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How to formulate higher quality assignments with a ‘business-first’ approach

From business reports to research papers; submitting a good quality, essay-based assignment is by no means an easy task – even if you’re used to working within a professional environment and offer substantial experience writing executive summaries for clients or business partners.

The hard task is not necessarily producing the content, it’s keeping your findings brief and coherent, with clear explanations and action points. Writing this type of content is a highly valued capability amongst employers and an important skill to master.

There are many golden rules when it comes to formulating a successful written assignment. Learnings from extensive practice and essay-based coursework on our three career-focused 100% online programmes have provided ample exposure for formulating high quality business reports. Our assignments have been designed using a business-first approach and emphasise a relevance to real-life case studies, which are deconstructed using theoretical approaches and techniques. To ensure you feel confident approaching the written assignments, we’ve pulled together some useful hints and tips which you can use in your studies and at work:

1) Notes on writing style

It can be all too tempting to pepper your writing with complex language, but this won’t guarantee you high marks, nor any impact to your organisation. Adding too much information will put the reader off. The more clear and concise your writing is, the better. Ensure every word you use offers purpose and avoid using unnecessary adjectives.

Use a passive tone of voice; make your subject the focus of your sentence, rather than who is performing the action relating to it. For example, ‘data indicates’, rather than ‘the data I collected indicates’. Your summary will be adding to a wider discussion so it’s important not to express your arguments too forcefully.

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2) Write your introduction last

The introduction of any business report or executive summary should encapuslate your main objective and key finding(s). It should also contain a short stentence to explain the discourse, or structure, of the document. Briefly introduce the sources you have drawn on and outline the conclusions you will come to. In short, your introduction should act as a synopsis.

By writing an introduction last, or once you have written the bulk of your essay, it becomes easier to summarise your points, rather than introducing ideas that may change as you write them.

3) Think critically

While the language and style of your writing is important, the crucial quality of an effective report is to successfully evaluate all possibilities in order to improve performance within your research-area. By thinking about the context of your work, you should also be able to strengthen your own ideas too.

Apply this way of thinking to your career as well as your studies; by raising opposing viewpoints to your own assertions, your client meetings will be more productive.

4) Use supporting material

Evidence your writing with proof by adding sources to your findings. As you conduct your research, take notes from news stories to back up the trends you are seeing. Keep them in one place so that you have all your supporting points when it comes to formulating your business case. There are useful project management applications that have been designed to help you do this. For example, try Scrivener or Zotero.

Honing your assignment writing skills will not only help you during your online course, but will also prove invaluable in your career too. If you choose to study at the University of Birmingham, you can also contact your course and module leaders at any time for advice and tips that will help you to achieve greater career success. Find out more about studying online by filling in our request information form, or contact our admissions team today.

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