Research Idea: What Research Questions Are You Addressing Sample Assignment

Which topic is your idea relevant to? Why is your idea different? What assumptions/propositions/ hypotheses, if any, are you exploring?

The topic for the proposed MBA dissertation is: “A Strategic management study of online banking using Lloyds TSB bank and HSBC bank as a case study.”  The starting point will be contemporary management theories and tools.  Then I will shift the focus on the distinction and integration of operational management and strategic management as stated by Metcalfe in the following terms:

“Operational management is the implementation of agreed policies.  Strategic management is the formulation of new policies or the redefinition of existing ones. In operational management terms there must be explicit consideration of the structures and systems through which policies are put into practice. The effectiveness of a regulatory management system depends on clear definitions of responsibility and commitment to compliance (rather than primary reliance on enforcement). In more strategic management terms decisions have to be made about who participates in regulatory policy making and how the views of different stakeholders are channelled into the policy formulation process. Operational and strategic management require different capacities but interrelated processes.”  (Metcalfe, 2003).

I will keep the focus on strategic management in the case studies of HSBC-Internet Banking and Lloyds TBS-Internet Banking regarding the development and the sustainability of a competitive, comparative and absolute advantage in their specific market segments.  The main concern about Internet Banking relates to security.  Another area of relevance regarding a competitive, comparative and absolute advantage is business model innovation (Mitchell and Coles, 2003).    In this context, I will deal with the topic of achieving a competitive, comparative and absolute advantage through a security edge against the main competitors.

This research study seems to be very relevant due to its practical implications since many of its conclusions can be implemented not only by HBSC-Internet Banking and/or Lloyds TBS-Internet Banking, but by any other online banking business.  The main reason behind its relevancy it’s the eclectical, epistemological and proactive approach that will guide the spirit of the entire dissertation.  Many different sources will be taken into consideration, especially the concept of Critical Success Factors (Caralli, 2005)  and Key Performance Indicators (Information Builders, 1996-2006; Visitask, 2004-2006), as well as the Blue Ocean Strategy (Kim and Mauborgne,2005), the ASDA Effect in leadership according to the influence of Archie Norman (The Grocer, 2004; Weber and Beer, 1998a; Weber and Beer 1998b), and the high impact on the Quality community by the Toyota Way of conducting their successful business according to the Toyota Production System (The Swiss Deming Institute, 2005).  The proposed MBA dissertation is a very challenging task as it tackles some of the most relevant issues concerning strategic management  with the single guiding idea of helping to develop and sustain a competitive, comparative and absolute advantage either for HSBC-Internet Banking, a division of one of the biggest banks in the world (HSBC Bank) or Llodys TSB-Internet Banking, which is the only online banking service which has been rated with 5 stars by ComputerActive as follows:

“Computeractive magazine recently surveyed six Internet banks and Lloyds TSB Internet banking was the only one to be given a five-star rating.  The survey included Barclays, HSBC, First Direct, Co-operative bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland.”  (Lloyds TBS-Internet Banking, 2007).

From all of the above, the proposed MBA dissertation showcases distinct academic features as it takes a multi-disciplinary, multi-dimensional approach with an ample theoretical, methodological and pragmatic framework.  The guiding idea behind this MBA dissertation is stated by Ashoka.Org in the following terms:

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”  (Ashoka, 2006).


How do you propose to collect fieldwork data for your project? Are you using a quantitative (e.g. survey, statistical approach, regression analysis, etc.) or qualitative (case studies; telephone, face-to-face, or email interviews; focus groups, etc.) approach? Give a few details about how you would go about this (e.g. roughly how many/what type of organisations/people would you collect data from, etc.)

At the present time, I work on a part-time basis at Lloyds TSB in the United Kingdom.  I would like to do research on a division of my current job as it can help me advance in my future career objectives.  I can also have access to HSBC bank’s employees as well. As a methodological framework, I will take into consideration the following theories and tools.  I will take as a reference the guidelines for Action Research, Scientifically-Based Research and the Delphi Method since I am aiming to undertake a qualitative investigation.  For the research design I will use analysis content, case study, interviews and focus groups as methodological tools.  I will have access to a wide array of top executives and top employees in order to apply the Delphi Method on a panel of experts trying to look for a consensus about the ways of achieving a competitive, comparative and absolute advantage, mainly through innovation, leadership, quality, security and business model innovation.  At least I will interview ten top executives and employees from each bank who work on the selected field of inquiry.  In the content analysis I will mostly use online sources, journals, books, newspapers, reviews, etc.  I will also have access to Questia, an online library.  As the hypothesis will be built upon an Internet activity, I will use a wide array of academically-reliable online sources.  All the collected data will be processed through a process of analysis, synthesis and criticism according to their major implications so I can find practical solutions that will spring up from the research findings.  The following is a suggested outline for the MBA dissertation.  Thanks.

*Bibliography: A few key references to articles, books etc. that have actually read and that have stimulated your idea.


  1. Ashoka.  (2006).  What is a Social Entrepreneur?  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  2. Beghetto, Ron. (2003).  “Scientifically-Based Research.”  In ERIC Digest.  ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management.  Eugene, Oregon.  January 25, 2007.   <>.
  3. Caralli, Richard A.  (2005, November 29).  The Critical Success Factor Method: Establishing a Foundation for Enterprise Security Management.  Technical Report:  CMU/SEI-2004-TR-010. The Software Engineering Institute.  Carnegie Mellon University.  Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  4. Dick, Bob.  (1999).  “What Is Action Research?.”  Action Research International.  Southern Cross University.  Australia.  January 25, 2007.   <>.
  5. HSBC Bank.  (2007a).  “The World’s Local Bank.”  January 31, 2007.  <>.
  6. HSBC Bank.  (2007b)  “About HSBC.”  January 31, 2007.  <>.
  7. HSBC-Internet Banking.  (2007).  “Internet Banking”.  January 31, 2007.  <>.
  8. Illinois Institute of Technology.  (2007).  “The Delphi Method.”  February 1, 2007.  <>.
  9. Information Builders.  (1996-2006).  Developing Key Performance Indicators (KPI).  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  10. Irwin, Richard D.  (1995).  “Principles of Strategic Management.”  January 31, 2007.   <>.
  11. Kim, W. C., and Mauborgne, R.  (2005).  Blue Ocean Strategy:  How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant.  Harvard Business School Press.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  12. Lloyds TSB.  (2007a).  “Lloyds TSB”.  January 31, 2007.  <>.
  13. Lloyds TSB.  (2007b).  Group Information.  26 January, 2007.  <>.
  14. Lloyds TSB-Internet Banking.  (2007a).  “Internet Banking.”  January 31, 2007.  <>.
  15. Lloyds TSB-Internet Banking.  (2007b).  “Five-star rating for Internet banking”.  26 January, 2007. <>.
  16. Martech International.  (no date).  “Electronic Banking.”  February 1, 2007.  <>.
  17. Metcalfe, Les.  (2003, December 3).  “Regulatory Management and Governance.”  Bocconi University, Milan.  DG Enterprise Conference on “Impact Assessment in the European Union: Innovations, Quality and Good Regulatory Governance.” Brussels.  January 30, 2007.  <>.
  18. Mitchell, D., and Coles, C.  (2003).  The Ultimate Competitive Advantage of Continuing Business Model Innovation.  Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 15-21.  MCB UP Limited.  (PDF).
  19. Neuendorf, Kimberly A.  (2006, June 7).  “The Content Analysis Guidebook.”  January 25, 2007.  <>.
  20. Pathways. (2004).  “Action Research.”  Learning Point Associates.  North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).  January 25, 2007.  <>.
  21. Philips, Jim.  (1996).  “Bytes of Cash:  Banking, Computing, and Personal Finance.”  February 1, 2007.    <>.
  22. Ryerson University.  (2007).  “The Delphi Method.”  February 1, 2007.  <>.
  23. Suranovic, Steven.  (1997-2006).  “The Theory of Comparative Advantage – Overview.”  February 1, 2007.  <>.
  24. Tellis, W. (1997, July). “Introduction to Case Study.”  The Qualitative Report, vol. 3, no. 2.  January 26, 2007.  <>.
  25. The Economist.  (2007).  “Comparative and Competive Advantages.”  February 1, 2007.  <>.
  26. The Grocer.  (2004, April 24).  The ASDA Effect. In The Egremont Group.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  27. The Swiss Deming Institute.  (2005, April 1).  The Toyota Phenomenon.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  28. Vannini, P.  (2006, April 20).  Notes and Handouts.  Research Design Steps.  University of Victoria, Canada.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  29. Visitask.  (2004-2006).  Key Performance Indicators.  25 January, 2007.  <>.
  30. Weber, James and Beer, Michael   (1998a, May 5).  ASDA (A).  Harvard Business School.  9-498-005.  (PDF).
  31. Weber, James and Beer, Michael.  (1998b, May 1).  ASDA (A1).  Harvard Business School.  9-498-006.  (PDF).

A Response To Tolstoy’s Short Story “Master And Man” Analysis

A Response to Tolstoy’s Short Story “Master and Man”


Tolstoy’s short story “Master and Man” tells of the experiences of Vasili Andreevich, who is a rich man, and his servant, the peasant Nikita. Vasili’s greed and desire to accumulate worldly wealth contrasts with Nikita’s resigned attitude towards life and his acceptance of his miserable life. Among the many themes in this story are human inequality, as depicted in this conflict between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” selflessness, and human fellowship.

The omniscient narrator is able to present the inner dialogues and ponderings of the two characters. The narrative is very realistic, in the sense that the environment around the characters is well described. The narrative focuses extensively on the blizzard, which serves as an essential background to the intense and profound experiences of Vasili and Nikita as they are forced to confront the idea of death. The language is very simple and straightforward which makes it very accessible. Without using complex and highly sophisticated language, Tolstoy is able to deliver the experience of the main characters effectively.

Upon lying on Nikita to keep him warm, Vasili experiences a profound joy and satisfaction. Vasili’s sudden act of selflessness contrasts sharply with his former self and brings into relief the universal need of humans for fellowship with others.

However, I could not bring myself to feel sorry for Vasili because he seemed to deserve his icy death, and that it was a sort of poetic justice that he died in order to save Nikita. I also feel, however, that it would have been interesting if Vasili had survived as well. Would he revert to his old self once the night was over?

Education Is A Way Of My Life




I have always wanted to excel in academics.  My goals are to help the society by contributing in changing people in a positive way.  To me, education is a way of life as well it is a source of livelihood in terms of career achievements.  Since my childhood, I admired becoming a TESOL teacher. My family always encouraged me especially in my junior school to take studies seriously. Therefore from an early age, I looked at education as the ideal and unique opportunity to not only lead the kind of quality life I have always dreamt about, but also, as an opportunity to serve the society and make a difference.

I intend to study Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) for many reasons.  First of all, I have a passion for languages. Since my junior grades, I was keen to learn new languages and by the time I was in senior level, I could fluently speak, German, Spanish and basic Chinese. Currently I am competent in 3 international languages. This motivates me to study TESOL because I can easily grasp the needs of the learners. Coming from a predominant English language learning environment, I can easily internalize students’ needs. I can also draw from my experience of studying in an integrated class which comprised of learners with different English proficiency levels. I am also motivated by the fact that TESOL has very few competent teachers and therefore I intend to fill this gap by providing that much needed professional service.

The growing demand for people from various parts of the world to study English has also played a role in influencing me to make this noble choice. English is a leading international language used by close to 450 million people. This has created a sharp demand for TESOL teachers. Many people who would otherwise have wanted to learn English miss out on the opportunity due to lack of enough teachers. Therefore, I would really want to qualify in TESOL and move out there and assist people to achieve their goals.

Language is a powerful tool in breaking cultural barriers that has continued to be a major source of conflicts in the modern world. TESOL provides a great forum for breaking the cultural barriers. Learning of a second language opens an opportunity for more people to appreciate diversity and at the same time to appreciate cultural differences.  For me, TESOL is one avenue which has not been fully utilized in seeking to bring unity and peace in the world.


Studying TESOL for me will open many job opportunities in very many organizations and countries. Therefore, TESOL will greatly improve my chances of getting a lucrative job opportunity in any part of the world. I intend to serve humanity after graduating in TESOL and hope to become a cultural ambassador in that I will be able to interact with people from various parts of the world and be able to understand them in a better way. I really look forward to studying TESOL.














Brown, H.D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. Second Edition. White Plains, NY: Addison Wesley Longman.