Top 3 tips for prospective MBA students

How do you work effectively in MBA teams?

How do you write an MBA assignment for top marks?

How do you conduct a professional MBA presentation on a UK standard?

Read below to get the answers.

Welcome to contact me to get a copy of any of my MBA A+ assignments (HR talent management, finance, business strategy)

1. How do you prepare a highly professional presentation? What elements are included? How about the structure?

Key elements include: agenda, background, introduction, main body, conclusion, recommendations, questions and answers, appendix, references, and contact details. The front page shall also be professional with a good looking photo, nice heading and eye-catching description that answers on these questions: What is this seminar about? Why should we attend? Who is the speaker? 

Check technical facilities in the room of the presentation (at least one day in advance) and ensure lighting, projectors, ventilation and that whiteboard / smart boards are in place and working. A microphone with extra batteries, and new markers with a clean eraser is a must!

You should practice at home a couple of days in advance with notes including key words. Use PowerPoint when practicing and time your speech. Record your speech, with a computer or your smartphone, or talk to yourself. Make sure your language is fluent, and make sure you feel convenient flipping between the slides. Don’t forget to have a nice transition when flipping between charts such as saying: having spoken about / on previous slide…I would now like to introduce…..

While on stage, things such as: your voice, tone, body language, and dress become important, and you should engage the audience in your presentation by asking yes/no questions: how many of you have….who agree that….But keep in mind that your body language and voice are more important than what you say!

Don’t conduct the presentation for more than 30-45 minutes without a short break. Our attention span is just on average 20 minutes!

A PowerPoint is used for pictures, tables, and graphs in order to reinforce your message. If you need text, 6-10 words per line and around 4-6 bullets per slide at max. Font size minimum 20, Arial or Times New Roman. Avoid confusion with too many colors. Use a white background and black colors of your fonts as much as possible.

2. How do you prepare and structure an assignment on an MBA Masters’ level? What elements are included?

First thing you need to consider is to answer the question of the assignment. The question can be something like this: “a comparison of project management tools and techniques” OR “factors leading to project management success” OR “a turnaround strategy for telecom companies in distress”. With secondary research (and if possible primary data research), you are supposed to answer your question with examples and to provide backup by scholars and industry experts and to draw your own conclusion.

Elements included: cover page, table of contents, background (why is this topic important?), introduction (what you are going to write about, and in what order and what question you are solving), research methodology (how you have solved the assignment question), main sections, conclusion and recommendations, reference list and if needed, appendixes with pictures, tables and/or further readings. The assignment is uploaded in a database which checks for plagiarism. You must avoid plagiarism at all times.

A valuable advice is to plan your assignment to ensure enough time because you will write the assignment in parallel with your full time 9-5 classroom studies plus homework. I worked with an assignment for 10 days before submission and I spent 1-2 days to research and find articles covering the topic. I spent 5-6 days to write the assignment (2000-5000 words). I spent 2 days for language and structure check. If you are not a native English speaker, you may need more time doing this. Timing and planning are GOLD on the MBA program.

3. How do you solve an assignment in groups? What steps are there from your first meeting with your team to submission of the assignment and group presentation?

This is what we did when I was an MBA student in the UK (I obtained Distinction):

Get together with your team, and speak about the question (assignment topic) that needs to be answered. Then discuss way of working: how often do you meet each other, how do you share information in your group (emailing?), and who is doing what in terms of writing different parts of the assignment. This may take some time to understand, and a good thing is to spend 1-2 days at home or in the library and research databases about your topic and read about the topic to understand contents you would like to include and exclude. Then decide who is doing what.

1 person is compiling the report (bringing chapters together to make sure the language is accurate and coherent). Give yourself deadlines, and if some team members delay their work, support them first, and in worse case scenario; you may have to complete their work. Decide who is the leader in the group, and who takes notes about what is being said and decided. Your tutor / professor will be impressed if you attach these papers in the appendix of your report. The leader in the group decides when you are meeting and what is going to be achieved in each meeting: be clear with your expectations; send an agenda in advance to your team members and be clear with time and place.

 

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