5 of Australia’s Best MBA Capstone Courses

Completing an MBA is not just a paint-by-numbers experience. On top of the subjects already needed to obtain the qualification, for many courses students are also required to complete what is known as a capstone unit.

A capstone can be an elective or compulsory unit, usually offered towards the end of a degree program. The courses are designed to incorporate and consolidate the knowledge and skills a student has accumulated throughout their studies through an ‘experiential learning’ environment, rather than simply adding new knowledge and skills.

Capstone courses are all about making students ‘workplace ready’, and preparing them for the challenges of the real world. The courses often count for a swag of credit points and can include travel to far off places and working with real-world case studies.

Here are the institutions that some of the best capstone programs currently provided.

Integrated Strategic Analysis – University of Queensland (UQ)

The University of Queensland requires MBA students complete the ‘Integrated Strategic Analysis’ as their capstone course.

It provides the opportunity to integrate the key concepts that have been learned in previous courses in a consultancy project for one of UQ Business School’s partner companies. Working as part of a team, students operate “at the highest strategic level of business and collaborating directly with the CEO”.

The Capstone project is designed to challenge capabilities, and encourages students to apply their skills in unfamiliar contexts to address complex problems. Graduating MBA students must then present their conclusions and recommendations.

READ MORE: MGTS7803 Integrated Strategic Analysis

Integrated Workplace Project – Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

QUT MBA students must complete what is known as the ‘Integrated Workplace Project’.

Students are required to identify, scope and investigate a real world workplace problem or opportunity for a specific organisation, including conducting applied business research in relation to the issue.

Students are then tasked with making a series of informed recommendations for addressing the problem or opportunity and deliver these recommendations through a comprehensive written report and a persuasive pitch to the Executive Sponsor from the organisation.

READ MORE: GSN590 Integrated Workplace Project

Social Entrepreneur Consulting Practicum – Melbourne Business School

Students completing the Melbourne Business School’s Social Entrepreneur Consulting Practicum as part of their MBA work in syndicates as consultants to social entrepreneurs, who are creating a business plan and sales pitch to obtain external funding.

The student syndicates work through the entire consulting process from receiving the client brief, negotiating the final terms of the consulting project, executing the negotiated consulting activities, and delivering and presenting a final report to the client.

READ MORE: Social Entrepreneur Consulting Practicum

Strategy Capstone (Residential) – Deakin University

This residential unit requires students to attend six days of intensive study at Waurn Ponds Estate, Geelong where they will develop capacity to think strategically about an organisation, its industry and competitive position.

The unit provides the opportunity to understand and apply the tools of strategy to identify priorities for management decision-making, and develop coherent and aligned operational and implementation plans that contribute to organisational goals in a dynamic and culturally diverse business environment.

Financial, statistical and analytical skills will be used to evaluate alternative courses of action, resourcing issues and implications, and students will be required to explain and justify their decisions. Assessment includes a presentation, a test and written assignment.

READ MORE: MBR731 Strategy Capstone (Residential)

Change Management Research Project – Australian Graduate School of Management (University of NSW)

The University of New South Wales’ School of Business has a number of capstone courses that must be completed depending on the MBA courses a student takes.

The Change Management Research Project (CMRP) is the capstone course for the MBA (Change). It requires reflection on a range of course materials. It is also very applied in that you are required to conduct field research, using a specific research design, and report your experiences. These theoretical and applied themes are blended to maximise your learning.

The main aim of the CMRP is to enable students to synthesise all their learning across the MBA (Change) specialisation courses studied, and to achieve an integrated and common understanding of them. In addition, this capstone course will add significant value to your Master’s degree by building on your knowledge and skills from a range of core disciplines (financial, legal, technological) that may have been developed through your previous courses in the MBA (Change) or prior study and professional experience.

READ MORE: MBAX9134 Change Management Research Project

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Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (rgcmm.com.au).