NBS8489 : Business Analysis for Decision Making

Semester 2 Credit Value: 5
Semester 3 Credit Value: 5
ECTS Credits: 5.0


Every good manager needs to be able to identify key business problems, investigate potential solutions and then make and present recommendations that can lead to effective business decisions. To do this, managers need to understand how to be self-directed learners able to identify root causes to business problems, lead and work in teams researching and analysing those problems, and then identify, evaluate and recommend potential solutions. These are key business skills that will be developed in this module.
However, while these skills are very necessary, they are not sufficient for an effective manager. Managers also need to be able to present and advocate for their recommendations in ways that are compelling and can generate strong Executive support. In other words, leaders need also to be able to convince other executives that their recommendations should become implemented as business decisions.
This module therefore develops the skills and approaches needed to research, analyse and present a compelling business case in support of Boardroom decision making.
The module starts by understanding the business research and decision-making process. Students, working collaboratively, then draw on both their learning across the MBA and on their own prior experience to research a business issue and develop and evaluate solutions. In addition to integrating technical and managerial learning across the MBA, the module also builds on the consulting and inter-personal skills developed earlier in the MBA while moving the emphasis even more onto understanding how to work in and motivate self-directed teams through the problem-research-evaluation-recommendation process.
But recommendations are not decisions. To move from recommendation to decision, the module culminates with the ‘Boardroom Challenge’ where students present their recommendations to a decision-making Board, incorporating experienced managers and business leaders. In the Boardroom, students will be challenged to explain, justify and defend their recommendations. Will your business case be robust enough, clear enough and compelling enough for the Board to decide to adopt it?
This module is the first of three modules that develop and assess students’ skills in applying theory into practice. Skills learned in this module are therefore central also to both the team Management Consultancy module and the Individual Project module that follow on from this module.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module incorporates a series of classes covering
•       From Business Analysis to Management Consultancy and your Individual Project
•       Understanding the Individual Project routes
•       Corporate governance and the role of the Board
•       Understanding decisions and decision making
•       What is Business Analysis?
•       The research and analysis process: getting from problem situations to solution recommendations
•       Methods of investigation and analysis: qualitative and quantitative tools and techniques
•       Ethics in the research and analysis process
•       The Business Case: purpose, structure and content
•       Making and presenting a compelling business case
•       Applying these Research and Analysis skills in the Individual Project.
These classes form the basis for students to then work in groups to research a business challenge problem and develop recommendations and a business case for presentation in the Boardroom Challenge. In the Boardroom Challenge, student teams are required to present, concisely and compellingly, their business case and be challenged on it by the board members. Feedback from the Board then better equips students for the subsequent Management Consultancy and Individual Project modules.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Preparation of own inputs to groupwork
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture83:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading115:0015:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching20:301:00Progress review with teaching team
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops16:006:00Boardroom challenge
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity125:0025:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study114:0014:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures establish the context of the module and provide training on relevant theory and research practice. Student-led group work and assessment preparation then move the students to become more self-directed learners, with progress review sessions with the teaching team for support. The Boardroom Challenge workshop then forms the final summative assessment (with feedback that is formative for later modules on Management Consultancy and Individual Project)

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt3M40Oral Presentation - Group work. Presentation to ‘Board’- 30 minutes
Report3M50Group work. Business Case report. 6,000 words
Report3M10Group work. A concise Executive Summary of Business Case for submission to the ‘Board’, 1,000 words max.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation3MPeer reviewed practice of Boardroom presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The Business Case demonstrates the robustness of the group’s analysis and recommendations. The Executive Summary tests their ability to communicate their case concisely and clearly in writing. The Presentation to the Board tests their ability to present their case orally and visually in a compelling manner and to defend it in discussion.

Reading Lists