Culminating Experience Requirement

  • All MBA candidates must complete either a comprehensive exam (0 units) or a Project (3 units).
  • Students choosing to complete a project will need to complete two elective courses.
  • Students who take and pass the comprehensive exam will need to complete three elective courses.

MBA Project Description (3 units)

(ACC 5960, CIS 5960, FIN 5960, MKT 5960, MGT 5960, OM 5960)

The course 5960 is the terminal graduate project for MBA students who have completed course requirements. The project is one of two options of meeting the "culminating experience" requirement, the other being the comprehensive examination. The project must meet CBA requirements and be supervised by a three person committee made up of a faculty supervisor and two readers, one of whom must also be a full-time faculty member at CSU, Stanislaus. As of 2000, an oral presentation to the project committee is required of all persons defending completed projects, prior to submission of the project to the graduate office. You have the option of holding an open presentation, open to all interested parties, or a closed presentation with the three committee members.

Completed projects must be bound according to university requirements and two bound copies submitted to the library office no later than the last day of the term in which the you plan to graduate. In preparing your copies for binding; be sure to consult with a university reference librarian for approval of reference citations and bibliography conformity. Consultation should be done by appointment with a reference librarian.

A project consists of original work that contributes new knowledge to some area of business or organizational studies. The nature of the project and the discipline of the faculty supervisor generally determine the concentration under which the project will be registered. Final written reports should consist of documents of approximately 70-100 pages in length including tables, exhibits, and appendixes.

Types of Projects Include:

  1. A TOPIC INVESTIGATION A topic investigation (or report) is based upon some special business-related topic of interest or work-related project, like a feasibility study or development plan. A topic investigation can be based on a work-related program or project of interest or it may be course-related, or it may be a topic of special interest to you. One criterion of a topic investigation is that it serves as some kind of model or "blueprint" for persons within a similar organization or industry. The details of the project should be worked out with a faculty supervisor. Prior to meeting with a prospective faculty supervisor, however, you must develop a project idea in outline format and be prepared to describe, in some detail, just what you wish to investigate and what approach you plan to take. Ultimately this approach will result in a written document which includes: the project's purpose, a brief description, its significance, a description of the methodology used to collect information, the nature of the findings to come from the project, and recommendations based on the project's outcomes.
  2. A CASE AND CASE ANALYSIS A second project consists of both preparing and analyzing a "case" related to some strategic issue that an organization is in the process of dealing with or has recently faced. In the preparation phase, you generally will be communicating with individuals involved in the case situation, gathering all available information pertinent to the issue or situation. The information then needs to be sorted, organized, and written up in an objective, case format that presents the material in a logical format to a reader. (Refer to cases in "Business Policy" or other case-oriented courses for examples of how cases are written). Your written case would typically run around 30-40 pages including tables and exhibits. If undertaking a case study, it is important to keep all parts of the case objective and factual, meaning there should be no opinions on your part entered into the case. A case may report the opinions of persons involved in the case where appropriate, that have been presented to you, the case writer. A separate "case analysis" section represents your analysis of the case you have written, including a definition, in your words, of the issue or issues at hand and, in the end, your recommendations and supporting arguments of what action or actions the decision makers in the organization should make. A typical written case analysis would run about 25-35 pages plus exhibits. If selecting this option, it is important that you secure the approval of whoever makes significant organizational decisions, that is whoever's approval will be necessary for you to gather the factual information you will need to develop the case. Generally speaking, the chances of getting the approval are increased if the decision-maker can be convinced that the results of the case analysis will likely be beneficial to the organization.
  3. A RESEARCH PROJECT Research projects typically examine the connections (or correlations) between different factors (variables) in cause-effect relationships. Or, they involve investigations of human behavior in organizations. These types of projects can be extensive undertakings particularly if one has to gather data for such a project, be it qualitative data or quantitative data. A more common practice for persons undertaking such projects is to examine connections between factors upon which data has already been gathered and is available in existing data bases.
  4. OTHER PROJECTS There may be other project options that project committees will be open to approving and supervising. If you have something in mind that you believe will contribute original knowledge to your discipline or concentration, and that will meet written project requirements, you are welcome to develop a proposal on your idea and present it, in short outline form, to a prospective supervisor. Whichever option you pursue, you are encouraged to develop your idea as thoroughly as possible, and have a written outline in place that describes what you intend to do and your purpose in so doing, prior to approaching a prospective faculty supervisor. Faculty project supervisors are more likely to work with students who develop projects that fit with that faculty member's area of interest or expertise.

The Project Proposal and Registration Process

In order to initiate a project and get registered, you must first develop a written project proposal. This proposal may be developed independently by you or may be jointly developed with a sponsoring faculty member the project chair. The chair must be a full time faculty member in the CBA. (At least one of the two readers must also be faculty in the CBA). The proposal should include: 1. the proposed title. 2. the background and purpose of study, and 3. a brief description of the project itself: what it will entail and what the three person committee can expect to see at completion.

Once your proposal is complete, has been reviewed and accepted by your project chair, and distributed to the two readers, you can proceed with registration. Use the "special registration form", please attach a copy of the proposal to this form, write the names of the committee members at the bottom of the form, and bring it to the MBA office for processing. This form must be signed by the MBA Director and the Dean before being submitted to the University for Registration. The MBA dept. will keep a file copy of the registration form and proposal. The course is registered under the course number 5960 in whichever concentration the project fits.

If the project extends beyond the semester in which it is initially registered, you must register for the course MDIS 7005 (1 unit) using the Special Registration Form, which allows you use of the university facilities in completing the project.

Comprehensive Exam Description (0 units)

The comprehensive exam consists of a case analysis. This is primarily done at the end of the program or the semester in which MGT 5900/5902 is being satisfied. The exam is scheduled twice a year, once during spring semester and again during fall semester. It will be scheduled on a Saturday, generally two or three weeks prior to the end of the semester. The comprehensive exam carries a fee of $38; registration application and information may be obtained at the department office along with a case analysis outline.