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University of Exeter Business School

Practice-Based Consultancy Management

Module titlePractice-Based Consultancy Management
Module codeBEP3020
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Susan Kinsey (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

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

This module introduces you to the field of applied consulting. The module will develop a conceptual understanding of the principles, tools and processes required to manage 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 negotiate and deconstruct the project task, form effective relationships with your client(s), 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 your client. The principles of effective consultancy and project management will be introduced alongside barriers to successful intervention and an understanding of how consultants manage risk and anticipate and address potential challenges within projects.

Additionally, we will consider sustainability consulting, which 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 with the development of ESG specialist expertise. We will consider the practice of sustainability consulting.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to give you the opportunity to practice the skills you have learnt in previous modules to demonstrate and apply your knowledge and skills in a practical, real-world context, through the design and management of a consultancy project. . 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.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 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 relevant theory, with of consultancy management practice.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 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

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 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

Syllabus plan

Seminars and 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
  • Consulting as analytical work
  • Developing insightfulness in consulting and delivering impact
  • Experiences on the receiving end – the client’s view

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 24Seminars workshops and learning sets. These will take the form of interactive sessions rather than formal taught lectures to promote peer dialogue
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 62 x 1 hour face to face meetings and 2 x 2 hour review and skills practice sessions
Guided Independent Study120Preparation for seminars/workshops, plus research, proposal and clients report

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Draft proposal for analytical report800 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
Literature Review201,0001,2 & 4Written and verbal
Analytical Report803,0003-11Written and verbal

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Literature Review (20%)Literature Review (1,000 words, 20%)1, 2 & 4July/August Reassessment Period
Analytical Report (80%)Analytical report (3,000 words, 80%)3-11July/August Reassessment Period

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.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Analytical project, Business BSc, Business Practice Based Consulting practice

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date