The "Occupational Outlook Handbook" notes that the job market for management analysts is likely to have a 22 percent rise within the next few years, which is higher than average compared to the overall job market. These analysts, or consultants, are educated and trained to examine a business and propose improvements. To work in such a field, you will likely need an MBA, or Master of Business Administration, which may require you write a thesis.
A thesis can be viewed as a mini-dissertation in that both require original research, intense writing under the mentoring of a faculty member, a rigid schedule, and a defense. The two differ in some ways, mainly in scope, length, breadth and research and writing time. While most Ph.D. candidates will spend one to two years on a dissertation, master’s candidates and seniors or honors students who write theses will likely have one semester to research and write, although some master's programs will allow up to year for a thesis. While a dissertation will average 200 to 300 pages, a thesis will average 30 to 60 pages.
Topics in Workforce Management
With the recent emphasis in the workplace on austerity measures, profit margins and workforce management, this area of management offers many opportunities for thesis research. Of particular value at the moment will be theses that deal with how temporary staffing firms can be used as valuable resources. On the other hand, some businesses look to develop their current workforce, so studies of developing human resources within strategic priorities will make excellent topics, as would a discussion of the role of governance in the workplace.
Topics on Customer Relations
The backbone of any business is its customers. The American Society for Quality (ASQ) states, "Organizations of all types and sizes have come to realize that their main focus must be to satisfy their customers." Such customer satisfaction surveys require that management understand who their customers are, as opposed to who they are perceived to be, and what their customers really want. For this reason, theses on customer satisfaction will lead to important research that will make an MBA candidate marketable. Topics along these lines would include empirical studies of the relationship between competition and customers, research on the quality of service as it pertains to strategic customer relationships, and discussions of supply chain management and its effect on strategic consumer management.
Topics in Information Technology
With information technology becoming the foundation upon which businesses are being built, theses that research issues such as effective project management environments for software development, or the impact of information technology networks on strategic planning will be very welcome in MBA programs. You could also investigate topics like the role of virtual file management (the cloud) on workload management, the effects of real time information on strategic decisions on a particular company, or how schools at various levels use information systems in their planning and educational objectives.
The Key Is Strategy
The bottom line in business is strategic planning, as businesses must look to long-term solutions in order to compete or even survive in a fast-paced society informed by both fads and technological innovations. MBA students writing theses should concentrate on how their research fits into the overall idea of the strategic business plan. To that end, some thesis topics could be best practice studies of companies known for effectively using human resources and information technology. Finally, topics in areas like strategic risk taking, entrepreneurial management and strategic innovative leadership will prove excellent choices.
Anthony Fonseca is the library director at Elms College in Massachusetts. He has a doctorate in English and has taught various writing courses and literature survey courses. His books include readers' advisory guides, pop culture encyclopedias and academic librarianship studies.