Business Practicum Program

Introduction: Work Integrated Learning in Practice

The Business Practicum (MPI701) is a 2 credit unit which enables high-performing, capable and motivated MBA students to undertake a substantial workplace-based project within a wide range of organisations: businesses, government departments, professional associations or charitable organisations.

Program overview

The unit provides students with the context in which to apply the professional and academic skills developed over the course of their MBA studies and showcase their research, analysis, consultancy and presentation skills, creating real benefits for both the student and the host organisation, with the student acting as an ambassador for the Deakin MBA program.

New developments: 2015

In keeping with the Deakin 'Worldly' philosophy, the Practicum unit is now available in all three trimesters. From trimester 2 2015 students will be able to complete the business practicum unit at their own business. In collaboration with the Faculty of Business and Law International and Partnerships Group, students may also now apply to complete their Practicum in overseas locations where Deakin has a strong representation and local organisational contacts, i.e. China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

For more details on the Business Practicum unit please consult the handbook.


Business Practicum is a high profile unit within the MBA, and offers several significant advantages to the student and the host organisation.

For the host organisation

  • Access to the specific skills, abilities and knowledge of high calibre MBA students
  • The development of a mutually beneficial relationship between the student, organisation and University
  • No payment required by the business host organisation to the student
  • No insurance costs to the host organisation - Deakin University Public and Products Liability Insurance Policy covers students involved in Business Practicum (applies to enrolled students of the University only)
  • Full reporting and feedback to host organisations
  • Great PR potential for internal and external marketing purposes.

For the student

  • Ability to apply their MBA learning within a new professional organisation or current organisation
  • A great resume addition
  • Networking opportunities
  • Personal development opportunity towards the completion of their studies
  • An opportunity to evolve their career strengths and directions
  • Further development of skills and competencies including:
    • Critical analytical skills
    • Research skills
    • Verbal, written and presentation skills
    • Negotiation skills
    • Ability to work in a stakeholder environment

For Deakin University

The Business Practicum also provides an opportunity for the Deakin Graduate School of Business to foster and strengthen its contacts with business, government and community organisations. The program also provides an opportunity for the University to showcase the skills and attributes of its high-calibre students.

Selection criteria

Before applying for the Business Practicum, students must:

  • have enrolled in M701 - MBA or M731 - MBA (International), or have approval from their course leader to undertake Business Practicum as part of their program;
  • contact a student adviser at to ensure the Business Practicum unit is available in the course;
  • have substantially progressed in their MBA course, having successfully completed at least 6 MBA or MBA (International) units;
  • have achieved a consistent record of good academic performance in the course;
  • have demonstrated commitment and ability to complete the Practicum project to a high professional standard;
  • be able to commit to at least 2 full days per week (minimum of 200 hours and maximum of 240 hours) over the duration of the trimester;
  • have strong research, analysis, problem-solving, report writing and presentation skills;
  • be self-motivated and possess good communication skills;
  • have the necessary work permits to facilitate workplace-based learning.

How to apply

How it works: eligibility and application process

Students would normally commence a Business Practicum in the final trimester of their degree, and must have completed six units of study at the commencement of the unit, having achieving strong grades within their MBA program.

This unit is available for students enrolled in the following courses (including some combined degrees):

  • M701 - MBA
  • M731 - MBA International

Before a student can enrol in the Business Practicum, it is necessary to apply and be selected for the program. Students meeting the relevant selection criteria will be selected for an initial interview and discussion with the Unit Chair before permission to enrol in the unit will be granted. Unlike other postgraduate units, students cannot enrol directly into MPI701 until a completed application form (PDF, 521.8 KB)  is submitted to the WIL team for approval.

If the application is approved, the Unit Chair will endeavour to match the student's skills and motivations with a host organisation. Alternatively students are able to propose a project in consultation with their current employer. Students should be aware, however, that this may not be possible in every case, and should always have an alternative plan to enrol in other units if a Business Practicum placement cannot be arranged. As a two credit unit, students will be expected to spend at least two full days per week over the course of the trimester working within the host organisation on the project (minimum of 200 hours and maximum of 240 hours). Many students spend considerably more time than this to ensure a high-calibre result.

If application and placement is successful, the student will them commence work on a negotiated project in consultation with the Unit Chair and the host organisation, defining objectives and agreeing on milestones and deliverables. Working within the organisation the student will conduct detailed, high level research and analysis, proposing robust and innovative solutions against the project brief. A formal report and presentation to an invited stakeholder audience provide the opportunity for the student to showcase their insights and abilities.


Think about Business Practicum early. Ideally students should have an initial conversation with the Unit Chair one full Trimester before you intend to start. This is because the placement process can be complex and lengthy.

Arranging a Practicum

Generally, the Unit Chair will be responsible for finding a host organisation for the successful applicant. However, a student may wish to suggest their current employer, if an opportunity presents itself. In such cases the Unit Chair will assess the organisation and the suitability of the proposed practicum activities.

Examples of recent Business Practicum Projects

Organisation Brief
Australian Retailers Association Develop a flexible and professional Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process for the Diploma of Retail Management.
Fresh Select Examine Fresh Select's current business position across the fresh vegetable industry and analyse potential business opportunities for innovation and growth with particular emphasis on environmental sustainability.
Monsanto Analyse all major competitors in the ANZ vegetable seeds market for competitor analysis project.
PMA (Produce Marketing Association) Develop a Fruit/Vegetable/Floral Index for use by the Association
Shotz Development of a fluid and energy policy for firefighters to aid optimum performance in the field.
Cancer Council Western Australia Proposal for accommodation solutions
Berwick Physiotherapy Group Strategic marketing plan

Deakin and the PMA (Australia-New Zealand): a strong practicum partnership

Deakin University has formed a strong strategic partnership with the PMA (Produce Marketing Association) Australia-New Zealand. This has resulted in Business Practicum students being successfully placed within diverse organisations across the produce supply chain. More information on the PMA.

Contact us

Work Integrated Learning team
Unit Chair: Steve Ogden-Barnes
Melbourne Burwood Campus (B): lb3.310

Faculty of Business and Law
Deakin University
221 Burwood Highway
Burwood VIC 3125

Page custodian: Faculty of Business & Law
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