INMR83-Consulting Project

Module Provider: Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Level:7
Terms in which taught: Summer term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Placement opportunity: Micro placement
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Vaughan Michell

Email: v.a.michell@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module develops student skills in consulting project planning, development, delivery and client communication. It is focused on an individual problem solving exercise of relevance to a real client who has specific needs and requirements. It also enables the student to select and study in detail a specific part of the business technology consulting programme and enables them to demonstrate specific skills developed in other parts of the programme. 


Aims:

The aim of the consulting project is to enable students to apply the knowledge from the taught modules to real-life cases (where possible) in a structured and systematic manner. Students can select from a number of types of project. Some projects may be from consultancies and other organisations working with the programme (subject to business conditions and when available). This provides a set of real-world problems that relate to their clients or their strategic and tactical consulting needs. Alternatively, the student may choose a project suggested by IRC academics/the course director or other organisations, relating to current leading-edge research and business challenges. Or the student may opt for a project they or their sponsor has suggested. In all cases a sponsor or owner requiring the project must be separate from the student and should specify the outline requirements. The Programme Director will make the final decision to approve any proposed project and the client needs. It is the student’s responsibility to investigate and meet the client needs and complete the project within the specified module timeframe. Projects may vary from exploratory research, data collection and analysis and development of a specific focused solution to more generic desk bound theoretical investigations of learned papers and production of an essay or similar to provide a summary of knowledge to a client. The key focus is applying academic techniques and thought to generate a feasible solution to meet the client requirements. This echoes the nature, time and workload challenges of consultancy practice. The module is designed to allow students to develop necessary knowledge and skills to collect and analyse the needs of clients and provide the most appropriate objectively analysed and pragmatic solutions to improve the business performance via the application of business technology and consulting techniques. The module includes a mandatory one-day project introduction where projects are selected in March-April. This provides essential background and guidance for the project structure and includes the opportunity to ask questions regarding potential projects. Being able to respond well to time and complexity pressure whilst analysing a project problem and developing a solution is a fundamental ability taught by the module.


Assessable learning outcomes:

On the completion of the module, the students will produce a written report with a detailed business technology solution proposal in response to the problem. This will include a detailed analysis of the problem and proposed solutions (practical or theoretical, data based or report/essay) and include a roadmap, project plan or specific recommendations for the application of the recommended solution. This should meet the client’s business requirements and problem definition and enable improvement to the business performance for the specific customer or sponsor of the problem. The student will also be required to deliver an oral presentation of the problem and solution to demonstrate related communication and influencing skills necessary to practice as a consultant. 



 


Additional outcomes:

The student is also required to complete a reflective learning log to identify what they have learned from the project and how they can improve in problem solving and consulting skills. 


Outline content:

The student will be guided by allocated academic and potentially an industrial supervisor where necessary. The student is offered a chance to become the expert and develop and demonstrate such skills by working independently to research, analyse and synthesise a feasible solution in a subject area of their choice and the approval of the Programme Director. The focus of the research project requires the student to develop and absorb the information necessary to develop new knowledge and develop and apply the reasoning and insight and not blindly follow instructions.  



The content of the project report is determined by the user requirements with, where possible, a real live case or requirement (subject to business conditions). It will include the problem definition, the business requirements and constraints, the analysis of the business problem using the tools and techniques learnt during the course of the programme (with either/and primary /secondary data gathering (subject to client requirements), identification and explanation of the technical solutions, details of the recommended proposed solution and the execution roadmap or recommendations. The work must be conducted in an ethical and professional manner as per consultancy best practices. The text of the report should not normally exceed 8,000 words but it may be supported by ancillary materials.  


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The project is normally conducted by an individual student guided by supervisors from the university and where appropriate a sponsoring organisation or consultancy or other sponsoring businesses/academic supervisor. Although the actual sponsor type and disposition will vary with business conditions. The student will have regular meetings (of various forms to suit the conditions and nature of the project) with the academic and industry supervisors. The student drives the project and is responsible for contacting supervisors and maintaining necessary communication through electronic or social network media as appropriate. The student is expected to spend significant time on individual research and study necessary to enable them to develop sufficient expertise to understand the problem, analyse the problem, develop a solution and execute the project. It is the student’s responsibility to use and develop their critical reasoning and knowledge to explore and complete the project to the project requirements. 


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 6
Project Supervision 6
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (directed) 14 370
    Preparation for presentations 4
       
Total hours by term 0 24 376
       
Total hours for module 400

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:
None

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Final Report (80%) comprising due in the first week of September. 




  • Main body (explaining the analysis and proposed solution) 60%, 8,000 words. 

  • Executive summary 10% (2 pages) 

  • Log of student experience and learning points from the student perspective 10% (1,000 words) 



Mid-term Presentation of the analysis and proposed solution so far – (20%) in week 7 summer term. 


Formative assessment methods:

Work as dictated by supervisor.


Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Students will be required to obtain a mark of 50% to pass the assessment. Pass criteria - To pass this module, the student must demonstrate a satisfactory consulting project and related report/presentation.



Distinction criteria - To achieve distinction the student must demonstrate an excellent consulting project and related report/presentation.


Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment will be by re-submission of written assignment, adjusted if necessary as required by the module convenor.


Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 8 April 2019

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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