500 words 8,9Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written Assignment (Group consulting report) and Individual reflection.Individual assignment (100%) 3500 word assignment1-10Within 6 weeks of original submission

Syllabus plan

Working as part of a consulting team, you will play a significant role in helping WFTO member organisations tackle a variety of business challenges, whilst at all times considering the sustainable impact of any solutions that you offer.  The module provides you with an immersive international experience, challenging you to adapt and thrive in a new context while establishing a genuinely global network. It equips you with the tools you need to lead change, now and in the future while appreciating local culture.

The module will involve workshops, activities, field visits and networking opportunities. During the week long module you will work as a team directing your own learning, speaking to leaders within the host organisations.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Specific learning resources will depend on the country and context at the heart of the module. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Convener.

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