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A Practical Guide to the Preparation, Drafting and Submission of Dissertations in Finance by Dr. G. Pollio

A Practical Guide to the Preparation, Drafting and Submission of Dissertations in Finance by Dr. G. Pollio

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London School of Commerce
Research Methodology
London School of Commerce
Research Methodology

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Published by: Information should be FREE on Oct 01, 2010
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A Practical Guide to thePreparation, Drafting andSubmission of Dissertations inFinance
Gerald Pollio, Ph.D.
Preliminary – Not to be quoted without the author’s permission(2009)
1. Introduction
The purpose of this Guide is to acquaint you with the purpose, sources and structure of your finance dissertation.Most graduate business schools require students to produce a dissertation in partialfulfilment of the requirements for obtaining an MBA degree. Many students resent thisrequirement; and would if they could take additional courses or, better still, produce aBusiness Project instead. This is the practice of some business schools, though the vastmajority still require production of what might best be described as an ‘academic’dissertation.We place the word academic in inverted commas to emphasise that dissertations are notstrictly speaking formal academic studies. Business education is after all an appliedsubject and students, accordingly, will expect that the topic of their dissertation shouldemphasise practical relevance. The two of course are not mutually exclusive: most business school dissertations combine the former with the latter, in that students areexpected to produce output that meets or exceeds established academic norms but withinthe context of addressing a topic that will advance understanding of a narrowly defined business issue.Student hostility towards the dissertation requirement is understandable, but as we hopeto show misguided. Throughout their course of study students have to face assessmentsof various sorts, some oral, some written, some as part of a group exercise, others asindividual assignments. What these assessments have in common is that they were all set by the student’s lecturers, with the choice, if any, confined to the limited range of topicson offer.
 A dissertation is the only assessment the choice of which is determined more or less uniquely by the student.
Students, of course, have the benefit of their Supervisor’s advice, designed to improvetheir proposal and ensure that it can be completed within the time required. Only on veryrare occasions will a Supervisor reject the student’s topic and then only because it is too broad and thus unlikely to be completed within the time allotted. Supervisors seldomreject out of hand a dissertation topic, since we all recognise that a topic of the student’sown choice is the best motivator for getting on with the work.A logical place to begin our discussion is with the concept of research. Most studentsfind the task awesome, especially international students arriving from countries where the prevailing approach to education differs, in some cases quite radically, from that of theUnited Kingdom. Yet the process is far less daunting than you might imagine, not theleast because, perhaps without even being aware of it, most students have already produced some fairly sophisticated research results of their own.Consider the following: the university at which you are studying was not chosenrandomly; you will have reviewed the websites of a number of different business schools
that were of interest to you. You will have narrowed the focus by concentrating on thosewhere you meet all of the requirements, whether in respect of prior academicaccomplishment or linguistic proficiency. You will have determined whether tuitioncosts are reasonable, and whether you can afford major ancillary expenses such ashousing, food and transportation. You will also have investigated whether you are able towork, and if so, how many hours are both permissible and consistent with successfullycompleting your course of study.The answers to all of these issues will have come from a careful and detailed assessmentof the material from whatever source or sources you had access to, and quite possiblyfrom discussions with one or more students who attended the university you areconsidering attending. These people will also be a source of valuable informationconcerning the additional costs you will incur as part of acquiring your degree, what typeof work is available locally and what rates of pay are likely to be. Armed with thisinformation, you select from among the many post-graduate institutions you investigatedthe one that best meets all of your requirements.As will be seen the very same process applies when drafting your dissertation. 

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