Mba Thesis on Talent Management

1 January 2017

The project is a piece of real world applied research, undertaken for a client, which offers you the chance to put into practice leadership and strategic thinking skills developed during the course of your studies. All projects are strategic in nature and focus on a real, contemporary issue facing an organisation. MBA projects are designed to enhance career options for all students by developing and enhancing your research, analytical, communication and personal skills at the highest levels of an organisation. The project thus provides a basic grounding in the process and methods which underpin consultancy.

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Completing a project requires the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of information and observations. It is an orderly and practical exercise for which there are common criteria for evaluation. Students are therefore advised to proceed according to a practical plan in a systematic manner. Remember a project is NOT a “big essay. ” It should be regarded as a proper piece of applied research, undertaken for a client (usually someone within your organisation). If you think of your project as an essay, it will almost certainly be well below what you are capable of producing. . 2 The difference between a consultancy project and a dissertation There are significant differences between a consultancy project and dissertation: • The project is worth 30 credits, while a dissertation is worth 60. However, students have less time to deliver consultancy project. • The dissertation is a more academic piece of work. There is more emphasis on the literature review and the methodology and justification of research methods and it essentially written for an academic audience. • The project is a piece of relevant applied research produced for a client.

The work is therefore more applied in nature, there is less reliance on academic literature (although key theories underpinning the work should be fully acknowledged and references), and the outputs should be written as reports for a client. • Assessment is also slightly different. In the dissertation there are two components, in the project three outputs are assessed; o the inception report o the final report to the client (which should be accompanied by a presentation to the client and which forms 50% of the assessment) o an individual reflective report on the learning experience.

These are discussed in more detail below. • The dissertation is always undertaken as an individual exercise, with a significant input from a supervisor who is an academic subject specialist. • Students can work on the consultancy project in groups (this is the modus operandi for students on the full time MBA course), but it is less common – although not unheard of – for part-time and distance learning students to undertake a collaborative project. • Furthermore, a group project should not be considered an easy option. A four person project is a substantial 120 credit piece of work and will be assessed accordingly. The reflective report is always an individual exercise and is assessed accordingly (even when students complete the project in a group there should be no intra group collaboration on the reflective report). • Depending on the nature of the project, the project supervisor will not necessarily be a subject specialist. Primarily, this is because students are often carrying out a project in their own organisation or sector. It is therefore more important for the supervisor to advise on procedure and provide general feedback on reports and outputs.

To assist students reflect on what is involved in carrying out applied research, there is some background information on the role of a management consultant in part 2 of this handbook. 1. 3Purpose of the Handbook This handbook has been produced to help provide you with some of the basic information that you will require to complete the project. The handbook is divided into three parts: • Part 1 – Background and Important Information • Part 2 – About Management Consulting • Part 3 – general advice on style, referencing & formatting You should consult each part of the handbook at the appropriate juncture of the dissertation process. . THE PROJECT PROCESS 2. 1 Project: getting started The first part of the project will involve identifying a topic. There are four common pathways: • Many students will currently be working for an organisation and may already have a topic or area of interest in mind. You should then identify someone (usually your line manager) to act as a client for the project • You may not currently be employed or might be a DL or part time student who is unable to carry out a project in your own organisation.

In these circumstances, you should try to identify an organisation that you would like to carry out a project on, and an individual within it to act as your client. • As noted above, it is also possible for distance learning and part time MBA students to undertake a group project, although it is advisable that you are either located in the same place or working for the same organisation. If you intend to work in a group, please get in touch with either David Gray or Allan Scott, as you will require additional guidance.

Individuals and teams and should listen to the introductory podcast and PowerPoint presentation and familiarise themselves with the e-Book on research methods which is also available on the support module. You might also find it useful to read part 2 of this handbook, which provides you with some information on management consultancy. Students working in teams are also advised to assign and clarify the roles, responsibilities and expectations of individuals within the teams at an early stage to ensure that all team members make a full and equal contribution. 2. 2 Submitting a topic

Students undertaking individual projects are required to prepare and submit a topic, which has been agreed with the client. This will allow us to allocate you an academic supervisor. A template for submitting the project topic is included in Appendix 1 below. Those undertaken the project as a group will be required to prepare a more detailed research brief. As requested above, please get in touch with Allan Scott or David Gray. Arrangements will then be made to send out additional information and a seperate template relating to the preparation of the group project brief.

It might be appropriate for students to sign a confidentiality clause (especially when they are dealing with commercially sensitive material or data). Teams/individuals should establish whether an agreement is required with the client (and with the supervisor). A sample confidentiality agreement has been included in Appendix 2, below. Again this should be tailored to the needs of the project, where appropriate. The topic template should be submitted electronically via a drop box on the support module. 2. 3 The Project Research Proposal (or Inception Report)

The next stage of the project is to produce a project research proposal (also known as an inception report) for the client. In order to prepare an effective research proposal, consultant teams and individuals should refer to the introductory podcast and accompanying PowerPoint presentation, to the e-Book on research methods and to part 2 of this handbook; all of which are available on the support module. The purpose of the research proposal is to set out a plan for the research, how it will be carried out and how the aims and objectives will be realised in the time available.

The research methods to be used should be set out, justified and discussed along with elements identified as important to the research. These might include: • Details of stakeholders/ contacts, etc. who are to be interviewed, • Key literature, published reports, secondary sources, and databases that will underpin the project research There should also be some indication of how any data collected will be analysed. The Research methods proposed for the project should be approved by the client before the inception report is submitted. The inception report might contain the following: An introduction and background including a general discussion of the key issues. • The project aim, objectives and/or research questions • An outline of the key management and business theories that underpin the research (properly referenced). • Details of the proposed research (including details and justification for the methods to be used) and how the data will be analysed and written up. • An update of key project milestones and outputs. • An assessment of (i) any risk and potential problems associated with the research; and (ii) how it will be managed and mitigated. A gant chart timetabling the delivery of key tasks, project milestones and outputs. Students should ask the project supervisor to review a draft of the research proposal before it is sent to the client for approval. The research proposal should then be submitted electronically via a drop box on the support module. Please note that the proposal is assessed and is worth 20% of the total mark for the Project module (see the section on assessment on the support module). The report will be assessed by the project supervisor. . 4 Data collection and write up The main part of the Consultancy Project will involve collecting and analysing data. Again, you should refer to the e-Book on research methods and part 2 of this handbook and which are available on the support module. Students are also advised to refer back to the project aims and objectives/research questions, to ensure that the data collected and analysed allows aims and objectives to be addressed. The client should not be ‘surprised’ by any omissions in the final report.

If students are having difficulties in gathering data that may compromise their ability to address their aims and objectives (or if any other circumstances arise that represent a risk that students will have difficulty mitigating) then they should inform the client and supervisor at the earliest opportunity so that any contingencies can be agreed by all parties. Any such difficulties should also be fully discussed in the final report. Similarly, students are strongly advised to gauge their progress in relation to the gant chart set out in the inception report.

If students are in danger of missing a key milestone, they should alert the client and supervisor so that a new deadline can be agreed. Good communication with the client (and the supervisor) is essential; the students should ensure that all aims and objectives are addressed. To reiterate: the client should not be ‘surprised’ by any emissions or changes to the research agreed in the proposal. 2. 5 The final report In preparing the final report, students are advised to look at the examples uploaded on the support modules as a guide for what is required in terms of content, report structure and style.

Students should also refer back to the introductory podcast and PowerPoint presentation. Some additional tips on style, formatting, etc. are also available in part 3 of this handbook. Although this resource is primarily aimed at students undertaking dissertations, students may find some of the advice useful, particularly the content on referencing. Students should ask the project supervisor to review a draft of the final report before it is sent to the client for approval.

Please note that the Final Report is assessed and represents 50% of the total mark for the Consultancy Project module (see the section on assessment on the support module). The report will be assessed by the project supervisor. The key criteria for assessing the final report will be the extent to which it meets the needs of the client. Projects which do not address all the objectives or do which have only made a very limited or superficial attempt at addressing the aims and objectives will be marked down.

The final report should be submitted electronically via a drop box on the support module. 2. 6 Final Report Presentation Once the final report has been submitted, students will be required to make a presentation to the client. The project supervisor should also be present (either in person or by video or telephone conference), as might other invited stakeholders and members of the MBA management team. Participants attending by teleconference should be emailed a copy of the PowerPoint presentation in advance. It is the student’s responsibility to organise the presentation.

Clients will often be asked for feedback on the project management, the final report and the presentation. Any feedback provided can assist the project supervisor in assessing the project. 2. 7 The reflective report To conclude the project, individual students are required to produce a report, reflecting on their impressions of the project ‘journey and their learning experience. Please note that the reflective report is assessed, and is worth 30% of the total mark. As noted above, this is an individual piece of work and intra group collaboration on this element of the project is strongly discouraged.

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