While working with numerous MBA students, I’ve noticed recurring issues that crop up in failing and ‘scraping’ assignments. Equally, I’ve identified relatively simple practices that consistently contribute toward high marks in assignments. In this (ever-growing) series of posts, I’ll synthesise my learnings and provide actionable advice and recommendations to help you avoid the common pitfalls of MBA assignment writing, as well as implement basic practices that can consistently earn you substantial marks.
While these insights are derived primarily from a review of Henley MBA assignments, the issues are fairly generic and are therefore equally relevant to pretty much all MBA programs. So, without further delay, here are what I believe to be the essentials of an excellent assignment (and often times the missing pieces in a failing assignment):
- Clarify – establish a well-rooted and justified research question(s) early.
- Focus – don’t try to solve all the world’s problems in less than 3000 words.
- Be relevant – don’t shoehorn a timely but ill-suited or irrelevant business problem into your assignment.
- Lay a solid foundation – include the 5 essential ingredients in your introduction chapter.
- Go deep, not broad – stop describing, start analysing.
- Forget about your opinion – draw on multiple data sources.
- Argue logically – present well-developed, systematic arguments, not flimsy anecdotes.
- Use models, frameworks, and tables the right way…
- Pay attention to presentation – a little bit goes a long way!
Please note that this series is a work in progress, and I will add more points as I develop the content. If you think I’m missing anything, please leave a comment below or get in touch – I’d love to hear from you!