Working as a Consultant
The newspapers are full of examples were expert consultants have developed ‘good’ solutions – but to the wrong problem. The solution does not make the problem go away, or the ‘solution’ just creates new and sometime even worse problems. The issue is that many of today’s social and technological problems, notably those involving a transformation towards a more sustainable society often involve complex dilemmas and paradoxes that evade simple solutions.
The aim of the course is to prepare you to work as a consultant, engaging in solving complex problems involving sustainability issues, while applying your discipline expertise efficiently. This is a crucial competence for contributing to address the serious social, ecological and economic challenges involved in, for example, finding solutions that contribute to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Working as a Consultant course can help you prepare for a professional life as consultant by sensitizing you to the consultant’s work context as well as the task complexity you will encounter. In the course, you will work on a business-related case that explicitly involves issues of sustainable development.
Good solutions are characterized by being both technically feasible and socially acceptable. In this course, you will develop the ability to engage with complex challenges, as we focus on hands-on training of approaches to integrate multiple scientific and social perspectives in order to a) understand and describe complex problem situations, b) collaboratively design innovative project proposals, and c) communicate and sell project proposals to consultancy customers.
During the course, we aims to simulate one of the most important the consultant work situation: The development of a project proposal (tender) answering a request (a call for tender) from a customer. You will work on a realistic task – and under time pressure. Developing the proposal will allow you to experience working with concrete consultancy tools and frameworks, for example, problem analysis, design thinking, teamwork, project management, proposal writing, and oral proposal selling. We promise you a frustrating and challenging learning experience, but we also provide you with tools to convert you learning experiences into personal development vis-à-vis the consultant role.
The course is open to students from all educations at University of Copenhagen.
After the course, you will be able:
- Understand and discuss the consultant’s role, the consultancy process, and the business model and working environment of the consultancy firm.
- Better understand yourself and team members with respect to preferences for how to learn new things, how to solve problems, how to collaborate, and how to be led and lead others in team work.
- Understand basic psychological and social aspects of working under uncertainty and complexity in a multi-disciplinary collaborative setting.
- Explain and reflect on different way to engage with project development (problem solving) and selling in relation to sustainability related consultancy tasks in a business context.
- Understand basic elements of project management and the organization of teamwork.
- Understand and discuss selected concepts and approaches for addressing the SDGs in a commercial context.
- Design a tender (project proposal) development process involving problem definition vision/goal identification, solution development, project design, and proposal writing and selling.
- Apply data collection methods and problem analysis tools to develop together with other team members a common understanding of multi-dimensional problems.
- Apply Design Thinking principles to develop a solution concept as a response to a customer’s call for tender.
- Communicate and discuss a task definition and project proposal with a customer.
- Organize a teamwork-based problem solving processes that address complex sustainability related issues characterized by uncertainty and ambiguity.
- Lead a multi-disciplinary team through problem definition and solution development to project proposal formulation and presentation.
- Critically reflect on own, teamwork and organizational practices, including gender and diversity issues, in order to facilitate individual and team learning and organizational development.
The course is taught in close collaboration with experts from COWI - a large international consultancy firm. The course is structured around a consultancy task (project proposal development) on which students work as a team of consultants. Full participation in the significant team-related activities is expected. The task involves the development of a project proposal for an external customer on how to address and solve a complex sustainability-related problem. As a foundation for personal and team development, students will make a personality type ‘test’ (Jungian Type Index, JTI). During the course, students will are encouraged to capture and reflect on essential learning experiences. The course will be intensive and work demanding and a pro-active attitude is expected.
No requirements – the course is open to all types of study
programmes at UCPH
Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
Oral examination, 35 - 60 minutes depending on group sizeWritten assignment
- Type of assessment details
- The exam consists of two parts:
1) A written project proposal (50%)
- An assessment of the individual contribution to the consultancy project
proposal that is carried out in a group
2) An oral exam (50%)
- An individual assessment of the group’s oral presentation and defense of the
consultancy project proposal
The oral exams lasts 12 minutes per group member, including the presentation.
Each of the two exams is assessed and weighted individually, and the final grade is determined based on this. Students must pass both the written and the oral exam individually to pass the overall exam. Passed exams do not have to be repeated. They will be included in the assessment of the re-exam with the result obtained when they were taken the first time.
- Exam registration requirements
Active participation in a group project (consultancy project proposal development) Identification of individual contributions to consultancy project proposal (report)
- Without aids
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
Individual oral exam. 20 minutes without preparation and no aids allowed.
If the student has not handed in a team-based consultancy project proposal prior to the ordinary exam, the student needs to hand in an individual consultancy project proposal three weeks prior to the re-exam.
The student’s total grade is based on two sub-grades: 1) The consultancy project proposal (report), and 2) the oral defense of the proposal and the subsequent discussion of the proposal content, format and their wider reflections on the course syllabus. The sub-grades from the written consultancy project proposal and oral defence each account for 50% of the total grade.
Criteria for exam assessment
Fulfilment of Learning Outcome is required to obtain the grade 12
Single subject courses (day)
- Practical exercises
- Project work
- Exam Preparation
- Course number
- 7,5 ECTS
- Programme level
- Full Degree Master
- Block 4
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
- Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
- Department of Food and Resource Economics
- Faculty of Science
- Carsten Nico Portefée Hjortsø (3-737e78507976827f3e7b853e747b)
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