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.

‘Too big to fail’ is how the relevance of banks has traditionally been defined to the functioning of the global economic system. They are the link that connects the economy and lets everything happen: from government policy to buying groceries (payment services). Yet, we live in tumultuous and exciting times in which there are serious threats posed to the banks’ foundations. The Financial Technology (Fintech) revolution has been created by start-ups that use the internet and mobile applications to side step banks. Tico Altahona, a Colombian MBA alumnus (2015), undertook his MBA consultancy project with Droplet, an innovative start-up which offers the traditional services previously offered only by banks, in this case, payments with cards. Droplet recognised the relevance of the University because it had just ended a successful round of crowdfunding with Crowdcube, the global crowd funding platform located in the Innovation Centre. Tico explained: “Making the most of my MBA is more than just coming to class; it is also learning in a work environment that is leading a revolution. Taking an internship is an integral part of this experience and the OPMBA has offered unconditional support for making this whole experience come true”.

OPMBA 2014 participant Diane Hayman, a Digital Marketer for The Gro Company, 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. Having taken time out to raise a family, Diane felt the MBA was a huge confidence booster. “The emphasis on sustainable business practices ensured my business knowledge was not only up-to-date, but also future-proofed. 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. The international nature of my fellow students delighted and challenged me throughout. I emerged a more astute and resilient individual with a global outlook and similarly global network of friends. I can say with certainty that the year that I spent studying for the MBA has become one of the defining periods of my life.”