1. There should be an Executive summary (word guide approx 300 words) at the beginning which should review what has been covered and the main outcome proposed.
2. The main body of the report should cover a Strategic Project overview developing and enhancing the first section of the proposal covering the rationale for the project and its importance to an organisation or business sector. This may be expressed in terms of sustaining competitive position or improving that position. This section might usefully consider the subject from the threats, opportunities, and business contextual factors. It should avoid too broader scope. This might discuss improvement to internal business processes: customer care, service quality, improvement in skills and or organisation of resources etc. It might include better service delivery, marketing strategies or identification of new markets and or products or services to the external business environment. These are illustrative only. Word Guide approx 500 words
3. The project will include a robust and critical literature review. The main purpose is to establish the important areas of research and enquiry such that the project objectives can be achieved. It serves an important purpose in expanding the body of knowledge that we have with which to understand current performance and as a secondary base to build better informed practices for the future. It should review both the academic literature and the empirical practices that organisations operate. Your ability to shape the ideas and practices is one of the key skills. It is not just a question of presenting other authors ideas without comment. The better marks are to be achieved whereby you identify areas of difference and consensus and from these works and draw a strong conclusion as to what is important in managing the particular area under review. The outcome is likely to have not much more than 4-6 key ideas and principles in the conclusions and will be framed around the question ‘what makes this a successful strategic business practice- and how can it be managed effectively in practice ‘. These will be the areas you will further examine in your research. This needs to be written in logical and coherent chapters that flow together. It should be clear as to what is being covered and it should avoid extending into too many areas otherwise critical depth is lost. The number of primary sources will vary. We expect a good range of relevant and contemporary sources but the treatment of them is more important than shear number. Word Guide approx 5000 words
4. The project must include a critical review of both primary and secondary methods that are possible but more importantly those deployed in the project from the perspective of such things as selecting valid and reliable sources of information against the objectives. Discussion of sample sizes and drawing reliable conclusions). It should address specific tools used (interviews, questionnaires, case studies etc.) and the various strengths of these and how they can be best designed and used for the designated project. Word Guide approx 2000 words
5. There must be a strong section looking at the research findings from both primary and secondary sources but emphasising new material collected specifically for the project. This section is important as this is the area where you engage with new and original material that you have collected and the skills deployed here are definitive in terms of the scope final assessment grade together with the recommendations. Data must be presented systematically and structured clearly around tables – if appropriate- or in terms of outcomes against the areas identified from the literature and linked back to project objectives. Having presented the data descriptively you will be expected to interrogate the findings by asking questions of your information such as: what is significant here, where is there key agreements between participants /sources what are the main areas of disagreement, how does this information reflect the outcomes (confirm or deny) from the literature review etc. What does this say about important ideas to shape policy /strategy and its implementation etc. Word Guide approx 2500 words
6. You will need a conclusion. This needs to draw together the findings from your research and the literature review and start to feedback and comment on the possibilities that now arise in terms of meeting the objectives. It should shape the agenda and start to define what it is you now think can be done. It should summarise main points and decide what stance you are taking with respect to the practice /policies under review. It should flow naturally from the earlier work .This section should not introduce new ideas or new debates even if you have discovered new information! If this is the case earlier chapters need reworking. Word Guide approx 1500 words
7. Recommendations should follow the conclusions. At this stage you move away from a research stance and adopt a leadership stance. Here you will advocate a possible direction for the organisation or sector. It can be specific as to future strategy and policy or it might offer an alternative view and scenario depending on particular future contexts. It should be carefully presented in management terms. Imagine you are presenting to a body of interested organisational managers with different levels of commitment to what you are proposing! It should clearly state what issue / opportunity is being addressed and the impact desired. It should state what should be done and it should say something on the implementation around; resources, barriers, risk, timescales and organisation of the changes. It should not overly direct to further work or decisions otherwise the project is likely to be overly ‘contextual ‘and general and not solution driven. Again no new ideas should be introduced here and it should be clear how the recommendations can be derived from the foregoing work. Word Guide approx 2000 words
8. The final section you should address personal development. The MBA is about leadership and developing leadership capability. This section should briefly comment on your current stage of development and the challenges you feel you need to consider in going forward in a management career or to develop further. You should aim to identify and map your skills against an established management /leadership framework and comment on the outcome. You are not required to present a detailed personal development plan though you could include such a document in an appendix if you have one and comment on the main points in this section. Word Guide approx 500 words