Course ObjectiveAcademic and Research Skills:
You learn to discuss and apply theories on argumentation in a context of
policy/decision making and you get some basics in project management.
Knowledge of Theory + Methods and Solving Complex Problems:
You learn to distinguish between academic and consultant criteria for
evaluating the quality of advice, and you are able to apply a relevant
set of criteria to an existing advice report. You can identify unsolved
problems, and you work towards own solutions based on literature study,
interviews with the consultant, the client and experts on the topic, and
by own analysis.
Professional Social Skills:
You act in the role of a consultant who writes a second opinion, which
reviews an existing consultant report delivered to a paying client. You
develop your own advice and you practice with pitching your ideas,
also to acquire a follow-up project.
Horizon Beyond Professional Area:
You get aware of the context in which a consultant assignment is done.
You learn to reflect on your work, how much time you need to perform
your job, how to give and receive feedback on the work you and your
peers perform, and how you develop towards becoming a consultant.
Course ContentThe main assignment in this course is to write a second opinion. That is
a common assignment for consultants. Often companies or ministries
develop a strategic plan based on what internal staff members think
would be a right course of action. However, management can feel insecure
about such a plan. In such cases they might ask external consultants for
a second opinion. Or a works council is asked for their opinion, and
they feel not qualified to give advice on such a strategic plan. Then
they might hire consultants to help them out. Consultants help by
writing a second opinion on what management has proposed, and guide the
works council. Writing a second opinion requires a normative perspective
in two ways: in making an assessment of the report or the initial idea,
and in giving advice on how to improve the client’s situation, based on
one’s own assessment and some own research that is needed to fill in the
discovered gaps. Second opinion writing is the first skills course in
the MC programme.
Teaching MethodsLectures and tutorials
Method of AssessmentAssignments and intermediate take home exam
Entry Requirementsnot applicable
LiteratureBouwmeester (2010) Economic Advice and Rhetoric: Why do Consultants
perform Better than Academic Advisers? Cheltenham: Elgar.
Several articles that will be published in the course manual (see
Additional InformationAll literature will be available as ebook or ejournal via VU library. If
you prefer hard copy you need to order the book in advance. On
canvas I will share a discount code.
Recommended background knowledgenot applicable
|Language of Tuition||English|
|Faculty||School of Business and Economics|
|Course Coordinator||dr. O. Bouwmeester|
|Examiner||dr. O. Bouwmeester|
You need to register for this course yourself
Last-minute registration is available for this course.
|Teaching Methods||Seminar, Lecture|
This course is also available as: