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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Common Courses (Management School)

Postgraduate Course: Climate Change Consulting Project (CMSE11518)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe Climate Change Consulting Project is an interdisciplinary MSc course at the University of Edinburgh Business School in which climate change and the environment are viewed and addressed from the perspective of private and public-sector organisations. Students are matched in groups to assess and address real-world, climate change-related challenges that a private or public-sector organisation is experiencing. During the course students investigate and try to solve this challenge in the form of a consulting project. By the end of the course students present their findings and solutions through a written consulting report to their clients, examiners and other stakeholders.
Course description Climate change brings significant risks for natural and social systems. These developments pose fundamental challenges to the way in which society is organised and governed. An increasing number of studies therefore advise that an interdisciplinary effort from businesses, society and policy makers alike is needed to respond to these challenges. The Climate Change Consulting Project is an interdisciplinary MSc course at the University of Edinburgh Business School, and challenges students to think about climate change in the context of organisations' current and future decision-making. Currently, businesses are largely seen as organisations that are impacted by climate change, rather than being important participants, and possibly leaders, in attaining a low carbon society. Students will learn to challenge this interpretation of organisations by gaining an in-depth understanding of the fundamental challenges that climate change and broader environmental issues pose to business current decision making. More specifically, students will gain expertise on how business leaders make decisions related to climate change and environmental-related issues and how specific problems can be solved through knowledge attained in previous classes. The course will prepare students to be future leaders that engage with climate change in sustainable, profitable and meaningful ways.

The main focus of the course is on the successful cooperation between the student groups and their client partner. Students are therefore expected to spend a significant amount of time consulting with the client partner and their group members outside of the lectures/discussion sessions. Students are expected to deliver their final work in the form of a written report. There will also be other written assignments.

A Climate Change Consulting challenge involves:
1. A private or public sector organisation/business (the 'client') who proposes a challenge.
2. A group MSc students who address the proposed challenge over a 10/11-week period. Towards the end of this period the group of students provides a written consultancy report and presentation to the client which detail the findings and associated solutions.
3. An appropriate level of input from the client during the 10/11-week period through e.g. access to data, periodic guidance and conversations via emails, phone and face-to-face meetings. The client also attends (physically or virtually) the initial briefing meeting at the beginning and the final presentation at the end of the 10/11-week period.

The client receives a detailed written report and presentation addressing the proposed challenge, and may also benefit by building links with potential graduate employees. Students gain considerable benefit from working on a real-world project, including learning how to communicate and work with a client. Consulting projects generally work best when the output is something of genuine and immediate value to the client. There is no financial payment as part of the consultancy project to the clients or students.

Outline Content

1. The purpose of Consultancy
2. Establishing a Client Relationship
3. Team Building and Project Management
4. Establish an Internal Consultancy Contract
5. Monitoring Consultancy Progress
6. Reviewing Consultancy Progress
7. Consultancy in Reflection

Student Learning Experience

Students will experience a mixture of lectures, workshops and discussion sessions which are spread over the semester period and which will occur in conjunction to the students' assessments. The main focus of the course is on the successful cooperation between the student groups and their client partner. Students are therefore expected to spend a significant amount of time consulting with the business partner and their group members outside of the lectures/discussion sessions and workshops sessions. Students are expected to deliver their final work in the form of a presentation and a written report. There will also be a number of other short written assignments that are part of the broader group consultancy project.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 16, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 180 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 30% coursework (Individual) - Assesses course Learning Outcome 5
50% coursework (group) - Assesses course Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4
20% presentation (group) - Assesses course Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4
Feedback Formative: Feedback will be provided throughout the course.

Summative: Feedback will be provided on the assessments within agreed deadlines.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop and articulate a clear and appropriate consultancy project methodology that is sound and feasible within the time scale of the project.
  2. Build and sustain a mutually beneficial relationship with a client partner, particularly in terms of communication, negotiation and a flexible response to changing circumstances within the relationship.
  3. Develop a consultancy proposal responding to the client's challenge, proposition and needs.
  4. Identify and apply knowledge, tools and practices as a team to deliver a client-focused output.
  5. Critically reflect on lessons learned from the experience of undertaking the consultancy project.
Reading List
Keele, S. Consultants and the business of climate services: implications of shifting from public to private science. Climatic Change 157, 9-26 (2019).
Kaesehage, K., Leyshon, M., Ferns, G., Leyshon, C. (2017). Seriously Personal: The Reasons that Motivate Entrepreneurs to Address Climate Change. Journal of Business Ethics.
Haque, S., Deegan, C. & Inglis, R. (2016) Demand for, and impediments to, the disclosure of information about climate change-related corporate governance practices, Accounting and Business Research, 46:6, 620-664
Wright, Ch., Nyberg, D., Grant, D. (2012). .Hippies on the third floor: Climate Change, Narrative Identity and the Micro-Politics of Corporate Environmentalism. Organization Studies.
Greenberg, J., Knight, G., Westersund, E. (2011). Spinning climate change: Corporate and NGO public relations strategies in Canada and the United States
Jackson, D. and Kaesehage, K. (2020). Addressing the Challenges of Integrating Carbon Calculation Tools in the Construction Industry. Journal of Business Strategy and the Environment.
Lahti, Ryan K & Beyerlein, Michael M (2000). Knowledge transfer and management consulting: A look at The firm.
Rasiel, E. (1999). The McKinsey way: using the techniques of the world's top strategic consultants to help you and your business.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of contemporary organisational disciplines; comprehend the role of business within the contemporary world; and critically evaluate and synthesise primary and secondary research and sources of evidence in order to make, and present, well informed and transparent organisation-related decisions, which have a positive global impact.

Identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied business and management problems, and develop approaches, informed by an understanding of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative techniques, to explore and solve them responsibly.

Practice: Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Apply creative, innovative, entrepreneurial, sustainable and responsible business solutions to address social, economic and environmental global challenges.

Work with a variety of organisations, their stakeholders, and the communities they serve -learning from them, and aiding them to achieve responsible, sustainable and enterprising solutions to complex problems.

Cognitive Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Be self-motivated; curious; show initiative; set, achieve and surpass goals; as well as demonstrating adaptability, capable of handling complexity and ambiguity, with a willingness to learn; as well as being able to demonstrate the use digital and other tools to carry out tasks effectively, productively, and with attention to quality.

Understand how to manage and sustain successful individual and group relationships in order to achieve positive and responsible outcomes, in a range of virtual and face-to-face environments.

Communication, ICT, and Numeracy Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Convey meaning and message through a wide range of communication tools, including digital technology and social media; to understand how to use these tools to communicate in ways that sustain positive and responsible relationships.

Critically evaluate and present digital and other sources, research methods, data and information; discern their limitations, accuracy, validity, reliability and suitability; and apply responsibly in a wide variety of organisational contexts.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with Others

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Act with integrity, honesty and trust in all business stakeholder relationships, and apply ethical reasoning to effective decision making, problem solving and change management.

KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Lavinia Rognone
Course secretaryMr Pete Park
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