The thesis portion of a master’s level business degree offers students the opportunity to further explore a concept of interest to them, coalesce the information they have learned through their education, and demonstrate their understanding of concepts and their writing skills to colleagues and potential employers. An effective MBA thesis requires careful preparation and presentation.
Students generally work with an adviser to select a topic for the MBA research paper, which may involve setting up a study, examining current research through a new perspective or establishing a new idea. Sample topics include explaining how a business might expand to a new market or the implications of a current business model. Once the adviser or committee approves the topic, gather your research. This step involves examining existing studies from looking through peer-reviewed material like "The Global Journal of Business Research." You may also set up an observational study or send out questionnaires to research your topic. After compiling the information, researchers should spend some time considering the implications of the results.
A thesis sets out the information by sections or chapters, an arrangement that varies depending upon your topic. Most include a literature review examining what past and current research exists in publications regarding the topic; most MBA thesis papers need this information. Other sections generally include an introduction to establish your purpose and the significance of the topic in the business field, the methods and findings from your study, an examination of the results and their implications, and a concluding section listing recommendations based on those findings.
Business papers typically require the use of APA documentation format. According to the sixth edition of the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association," that means you must include the author's last name and the publication year each time you use words or ideas from another source in your MBA thesis. Acknowledge sources through signal phrases like "According to Lamar (2013)" or with a parenthetical citation: (Lamar, 2013). A corresponding entry for each cited source appears on a references page at the end of the thesis that gives more complete bibliographical information.
Every professional document should be free from grammar and spelling errors to make it easier to understand and authoritative, so leave time to proofread your paper after you finish your draft. Your thesis adviser generally looks over your paper and offers advice for revision, but having yet another person read over the paper may help you find errors. After revising, examine the specific requirements for your MBA program again to be sure you have included all necessary material and followed the guidelines.
- Lincoln University: MBA Thesis Manual
- Assumption University: A Handbook on Thesis Writing: MBA Program Graduate School of Business Assumption University
- Pepperdine University: How to Write an MBA Research Paper
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association; American Psychological Association
- Career Builder: The Importance of Good Writing
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