MBAX9155 Strategic Consulting Project - 2019

Online, weekly
MBAX9155
Postgraduate
Term 2
6 Units of Credit
AGSM

Offering Selection
This course outline is for the current semester. To view outlines from other years and/or semesters, visit the archives

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

We are facing increasingly complex problems that emerge in all aspects of our work and life in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world. To thrive in today's business climate, integrative problem-solving skills are critical to every business leader and professional. This course provides you with the opportunity to develop and practise your problem-solving skills by integrating your knowledge, skills, experience and various tools you have acquired during your MBAX studies. By investigating a particular strategic issue in an organisation, working as a team on the client issue, identifying solutions for that issue, and presenting practical recommendations to the client, you will acquire the skills and practical experience to become effective leaders and innovators.

Additonal Course Details

To be eligible to apply for this course, you must be enrolled in Program 8625, be in good academic standing, and this should be the penultimate or final course in your MBAX Program.

You will be allocated to a team and you will need to confirm that there are no conflicts of interest with the proposed client organisation. If there are, you are required to notify the Supervisor or the Course Coordinator immediately. Most client organisations will also require every team member to sign a formal Non-Disclosure Agreement.

3. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Adjunct FacultyPatrick Medley

4. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

Methodology 

Once you are ready to proceed with your project, you will need to take the following steps. 

  • Meet as a team in person or virtually and scope out the challenge with the client. The whole team presents the scope to your Supervisor via videoconference. The presentation will be recorded for assessment purposes. 
  • Revise the scope according to the Supervisor's feedback. 
  • Agree the scope with your client organisation. 
  • Understand the problem and disaggregate the issues. 
  • Conduct critical analysis, including research and interviews. Interviews will be coordinated by the Supervisor. 
  • Use tools that you have acquired during your MBAX studies to conduct your analysis and identify potential solutions 
  • Synthesise your findings and socialise them internally to build consensus on the potential solutions. 
  • Build your recommendations and the arguments to support them. 
  • Prepare a powerful presentation to the client communicating your recommendations. 
  • Produce a project report based on your presentation. 
  • As a team, present your recommendations to your Supervisor and the Course Coordinator via videoconference. The presentation will be recorded for assessment purposes.   
  • As a team, present your recommendations to the client via videoconference  
  • Prepare an individual reflection on your learnings and experience working on the project. 

Note that this is a team-based project, however you will be expected to complete individual research and analysis as part of the team. The majority of the assessments are based on your individual work.   

Supervision and progress reports 

A Supervisor will be assigned to you and you will be required to check in regularly with them to report on your progress (see the Course Schedule). 

Ethics and integrity 

AGSM students are expected to behave ethically and with integrity at all times. 

Integrity involves doing the right thing at University, according to principles such as honesty and respect described in the University's Student Code (https://student.unsw.edu.au/conduct). These principles should guide your behaviour at all times. 

Integrity is important when completing academic work and behaving as a member of the UNSW community. We aspire to develop you as a UNSW graduate who acts with integrity, professionally and personally. 

The major ethical principles to be followed are: 

  • respect the rights of any people involved in your project  
  • report all results as they are found 
  • abide by UNSW's Student Code. 

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

It is expected that this entire course, including all interaction with the Supervisor and the client organisation will be virtual, using a range of online technologies, which you will be informed about in Moodle. 

Online seminars will be delivered via videoconference for class discussion of these Units. These seminars will be scheduled (and recorded) across the duration of the project. During these seminars,  you will also receive coaching from your Supervisor in the use of the following key consulting skills: 

Defining - ability to: define the problem/issue; understand what it is going to take to resolve it; what the result may look like; understand the fit to strategy; negotiate with clients; manage time; develop a project scope and agree it with the client 

Empathising - ability to: get on with people of all types; understand the politics of the organisation; understand and use your networks; be passionate; build teams 

Researching - ability to: identify and work through all sources of information and data to understand issues/solutions - web, library, network; find and recognise best practice 

Interviewing - ability to: extract insights from any audience; listen actively; question effectively 

Analysing - ability to: analyse data and facts; understand financial and operational data; determine root causes; use a range of analytical tools/structured thinking; understand impact on strategy/results 

Synthesising - ability to: synthesise data and facts to identify what is important; get to the key issues; facilitate team discussions; use logic; think on your feet; be flexible; manage stakeholders and create recommendations for the client 

Innovating - ability to: bring new ideas/concepts to the problem and recommendations; be creative; be pragmatic; be tenacious; use initiative 

Presenting - ability to: communicate effectively at any level in an organisation or to any type of audience; communicate both verbally and written - flawlessly, fluently, succinctly, engagingly; communicate difficult messages; influence people, ensure your communication is impactful and memorable 

Coaching - ability to: lead a consulting team; influence outcomes; think strategically; coach individuals; be an expert .

Workload and time considerations 

It is expected that you will spend 10-12 hours per week working on your project, as per any standard AGSM course worth six units of credit. The project must be completed and submitted within one term.  

Course Structure

Project approach

You will undertake a Strategic Consulting Project as your capstone course.

The project provides you with the opportunity to apply the analytical and theoretical skills developed in your MBAX studies to a project. You will work in teams of four to six, supervised by an Academic Supervisor (hereinafter referred to as the Supervisor). The project provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate to the Supervisor your ability to apply the management skills learned during your MBAX program, in addition to drawing on your considerable experience acquired in your career to date. Each project will centre on an issue of significant importance to the future direction of the client organisation and will offer a problem context that can benefit from rigorous management thinking and diversity from your student consulting team.

Not all projects will be carried out for commercial companies. They may be for small or large charitable organisations, as well as for the public sector.

6. Course Resources

There are five Units in the course, which are available in your Moodle class.

As outlined in the Course Schedule, the teaching program will be as follows: 

Week 1 - Unit 1: Introduction to Strategic Consulting, The Consulting Engagement Process, Identifying the Problem, Defining the Scope 

Week 3 - Unit 2: Empathising and understanding People and Politics, Researching and Interviewing techniques 

Week 5 - Unit 3: Analysing Issues and Analytics,  

Week 7 - Unit 4 Synthesising Issues and Generating Solutions and recommendations, and Introducing Innovative ideas 

Week 9 - Unit 5: Presentation skills and Coaching techniques 

Each Unit has been developed as a stand-alone unit of work and includes readings, videos and activities. 

7. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

Our courses are revised each time they run, with updated course overviews and assessment tasks. All courses are reviewed and revised regularly, and significant course updates are carried out in line with industry developments.

The AGSM surveys students each time a course is offered. The data collected provides anonymous feedback from students on the quality of course content and materials, class facilitation, student support services and the program in general. This student feedback is considered in all course revisions.

Student Response

Strategic Consulting Project is a new course and will be evaluated at the conclusion of its first delivery in Term 2 2019. Your feedback will be appreciated at this point and also during Week 5 of the term.

Response to Student Feedback

Please see above.

8. Course Schedule

Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 IntroductionUnit 1

Note: Indicative for all weeks; subject to change

All hands webinar - Introduction to the course, review of Unit 1 and general discussion on the client challenge. Overview of timetable.  First webinar will be live and recorded. Second and third will be streamed with a bulletin board for questions and comments.

Team webinar - introduction to the team and team dynamics.

Client all-hands webinar - introduction from the client and discussion on scope, with Supervisor guiding discussion with client. This will be live and recorded for streaming in two other time slots. 

Teams have 48 hours to submit questions to the client via their Supervisor. Supervisor vets questions and chooses top 10.

Week 2 Scope Development

Supervisor poses questions from Week 1 to client - recorded and available for all students.

Individual development of scope.

Team work - development of the scope presentation.

Supervisor available via email to respond to any questions from individual teams.

Week 3 Scope PresentationUnit 2

Bulletin board available for any questions on Unit.

Team webinar - development of scope presentation and practise presentation to Supervisor.

Assessment 1 - presentation of scope to Supervisor and Course Coordinator.

Supervisor uses bulletin board to provide each team feedback on presentation and next steps.

Team sends client scope document; client responds with any issues

Opportunity to provide peer-to-peer feedback.

Assessment 4 - First reflective blog post of 250-300 words

Assessment 1 : Project Scope Proposal
Assessment 4 : Reflection
Week 4 Research

Individual research.

Supervisor available in set periods for discussion with teams on research and progress.

Teams submit questions for client interview to Supervisor. Supervisor coordinates client interview webinar that is also recorded. Likely each team can pose two questions.

Team work - research.

Week 5 Research and AnalysisUnit 3

Bulletin Board available for any questions on Unit.

Individual research.

Team webinar - research and analysis progress.

Team work - research and analysis.

Week 6 Analysis

Individual analysis.

Supervisor available in set periods for discussion with teams on research and progress.

Teams submit questions for client interview to Supervisor. Supervisor coordinates client interview webinar that is also recorded. Likely each team can pose two questions.

Team work - analysis.

Week 7 Analysis and SynthesisUnit 4

Bulletin Board available for any questions on Unit.

Individual analysis and synthesis.

Team webinar - analysis and synthesis progress.

Team work - analysis and synthesis.
 

Week 8 Synthesis

Individual synthesis.

Supervisor available in set periods for discussion with teams on research and progress.

Teams submit questions for client interview to Supervisor. Supervisor coordinates client interview. Likely each team can pose two questions.

Team work - synthesis.

Opportunity to provide peer-to-peer feedback.

Assessment 4 - Second reflective blog post of 250-300 words.

Assessment 4 : Reflection
Week 9 Synthesis and RecommendationsUnit 5

Bulletin Board available for any questions on Unit.

Individual synthesis.

Team webinar - synthesis and recommendations progress.

Team work - synthesis and recommendations.

Week 10 Presentation

Individual development of presentation.

Supervisor available in set periods for discussion with teams on research and progress.

Teams submit questions for client interview to Supervisor if required. Supervisor coordinates client interview. Likely two people from each team can pose two questions each.

Team work - presentation.

Week 11 Final Presentation

Individual development of presentation.

Team work - draft presentation.

Team webinar - draft presentation and practice.

Team work - final presentation.

Assessment 2 - Final presentation to Supervisor.

Team webinar - feedback on presentation and next steps.

Assessment 2 : Final Presentation
Week 12 Client Presentation and Final Report

Individual development of final report.

Team work - presentation to client preparation.

Team webinar - presentation practice.

Client team webinar - final presentation to client.

Team work - development of final report.

Week 13 Final Report and Reflection

Individual development of final report.

Team work - development of final report.

Team webinar - final report and feedback.

Team work - final report submission.

Assessment 3 - Final Report.

Opportunity to provide peer-to-peer feedback.

Assessment 4 - Third and final reflective blog post of 250-300 words.

Assessment 3 : Final Report
Assessment 4 : Reflection

9. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

 

UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.




Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.

Plagiarism

UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz: https://student.unsw.edu.au/plagiarism-quiz

Cheating

The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at: https://student.unsw.edu.au/aim.

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/plagiarism as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: http://subjectguides.library.unsw.edu.au/elise. For information on student conduct see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/conduct.

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/referencing. If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.


Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.

Workload

It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload

Attendance

Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.



Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations.
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
BUS.EQS.Consultations@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4508

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
learningcentre@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
advisors@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
externalteltsupport@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT
UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
itservicecentre@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
disabilities@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
counselling@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 5418


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MBAX9155