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Brighton School of Business and Management Student Newsletter August 2009

Study Advice

Assorted Hints and Tips on Assignment Writing


Your assignments will have a more professional appearance, and be easier to read (and meet our format criteria!) by having a simple structure, of:

  • Introduction
  • Background (possibly)
  • Section Headings (that relate directly to the individual assignment Criteria)
  • Conclusion (or sometimes Summary)
  • Recommendations (where appropriate)
  • Sources of Information/References giving details of sources, including the sources, but not a repeat of the actual quotes or extracts, of the references used within the assignment

Supplementary Study

In addition to the core materials that we send to you, you are expected to read and research widely, by:

  • Searching the Internet for articles, reports, definitions, case studies, examples, etc, relating to the particular subject area that you are studying
  • Reading relevant newspapers and their business and financial pages (in print or online)
  • Talking with Specialists in your workplace (for example the Marketing Manager, Finance Manager and so on)
  • Reading relevant Books (but with the reservations discussed in the “Do I Need Additional Books” article below)

Thinking! Actively think about the current national and international situation in all the key areas:

  • Social
  • Technological
  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Political

And consider the implications for individual businesses, private and public, national and international. Look at the bigger picture. Reflect on the changing situation, potential future changes, and the impact that these are having, and will have, on the world of business and management.

Carrying out supplementary study on a regular basis will:

considerably improve your knowledge and understanding of business and management topics and issues
enhance the quality of your coursework assignments
give you more chance of making successful progress with your professional development
Use of References, Sources of Information
Quotes and short extracts, to support your response, are expected and are acceptable, but long sections of copied text are not.
Models and theories should be referred to and you should explain how these relate to the assignment and your discussion, but you should not give long, detailed descriptions of the model or theory.
Writing Style
Most of our assignments require you to write in a “business report blended with discussion” style, but within this it is also expected that you use:
Graphics / Charts / Schematics where appropriate, to illustrate a point, or situation – for example, when discussing organisational structure, or an action plan, or a communication relationship or link
Bullet Points for checklists, key points, or simply to make a number of items, discussion points, easier to read and understand
Section Headings (as described above) to highlight and separate your main points, to also give structure to your assignment, and also to ensure that you give a specific response to each assignment criteria.
Using a range of methods to illustrate your key points, and to make your assignments more readable and more professional in appearance will enhance your chances of achieving higher grades.
Number of Words
Most of our assignments have a minimum word count. You should not write less than this figure, and ideally not write more than 15% over this limit. However, in exceptional circumstances, such as if you are also submitting your assignment to your management as an internal report, then you can ask your Tutor for permission to exceed the word limit.
Additional Advice
For comprehensive, detailed advice please see the advice documents: Study Approach, Assignments-Writing, Assignments-Assessment that were sent to you by your Tutor, and can also be found on in the News and Views archive.
Written by the Tutor Team at Brighton School of Business and Management
Food for Thought
Forecasting Risks: the People Behaviour Factor
The forecasting, assessment, and management of Risk is a critical activity for any business, of any size and in any business sector.
Effective risk assessment and management is not only for those businesses where “risk” is traditionally associated with health and safety. Now it is an essential, vital, activity that all businesses need to have in place.
However, in most organisations the focus of this activity is usually on policies, procedures, processes, equipment, maintenance, and the like, and is carried out by technical specialists from Finance, Quality, or Health and Safety, and whilst these will be very knowledgeable in their fields, there is inevitably a bias in their approach.
The other area that risk assessment and management techniques are applied is in the management of projects. Here the emphasis is on a wider range of potential risks, but even here there is a bias towards factors such as budgets, quality, safety, physical resources, human resources (in quantity), meeting deadlines, and cost penalties.
You may have noticed that so far we have not mentioned “people” – in the sense of how people behave and perform.
In any workplace activity, whether it is a regular routine or a one-off event, there are many “soft” people-factors at play that should be evaluated.
These include leadership style, teamwork effectiveness, motivation and morale levels, a positive or negative culture, individual competence levels, the effectiveness of internal and external communications, and a whole range of interpersonal skills.
The reality is that these are usually much more important to effectiveness – the achievement of an objective, or the successful completion of a process, process stage, activity or event – than having technically sound policies and procedures, and the correct amount of equipment, funding, resources, in place.
If behavioural factors are not audited, analysed, evaluated and built in to the risk assessment and management process, then the process will continue to be flawed.
Written by the Tutor Team at Brighton School of Business and Management
Tutors’ Tip of the Month
One of the interesting things about studying for a qualification is that simply studying it can be almost as useful, in terms of credibility, promotion opportunities, and job opportunities, as having achieved it.
By this, we mean that, for example in your application form and covering letter, and later at an interview, explaining that you are studying for a qualification (relevant to that particular post, of course) will carry almost as much weight as already having achieved the qualification.
This is because the fact that you are studying it demonstrates that you: are serious about professional development; understand the importance of keeping up to date; can cope intellectually with a course of study; have a desire to improve yourself and make progress in your career.
The image this creates can be a more positive one, in many ways, than that of a competing candidate who already has similar qualifications which were gained much earlier, but has not recently undertaken any professional development activities.
You are able to take advantage of this, so our Tip of the Month is:
Make it known that you are studying for a qualification, inform your colleagues, your line manager, your training department, your human resources department (if any don’t already know)
Place details of the course in your CV Resume
Add details of your course to your LinkedIn or Facebook profile
If you are contemplating a career change, look for vacancies that ask for the qualification that you are studying for – studying for it might well be accepted.
Study Resources of the Month
The Manager’s Book of Checklists, by Derek Rowntree, published by Pearson
The Project Manager’s Book of Checklists, by Richard Newton, published by Pearson
http://www.pmhut.comIf you are involved in projects, either regularly or occasionally, this site will be useful to you. Project Management Hut has a collection of excellent articles on a range of project management topics.
Student Recommended Resource “… helping my company in devising an Ethics Policy and I found this site to be full of very useful information…….I found it interesting personally and thought other students might too..…” our thanks to Walid K
Advice from the Gurus
To succeed in life in today’s world, you must have the will and tenacity to finish the job
Chin-Ning Chu

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