How to Write a Research Paper for MBA Studies

Students pull research from books, interviews and archives.

How well you have learned to research and how effective a communicator you are will be tested several times before you complete your Master of Business Administration. The MBA program is designed to teach you how to use business theories and apply them to real world situations. These theories are also methods of understanding real world situations, such as economic instability and supply and demand. Before you complete the MBA degree program, you will be expected to put your research and writing skills to test in your final research paper.

Choose a topic that you are passionate about. Pull from everything that you’ve studied thus far. Choose subjects with multiple viewpoints and theories such as workplace inequality or factors that impact the global economy.

Write your thesis statement. Your thesis statement explains the intent of your paper or what you set out to prove or disprove. To find a thesis based on your chosen subject, challenge a misconception, connect to unlike scenarios, take a theme from a classic research paper and reframe it with today’s social, cultural and technological standards.

Make a list of potential research questions, such as "What are the financial implications of workplace inequality?" Set objectives for your research as to what sources you can use to prove your thesis. Write a tentative outline of subjects you will cover.

Define your audience. Write for an audience that is bigger than your professor. Describe to yourself the audience that can benefit from the information that you will explain in your research paper. Use this as your standard for evaluating your research and writing. Your professors will judge you by this standard.

Consult with experts who can give you feedback and direction on where to look for research and answers. Send emails to other professors, economic and financial writers, and members of financial think tanks. Explain what you are working on. Not everyone will respond, but you will acquire invaluable information from those who do. Look for their email addresses in their published bylines.

Spend time in the research libraries. Bring index cards and notebooks. Take notes from the materials that you can’t remove from the libraries. Check out the books that you can check out.

Create a new outline based on the new research you have uncovered. Organize your index cards based on your new research.

Write out your ideas into full paragraphs. Write the body, method and results. In the book, “How to Write Your MBA Thesis," Stephanie Jones writes “It should follow a specific methodology, either quantitative or qualitative, and this decision will dictate much of the language used and way findings are presented.”

Write the introduction. In the book, “More Bucks Annually” Ken Wong says that the questions you should ask and answer in your introduction include “What methodological approach did you take and why? Which particular data collection techniques and methods did you finally select? How have you analysed and interpreted the data? Do your findings support or refute a particular argument or theory?”

Write your conclusion. Explain how your research supports or refutes your original thesis. Attach any interesting research that you’ve uncovered that doesn’t fit into the paper into an attachment to serve as the appendices.

Edit and proofread your research paper. Prepare the final draft by creating a title page, table of contents and appendices, and bibliography. Your teacher will give you guidelines for your bibliography and how to cite your sources.

  • 1 “Writing Your MBA Dissertation”; Brian White; 2002

Sam Williams has been a marketing specialist and ad writer since 1995. He has been published in magazines such as "Reaching Out" and "Spa Search." He served in various sales and marketing positions with major corporations such as American Express, Home Depot and Wells Fargo. Williams studied English at Morehouse College.