MSIN9001: Dissertation

Simcha Jong
Sarah Warnes
3rd year undergraduates on IMB, SAMB, Italian/Dutch and Management Studies programmes only
Terms 1 & 2
One full day introducing the Dissertation followed by 2-hour lectures (x 6 weeks) and 45-minute individual supervisions (4 meetings)
Final dissertation (100%)

Course overview

In the dissertation module students carry out an individual research project on a business topic of their choosing. Projects may for example be the development of a business plan, research on a particular market/industry/business phenomenon, or a specific managerial problem. The module equips students with a toolbox of scientifically rigorous methods they will be able to bring to the study of business problems they will encounter during their subsequent professional careers. Students receive support in their project in the form of lectures and individual 1:1 meetings with their dissertation supervisors. This support focuses on the following critical phases of the research process:

  1. Problem formulation phase to define the scope of the project.
  2. The survey of the academic and practitioner literature to identify the existing ‘state of the art’ in a topic area.
  3. The research design and the development of a strategy for data collection and analysis.
  4. The actual collection of primary and secondary data.
  5. The analysis of collected data and the formulation of conclusions/actionable recommendations.

Supervisors are assigned based on the interests and career aspirations the student identifies in the dissertation project proposal they must to submit before the start of the module. The dissertation project not only provides an opportunity to work on a topic that interests the student, but it also allows the student to showcase what she/he has learned at UCL in the context of a project that is of practical relevance to potential employers. Therefore, students are recommended to choose a dissertation topic with an eye on their future career plans.

Learning outcomes

The dissertation module provides students a tangible piece of work they may share with potential employers that highlights their unique skills and expertise. Also, the dissertation project teaches students valuable project management skills and familiarises them with employing scientific methods in the study of business problems.

Topics covered

The module will cover different aspects of using scientific methods in the study of management topics:

  1. Approaches to formulating a research design (e.g. inductive versus deductive designs).
  2. The formation of data collection strategies that are appropriate for a chosen research design. These include:
    1. The collection of qualitative data, e.g. through interviews, ethnographic observations, surveys.
    2. The collection of quantitative data, e.g. through the collection of financial/market data.
  3. Strategies for the analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data, including the use of appropriate software packages such as Excel or Nvivo.

Assessment summary

Although formative feedback is provided to students in the form of written progress reports by the supervisor, the only marked piece of work students undertake will be the final dissertation submission. Thus, the dissertation submission accounts for 100% of the final mark for MSIN9001.

Essential reading

Saunders, M., P. Lewis, A. Thornhill, 2012, Research Methods for Business Students, 6th Edition, Pearson, Harlow, UK, ISBN 978-0-273-75075-8