What is an MBA dissertation?
As their MBA program draws to a close, every student will be asked to complete a dissertation. The mark from this will make a significant contribution to their MBA grade. The outcome of this dissertation process will be an authoritative and substantial piece of work covering between 10,000 and 15,000 words. Other names for this will be a Business Research Project or a thesis, but if you are not asked to do something like this as part of your MBA then it is likely that your MBA is not quite up to scratch. The dissertation will be your calling card for a while, people will want to know about it. It will also enable you to become an expert in a subject which can help you for a long period of time in your business career.
You will be assigned to an academic advisor, who will supervise your project. You should ask that person to approve the project in the first place to ensure it is of sufficient academic rigour to meet the standards of the MBA that you are doing. When you hand it in, you will find that two people will mark it. An internal examiner and an external examiner to make sure that everyone is marked fairly and with equal academic standards.
You are also likely to be encouraged by your business school to complete your dissertation in association with an organization or a company. This should benefit both sides. You get to work within a company who MAY hire you but at the very least will allow you to have their name on your CV. You may also get paid money. However, you may not get money, and have to make do with the prestige of working at that company or the quality of the project that you produce. You might get expenses, but some people have been know to earn �20,000 for what is essentially three months work. The company meanwhile will benefit from having an industry experienced student applying their nine months of study on an MBA course to their business.
Dissertations take many forms. You can also mix and match these types, which are a business plan, a research based document, a case study or a business report. The business plan would comprise a feasibility study, strategic analysis and an implementation plan. The research based document looks at a company or an industry wide issue. The case study would describe a situation or a specific event in a company, accompanied by teaching notes. The business report would look at a more specific issue, and it would focus on establishing a set of facts and interpreting them such that an implementable solution can be recommended.