MN5070 - The Practice of Consultancy (2021/22)
|Module specification||Module approved to run in 2021/22|
|Module title||The Practice of Consultancy|
|Module level||Intermediate (05)|
|Credit rating for module||15|
|School||Guildhall School of Business and Law|
|Total study hours||150|
|Running in 2021/22||
Consultancy is big business and the sector continues to experience strong growth. The UK consultancy industry alone employs more than 80,000 professionals and is worth an estimated £12 billion per annum; making it the second largest consultancy base in the world.
Management consulting involves engaging with stakeholders to provide objective, specialist advice. It is concerned with diagnosing issues and inefficiencies, solving problems, improving performance and implementing solutions to deliver complex change, maximise growth and to create value for organisations.
The Practice of Consultancy develops the practical research and consultancy skills required for a career in Business Analyses and Management Consultancy and prepares students for the final year Consultancy Project. Specifically, the module introduces research methods for consultancy and aims to develop a practical understanding of the tools and techniques of problem analysis and issue clarification. A range of business frameworks are applied to structure diagnostic analyses and thinking, whilst data, metrics and analytics are evaluated to inform the process and to provide the client with evidence-based solutions. Finally, this module aims to develop students’ communication skills through the preparation of a report to present the outcome of the consultation to their client.
Management consulting covers a broad range of activities and, to be effective, a consultant needs to be client-oriented and solution-focused. Expertise, resourcefulness, an analytical mind, creative thinking, an ability to manage relationships, empathy and excellent communication skills are essential to building trust and ensuring recommendations are implemented. By taking an applied, problem-solving approach, this module encourages students to enhance their competencies in these areas.
Student will develop a range of key skills and knowledge, including:
- Critical evaluation, problem identification and problem-solving skills
- Research skills (quantitative and qualitative research)
- Analytic, divergent and creative thinking
- Communication (critical reading, interviewing, listening, negotiating, advising, presenting and report writing skills)
Prior learning requirements
Understanding and Managing Data (MN4063)
This module focuses on the practices and research methods used for the delivery of consultancy projects. LO1
The first part of the modules focuses on the understanding of the organisations and the general and specific issues faced by them. LO1
The second part of the module introduces essential research methods and models to inform the problem-solving process. Business frameworks are developed to help analyse the issue or problem, to provide a useful structure for analysis and thinking, to guide the decision process and to communicate recommendations to clients. Both primary and secondary data will be evaluated in order to facilitate informed decision making and to provide the client with evidence-based solutions. LO2
The final part of the module is to communicate the decisions taken. The presentation of solutions and implementation of recommendations are fundamental to the process of consultancy. Creative thinking, problem resolution, presentation and report writing skills are developed and assessed via an executive summary report. LO3
Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity
Learning and teaching are structured around three hours of class contact time per week and take the form of a 1-hour lecture and 2-hour interactive seminar. Some seminars may be delivered in a computer lab. Students will receive module material, including weekly presentation slides and activities via WebLearn. Computer-based tasks, where relevant, are blended into the weekly activities.
The lectures introduce students to the research methods, business frameworks and metrics that inform the consultancy process. The interactive seminars adopt a problem-focused approach and facilitate learning through individual and collaborative practical activities, such as evaluating a company’s competitive position, customer satisfaction, employees management and other factors. The seminars will also help develop the skills in the computation of metrics and their interpretation. Finally, an opportunity is given to evaluate possible solutions and reporting/presenting recommendations.
A range of tasks are completed in class and others are completed outside formal contact hours. It is expected that for every 3-hours spent in class, students spend a further 7 hours a week on independent study. A total of 30 hours is allocated for assessment preparation
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
LO1. Identify and clarify issues within an organisation;
LO2. Demonstrate an ability to select and apply appropriate methods for solving
LO3. Produce a structured consultancy report.
The module has one summative (graded) assessment opportunity. It takes the form of an individually-completed coursework and requires the completion of a 2000-word structured consultancy report.
To prepare the report, students will need to work through the three main stages in the consultation process.
This first stage involves the presentation of the main aspects of organisations and the identification of the various issues related to them. This is linked to Learning Outcome 1 (LO1).
The second stage requires an analysis of the issues through the identification of the main business concepts and the required data needed to conduct the appropriate research method to inform decision-making. This stage is linked to Learning Outcome 2 (LO2).
The third stage is linked to Learning Outcome 3 (LO3) and is concerned with communication of the outcome of the consultation. Problem solving and making recommendations are key considerations at this stage.
The coursework assesses the three learning outcomes, is due at the end of week 14 and contributes 100% to the module mark.
Summative feedback will normally be given within 15 working days of the submission deadline.
To ensure the preparation of the report remains on track and to provide opportunities for feedback and feedforward, formative (non-graded) elements are incorporated into the assessment strategy.
There are two opportunities for formative feedback. These are linked to stage 1 (discovery) and stage 2 (analysis). To obtain feedback on discovery and problem identification, students will be given allocated time and sessions to discuss their draft. The feedback will be given no later than week 10. Feedback on formative elements will be provided in class.
Coursework briefs and assessment criteria are uploaded to WebLearn and discussed in class to ensure that the requirements and the format of the assessment are made clear. These discussions will also clarify the grading criteria and the basis on which academic judgements are made.