The Exeter MBA project

The culmination of your programme is your MBA Project which is a unique opportunity to develop and apply your innovative business thinking by leveraging the knowledge, skills and mindset gained throughout the duration of your Exeter MBA. By undertaking your MBA project you will add value to a client organisation while solving the needs of a real organisation facing real business challenges.

What differentiates your Exeter MBA project from any other project is its ability to ignite, lead, manage or promote change – for good. Therefore, a key aspect of your project lies in its ability to add value to the client organisation. Your project can relate to any aspect or theme covered by the programme, including leadership, new business models, product/process/business innovation, change management, business sustainability and resilience, economic, social, environmental and technological drivers of change.

The right MBA project for the right time

As an Exeter MBA participant you will benefit from a hugely supportive environment. Our links with leading organisations and the MBA's corporate partnerships will enable you to learn from the very best. 

Every year, multi-national organisations such as IBM, SAP, Thomson Reuters, Marks & Spencer, but also SMEs, NGOs, BCorps and social enterprises offer MBA participants the opportunity to undertake their project with them.

The following examples will give you a flavour of the nature and scope of typical MBA projects:

  • ‘Crossing the chasm’ – from innovators to early adopters – an exploratory case study of the critical success factors of a fintech start-up
  • Multi-function devices (MFDs) in a circular economy
  • Innovation in the legal services sector
  • Embedding environmental responsibility within a supply chain
  • Using social technologies as a means to streamline communications and increase employee engagement in the digital workplace
  • How value is created through systems oriented innovation
  • Beyond the Bottom of the Pyramid
  • Machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Study of emerging technology to support a more sustainable water industry

Supporting you all the way

We have developed an extensive process for sourcing consultancy projects and, through project pitching sessions, you will be exposed to projects and business challenges from a wide range of organisations, based in the region or elsewhere in the UK and further afield.

We also run a series of workshops to help you prepare for your project which will help you prepare for the demands of the role and help you manage the client relationship in the most effective way. You will be introduced to the processes and the cycle of consultancy, the key competencies for effective consulting as well as explore the characteristics and character of management and strategy consulting. The workshops will also provide an opportunity to explore how to manage client expectations and stakeholder relationships and develop negotiation and problem-solving skills.  These workshops will also help 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 generate insights, and demonstrate effective communication skills in delivering the final results to the client.

Awarded the MBA’s Coca Cola Corporate Partnership Scholarship, 2012 graduate Yuichiro Kamikawa joined the programme from Japan and undertook a consultancy project with Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), now Coca Cola European Partners. CCE, as part of a joint venture with ECO Plastics, had opened the largest plastic recycling facility in Western Europe at the time.

Yui’s brief was to improve internal processes to assess the quality of recycling material being delivered to the new plant. Accurate assessment of input waste materials has a direct impact on the company’s yield and margins, so the project had very real financial implications. Yui’s diligence and professionalism impressed CCE so much, they recruited him upon completion of his MBA. He has since worked as Sustainable Packaging Senior Manager, Packaging Procurement Manager, and now works in the global sustainability team within The Coca-Cola Company.

Diane Hayman, a digital marketer who completed her MBA with distinction in 2014, carried out her consultancy project for Thomson Reuters, assessing how social technologies could be used to streamline communications and increase employee engagement in a digital workplace.

Keen to immerse herself in the Thomson Reuters environment and ethos, Diane based herself at their offices working closely with employees and taking her learning from the MBA to apply it to the real-life business challenges which Thomson Reuters was facing.

Michaela Krispler, from Thomson Reuters and key sponsor for the project, described Diane’s work as ‘exceptional’ and said that she showed great enthusiasm, initiative and creative thinking, providing recommendations which Thomson Reuters has since implemented.

"Thanks to the enthusiasm and professionalism of my sponsor, Thomson Reuters, the consulting project represented the perfect confluence of academic study and ‘real world’ application, which has subsequently helped me to relaunch my career". Diane Hayman (One Planet MBA 2014), Marketing Manager, Hawksmoor Investment Management