DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Sustainability and Strategic Consultancy A
Module Code MT5811A
School DCUBS
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Yuhui Gao
Semester 2: Yuhui Gao
Autumn: Yuhui Gao
Module TeachersYuhui Gao
Nuala Lonergan
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

Amidst increasingly complex challenges such as the global pandemic, climate change, and geopolitical conflicts, organisations are operating in an uncharted environment. Embedding sustainability has become an integral part of doing business. Semester I seeks to provide participants with deep insights into the expectations, opportunities, and risks associated with sustainability initiatives, and explore various approaches to initiating, designing, evaluating, and communicating sustainability strategies. Participants will learn about various marketing communication and storytelling techniques to deliver credible, powerful and impactful sustainability messages. In semester II, the module will focus on applying lessons learned. Specifically, in preparation for year two, where consulting teams will work with a client organisation on a real-life strategy project, participants in year one are introduced to the principles of management consulting and the foundations of research methods. Participants will also explore prospective client organisations that are interested in collaborating on a sustainability-focused Strategy Project.

Learning Outcomes

1. Enhance knowledge and understanding of the range and depth of sustainability and appreciate the important role of corporate purpose;
2. Critically assess the organisation’s current sustainability practices and design a sustainability agenda for the organization;
3. Understand corporate sustainability reporting regulations and ESG reporting frameworks;
4. Using various tools and storytelling techniques to effectively communicate the sustainability agenda with key stakeholders;
5. Critically analyse the nature and characteristics of Strategy Consulting in resolving organisational issues in a local, national and global context;
6. Enhance research method knowledge for case-specific qualitative inquiry

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture48Participation in asynchronous, aynchronous and face to face lectures
Independent Study100Reflecting on application of module content to Sustainable-centric Strategy Projects
Professional Practice22On site Research & Client Engagement
Assignment Completion60Study and synthesis of course materials and additional readings for delivery of Group Report and individual assignments
Group work20Preparation for Group Presentation & Feedback
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Theme 1: Becoming a purpose-led business
Overview of concepts such as sustainability, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and corporate social responsibility (CSR); why corporate purpose matters; materiality analysis; identify the most pressing sustainability issues for a business and explore how these issues create risks and opportunities for business today and how they may evolve in the future; explore business cases for sustainability or ESG practices. Activities: Define corporate purpose; explore how it inspires and motivates customers, investors, governments, civil society, suppliers and communities to support and contribute to the company’s success and the positive impact on people and planet envisaged by the purpose; guest speaker.

Theme 2: Designing credible and comprehensive sustainability strategy
The important role of sustainability strategy in creating business resilience; sustainability strategy ideation, prioritization and refinement. Activities: HBR simulation; sustainability agenda brainstorming; guest speaker

Theme 3: Putting words into actions (Operationalising sustainability)
Detailed plans, change programmes and ongoing examination of different aspects of the business and its value chain to find ways to improve social, environmental and economic performance. Activities: peer-evaluation; guest speaker

Theme 4: Reporting and governance
The EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD); ESG reporting requirements; data management and measurement challenges Activities: video demos; case studies; guest speaker

Theme 5: Storytelling for sustainability
Storytelling methods and techniques; sustainability communication; the risk of green-washing Activities: storytelling competition; successful marketing campaign case studies; industry judging panel.

Theme 6: Introducing Strategic Management Consulting
Introducing Strategy and Consulting. Participants will explore the history of management consulting and its evolution within work organisations. A particular focus will be placed on consulting within strategic transformation initatives. Activities: Video and case study scenarios

Theme 7: Exploring Strategy Projects
Advancing the conversation on management consulting, participants will reflect on organisation-wide strategy projects that would advance sustainable initiatives Activities: Guest Speaker

Theme 8: Research Methods
Introduce qualitative approaches to data collection and analysis with particular emphasis on the action research methodology (which will be used throughout year two) Activities: Client Engagement

Theme 9: Towards Strategic & Sustainable Projects
Groups will prioritise strategy projects and liaise with propsective clients to deliver a final presentation and report. Activities: Peer-Evaluation

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Exhibition EvaluationPoster & Media Output50%Sem 1 End
PresentationPresentation and written report50%Sem 2 End
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 2
Indicative Reading List

  • Bhattacharya, C. B.: 2020, Small Actions, Big Difference: Leveraging corporate sustainability to drive business and societal value, 1st, Routledge, New York,
  • Saunders, M. N. K; Lewis, P.; Thornhill, A.: 2023, Research Methods for Business Students, 9th, Pearson Publications, New York,
  • Coghlan, D.: 2019, Doing action research in your own organization, 5th, Sage, London,
Other Resources

63985, Affixed to Course Outline in term, 0,
Semester 1 lecturer: Yuhui Gao Semester 2 lecturer: John Loonam
Programme or List of Programmes
MBAMasters in Business Administration

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement