Applied Industry Practice

| December 19, 2015

Applied Industry Practice
Contents
Assessment Overview 3
Assignment 1: Industry trends briefing 3
Assignment 2: Reflections paper: Career influencers 4
Assignment 3a: Client research report 6
Assignment 3b: Client recommendation presentation 7
Important Note: Peer feedback 9
Client Brief for Research 10
Referencing 11
Plagiarism 11
Late submission of assignments 12
Return of assignments 12
Assessment Overview

These assessment tasks have been designed to develop your research and professional capabilities over the semester and directly reinforce your learning to enhance your preparedness for the workplace. This course is WIL (Work Integrated Learning) compliant, in that it involves teams conducting a real workplace research assignment for an external client and this client will have input into your grades.

Assessment for this course is divided into three assignments.

1. Assignment 1: Industry trends (25% of final assessment, 1500 words Max, Individual, week 4).
2. Assignment 2: Research topic (25% of final assessment, 1500 words Max, Individual, week 8).
3. Assignment 3: Client research topic (50% of final assessment, 5000 words Max, Group, week 12).
Part A: Client research report (30%)
Part B: Presentation of recommendations (20%)

This document and all course materials are available through the Blackboard Learning Hub. To assist your understanding of the standards required marking guidelines and detailed feedback sheets are also provided in the Learning Hub. You are strongly advised to read the comments for your desired grade and objectively challenge your submission to determine if its quality matches the comments.

NOTE: Students will receive feedback from the lecturer after each assignment. Students need to reflect on the feedback and indicate (in a paragraph in the next assignment) how they used the feedback to improve their next assignment.

This course also needs to include the use of design principles in conformance with the MBA requirements. At the end of each assignment, students are required to respond to the following questions:
1. “Demonstrate how you have applied design principles in your assignment?”
2. “Do you believe that this improved your assignment and how?”

Assignment 1: Industry trends briefing
(25% of course total, Week 4. Submit to TurnItIn)

Prepare a 1500 word (Max) research BRIEF (business report format) covering the global trends for the industry in which you wish to develop your career. The purpose of this research is for you to understand the growth aspects of the industry as well as any potential risks which may limit your career path in the medium to long term. Although your research will be wide and thorough, you need to condense your report to the main facts that impact your career choices and explain why these are the most significant factors. Consider the use of images and other intuitive tools to highlight the key points. Draw on credible business trend data and academic reports to support your positioning of the sustainability of the industry to support your long term career.

Questions and concepts you might consider:

There is no set structure for your report, however it should be presented in a professional manner and made attractive to the reader. You should state what YOU think (showing robust evidence that supports this view) and how you have reflected on a range of sources of information in coming to some conclusion about how this industry is suitable for your future career plans.

Some reflective points that may assist guide you:

What are the most significant trends impacting employment in this industry?
– Consider local, regional and global trends depending on your desired choice.
How does this impact my personal career planning and opportunities?
How reliable is the data on which this report is written (single source or multiple)?
What are the limitations the research may have?
Is there evidence of a growing industry or is it in decline (in which geographical areas)?
How do IKNOW there will be a secure future for me in this industry?
What is the employee turnover and who are the major employers?

Content is to include an introduction to the industry, analysis of trends and conclusions reached with respect to YOUR career choices. The source of all content is to be referenced in Harvard format. Students are encouraged to tailor this assignment to their individual needs e.g. industry or specific organisation you prefer to work in and what sector – large corporate, small to medium enterprise, family business, government, not for profit or self-employment and is it local, regional or global.

Considerations which may assist your thinking include: globalisation of the workforce and virtual methods of engagement/managing businesses, preferred geographic location, business trends in the your chosen field, emerging local/global trends and emerging roles, styles of business and their interdependencies, impacts of occupational trends: outsourcing, service economy, casualization of labour forces, contract and consultancy engagements, reduced tenure and higher turnover, careers based on company or industry loyalty as opposed to boundaryless careers.

Marking Guidelines

Research selection and referencing 30%
Analysis synthesis and limitations 40%
Writing mechanics (structure and flow) 15%
Reflection & conclusions on own career 15%

Assignment 2: Reflections paper: Career influencers
(25% of course total, Week 8. Submit to TurnItIn)
Research the research the key topics from lectures* and reflect on which three you believe are likely to influence your career development most. Write 1500 words (Max) highlighting how you could combine an approach around these three interrelated aspects to enhance your development and career choices, referring to academic literature and your individual career plan.

* Career disruptors, redundancy, discrimination, harassment, self-advocacy, power, influence, politics, workplace relations, professional standards, workplace diversity, global trends, demographics, psychometric profilers, behaviour, culture, different types of workplace.

Your task is to define the three topics and explain their relevance to ensuring long term performance in the business area of your chosen career, highlighting the inter-relationships between them.
Your research should draw on at least 5 articles from peer-reviewed academic journals and 5 articles from other sources (internet postings, newspaper articles, magazine articles, personal correspondence, corporate documents etc). All source materials must be fully referenced at the end of your wiki page using Harvard format. This article needs to be both reflective and academically robust.

Key research questions to be considered are:
What are the accepted definitions of these topics?
How are they inter-related within the context of your career?
What actions should be taken to effectively manage (or leverage) these topics?

Marking guidelines:

The assignment should be written in a business research report format. Strong introductions must be written to set the context of the report so the reader understands what you are trying to achieve with the article. Ensure you finish with a strong conclusion that reinforces the key characteristics and impact these topics have and back up statements made in the body of the report with academic references and other evidence.

In assessing the report the following criteria will be taken into account:

Content selection, intro and referencing 30%
Analysis, reflection & conclusions 40%
Writing mechanics (structure and flow) 15%
Reflection & conclusions on own career 15%

The final article must be posted into TurnItIn no later than the assignment deadline. A signed cover page confirming the submission is your own work must be given to the lecturer on or before the due date.

Assignment 3a: Client research report
(30% of course total, Week 12)

Research challenge: To prepare a report which informs the client on important aspects of their research brief and provides recommendations relevant to this topic to achieve desirable outcomes. This report (3a) will be presented as a written business proposal and also through a presentation (3b).

Your Collaborative Learning Network (CLN) is to act as a consulting organisation asked to improve the performance of the company through the provision of quality research findings and recommendations for action. Your group will first discuss the topic with the client, formulate a research question based on their interests, and then research the question to create a 5000 word maximum business proposal highlighting 3-5 recommendations for the client.

Successful completion of this task will require you to liaise with the client about their brief to understand their needs and create a relevant and useful research question. Each group working for the same client will need to create a research question relating to a different aspect of the brief. Your research will investigate the factors that provide useful insights into the topic and form structured argument leading to recommendations for the client to act on to improve their understanding or performance.

Although written in business report format, this intention of this exercise is to link theory to practice. As such, standard referencing is required in Harvard format to enhance the robustness and credibility of the proposal. The report will be provided to the client so it must be presented in a professional format following normal academic conventions. While the content of reports vary according to the character of particular projects, they should contain:

Authors, executive summary, the task aim, research question, problem context/literature, methodological approach, data analysis, implications (benefits and limitations), recommendations/conclusions as well as considerations of policy adjustments and recommendations for further research. However, depending on the nature of the project, some flexibility may be necessary in presentation.

The final report must be posted into TurnItIn no later than the assignment deadline. A cover page signed by all group members must be given to the lecturer with the written report on or before the due date.
Marking guidelines:

Content selection and referencing 30%
Analysis, reflection & conclusions 40%
Writing mechanics (structure and flow) 20%
Quality of recommendations and impact of report 10%

Note: Executives read executive summaries to decide if they should read more. If interested, they will look at recommendations and conclusions (for more details on value-at-stake and ROI) and Introduction (for background). Proposals which have not impressed executives by scanning their sections don’t get read or funded. It is important to ensure your proposals are impressive throughout, but recommendations, conclusions and executive summary are especially critical!

Considerations for the report:

• Focus on the recommendations (the board know who they are, they do not need a long history of the organisation, expect where the details are directly relevant to the recommendations)
• Be clear about the order of the recommendations (all at once, some before others, timeframes and ROI)
• Create confidence the data is robust and the research is thorough
• Quality of the analysis for the client company, does it touch base on all potential areas. Is it focused on areas with biggest impact?
• Risk, limitations, timeframes and potential return on investment (approximate)
• Synergies between the recommendations – are they interdependent or independent initiatives? Order of application?
• Creativity, plausibility and appropriateness of the recommendations

Assignment 3b: Client recommendation presentation
(20% of course total)

The CLN Group will present their findings and recommendations from their research to their client. The purpose of the presentation is to positively influence the client (and lecturer and rest of class) about acting on your recommendations.

Your team will play the role of a group of external consultants who are presenting to the client with the view of securing a contract to implement the recommendations. The 15 minute presentation should introduce your findings and explain how this series of recommendations fits their business strategy (or extends it) in a way that adds value and enhances performance. You should expect questions from the client and others in the audience (for up to an additional 10 minutes). That is maximum time allocated 25 minutes.

In addition to the considerations provided for the report, think about the following aspects when developing your presentation from the report:

• Be clear early in your introduction what your recommendations can achieve. You are talking with important people, be respectfully direct and concise focusing on the benefits to be gained and why.
• Give high quality responses to questions from the client, keep focused and concise
• Clear and confident verbal skills demonstrated with good audience engagement
• Professional presentation style, ideally two way – don’t “lecture”!
• Strength of introduction (to the benefits early) and conclusions (reiteration of ROI and other benefits)

Note: The ability to influence senior people to act on recommendations is a highly significant professional capability. It takes great practice and requires you to create a sense of confidence in you as well as the work you have done. Influence creates opportunities for your career and makes a difference for the organisation and perhaps beyond. Take this presentation seriously and you will benefit throughout your career through greater impact on decision-makers.

Marking Criteria: Presentation total contributes 20% of course total
Marks
Interaction
Engaging presentation technique throughout (2)
Interaction with the audience (2)
Response to questions (2)
6
Support materials & technology
Quality of slides (1)
Appropriate use of Images/video/websites (2)
Presentation flow and organisation of changeovers (2)
5
Content and Impact
Engaging introduction, set context and focus, compelling “WHY” (1)
Clarity and plausibility of presentation (1)
Quality of analysis (1)
Strength and value of recommendations (2)
Overall impact on client (2)
Strength of conclusions (2)
9
TOTAL MARKS 20

Comments:

Important Note: Peer feedback

Working in groups in project environments is a significant part of professional achievement in modern organisations. For this reason, constructive interaction between course participants is a significant feature of the course to provide experience of interacting with others through a range of methods (class discussions, break out groups, collaborative research through groups and wiki, interaction with and presentation to clients). This achieves richer dialogue and greater collaborative learning for all involved.

All students provide input to this through the contribution of a mark for their group members. The grading rubric in the table below enables student feedback as INPUT to individual marks for group members. Although the default is equal grade for all group members, this student input is considered in determining the distribution of marks for the groups as well as observations on the manner in which student conduct themselves. Course participants are expected to attend all scheduled 12 classes, contribute actively to class discussion and group activities and notify the lecturer if they are unable to attend.

NOTE: If the majority of a CLN group reports that a member (or members) of a group does not contribute fairly to the group work that cannot be resolved professionally, involve the lecturer as early as possible to minimise impact on research activities. It is expected that every attempt is made by the group to constructively resolve any such issues before they involve the lecturer.

Grade Guidelines for grades
HD
8-10 Excellent contributions to group research creator of ideas and lead group activities. Timely delivery of individual topic to the wiki (to enable others to understand the relevance of their topic for the purposes of linking).
Contributes positively to class discussions with high quality insights
Distinction
7-7.9 Contributed well to group research Played a significant role in the achievement of research findings and recommendations. Timely delivery of individual topic to the wiki (to enable others to understand the relevance of their topic for the purposes of linking). Contributes positively to class with high quality insights
Credit
6-6.9 Contributed a fair share to group research and the achievement of research findings and recommendations
Pass 5-5.9 Contributed to group research but less than most team members
NNN
<5 Poor quality or infrequent contributions to group research activities.
Disruptive or inappropriate behaviours negatively impacting group tasks.
Team member name
Note: include a grade for ALL members including yourself Grade
A number from 0.0 to 10.0

Client Brief for Research

Brief topic:
Client Organisation:

Note: This document is provided by the client to assist the students set the context of the topic. It assists them get started with thinking and to be better prepared for the engagement with the client. It is not meant to define the topic, just to introduce some background to help clarify the scope and provide a foundation on which to start formulating research questions.
Background:

Tips & Insights: (a recent public reference or mention of the topic if you have one?)
Multiple aspects? We aim to provide a different research question per student group, so several groups can research the topic from different angles.
Categorise the topic: (Risk, Opportunity, Emerging Trend, Issue….)
Why are you interested to discover more about this topic?
Does it represent a new area for your organisation to enhance a mature capability or a new aspect to develop an understanding of something which may be significant in future?
Referencing
Referencing means referring to someone else’s work or idea in some way. It is sometimes called ‘citing’ or ‘documenting’ another person’s work. Because you will need to read widely and research to write an assignment, you will need to draw on ideas, language, data and/or facts of others. You are expected to acknowledge work from others that you have quoted, summarised, paraphrased, discussed or mentioned in your assignment, and to provide a list of publication details so that your readers can locate the source if necessary.
If you don’t cite all of your sources, you’ll be plagiarising, stealing ideas and knowledge from other people. The university treats this very seriously. Referencing has two parts: throughout your essay or report, whenever you mention another writer’s idea you must acknowledge where it has come from (even if it is a summary or paraphrase). At the end of your essay or report, you must give a list of all the publications you used. This could be called a Bibliography, Reference List, Work Cited or References. Strictly speaking, a Reference List contains all sources of information you actually referred to in your essay or report, whereas a bibliography also contains sources you used for background information but did not directly refer to. However this distinction is not followed in some faculties and departments, so you should find out what your lecturer requires. The Harvard Style of referencing is recommended for your MBA. In the Harvard Style each reference is indicated in the text by the author and the publication cited, sometimes with added information such as page numbers. The full details of these approaches to referencing are listed in the Business Portfolio’s Guidelines for Referencing and Presentation: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/s9sx559hurvc.rtf

Plagiarism
In your MBA you will read about ideas and gather information from many sources. When you re-use these ideas, e.g. in an assignment you must identify who produced them and in what publications they were found. If you don’t do this, you are plagiarizing.

Every time you use an idea or information from someone else you must say where this idea came from. If you’ve been found to have plagiarized, there are penalties and processes that are followed. You may:
• Be reprimanded
• Be required to repeat the assessment or complete a new assessment task
• Fail all or part of the assessment
• Be suspended for up to 14 days
• Have a the matter dealt with under the Student Discipline Regulations

Plagiarism covers a variety of inappropriate behaviors, including:
• Failure to properly document a source
• Copying material from the internet or database
• Collusion between students in the preparation of assessment items (without permission)
• Purchasing pre-written or on-demand papers from the numerous paper mills and cheat sites.

This information has been drawn from RMIT documentation. For more information about the penalties and processes, and to find out about RMIT University’s policy on plagiarism, refer to the following URLs:
http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;IDllc202lwe1yv;STATUS=A?QRY= collusion&STYPE=ENTIRE
http://mams.rmit.edu.au/s9sx559hurvc.rt#Plagiarism
Late submission of assignments
Assignments are required to be submitted before or on the due dates. In extenuating circumstances students may negotiate an extension with the relevant course coordinator. Grounds of late submission may include health or other personal hardship and where appropriate should be supported by a medical certificate. Normal work commitments will not be considered as grounds for an extension. The reason for an extension must be submitted in a written request for extension prior to the due date. Students should contact the MBA office and may be required to complete an Application for Special Consideration form. In the case that assignments are submitted after the due date with express permission of the course coordinator, the assignment will receive the following penalties.
• Graded 10% lower for each day after the due date
• After 10 days the assignment will not be accepted for marking
Return of assignments
All assignments will be marked and comments made available within three weeks from the submission date.

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