10 of the Best MBA Programs

how to write mba dissertation proposal

Just 20 years ago, a bachelor’s degree was enough to compete in the job market. Despite the rising costs of tuition, a bachelor’s degree doesn’t hold the same value as more and more people are getting them. This is why many people are pushing for a master’s degree. Those with a master’s will make more money in their lifetimes than one with a bachelor’s. If you’re considering a graduate degree in business, take a look at the 10 best MBA programs.

The gold standard of higher education, Harvard is the best business school in the country, but it’s notoriously difficult to get into. However, getting in is only half the battle. Harvard is a difficult and expensive college. Once you make it through you’ll have the best MBA you can get.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

Cornell consistently makes it in the top 10 business schools every year. Located in Ithica, NY, Cornell is a great option to get your MBA. For those unwilling to move, they offer an online program through their extension school. Because of this, Cornell should be on your list of schools to get your MBA.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

University of Chicago

Booth business school at the University of Chicago is a great option for those who love urban city life. Booth is in a relatively safer area of the city and is located close to Lake Michigan. Sometimes, the deciding factor in getting your MBA is the location of the school which is why this program attracts great people.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

University of Pennsylvania

Wharton business school is known for its high profile alumni and its excellent curriculum. Located at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton attracts people from all over the world and for a good reason. The connections made there can resort to high profile careers and even positions at startups and getting the connection to start your own company.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

Stanford has some of the most well-known alumni in the MBA industry. Many people choose to go to Stanford for the quality education and the sunny California location. However, many also choose to go for the connections you can make. If you’re looking to get into the startup industry this is the place to go.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

University of Texas – Austin

While UTA isn’t as popular as Harvard, it’s one of the best options for business schools. Austin has a thriving startup culture and there are plenty of connections to be made there. The best part is the affordable tuition rate. It’s about half the price of other business schools.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

Columbia University

Columbia is another one of those business schools that always makes it in the top 10. Based in New York, Columbia attracts worldwide talent every year. The program is highly competitive due to the number of applicants but don’t let that stop you from applying. After all, you could get in.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

Duke University

Duke is also a well-known business school located in North Carolina. Many alumni leave the school highly well trained, and due to the competitive nature of the curriculum, you can expect to leave this school ready to enter the job market. Duke also has a fantastic alumni program.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

University of Michigan

U of M is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their business school has made it in the top 10 several years in a row, and they always make the top 20. Ann Arbor is a lovely college town with plenty of chances to network and make connections to benefit your future.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT is a school that everyone instantly recognizes. For those who are seeking an MBA in the technology field, MIT is the place to go. Like Harvard, MIT is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and because of this there are plenty of opportunities to network. MIT has a tough curriculum but it will prepare you for the job market.

how to write mba dissertation proposal


how to write mba dissertation proposal

MBA Essay Tips

Most graduate business programs require applicants to submit at least one MBA essay as part of the application process. Admissions committees use essays, along with other application components , to determine whether or not you are a good fit for their business school. A well-written MBA essay can increase your chances of acceptance and help you stand out among other applicants.

Choosing an MBA Essay Topic

In most cases, you will be assigned a topic or instructed to answer a specific question. However, there are some schools that allow you to choose a topic or select from a shortlist of provided topics.

If you are given the opportunity to choose your own MBA essay topic, you should make strategic choices that allow you to highlight your best qualities. This may include an essay that demonstrates your leadership ability, an essay that showcases your ability to overcome obstacles or an essay that clearly defines your career goals.

Chances are, you will be asked to submit multiple essays, usually two or three. You may also have the opportunity to submit an "optional essay ." Optional essays are usually guideline and topic free, which means you can write about anything you want. Find out when to use the optional essay .

Whatever topic you choose, be sure to come up with stories that support the topic or answer a specific question. Your MBA essay should be focused and feature you as the central player.

Common MBA Essay Topics

Remember, most business schools will provide you with a topic to write on. Although topics can vary from school to school, there are a few common topics/questions that can be found on many business school applications. They include:

Answer the Question

One of the biggest mistakes that MBA applicants make is not answering the question they are asked. If you are asked about your professional goals, then professional goals should be the focus of the essay. If you are asked about your failures, you should discuss mistakes you have made and lessons you have learned, not accomplishments or success.

Stick to the topic and avoid beating around the bush. Your essay should be direct and pointed from start to finish. It should also focus on you. Remember, an MBA essay is meant to introduce you to the admissions committee. You should be the main character of the story. It is okay to describe admiring someone else, learning from someone else, or helping someone else, but these mentions should support the story of you, not cover it up.

Basic Essay Tips

As with any essay assignment, you'll want to carefully follow any instructions you are given. Again, answer the question assigned to you, keep it focused and concise. It is also important to pay attention to word counts. If you are asked for a 500-word essay, you should aim for 500 words, rather than 400 or 600. Make every word count.

Your essay should also be readable and grammatically correct. The entire paper should be free of errors. Do not use special paper or a crazy font. Keep it simple and professional. Above all, give yourself enough time to write your MBA essays. You don’t want to have to slop through them and turn in something that's less than your best work simply because you had to meet a deadline.

More Essay Writing Tips

Remember that the #1 rule when writing an MBA essay is to answer the question/stay on topic. When you have finished your essay, ask at least two people to proofread it and guess the topic or question you were trying to answer. If they do not guess correctly, you should revisit the essay and adjust the focus until your proofreaders can easily tell what the essay is supposed to be about.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

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how to write mba dissertation proposal

Your Path to Career Excellence!

MBA Research Proposal: 5 Writing Tips to Present a Masterpiece

Before any student writes and submits their MBA dissertation, they need to prepare what is known as a research proposal. A research proposal is mainly a rough idea or draft of what the dissertation will talk about. It gives tutors the basics of what a student will produce in their final draft and requires careful planning to conduct it successfully. Any mistakes done in a proposal can easily be carried on into the final dissertation is they are not dealt with or shown to a tutor. There are 4 writing tips every student must follow to present a masterpiece of a proposal to their tutor. These guidelines were borrowed from academic experts at PhD research proposal writing service with years of experience.

Come up with the topic

An MBA research proposal will not get off the ground if a student does not have a topic and that is why this is the first step. A topic is very important because it is the subject matter that will be analyzed by the student. A student needs to pick a topic that is narrow and not too broad. Picking a subject matter that is too broad can make things complicated as plenty of time and effort will be required to find all the necessary information. This can be challenging and stressful for some students if they are feeling the heat to get a good grade. Keeping the topic simple is advisable because information will easily be found and you will finish the research proposal on time.

Create a very good introduction for your research proposal

Apart from the conclusion, an introduction can be tricky and difficult to write when compared to the main body. Since an introduction sets the tone for the research proposal, many students struggle to come up with a good one because they want it to be perfect. Coming up with an introduction that read and flows well is not that difficult at all. The first thing that a student has to do in their introduction is to spell out the reason for their investigation. Once that is done, you have to come up with the hypothesis for your research paper. Lastly, evaluation of the usefulness of the topic to your own developments as well as for the company it is based on. It is very important to make this part of the research proposal very precise and straight to the point without adding unnecessary things or facts to it. The last thing that a student needs is to have an introduction that is not attractive on the eyes. This can easily put readers off.

Begin writing the literature review

Once the introduction is over and done with, it is time to add some meat to the research proposal and that is where the literature review comes in. When you are performing your research for the topic you picked, you really need to pick ideas and facts that matter. This will make your research proposal stand head and shoulders above everyone else’s. Failure to do so can result in producing a piece of work that is not only underwhelming but lackluster at the same time. You need to provide at least 5 sources to show your tutor that you are looking at relevant information to get your topic off the ground. Relevant information, in this case, means looking at things that are not outdated and recent. Adding content that is way out of date or too old can get you a very low mark. Make sure you read different materials from different authors to fully grasp the topic you have picked. The more authors you use to support your facts and work, the better and it will add the meat you need to make your literature review the masterpiece you want it to be.

Show your methodology

The last thing you need to do to make your research proposal a masterpiece is to have a methodology section. There is no denying that this section of the MBA research proposal is important because it shows a tutor the thought process of a student. It also shows the methods a student used to analyze their topic. In order to show a level of diversity, you need to use different methods to analyze your data. You need to be careful and pick a method that suits the topic because using the wrong method of analysis can lead to wrong or inconclusive results. You have to do everything you can to choose the best methodology for the research because this section can either make or break your research proposal.

Close with a nice conclusion

Closing a research proposal with a nice proposal is just as tricky as coming up with a good introduction. While an introduction as pointed out before setting the tone, a conclusion sums up the results that will be found in the research. It is basically a summary of everything that will be touched on in a future dissertation. Wording this section is not easy however, if you have your facts and information right, it can make life easy. Overall the tips mentioned above will help you present a masterpiece to your tutor if followed religiously. Although writing a proposal is not as time-consuming as a dissertation, it still requires attention to detail. You have to make sure that you have a good plan of action and spell out from the get-go why you picked that particular topic and not any other.


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Complete Guide to Writing an MBA Dissertation

MBA dissertation writing  is a combination of art and craft. On the one hand, university committees usually base their appraisals on the novelty of your topic, the interesting choice of study participants, and the practical contribution of your research. These are the things that make or break dissertation projects and should be your key focus with writing your work. On the other hand, the devil is in the detail and we have seen many students lose valuable points or going through multiple re-writes due to missing some important elements related to submission requirements or format requirements. When you have invested months of hard work in a single endeavour, you may feel tired, absent-minded, and willing to get over it as soon as possible. The key to overcoming this ‘last mile’ barrier is to use a clearly structured plan to be 100% sure that no critical elements have been missed.    

The following dissertation check-list covers all key aspects you need to inspect to leave no room for failure. It covers all your journey starting from choosing a topic to developing a final presentation for your thesis defence. Feel free to head straight to the section that is of highest relevance to the dissertation writing phase you are presently at.


Starting an MBA Dissertation

The best way to avoid problems is to prevent their emergence right from the start. An MBA dissertation project is usually a large-scale endeavour spanning over many months and requiring a lot of time and other resources to complete. Starting it without a plan is an academic suicide, which is confirmed by relatively high failure rates in this sphere. If we rephrase this idea in a positive light, writing a dissertation should be the pinnacle of your academic journey as an MBA student. Hence, you need to design an optimal plan for maximising your ‘return on investment’ ratio. Anyone can complete an MBA dissertation by disrupting their work/live balance and throwing oneself at this challenge. The trick is to achieve similar results without burning out and wasting a lot of unnecessary resources on the things that do not contribute to the end result.

In this section, we will analyse several aspects of such planning that can literally save you from weeks of frustrating rewrites and sub-optimal academic outcomes. Some of these recommendations may be related to your personal skills and competencies while others may be associated with your external activities and university arrangements. While you may choose to skip some of them due to your personal preferences, their simultaneous use creates a synergistic effect ensuring your future success as a dissertation writer. There are few things more frustrating than having to alter some of your main structural elements in the middle of your project while missing some intermediary deadlines as a result. A good beginning is half the battle, which is why you may opt for investing several weeks into the elements in this section to have a seamless academic journey afterwards.

MBA Dissertation Topics Selection

Choosing a research topic is, perhaps, the most important decision that can be made by any student starting their dissertation journey. An MBA project may involve a wide range of possible spheres to explore, which frequently creates a false sense of confidence. However, amateur dissertation writers easily overlook a number of crucial elements such as:

Selecting a suitable MBA dissertation topic is a challenging task even for experienced dissertation writers since there are multiple concepts and spheres that are worth exploring. The best tactic is to look for multiple ideas in order to have several alternative options by the moment you choose to confirm one of them with your supervisor. Research available academic journals, course materials, newspapers and other media to prepare a short list of what topics you find meaningful and engaging.

Next, take your time deciding whether it is important enough to tackle and what will be the focus of your research. Although it may seem irrelevant at this stage, you should also think of appropriate methods. This practice can save you from a world of trouble down the road as many students identify that their topic is not manageable from a methodological standpoint in the middle of their dissertation-writing project.


As soon as you have a list of 3-5 topics, you may choose to discuss them with:

These extra opinions can really help you narrow down your topic focus or prioritise some of the options on your list. The presence of multiple opportunities also allows you to negotiate with your prospective supervisors and ensure that you both find a certain ideas interesting for research.

Check the Requirements of your MBA Dissertation

While this recommendation may seem obvious, we have seen many students losing their hard-earned marks due to some silly mistakes related to formatting and referencing rules or incorrect word count distribution between the sections. These issues usually do not lead to a complete fail but may be highly detrimental if you want to write a first-class MBA dissertation. Here is how you can prevent such problems right from the start:

If you choose to follow a single rule from this section, this is the one to prioritise. Remember that the devil is in the detail and what may seem trivial at first sight can have a strong impact on the overall quality of your dissertation in the end. There is nothing worse than losing some points due to formatting mistakes or other minor errors that could have been omitted with 5 minutes spent on compiling the aforementioned lists of requirements.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

Select Your Research Methods

Your MBA dissertation can proceed via multiple routes depending on a number of factors:

As soon as you have a realistic MBA dissertation topic, you need to also develop your research aim, objectives, and questions and think about the ways to address them. This understanding is crucial for further discussions with your supervisor and the development of your proposal.

Finalise Your MBA Dissertation Structure

Most MBA projects have common structures, which allows you to plan their completion in advance. Here is a list of common elements you should include in most dissertation scenarios.

Make sure that your structure is in line with your university requirements and write down specific word count distribution per section. As discussed below, you do not need to complete all sections while creating your first draft. Specifically, your Executive Summary, Introduction, and Conclusion may be delayed until the revision phase to make them more specific in relation to the results you obtain.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

Develop a Plan

Any previously submitted dissertation proposal usually involves a Gantt chart outlining how you are going to spend the following weeks and months working on your MBA dissertation project. While many students tend to write some approximate dates in this document in a random manner, we would advise you to treat it seriously. Actually, we would suggest that you should take it one step further:

A good plan is your safety belt. You may not need it at all times but it can save your life in a critical situation by keeping you on track. Developing such document also ensures that you are fully aware of all aspects of dissertation-writing before you even start. Down the road, this allows you to focus on the most crucial parts and not waste your time on refining the elements that do not contribute much to the final result.

Find the Right Supervisor

Having the right supervisor can give you a great advantage in writing your dissertation. If there is a choice, consider someone who has a reputation for getting students through. You should select the most academically and socially engaged supervisor who really pays attention to the requirements for the degree, clearly understands the process, and can provide you with the right advice. If you struggle to understand your tutor and still have questions about the dissertation writing process, don’t be shy to apply for our tutoring service. Some supervisors simply don’t have enough time to give a quality consultation to each student.

dissertation survival guide

Have a Plan B

The best way to avoid contingencies is to accept the possibility of their emergence. Here is a list of risk management strategies that will protect you from harm even in the worst-case scenario:

If we could provide a single recommendation on how to write your dissertation, we would suggest that you should thoroughly plan it from the onset. A well-designed research project is a self-fulfilling prophecy that virtually writes itself into existence. You start with a well-designed and unique topic that is supported by realistic and measurable objectives that can be addressed with convenient and reliable methodological instruments. It still takes time and effort but the amount of back-and-forth is rather small and you can easily plan your dissertation work and seamlessly integrate it into your personal life without major conflicts. Many students reverse this order and start with writing some sections of their projects while revising their research objectives or adjusting their topic along the way. This strategy is clearly sub-optimal and will never result in a coherent study with a clearly outlined main argument. Hence, your primary goal is to seek professional guidance and lay this foundation right. 15 Writers team are happy to offer help with dissertation writing and share our know-how in achieving top marks. Don’t hesitate to check our sample dissertations to make sure we provide the best academic service. You can start with a dissertation proposal to avoid the risk of ordering a full project at once.

Rolling Up Your Sleeves: Writing the First Draft

The next checklist allows you to create a ‘rough draft’ of your MBA dissertation. Aim for 80% of the word count per section and address all key requirements found earlier. The goal of this phase is to get you ‘almost there’ in terms of your readiness but leave some space for further revisions and additions. There are multiple reasons for pursuing this strategy, namely:


The following points should help you create an ‘80% draft’ that should get you a ‘pass’ mark with minimal revisions even in the worst-case scenario. As noted earlier, we will improve it during the following phase of your MBA dissertation writing process.

Moving On: Revising Your Draft

As soon as you have finished writing your first draft, you need to complete two separate tasks. On the one hand, you have to thoroughly proof-read and edit it in order to identify some missing elements and improve its overall quality. This part primarily refers to the revision of your main sections and may involve ‘going back to the drawing board’ if some crucial sections must be improved or replaced. Usually, such problems are associated with the coherence of your main argument across all chapters and the quality of your Analysis chapter.

On the other hand, your final dissertation draft must include a number of auxiliary sections such as the Abstract, the Acknowledgements, Appendices, informed consent forms, ethics forms, and other obligatory parts. During this phase, we need to add them to your document and appraise what additional elements can be added to improve the readability of your work.


Finishing Your MBA Dissertation

The final inspection should explore all aspects that need to be considered prior to submitting your dissertation. It will be most valuable when you have already completed your document draft and are preparing it for final submission. The recommendations in the check-list address all key parts of dissertation projects. However, you should also revise your dissertation requirements since some universities have custom requirements in terms of submission procedures, referencing styles, document formatting, and the use of visual materials and appendices. Overall, this process can be subdivided into two parts.

Content Revision

This part needs to ensure that your draft meets all applicable requirements in terms of its grammar, style, section contents, and other constituent elements.


Technical Aspects

This final part of the checklist ensures that your dissertation is fine from a technical standpoint. While problems of this kind are relatively rare, having a backup plan for such circumstances may not be a bad thing.

If you struggle with any of the aforementioned elements of MBA dissertation writing, you can use our website to get MBA dissertation help, browse through some MBA dissertation examples or explore our sample MBA dissertation topics. Our academic writers are a team of industry professionals that have supervised hundreds of projects in this sphere in the past. We offer 100% satisfaction guarantees for all of our services including dissertation writing, essay writing, and assignment help. You can also order individual elements such as MBA project topics or individual chapters. We may assist you with any part of your dissertation you presently struggle with or offer a second opinion to appraise whether your current choices are suitable for writing a 1 st standard dissertation.

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How to Write a Dissertation or Thesis Proposal

Published on September 21, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 15, 2022.

When starting your thesis or dissertation process, one of the first requirements is a research proposal or a prospectus. It describes what or who you want to examine, delving into why, when, where, and how you will do so, stemming from your research question and a relevant topic .

The proposal or prospectus stage is crucial for the development of your research. It helps you choose a type of research to pursue, as well as whether to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.

You can download our templates in the format of your choice below.

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Table of contents

What should your proposal contain, dissertation question examples, what should your proposal look like, dissertation prospectus examples, frequently asked questions about proposals.

Prior to jumping into the research for your thesis or dissertation, you first need to develop your research proposal and have it approved by your supervisor. It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives .

Depending on your department’s requirements, there may be a defense component involved, where you present your research plan in prospectus format to your committee for their approval.

Your proposal should answer the following questions:

Ultimately, your proposal should persuade your supervisor or committee that your proposed project is worth pursuing.

Strong research kicks off with a solid research question , and dissertations are no exception to this.

Dissertation research questions should be:

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An easy rule of thumb is that your proposal will usually resemble a (much) shorter version of your thesis or dissertation. While of course it won’t include the results section , discussion section , or conclusion , it serves as a “mini” version or roadmap for what you eventually seek to write.

Be sure to include:

The length of your proposal varies quite a bit depending on your discipline and type of work you’re conducting. While a thesis proposal is often only 3-7 pages long, a prospectus for your dissertation is usually much longer, with more detailed analysis. Dissertation proposals can be up to 25-30 pages in length.

Writing a proposal or prospectus can be a challenge, but we’ve compiled some examples for you to get your started.

The research methods you use depend on the type of data you need to answer your research question .

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

A well-planned research design helps ensure that your methods match your research aims, that you collect high-quality data, and that you use the right kind of analysis to answer your questions, utilizing credible sources . This allows you to draw valid , trustworthy conclusions.

The priorities of a research design can vary depending on the field, but you usually have to specify:

A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.

It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.

Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.

Formulating a main research question can be a difficult task. Overall, your question should contribute to solving the problem that you have defined in your problem statement .

However, it should also fulfill criteria in three main areas:

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How To Write A Research Proposal

5 essential ingredients for a top-notch dissertation or thesis proposal.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | August 2019

Writing up a strong research proposal for a dissertation or thesis is much like a marriage proposal. It’s a task that calls on you to win somebody over and persuade them that what you’re planning is a great idea. An idea they’re happy to say ‘yes’ to. This means that your dissertation proposal needs to be   persuasive ,   attractive   and well-planned. In this post, I’ll show you how to write a winning dissertation proposal, from scratch.

Before you start:

– Understand exactly what a research proposal is – Ask yourself these 4 questions

The 5 essential ingredients:

What Is A Research Proposal?

The research proposal is literally that: a written document that communicates what you propose to research, in a concise format. It’s where you put all that stuff that’s spinning around in your head down on to paper, in a logical, convincing fashion.

Convincing   is the keyword here, as your research proposal needs to convince the assessor that your research is   clearly articulated   (i.e., a clear research question),   worth doing   (i.e., is unique and valuable enough to justify the effort), and   doable   within the restrictions you’ll face (time limits, budget, skill limits, etc.). If your proposal does not address these three criteria, your research won’t be approved, no matter how “exciting” the research idea might be.

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How do I know I’m ready?

Before starting the writing process, you need to   ask yourself 4 important questions .  If you can’t answer them succinctly and confidently, you’re not ready – you need to go back and think more deeply about your dissertation topic .

You should be able to answer the following 4 questions before starting your dissertation or thesis research proposal:

If you can’t answer these questions clearly and concisely,   you’re not yet ready   to write your research proposal – revisit our   post on choosing a topic .

If you can, that’s great – it’s time to start writing up your dissertation proposal. Next, I’ll discuss what needs to go into your research proposal, and how to structure it all into an intuitive, convincing document with a linear narrative.

The 5 Essential Ingredients

Research proposals can vary in style between institutions and disciplines, but here I’ll share with you a   handy 5-section structure   you can use. These 5 sections directly address the core questions we spoke about earlier, ensuring that you present a convincing proposal. If your institution already provides a proposal template, there will likely be substantial overlap with this, so you’ll still get value from reading on.

For each section discussed below, make sure you use headers and sub-headers (ideally, numbered headers) to help the reader navigate through your document, and to support them when they need to revisit a previous section. Don’t just present an endless wall of text, paragraph after paragraph after paragraph…

Top Tip:   Use MS Word Styles to format headings. This will allow you to be clear about whether a sub-heading is level 2, 3, or 4. Additionally, you can view your document in ‘outline view’ which will show you only your headings. This makes it much easier to check your structure, shift things around and make decisions about where a section needs to sit. You can also generate a 100% accurate table of contents using Word’s automatic functionality.

how to write mba dissertation proposal

Ingredient #1 – Topic/Title Header

Your research proposal’s title should be your main research question in its simplest form, possibly with a sub-heading providing basic details on the specifics of the study. For example:

“Compliance with equality legislation in the charity sector: a study of the ‘reasonable adjustments’ made in three London care homes”

As you can see, this title provides a clear indication of what the research is about, in broad terms. It paints a high-level picture for the first-time reader, which gives them a taste of what to expect.   Always aim for a clear, concise title . Don’t feel the need to capture every detail of your research in your title – your proposal will fill in the gaps.

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how to write mba dissertation proposal

Ingredient #2 – Introduction

In this section of your research proposal, you’ll expand on what you’ve communicated in the title, by providing a few paragraphs which offer more detail about your research topic. Importantly, the focus here is the   topic   – what will you research and why is that worth researching? This is not the place to discuss methodology, practicalities, etc. – you’ll do that later.

You should cover the following:

Importantly, you should aim to use short sentences and plain language – don’t babble on with extensive jargon, acronyms and complex language. Assume that the reader is an intelligent layman – not a subject area specialist (even if they are). Remember that the   best writing is writing that can be easily understood   and digested. Keep it simple.

The introduction section serves to expand on the  research topic – what will you study and why is that worth dedicating time and effort to?

Note that some universities may want some extra bits and pieces in your introduction section. For example, personal development objectives, a structural outline, etc. Check your brief to see if there are any other details they expect in your proposal, and make sure you find a place for these.

Ingredient #3 – Scope

Next, you’ll need to specify what the scope of your research will be – this is also known as the delimitations . In other words, you need to make it clear what you will be covering and, more importantly, what you won’t be covering in your research. Simply put, this is about ring fencing your research topic so that you have a laser-sharp focus.

All too often, students feel the need to go broad and try to address as many issues as possible, in the interest of producing comprehensive research. Whilst this is admirable, it’s a mistake. By tightly refining your scope, you’ll enable yourself to   go deep   with your research, which is what you need to earn good marks. If your scope is too broad, you’re likely going to land up with superficial research (which won’t earn marks), so don’t be afraid to narrow things down.

Ingredient #4 – Literature Review

In this section of your research proposal, you need to provide a (relatively) brief discussion of the existing literature. Naturally, this will not be as comprehensive as the literature review in your actual dissertation, but it will lay the foundation for that. In fact, if you put in the effort at this stage, you’ll make your life a lot easier when it’s time to write your actual literature review chapter.

There are a few things you need to achieve in this section:

When you write up your literature review, keep these three objectives front of mind, especially number two (revealing the gap in the literature), so that your literature review has a   clear purpose and direction . Everything you write should be contributing towards one (or more) of these objectives in some way. If it doesn’t, you need to ask yourself whether it’s truly needed.

Top Tip:  Don’t fall into the trap of just describing the main pieces of literature, for example, “A says this, B says that, C also says that…” and so on. Merely describing the literature provides no value. Instead, you need to   synthesise   it, and use it to address the three objectives above.

 If you put in the effort at the proposal stage, you’ll make your life a lot easier when its time to write your actual literature review chapter.

Ingredient #5 – Research Design

Now that you’ve clearly explained both your intended research topic (in the introduction) and the existing research it will draw on (in the literature review section), it’s time to get practical and explain exactly how you’ll be carrying out your own research. In other words, your research design.

In this section, you’ll need to   answer two critical questions :

In other words, this is not just about explaining WHAT you’ll be doing, it’s also about explaining WHY. In fact, the   justification is the most important part , because that justification is how you demonstrate a good understanding of research design (which is what assessors want to see).

Some essential design choices you need to cover in your research proposal include:

This list is not exhaustive – these are just some core attributes of research design. Check with your institution what level of detail they expect. The “ research onion ” by Saunders et al (2009) provides a good summary of the various design choices you ultimately need to make – you can   read more about that here .

Don’t forget the practicalities…

In addition to the technical aspects, you will need to address the   practical   side of the project. In other words, you need to explain   what resources you’ll need   (e.g., time, money, access to equipment or software, etc.) and how you intend to secure these resources. You need to show that your project is feasible, so any “make or break” type resources need to already be secured. The success or failure of your project cannot depend on some resource which you’re not yet sure you have access to.

Another part of the practicalities discussion is   project and risk management . In other words, you need to show that you have a clear project plan to tackle your research with. Some key questions to address:

A good way to demonstrate that you’ve thought this through is to include a Gantt chart and a risk register (in the appendix if word count is a problem). With these two tools, you can show that you’ve got a clear, feasible plan, and you’ve thought about and accounted for the potential risks.

Gantt chart

Tip – Be honest about the potential difficulties – but show that you are anticipating solutions and workarounds. This is much more impressive to an assessor than an unrealistically optimistic proposal which does not anticipate any challenges whatsoever.

Final Touches: Read And Simplify

The final step is to edit and proofread your proposal – very carefully. It sounds obvious, but all too often poor editing and proofreading ruin a good proposal. Nothing is more off-putting for an assessor than a poorly edited, typo-strewn document. It sends the message that you either do not pay attention to detail, or just don’t care. Neither of these are good messages. Put the effort into editing and proofreading your proposal (or pay someone to do it for you) – it will pay dividends.

When you’re editing, watch out for ‘academese’. Many students can speak simply, passionately and clearly about their dissertation topic – but become incomprehensible the moment they turn the laptop on. You are not required to write in any kind of special, formal, complex language when you write academic work. Sure, there may be technical terms, jargon specific to your discipline, shorthand terms and so on. But, apart from those,   keep your written language very close to natural spoken language   – just as you would speak in the classroom. Imagine that you are explaining your project plans to your classmates or a family member. Remember, write for the intelligent layman, not the subject matter experts. Plain-language, concise writing is what wins hearts and minds – and marks!

Let’s Recap: Research Proposal 101

And there you have it – how to write your dissertation or thesis research proposal, from title page to final proof. Here’s a quick recap on the key takeaways:

Hopefully, this post has helped you better understand how to write up a winning research proposal. If you enjoyed it, be sure to check out the rest of the Grad Coach Blog . If your university doesn’t provide any template for your proposal, you might want to try out our free research proposal template .

how to write mba dissertation proposal

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our research writing mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.

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How To Write Your Introduction Chapter (7 Simple Steps)


Mazwakhe Mkhulisi

Thank you so much for the valuable insight that you have given, especially on the research proposal. That is what I have managed to cover. I still need to go back to the other parts as I got disturbed while still listening to Derek’s audio on you-tube. I am inspired. I will definitely continue with Grad-coach guidance on You-tube.

Derek Jansen

Thanks for the kind words :). All the best with your proposal.


First of all, thanks a lot for making such a wonderful presentation. The video was really useful and gave me a very clear insight of how a research proposal has to be written. I shall try implementing these ideas in my RP.

Once again, I thank you for this content.

Bonginkosi Mshengu

I found reading your outline on writing research proposal very beneficial. I wish there was a way of submitting my draft proposal to you guys for critiquing before I submit to the institution.

Hi Bonginkosi

Thank you for the kind words. Yes, we do provide a review service. The best starting point is to have a chat with one of our coaches here: .

Erick Omondi

Hello team GRADCOACH, may God bless you so much. I was totally green in research. Am so happy for your free superb tutorials and resources. Once again thank you so much Derek and his team.

You’re welcome, Erick. Good luck with your research proposal 🙂


thank you for the information. its precise and on point.

Nighat Nighat Ahsan

Really a remarkable piece of writing and great source of guidance for the researchers. GOD BLESS YOU for your guidance. Regards

Delfina Celeste Danca Rangel

Thanks so much for your guidance. It is easy and comprehensive the way you explain the steps for a winning research proposal.

Desiré Forku

Thank you guys so much for the rich post. I enjoyed and learn from every word in it. My problem now is how to get into your platform wherein I can always seek help on things related to my research work ? Secondly, I wish to find out if there is a way I can send my tentative proposal to you guys for examination before I take to my supervisor Once again thanks very much for the insights

Thanks for your kind words, Desire.

If you are based in a country where Grad Coach’s paid services are available, you can book a consultation by clicking the “Book” button in the top right.

Best of luck with your studies.


May God bless you team for the wonderful work you are doing,

If I have a topic, Can I submit it to you so that you can draft a proposal for me?? As I am expecting to go for masters degree in the near future.

Thanks for your comment. We definitely cannot draft a proposal for you, as that would constitute academic misconduct. The proposal needs to be your own work. We can coach you through the process, but it needs to be your own work and your own writing.

Best of luck with your research!

kenate Akuma

I found a lot of many essential concepts from your material. it is real a road map to write a research proposal. so thanks a lot. If there is any update material on your hand on MBA please forward to me.

Ahmed Khalil

GradCoach is a professional website that presents support and helps for MBA student like me through the useful online information on the page and with my 1-on-1 online coaching with the amazing and professional PhD Kerryen.

Thank you Kerryen so much for the support and help 🙂

I really recommend dealing with such a reliable services provider like Gradcoah and a coach like Kerryen.


Hi, Am happy for your service and effort to help students and researchers, Please, i have been given an assignment on research for strategic development, the task one is to formulate a research proposal to support the strategic development of a business area, my issue here is how to go about it, especially the topic or title and introduction. Please, i would like to know if you could help me and how much is the charge.

Marcos A. López Figueroa

This content is practical, valuable, and just great!

Thank you very much!

Eric Rwigamba

Hi Derek, Thank you for the valuable presentation. It is very helpful especially for beginners like me. I am just starting my PhD.


This is quite instructive and research proposal made simple. Can I have a research proposal template?

Mathew Yokie Musa

Great! Thanks for rescuing me, because I had no former knowledge in this topic. But with this piece of information, I am now secured. Thank you once more.

Chulekazi Bula

I enjoyed listening to your video on how to write a proposal. I think I will be able to write a winning proposal with your advice. I wish you were to be my supervisor.

Mohammad Ajmal Shirzad

Dear Derek Jansen,

Thank you for your great content. I couldn’t learn these topics in MBA, but now I learned from GradCoach. Really appreciate your efforts….

From Afghanistan!

Mulugeta Yilma

I have got very essential inputs for startup of my dissertation proposal. Well organized properly communicated with video presentation. Thank you for the presentation.

Siphesihle Macu

Wow, this is absolutely amazing guys. Thank you so much for the fruitful presentation, you’ve made my research much easier.


this helps me a lot. thank you all so much for impacting in us. may god richly bless you all

June Pretzer

How I wish I’d learn about Grad Coach earlier. I’ve been stumbling around writing and rewriting! Now I have concise clear directions on how to put this thing together. Thank you!


Fantastic!! Thank You for this very concise yet comprehensive guidance.

Fikiru Bekele

Even if I am poor in English I would like to thank you very much.

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Writing a dissertation proposal.

Dissertation Proposal

What is a dissertation proposal?

Dissertation proposals are like the table of contents for your research project , and will help you explain what it is you intend to examine, and roughly, how you intend to go about collecting and analysing your data. You won’t be required to have everything planned out exactly, as your topic may change slightly in the course of your research, but for the most part, writing your proposal should help you better identify the direction for your dissertation.

When you’ve chosen a topic for your dissertation , you’ll need to make sure that it is both appropriate to your field of study and narrow enough to be completed by the end of your course. Your dissertation proposal will help you define and determine both of these things and will also allow your department and instructors to make sure that you are being advised by the best person to help you complete your research.

A dissertation proposal should include:

Although this content all needs to be included in your dissertation proposal, it isn’t set in stone so it can be changed later if necessary, depending on your topic of study, university or degree. Think of your dissertation proposal as more of a guide to writing your dissertation rather than something to be strictly adhered to – this will be discussed later. 

Why is a dissertation proposal important?

A dissertation proposal is very important because it helps shape the actual dissertation, which is arguably the most important piece of writing a postgraduate student will undertake. By having a well-structured dissertation proposal, you will have a strong foundation for your dissertation and a good template to follow. The dissertation itself is key to postgraduate success as it will contribute to your overall grade. Writing your dissertation will also help you to develop research and communication skills, which could become invaluable in your employment success and future career. By making sure you’re fully briefed on the current research available in your chosen dissertation topic, as well as keeping details of your bibliography up to date, you will be in a great position to write an excellent dissertation.

Next, we’ll be outlining things you can do to help you produce the best postgraduate dissertation proposal possible.

How to begin your dissertation proposal

Writing a dissertation proposal

1. Narrow the topic down  

It’s important that when you sit down to draft your proposal, you’ve carefully thought out your topic and are able to narrow it down enough to present a clear and succinct understanding of what you aim to do and hope to accomplish in your dissertation.

How do I decide on a dissertation topic?

A simple way to begin choosing a topic for your dissertation is to go back through your assignments and lectures. Was there a topic that stood out to you? Was there an idea that wasn’t fully explored? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then you have a great starting point! If not, then consider one of your more personal interests. Use Google Scholar to explore studies and journals on your topic to find any areas that could go into more detail or explore a more niche topic within your personal interest. 

Keep track of all publications

It’s important to keep track of all the publications that you use while you research. You can use this in your literature review.

You need to keep track of:

The more research you do, the more you should be able to narrow down your topic and find an interesting area to focus on. You’ll also be able to write about everything you find in your literature review which will make your proposal stronger.

While doing your research, consider the following:

Read more about picking a topic for your dissertation . 

How long should the dissertation proposal be?

Aiming for 1,000 words or more, your dissertation proposal will give an outline of the topic of your dissertation, some of the questions you hope to answer with your research, what sort of studies and type of data you aim to employ in your research, and the sort of analysis you will carry out.

Different courses may have different requirements for things like length and the specific information to include, as well as what structure is preferred, so be sure to check what special requirements your course has.  

2. What should I include in a dissertation proposal?

Writing a dissertation proposal

The introduction will state your central research question and give background on the subject, as well as relating it contextually to any broader issues surrounding it. Read more about picking a topic for your dissertation .

The dissertation proposal introduction should outline exactly what you intend to investigate in your final research project.

Make sure you outline the structure of the dissertation proposal in your introduction, i.e. part one covers methodology, part two covers a literature review, part three covers research limitations, and so forth.

Dissertation methodology

The dissertation methodology will break down what sources you aim to use for your research and what sort of data you will collect from it, either quantitative or qualitative. You may also want to include how you will analyse the data you gather and what, if any, bias there may be in your chosen methods.

Depending on the level of detail that your specific course requires, you may also want to explain why your chosen approaches to gathering data are more appropriate to your research than others.

Consider and explain how you will conduct empirical research. For example, will you use interviews? Surveys? Observation? Lab experiments?

In your dissertation methodology, outline the variables that you will measure in your research and how you will select your data or participant sample to ensure valid results.

Finally, are there any specific tools that you will use for your methodology? If so, make sure you provide this information in the methodology section of your dissertation proposal.

Your dissertation proposal should also include the aims and objectives of your research. Be sure to state what your research hopes to achieve, as well as what outcomes you predict. You may also need to clearly state what your main research objectives are, in other words, how you plan to obtain those achievements and outcomes.

Your aim should not be too broad but should equally not be too specific.

An example of a dissertation aim could be: ‘To examine the key content features and social contexts that construct successful viral marketing content distribution on Twitter’.

In comparison, an example of a dissertation aim that is perhaps too broad would be: ‘‘To investigate how things go viral on Twitter’.

The aim of your dissertation proposal should relate directly to your research question.

The literature review will list the books and materials that you used to do your research. This is where you can list materials that gave you more background on your topic, or contain research carried out previously that you referred to in your own studies. 

The literature review is also a good place to demonstrate how your research connects to previous academic studies and how your methods may differ from or build upon those used by other researchers. While it’s important to give enough information about the materials to show that you have read and understood them, don’t forget to include your analysis of their value to your work.

Where there are shortfalls in other pieces of academic work, identify these and address how you will overcome these shortcomings in your own research.

Constraints and limitations of your research

Lastly, you will also need to include the constraints of your research. Many topics will have broad links to numerous larger and more complex issues, so by clearly stating the constraints of your research, you are displaying your understanding and acknowledgment of these larger issues, and the role they play by focusing your research on just one section or part of the subject.

In this section it is important to Include examples of possible limitations, for example, issues with sample size, participant drop out, lack of existing research on the topic, time constraints, and other factors that may affect your study.

Confidentiality and ethical concerns are an important part of any research.

Ethics are key, as your dissertation will need to undergo ethical approval if you are working with participants. This means that it’s important to allow for and explain ethical considerations in your dissertation proposal.

Keep confidentiality in mind and keep your participants informed, so they are aware of how the data provided is being used and are assured that all personal information is being kept confidential.

Consider how involved your patients will be with your research, this will help you think about what ethical considerations to take and discuss them fully in your dissertation proposal. For example, face-to-face participant interview methods could require more ethical measures and confidentiality considerations than methods that do not require participants, such as corpus data (a collection of existing written texts) analysis. 

3. Dissertation proposal example

Writing a dissertation proposal

Once you know what sections you need or do not need to include, it may help focus your writing to break the proposal up into separate headings, and tackle each piece individually. You may also want to consider including a title. Writing a title for your proposal will help you make sure that your topic is narrow enough, as well as help keep your writing focused and on topic.

One example of a dissertation proposal structure is using the following headings, either broken up into sections or chapters depending on the required word count:

In any dissertation proposal example, you’ll want to make it clear why you’re doing the research and what positives could come from your contribution. 

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how to write mba dissertation proposal

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how to write mba dissertation proposal

How To Complete An MBA Dissertation Properly: Great Writing Tips

To become a master of business administration, you should write and defend a dissertation. This is a difficult task that will take a lot of time and effort from you. However, if you organize your work properly, you’ll be able to succeed. Here are the main steps that you should take:

You should select a narrow business topic that will be interesting for you to research and informative for your audience to read about. To choose a proper direction for your study, you may look at papers written by other students in the previous years and consult your instructor.

Once your subject is chosen, you should start your investigation. Find proper literature and conduct relevant experiments to achieve your goals. You should regularly consult your instructor during your investigation or use professional help from this site.

You should have an approximate plan of what your paper should look like before you start writing. This is especially useful when your assignment guidelines include limitations related to the length of the paper.

When all the preparations are made, you should start writing. Try to follow your outline. However, you may make some changes in the writing process if you think it’s necessary. The main parts of your paper should be the following:

Here, you should introduce your topic, list your overall objectives, state why you decided to choose this particular area of research, and indicate your contribution to the development of the field.

Write about the main works related to your topic and list a few schools of thought that influenced your study.

Describe the actions that you performed to achieve the goals of your research and state why you’ve decided to use these particular methods.

Present the findings of your work. First, include only the raw figures. Then, you may discuss the results and express your opinion about them.

Summarize the main points of your study and state the importance of the work done. Propose the ways to continue your research in the future.

When the main work is done, you should add such sections like the bibliography, appendices, abstract, and so on.

Proofread your paper to find and eliminate mistakes and weak parts. Format your dissertation according to the requirements stated in your assignment guidelines. MBA papers are usually formatted in the APA style.

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how to write mba dissertation proposal

MBA Dissertation Proposal Writing Tips

An MBA Dissertation Proposal is an important part of MBA course for the students to obtain a strong understanding of the chosen topic. Many students are currently passing through the writing of the dissertation writing process for the completion of the course. It is necessary to state firmly an outline of the subject at the very beginning of the dissertation and the procedure for carrying out the plan along with conclusion inside the thesis.

Most of the time a lot of effort is taken for the completion of the MBA Dissertation Proposal. The following tips might help in solving the difficulties that may arise during the writing of MBA Thesis.

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how to write mba dissertation proposal


Getting A Sample Of An MBA Dissertation Proposal: Helpful Tips

The MBA is perhaps one of the most common master’s level programs one could consider participating in. Generally this program culminates in the completion of a dissertation. The writing of this paper may not be that difficult if you understand the writing style you should be using and you have a sample to help you with your formatting. The same goes for the creation of the proposal, a document which must be presented in order for your dissertation topic to be approved in the first place. Here are some sources you can investigate in order to acquire that sample:

Your university

Whatever institution is responsible for your MBA program should ideally provide you with all the resources you need to succeed in your program. This includes sample dissertations. The person to ask maybe your professor or teaching assistant depending on how the communication process operates in the department.

The other people pursuing the same degree

If you need a dissertation proposal sample, it’s likely that the other people doing your degree do too. Ask around and you should be able to get a good proposal without paying a dime. This does not apply if you've been awful to everyone this whole semester. Such actions tend to come back to you at the least convenient moments.

A simple search of the web

With any search engine you can look for MBA dissertation samples and be presented with hundreds of thousands of results to choose from. Some will be atrocious, others will be just what you need. The trouble is sifting through them and telling which is which. If you have a rubric on hand, now would be a good time to use it.

An academic writing site

These sites are used by companies to attract paying clients. In your position you have two main choices. One is to pay to have a custom sample MBA dissertation proposal created for you. It would be considered plagiarism if you submitted this as your own work so this should just be used to give you a sense of how your own work should look when complete. The other option is to sort through the free material on the site for samples. Among them you might find an MBA dissertation proposal that you can use for reference.

Use these tips wisely.

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How to write a strong mba dissertation proposal: general rules.

An MBA dissertation proposal is the start of the thesis to earning an MBA degree. As a result, students need to write a strong proposal to start the foundation of the thesis journey. The guidelines are usually stated in the course’s instructions booklet, however each professor has his/her rules to how they want to perceive the work he/she will review.

According to the professor’s guidelines, it will show the maximum word count. If not usually it is between 1,000 to 2,000 words. The students need to understand these guidelines before putting the idea on paper as it may be confusing or chaotic to re-write with the format the instructor requests.

Explain hypotheses patently in the introduction

The hypothesis is the main idea of the proposal, which is best, explained and presented in the beginning as it will set the reader at ease knowing what he/she is reading.

Writing technique

The basic case that will define the student’s work, which builds up attentiveness to read the students’ proposal. Grammar and sentence structure are a method to enhance the writing.  Also students need to have clear and simple sentences structure while explaining their hypothesis as to avoid misunderstanding and confusion.

Formal wording

An MBA dissertation proposal needs be a polished introduction to a thesis paper. As a result, the students need to be formal and professional in their wording.

An interesting flow of ideas

The students need to express their thesis proposal in a simple way, however it needs to be brief as it will be explained in details in the thesis statement. The flow of wording is important because it will connect the ideas in the paper.

Support the argument

Supporting the argument with references will emphasize the basic scheme of work. It will also prove it and will show how the idea is well grounded. Sometimes instructors limit the amount of references to be used in general so it is best to use the strong references that will support the argument.

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