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Practical projects

Our live projects reflect our belief in 'learning by doing' and reflection in action. Executive MBA participants work on two major projects during their studies: 

  • Team Consulting Project
  • Individual Project

These live projects provide a rare opportunity for participants to explore new industries and test new approaches within an academic framework. You will be supported by academic mentors to ensure you are getting the most out of your project and to promote a rigorous academic approach.   

Team Consulting Project

The Team Consulting Project is a collaboration between an external organisation and EMBA participants. EMBA participants form small groups within their cohort and act as a team of consultants for an organisation of their choice.

The project may cover any business challenge or opportunity faced by their "client". Participants can work with any company, not for profit organisation or public sector organisation of their choice. Over an extended period, the team delivers agreed outcomes and receive client feedback. Each student is assessed on how they reflect on their learning experience as part of the Management Praxis course

Working with clients

Clients must provide substantive, challenging projects for EMBA participants that address real business issues that they are faced with. They range in size from global corporations to SMEs and start-ups.

Previous projects undertaken by EMBA teams have included complete strategic reviews, benchmarking and best practice analysis, diversification assessments, new market strategies, innovation and working with start-ups - in short management assignments of all types.

Cambridge Judge Business School has built strong relationships with a wide range of organisations, including NGOs, financial institutions and start-up companies.  

EMBA participants have worked with sectors as diverse as financial, agriculture, energy, mining, food, health care, education, e-commerce, digital media, satellite-communciations, consulting and human rights.

Individual projects

The Individual Project is equivalent to a masters thesis, and can be about any practical aspect of business or management. They give participants the opportunity to explore an area of particular interest to them and allow for a deeper, research based, critical and reflective exploration of their chosen topic.

Our participants' Individual Projects represent a contribution to new knowledge, some of which are subsequently published as papers or case studies for academic, practitioner, or policy audiences:

A practical framework for heightened organisational consciousness

Luke Gillott, co-founder, Chi Impact Capital

Luke's thesis purports that over the past five decades, organisations have been operating with the sole focus of maximising profits and shareholder value, regardless of social and/or environmental externalities, resulting in a global economy that is currently failing to address today's key challenges such as global warming, inequality, natural resource degradation and other market failures.

In order for today's businesses to sustain their success over the long-term, the thesis suggests they require managers and leaders with a heightened consciousness of their organisation, its internal and external stakeholders, including the broader community and environment, as well as a thorough understanding of the interdependencies across these different elements.

The research that Luke undertook for his thesis led to publication in Conscious Investing, published by Harriman House. His contribution, "The practices of conscious companies", provides a holistic overview of the internal and external practices of conscious, multiple value creating companies that purposefully broaden their operating purpose and focus beyond mere profit maximisation that enable them to achieve improved customer service, competitive advantages, market leadership and, most importantly, multiple value creation.

Why large public projects fail

Kjetil Holgeid, Managing Director, Nordic Technology Lead Health & Public Service

Kjetil Holgeid developed his Individual Project, entitled "A reflection on why large public projects fail", into a book chapter. Working with his supervisor Dr Mark Thompson (who became a co-author on the chapter), Kjetil highlighted the importance of contextual issues in contributing to the "spectacular" failure rates of large projects in the public sector. By studying these contextual issues related to project failure, the authors developed a new framework - the Contextual IT Project Framework - which takes greater account of "hyper-emergent" characteristics that often cannot be predicted at the outset.

Read the full chapter (pdf, 218KB) (from "The Governance of Large-Scale Projects - Linking Citizens and the State", The Hertie School of Governance and the Journal for Political Consulting and Policy Advice, 2013)

The flaw of averages in US corporate income taxes

Michael Salama, Lead Tax Counsel and VP of Corporate Tax, The Walt Disney Company

This study explains how Jensen's Inequality exists in various income tax contexts and discusses why representing uncertain numbers with average values will on average produce a faulty result.

Read the full article (pdf, 237KB) (from The Virginia Tax Review's Spring 2011 issue)

What's not to like: smart money shies away from social

Daniel Ganev, Director, Karoll Capital Management

Research has found that social media is a proven tool for companies to achieve strategic goals, including higher profitability and valuations. Yet the adoption of social media by asset managers is rather low compared to other industries. For a business where brand awareness, networking and client communications are key sources of competitive advantage, the reluctance to embrace social is a problem. Why does "smart money" shy away from social?

Read the full article (pdf, 125KB) (from Funds Europe magazine's June 2013 issue)

The financial ecosystem and early-stage biotechnology firms

Dr Gergely Toth, CEO and President, Gardedam Therapeutics

The study uncovers distinct paradoxes in the funding ecosystem of early stage biotechs, which suggest that the present ecosystem is not well aligned with the interests of these biotechnology firms and the biotechnology industry; specifically it neglects strategic disease burden needs. The study recommends that increase in funding and improvement of current financing approaches for early-stage biotechnology companies by more government and big pharmaceutical company participation should take place, because the cost of capital for these two organisations is substantially lower compared to private corporate investors such as venture capitalist.

Read the full article in the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

Team consulting

Chris Weeks, Executive MBA participant, talks about his team consulting project and how to commercialise latest technological research and ideas.

Watch the video

Individual Project

Baljeet Kaur Grewal, MD of KFH Research (Executive MBA 2011), discusses the findings of her Individual Project on how the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis paved the way for a growth in Islamic finance as an ethical alternative to the conventional banking system.

Watch the video

Deciding on your project

Tom Martin (EMBA 2016) explains how his team consulting project involving the Kazakhstan post office was formed.

Watch the video