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2017/2018  KAN-CCMIV1121U  CEMS Business Project

English Title
CEMS Business Project

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 15 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 63
Max. participants 63
Study board
Study Board for BSc og MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Peter Ørberg Jensen - SI
Main academic disciplines
  • Strategy
  • Supply chain management and logistics
  • Cultural studies
Last updated on 17-10-2017

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: The main learning objectives below describe the ambitions of the project and establish the evaluation criteria which will be used in the assessment of the student’s performance. Upon completion of the project, the student should be able to:
  • Identify and formulate a management question in response to a corporate problem
  • Select, define and apply appropriate research-based tools and analytical methods
  • Identify and present the firm implications – challenges as well as opportunities – that may be derived from the analysis.
  • Suggest decisions and actions that may help the firm in question to address challenges and benefit from opportunities.
  • Design and implement a project plan and comply with the related deadlines and deliverables.
  • Manage the relation with the company partner, including, for example, communication flows, and company partner expectations
Course prerequisites
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 3
Requirements about active class participation (assessed approved/not approved)
The Business Project forms a substantial part of the workload in the spring semester, and each student is expected to allocate approximately 400 work hours to the project.


Part A – The Management Report (5 pages of a total of maximum 40 pages), including:
- What is the main problem?
- How did we analyze the problem (data/methods)?
- What are the main findings?
- Recommendations – decisions, actions, changes, resources required to address the problem and improve the situation

Part B – The Full Report (the remaining 35 pages plus appendices), including:
1. Introduction to the Business Project report
o Background & Introduction, including
o Justification, relevance and framing of theme/case
o Management question
o Outline: The logic in the structure of the paper
o Case presentation, including introduction and central information about the firm and the relation to the firm topic under investigation
o Project design & methodology, including
o Positioning the case in research-based context – what do we know from previous studies and research, and how is it relevant for the case
o Data sources and collection, and reliability/validity assessment
o Developing and presenting the analytical framework
o Formulating hypotheses (if relevant)
2. Case firm and its external context, including
o Positioning of the case in a relevant industry / societal context
o Key characteristics / competitive conditions / trends / dynamics of the industry in which the firm operates – to what extent and how do these factors create opportunities / challenges / limitations for the case firm?
3. Findings of the study, including
o Presentation of data and important results - What do the data (objectively) show?
4. Discussion of the findings, including
o Your interpretation of the data – What do the data mean?
o Implications for the managers/partner company – What would you recommend to the firm? Why? What are the costs and benefits of your recommendations?
o Implementation – How may the findings of your study and your recommendations be translated into action? In the short-term / long-term perspective? What are the resource implications (financial, organizational, human) of these actions?
5. Conclusion
6. List of references (required)
7. Appendices (required):
o Interview transcriptions (exact scope and scale to be determined in consultation with the CBS advisor)
o Briefing Note (as approved by the company contact and the CBS advisor) and documentation re. mid-term evaluation
o Material (e.g. slides) used at the presentation seminar with the partner company
8. Appendices (optional): Other data and supporting material, if relevant

The deadline for the submission of the final report (not the Briefing Note) is Wednesday 30 May 2018, 12 noon on Digital Exam

The total length of the report is maximum 40 standard pages, not including appendices, front page and list of references. The report must not exceed this maximum length. Specific instructions regarding report submission and formatting will follow.


The Business Project will provide insights into confidential company data for both students and CBS advisors. As the CEMS community is very concerned with trust and long lived relationships, we take confidentiality seriously. Therefore, we have developed a standard confidentiality form that may be signed by all parties involved. This form is in line with overall CBS confidentiality principles and is in accordance with Danish Law.
Business Project - CEMS:
Exam ECTS 15
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Individual oral exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 4-5
Size of written product Max. 40 pages
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Spring and Spring
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The examination consists of written business project report and a 20-minute oral examination. The examination and grading will be done by an examiner (the group’s academic advisor) and a second internal examiner, who has not been involved in the project implementation. While the business project report is the collective product and responsibility of the group, the oral examination, which is held on the basis of the report, is individual. Each student is given one grade based on the combined assessment of the written report and the student’s performance at the oral examination. As each student is assessed individually, grades within a group may therefore vary, due to varying performances in the oral examination.


In view of the learning objectives of the course, the project report and the associated individual oral exam will be marked according to the following specific evaluation criteria:

-    Relevance and clarity of the company problem and management question
-    Clarity in the presentation of the report.
-    Coherence and logic of the structure of report
-    Application of relevant research-based tools and methods to analyze the case
-    Soundness and quality of the analysis of the company case and relevance of the conclusions and recommendations.
-Explanation of the methodology adopted in the report, including observance of the strengths and limitations of the chosen methodology. 







Course content and structure

The Business Project aims to provide the students with a real life learning experience. International student project teams solve a real business problem as a one-semester part-time activity in consultation with the partner company and an academic advisor in parallel. The Business Project is a consultancy-like project that aims to make a contribution to the partner company with analytical results and advice.


Even though the Business Project course includes a number of fixed deliverables and a tight schedule, students have full responsibility to manage the project process, the analysis, reach conclusions and present these in a clearly communicated way. The students are dedicated to work with a company and will be assigned a company contact person and an academic advisor from CBS.

The implementation of the Business Project will therefore help students develop a range of competences, in terms of analysis, communication, project, and process management – in other words, competences that are in high demand in the corporate world.


The Business Project forms a substantial part of the workload in the spring semester, and each student is expected to allocate approximately 400 work hours to the project.

The main part of the Business Project consists of the student group’s project work process and the group’s interaction with the case company. In addition, a special session on consulting work will take place shortly after the project kick-off. 


CBS will divide the students into a number of project teams of approximately 5 students each. Each company team will be assigned to a company partner firm, a company contact person, as well as an academic advisor from CBS. Each team will consist of a mix of both CBS–CEMS students and visiting international CEMS students. The teams are composed to ensure the best possible match between the project topic and the students’ educational background as well as other qualifications, and to create diverse teams in terms of nationality, home university and gender. The teams will be announced prior to the kick-off.


The project team will work on a business problem/challenge/opportunity, as provided by the company partner.


It is the responsibility of each project team to establish an internal project organization and structure to be able to handle the process of coordinating tasks, communicate efficiently and effectively with the company partner, and ensure that the milestones and deadlines in the process are met.


The kick-off for the CEMS Business Project is scheduled for Friday 2 February 2018. The kick-off will be held at CBS, where the company presents the case and meets the student project team for the first time. The aim of the kick-off is to:


  • Create an initial understanding of the topic and the situation in the project team
  • Establish a shared understanding of the project task
  • Set out the framework for the work process towards the first deliverable, the Briefing Note on the project approach


Before the kick-off students are assigned to specific company partners. It is expected that the students prior to the kick-off have done some initial information search, e.g. via the company partner’s website, annual reports, or through consultation with other sources for industry insights.


The kick-off and the following initial project work will lead the project team to produce the first deliverable in the Business Project, the Briefing Note.


The Briefing Note must be submitted to the group’s academic adviser at CBS and to the company contact person. The purpose of the Briefing Note is to outline the project’s purpose, the management question, research-based foundation, methodology and expected outcome at an early stage of the process. The Briefing Note should thus ensure that there is alignment between the expectations and approach of the team and its academic and company contact person – regarding purpose, process, methodology and expected outcomes – at an early stage of the process.


The Briefing Note should form the basis of a meeting with respectively the academic adviser and the company contact person. The Briefing Note should be no longer than 5-6 pages and should address, as a minimum, the following topics:


  • The company problem and the related management question.
  • Research-based framework and related analytical methods.
  • Scope and nature of the data required, including:
    • Primary data, in terms of company interviews (approximate number, with whom, purpose/main theme(s) of interview), or other data (e.g. market research data).
    • Type/amount of secondary data provided by the firm, e.g. industry data possessed by the firm, or from external sources.
  • Number, purpose and timing of progress meetings with respectively the academic and company adviser, including agreement on the date for the mid-term status meeting and the presentation of the findings to the company: Note that the number of consultation hours with the academic advisor is limited and should therefore be used wisely.
  • Deadlines and milestones specific to the project.
  • Anticipated limitations and risks, if any.
  • Expected outcome: Note that while the actual content of the results and advice will be developed later, the project team should at this stage try to specify the type/nature of results and advice that the project aims at in response to the needs of the company.


Although changes may naturally occur later in the process, due to e.g. unexpected circumstances or the insights emerging from the work, the Briefing Note should as precisely as possible outline the content and steps in the work process up until the submission of the final report.


The deadline for the submission of the Briefing Note to the project adviser/company partner is 19 February 2018, and it may of course be submitted earlier that this date.


While it is recommended that the project team consults with the CBS academic advisor and the company partner as part of their preparation of the Briefing Note, the company partner and the academic advisor must formally approve (via email to the project team) the Briefing Note before project work proceeds. As the meetings with the advisers may result in changes in the project approach, the project team can chose to revise the Briefing Note after the meetings to reflect the changes, or it can state the agreed changes in an email exchange that summarizes these changes after the meetings.


The Briefing Note (and related emails, if relevant) must be enclosed as an appendix to the final project report and will be included in the grading of the report.



Re. B: Mid-term evaluation


The project team must arrange one mid-term evaluation meeting with the company which is the second deliverable in the Business Project. While the mid-term evaluation meeting is mandatory, the format for the meeting is flexible and the most convenient format for the specific project may be determined by the project team in consultation with the company partner. The mid-term status may be reported in the form of an email, a short note, or a power point presentation. What matters is that there is some written documentation, that the meeting with the company partner takes place (either as a face-to-face meeting or a virtual meeting, e.g. via Skype), and that the outcome of the meeting is reported in the minutes of the meeting. The written documentation used at the meeting and the minutes of the meeting must be enclosed to the full report and will included in the assessment of the project team’s performance.



Re. C: Reporting findings and conclusions


The content and structure of the report will naturally vary according to the company case and management question investigated. The report writing process will lead to the two final deliverables – the company presentation and the final report – which are described in the following.


Prior to the submission of the report the company must present the preliminary results to the company. At this stage, the report does not need to be finalized and the project team is not expected to send a draft report to the partner company. Instead, the project team must orally, on the basis of a supporting slide presentation, communicate the main findings of the project and the derived suggestions. The meeting with the partner company should give the project team feedback at an advanced stage of the work process. This presentation meeting is scheduled to take place between 7 – 23 May 2018, so that the project team has sufficient time to incorporate the feedback from the partner company into the final version of the report. As noted above, the exact date for the presentation seminar should be agreed upon in connection with the Briefing Note.



Teaching methods
CBS will divide the students into a number of project teams of approximately 5 students each. Each company team will be assigned to a company partner firm, a company contact person, as well as an academic advisor from CBS. Each team will consist of a mix of both CBS–CEMS students and visiting international CEMS students. The teams are composed to ensure the best possible match between the project topic and the students’ educational background as well as other qualifications, and to create diverse teams in terms of nationality, home university and gender. The teams will be announced prior to the kick-off.
Feedback during the teaching period
Ongoing consultations with the CBS project supervisor.
Student workload
Business Project work 200 hours
Business Project work 200 hours
Expected literature

There is no general course curriculum, as each project is expected to select and draw on a more specialized portfolio of readings that relate to the project’s topic and management question. The student project team is expected to consult with their academic adviser in order to identify relevant academic literature. For example, projects may draw on diverse literatures in strategic management, operations management, marketing, etc., or a combination of these literatures. The selected academic literature, and other sources, used in the report must be referenced in accordance with established standards for academic works.



Last updated on 17-10-2017