EXMBM533-20J (HAM)

Action Learning Project

15 Points

Edit Header Content
Division of Management
Strategic Engagement
Professional Programmes


Edit Staff Content




: ashleigh.neame@waikato.ac.nz
: helen.nicol@waikato.ac.nz

Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)


Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)


: clive.wilkinson@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
Edit Staff Content

Paper Description

Edit Paper Description Content

The primary purpose of the Action Learning Project (ALP) is to allow the participants to (a) apply their knowledge through the development of a real, sustainable business opportunity in New Zealand, (b) to meet with business executives from New Zealand, and (c) to showcase their competence in a format highly visible and respected throughout the World.

Through the formal approach of creating a business plan and 'defending' that during a live review session with senior executives, this paper combines the previously taught topics and allows the participants to bring the knowledge from their learnings, life experience, research and real-life market feedback together in a coherent, yet challenging format. This paper draws on the general interest of students in New Zealand to (a) learn how business opportunities can be created that might produce value and career opportunities either in New Zealand or their home countries, (b) to differentiate themselves from others who might seek similar job opportunities, and (c) to interact with external business executives.

The paper is based on the knowledge that taught materials are better understood when they are applied in the context of action learning; where the instructor draws back and the participants are given an opportunity to drive projects themselves. We consider this action learning approach an important element of this programme to give participants who have little/no work experience an opportunity to relate their classroom knowledge to the real marketplace.

We offer the ALP towards the end of the MBM programme, after the participants have developed skills and basic tools during classroom teaching courses. Groups of participants, rather than individuals, will be given freedom to select a new business opportunity and to then develop a comprehensive business plan. This paper includes specific instruction on how business plans are developed, tested and then ‘sold’ to funders.

The main deliverable of this paper is a real life business plan to either introduce new methods to an existing operation or to create a new business altogether. This requires effective group engagement to perform comprehensive market research, to validate initial assumptions, to create a realistic depiction of future expectations, to understand the financial requirements of a sustainable business, and to connect the ideals of the new effort with the realities of funding and stakeholder expectations. This effort provides students with the ability to:

  • To isolate key success factors in a future business and to position the venture for maximum support from internal and external stakeholders
  • Demonstrate skills for business plan marketing and venture capital funding through real-life standards of business plan content quality and presentation effectiveness
  • Apply key concepts in strategic decision making, financial planning and stakeholder relationships through interaction with prospective stakeholders, markets, senior management, finance sources and competitors
  • Integrate the previously taught knowledge of competitive management structures, such as good governance, flat hierarchies, staff and stakeholder involvement, cultural and diversity contributions.
  • Develop presentation abilities to a level suitable to impress senior managers in New Zealand.

In this ‘capstone’ paper, knowledge generated from previous papers must be applied to demonstrate a solid understanding of the holistic approach to create and implement new directions to create long-term sustainable value for a multitude of stakeholders. The business plan generated in this paper can either be connected to an existing real-life firm and provide the basis for actual management performance improvements or be for a newly created entity or department/project.

The most important function of this paper is to provide an integrative mechanism for the MBM as a whole. This is achieved by selecting projects which allow the application of the materials taught in class. Each project will allow for external and internal research, the crafting of strategic or operational solutions to management challenges and the effective presentation of findings to the external management team. You are allowed to EITHER (a) present a new business opportunity, (b) significantly expand an existing business, or (c) propose a non-profit opportunity.

This is an action learning paper, so please note two important provisos:

  1. This is not a game or a business simulation. Each group will develop, in their role as business developers, a real-life business opportunity including a detailed plan how such a business would function and be successful.
  2. The balancing of normal study, home life, and the ALP must be done with due regard to the interests of all parties. It is expected that the group will distribute the workload among the participants to blend the demands of these factors into practical performance.
Edit Paper Description Content

Paper Structure

Edit Paper Structure Content

This paper will be facilitated with face-to-face sessions, supported by online resources and several ZOOM sessions to discuss progress with each group.


This is the opportunity to receive feedback in a full presentation situation. It is a practice for the heats, therefore you are expected to be dressed professionally and your presentation should be ready for full evaluation.

The heats will run with four pools of four teams on 4 November. There will be winning team announced for each of the four pools in the heats. The judges will be representatives of industry and external to MBM teaching.
The heats will produce four finalist teams who will present on 8 November.

The 8 November event will include a welcome and introduction by University management, presentations by four teams of 20 mins each with 10 mins Q&A with the judges, followed by judges' deliberation and presentations of the winner.

Edit Paper Structure Content

Learning Outcomes

Edit Learning Outcomes Content

Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Apply taught materials in a live commercial environment by developing a business plan for growth in an existing organisation or for a new venture
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Work alongside others in a team and manage the contributions of several people to produce quality joint outcomes with the strength of diverse backgrounds and resources
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Apply material taught throughout the MBM programme for business analysis into a real business environment
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Demonstrate the process that develops business opportunities
    Linked to the following assessments:
    Pitch to the Dragons - group (2)
    Report - group (3)
    Reflective Essay - individual (5)
  • Use the data sources necessary for undertaking financial and market analyses . Identify the risk in decisionmaking and venture planning
    Linked to the following assessments:
    Pitch to the Dragons - group (2)
    Report - group (3)
  • Pitch the venture to a group of business executives through effective salesmanship and presentation competence.
    Linked to the following assessments:
    Pitch to the Dragons - group (2)
Edit Learning Outcomes Content
Edit Learning Outcomes Content


Edit Assessments Content
All assessment is compulsory.
It is expected you have read the Corporate & Executive Education Policies.

PLEASE NOTE: The University has zero-tolerance for Plagiarism.

All assessment must be submitted as a Word document, unless otherwise stated.

Booking of rooms for group meetings:
MSB.1.38, 1.39, 1.40 – email law-pa@waikato.ac.nz
MSB.1.42, 1.43, 1.44, 1.45 - email: msc@waikato.ac.nz
Hamilton CBD office: Phone 07 837 9469
All other rooms: http://timetable.waikato.ac.nz/bookings/
Edit Additional Assessment Information Content

Assessment Components

Edit Assessments Content

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. ALP Group Work - Team Contracts
25 May 2020
12:00 PM
  • Online: Upload to Moodle Forum
2. Pitch to the Dragons - group
12 Jun 2020
No set time
  • Presentation: In Class
3. Report - group
26 Jun 2020
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Individual Group Evaluation
19 Jun 2020
12:00 AM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
5. Reflective Essay - individual
3 Jul 2020
No set time
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
6. E-Portfolio
3 Jul 2020
No set time
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
Edit Assessments Content

Required and Recommended Readings

Edit Required Readings Content

Required Readings

Edit Required Readings Content
No text:
Readings are provided for all key elements of this paper and can be found on Moodle. The readings represent a sampling of current academic literature in this area, or are from academic journals with a focus on the respective topics.

It is expected you have read the relevant material prior to attending each session.

Refer to Moodle.
Edit Required Readings Content

Online Support

Edit Online Support Content
Waikato Management School Helpdesk: wms_helpdesk@waikato.ac.nz, 0800 WAIKATO, extn 4599
ITS: https://landesk.waikato.ac.nz 0800 WAIKATO, extn 4008
Moodle help files
Edit Online Support Content


Edit Workload Content
As a general guide 30-40 hours per week is required over the whole period of the paper.
Edit Workload Content

Linkages to Other Papers

Edit Linkages Content
Note any linkages to other papers where the linkage is of importance.
Edit Linkages Content





Restricted papers: EXPM515

Edit Linkages Content