How will you proceed to answer the research question asked in the Statement of the Problem? What information do you need to gather inside and outside the organization to answer the question? What steps will you follow to systematically analyze this data



Part 1: General Information
Part 2: Business Client Project Option
Part 4: Course Assessment Elements

Part 1: General Information

Capstone Business Project

The MBA program culminates with the completion of the Capstone course which is taken during the last eight-week quarter. The course is designed to provide an opportunity to apply and integrate the knowledge and skills that were gained during the entire MBA program. Therefore, the Capstone topic must be related to business and encompass material that was covered in the MBA curriculum.
The project course is ten weeks in duration. During this time, students are expected to write a proposal, complete a written draft of their project plan, orally present the recommendations/results to the professor, and submit a final written version of the project.

Upon successful completion of this project, students will be able to:
Overarching learning outcomes
•    Synthesize and apply content from prior graduate courses and other learning opportunities to better understand real world situations
•    Understand, appreciate, and value of the relationships across business disciplines
•    Distinguish real world problems and demonstrate the application of solutions from a global business perspective
Business Client learning outcomes
•    Assess and define a significant business problem
•    Evaluate information to better understand such a problem
•    Specify and design appropriate information to identify and present a high-quality solution
Research Thesis learning outcomes
•    Determine the requirements for a distinct research project
•    Select a significant organizational topic that, when researched, will have practical application
•    Produce a complete research project that will provide appropriate information for organizational decision-making

FAQ About the Capstone Project Course
Q: What is the Capstone project?
A: The culminating experience in the MBA Program is the Capstone project course. It involves completing a business consultancy or research project. The Capstone course is taken during the final term at HCT.
Q: What is the purpose of the Capstone project?
A: The purpose of this course is to integrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained from several courses in the MBA program.
Q: Can I choose any topic for my project?
A: The Capstone project topic must be related to business and encompass material that was covered in the MBA curriculum.
Q: Can I take the Capstone course prior to finishing the rest of my course requirements?
A: The Capstone Experience can be taken only as the last course in the graduate program. Although one course may be taken concurrently with the Capstone, such scheduling is not recommended. The Capstone course can be repeated only once.
Q: When does my Capstone project become “official?”
A: After you complete a Capstone Proposal Form with the narrative which describes your project, secured approval from the faculty member who will facilitate the course. You may then begin preliminary work that involves information sources. The project must be approved before progress begins. The Proposal Form is not a contract, so if you wish to change your project, you may do so with another Proposal Form and narrative.
Q: Are there assignments that will be considered in grading besides the project?
A: Yes. These are explained in the course handbook.

Part 2: Business Client Project

General Guidelines
A business client project addresses a specific business problem in a particular business. Students will function as either an internal or external consultant with a clearly defined task and an expected deliverable. This project parallels common assignments in organization where an individual is tasked to study a problem and make recommendations to higher level decision-makers. In many cases, the problem will have been addressed multiple times in the past but the solutions have not been as successful as required. The need is for a fresh look and fresh recommendations! This is expected to be achieved by the systematic application of multiple concepts learned during the masters’ program.
This task is accomplished by following these steps:
1)    systematically clarify the presenting business problem,
2)    determine the questions to be answered,
3)    decide how to answer the questions,
4)    collect and analyze data,
5)    draw conclusions, and
6)    make recommendations.
Key to success is framing the inquiry differently than has been used in the past. This is an opportunity for students to utilize the concepts and approaches learned in the Master’s program. A systematic examination using this new frame will provide a fresh view of the problem.
Research in this option will focus on identifying alternative ways of addressing the key question. Business projects are usually internal to an organization and used by these businesses to solve problems and make informed decisions.
A business project is an example of practical business writing. The writing is expected to be crisp and clear. The guidance here is to “Get to the point and back it up.” Do not labor your points. Once the research is completed, the document to be produced should be considered a persuasive argument on behalf of the recommendations. Again, a clear, concise presentation of the information will work best. A thoughtfully conceived and thoroughly executed study will provide a good foundation for this argument. The logic of the recommendations should be easily observed by those receiving the report.
Considerations for the Client Organization
Consider the following when selecting the client organization:
•    Client organizations may be the student’s employer, a small business seeking assistance, or a planned new venture organization.
•    Client organizations must be willing to provide students the opportunity to study and develop a general management perspective including operational, financial and human resource management issues.
•    Client expectations regarding confidentiality and other issues should be discussed with client’s organization
•    Client organizations are responsible to assist students in the development of the project by identifying problem areas where research is needed and by providing data for analysis

Consider the following responsibilities of the student:
•    The student must identify sources of information relevant to the project and be assured of access to that information and to those persons who can provide it
•    The student should have a clear understanding of what the client expects to be the outcome of the project. In what form should this outcome be delivered? This is known as the “Deliverable.”

Content and Organization of the Project

Title Page
The title page is not numbered. Refer to the sample provided at the end of these project format instructions.
Executive Summary
The purpose of the executive summary is to provide an abstract of the information provided in the project from the problem description to the recommendations. Clarity and conciseness are essential. Four to six brief paragraphs are usually sufficient.
An executive summary is intended to give a busy executive the key information and lead the reader to the sections that will answer the executive’s primary questions. It is not an introduction to the plan, as you may have written in typical papers. This Executive Summary, although positioned first in the project, should actually be written last. In this way you know what you are summarizing. Writing it earlier will cause it to tend towards a traditional introduction.
Table of Contents
This table is also numbered with lower case Roman numerals. Refer to the example “Table of Contents” at the end of this section.
The introduction section begins with a brief discussion of the area of interest and then presents the following sub-sections:
•    Background of the Problem
Description of the background of the problem (brief historical perspective and explanation of why the problem remains unsolved at this time). Remember your audience, does not require an introduction to the company.
•    Statement of the Problem
The problem is presented in statement form, e.g., “The problem is …” Conclude this section with a clear statement of the question or questions that need to be answered to solve this problem.
•    Purpose of the Study
This section explains why the study is being conducted. It may be (but not be limited to) one of the following:
–    To effect a change
–    To solve a real business problem for an existing business
–    To predict future situations
–    To compare and contrast (strategies, technologies)
–    To develop a specific program (marketing, process improvement, performance evaluation)
–    To determine the feasibility of (x, y, or z)
–    To conduct an organizational diagnosis of (x, y, z company)
–    To conduct an analysis of (emerging economic trends, the impact of leadership style on corporate culture)

Literature Review
The purpose of the Literature Review is to guide the inquiry. What research has been completed on similar topics in other organizations, the same industry, or other industries? This may include both academic and business literature. Questions to answer in this review are:
•    How have others defined/framed similar problems?
•    What approaches did they use to find solutions?
•    What solutions did they discover?
•    What were critical weaknesses of these approaches?
•    What else have you learned from these studies that will help this study be more productive?
The Literature Review should provide the foundation for your Methodology section. How have others approached solving problems similar to yours? You choose approaches because they produced productive results in similar situations. You may choose not to use approaches because of their unproductive results.
The written Literature Review is not expected to be as long as it would in traditional research. The presentation of the Literature Review should lay a logical and complete foundation for the Methodology that follows.
Warning: The Literature Review should not be a history of the organization. You do not need to tell a boss or a client the history of his/her organization.
[You should include at least 10 peer reviewed references in your work – cited both in-text and in your reference list]
How will you proceed to answer the research question asked in the Statement of the Problem? What information do you need to gather inside and outside the organization to answer the question? What steps will you follow to systematically analyze this data? How will you know when your question is answered? In a Business Project, this should not be a lengthy section but it should provide clear guidance to you as you proceed. It also demonstrates that you were thoughtful and thorough in your approach to solving the organization’s problem.
Findings and Analysis
Here you will provide a summary of your key research findings and your analysis of the findings. You should factually report your key findings and your interpretation of what the findings mean for the organization and its problem. Where appropriate you should attempt to link your findings to prior literature and concepts covered during the course of your MBA study.
By being thorough in earlier sections, this section should be brief and to the point. The findings are the setup for the recommendations to follow. Briefly review and recap what you discovered through your research.
•    The problem and the question this study was expected to answer.
•    Some of the issues/problems that were investigated
•    Key findings of this investigation
•    Possible solutions

The recommendations should build on your conclusions by stating actions steps that the organization can take to address those conclusions and make improvements. Consider the concept of “sufficiency.” Are your recommendations sufficient to significantly solve the problem? Are they practical? Affordable both in financial and other resources? If these obvious steps are not possible, what do you recommend? How do you present your recommendations in a way that gives decision-makers choices? Recommendations may have tiers. Clearly stating the expected results of each recommendation allows decision-makers to weigh the options and make their choices.
•    Describe your final recommendations and why it is the best solution/prediction
•    Describe alternative recommendations and why they are more limited
•    Describe the implications for management/businesses with respect to these choices.
Only sources of information that have actually been cited in the project are included here.
This section includes information that is too detailed to be included in its entirety in the body of the project. This would include raw data, sample questionnaires, and detailed computations. This section would also include information that is referred to but is not essential to the project, such as relevant policies, laws, forms, pamphlets, sample letters sent to organizations and subjects, or subject consent forms.

General Guidelines Formatting a Written Report
•    Major sections (sometimes called “chapters”) should be started on a new page (like the chapter of a book) and the title should be centered, bold, and typed with capital letters.
•    Headings for sub-sections (second level headings) are left justified, bold, and the initial letter is capitalized.
•    Headings for the next level of sub-section (third level headings) are left justified, capitalization of initial letter, and underlined. No letters are typed in bold.
Page Numbering
•    All pages except the Title Page and Abstract or Executive Summary are numbered. These numbers are centered at the bottom of each page.
Spacing and Font Size
•    The written project is double-spaced in 12 point, Times New Roman. Margins are one inch on all four sides.
Grammar “Don’ts”
•    Do not use contractions, such as “don’t” instead of “do not” or “it’s” for it is.
•    Do not use personal pronouns such as I, me, they, we, and you.
•    Avoid clichés such as “hopefully”, “obviously”, “as you know”, and “in other words.”
Referencing Sources
•    As a general rule, every statement of fact in the project ends with a citation that includes the author(s)’ last name and publication year. This citation must then appear in the Reference Section. For example: The extensive development in computer technology over the past decade is slowly being integrated into the classroom (Swan, 1997). Do not use footnotes.
Specific Style Issues
•    Proper grammar, spelling, word usage, and sentence construction are required. Final Projects are expected to be submitted without errors. Projects with errors may be returned for correction.
Written report evaluation criteria
(approximately 10,000 words or 30 – 50 pages):
Content – 50%
•    Completeness
•    Relevancy
•    Appropriate analysis
•    Appropriate conclusions drawn
•    Logical rational and/or justification
•    Original thought
Research – 20%
•    Evidence of appropriate information
•    Evidence of multiple sources
•    Evidence of relevant data collection
Structural – 20%
•    Grammar
•    Spelling
•    Appropriate business format
•    Citations
•    Clear expression
•    Tables, graphics, etc. appropriate and clear
Overall – 10%
•    Appropriate context in logic
•    Persuasive recommendations

Oral presentation evaluation criteria
(approximately 10 minutes presentation and 10 minutes Q&A discussion):
Content – 60%
•    Completeness
•    Relevancy
•    Appropriate analysis
•    Appropriate conclusions drawn
•    Logical rational and/or justification
•    Original thought
Structural – 30%
•    Correct grammar, vocabulary
•    Speaking skills
•    Use of appropriate technology
•    Use of visual aids
•    Appropriate use of tables, graphs, figures
•    Ability to engage listener
•    Ability to respond to questions, comments
Overall – 10%
•    Appropriate context in logic
•    Persuasive recommendations

The writer must read the following main instructions as it provides what the report shall contain:

About the client:
This is a business client project. The client is called Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) based in Dubai. ENOC’s main business in Fuel Stations (also called retail stations). See more at
ENOC sells different products and services at their stations such as (Gasoline, Diesel, Oil Change, Convenient stores, Bakeries (called pronto), car registration (called Tasjeel), carwash (called super wash) and minor car maintenance and repair (called Autopro).
The project:
This report should study proposing a loyalty/rewards program at ENOC fuel stations by following steps:
–    Starts with literature review (about 7 pages) about loyalty program at Fuel Stations (focusing only on non-fuel products and services as listed above).
–    The methodology of doing the research (mentioned in the attached PowerPoint) (2 pages)
–    The Findings & Results we’ve got from this research (it should shows results of discussions, Questionnaire charts, types of loyalty programs available in the market and internationally) (about 10 pages).
–    Conclusions (from the results, the writer should conclude that support implementing Loyalty program at ENOC stations. However the program shall target profitable, regular and loyal customers (not open to all customers).
–    Approx. cost of implementation (included in the attached Powerpoint) (2 pages)
–    Finally, recommendations from the writer on what ENOC should consider and do to proceed further with implementations.

Format and citation of the report shall be made as per the attached Project Handbook instruction.

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