2019-2020 / GTFE0014-1



Number of credits

 Master in business engineering (120 ECTS)18 crédits 


Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

All year long


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The students must first decide if they prefer to write a research thesis or a project thesis.
What is a project thesis?
A project thesis is based on the analysis of a complex management problem arising in a company or organization and linked to the area of concentration chosen by the student.  The student has to perform :

  • a diagnosis ;
  • a detailed analysis ;
  • the identification and possible implementation of concrete solutions.
It relies on: scientific approach, theoretical research, critical analysis.
What is a research thesis?
It is a scientific text based on an original research topic linked with the area of concentration chosen by the student and written following the standards of a scientific document.  The student must clearly identify a topic and questions, gather and process relevant information following an appropriate method and finally provide personal answers to the questions. 

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The key capacities that are developed and evaluated through the master thesis are :

  • Strategy: establish a strategy in order to optimize the value chain of a company, an organization or a project.
  • Implementation: take charge of the everyday management of a company, an organization or a project. 
  • Quality and performance control: plan and implement the performance and quality control in a company, an organization or a project. 
  • Communication: communicate efficiently, internally and externally, about a company, organization or project. 
  • Adaptability: adapt his/her managerial practice to the needs of a fast-evolving world.
A sixth capacity, didactics, is added for the master with a teaching focus.
Each thesis is personal and different, but, the thesis being the capstone project of the master degree, the five capacities will be evaluated during the defence.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

This activity cannot be included in the annual program as long as the student has credits to achieve in bachelor or for courses added to the standard programs ('passerelles and admission on file).

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

Personal work.

Recommended or required readings

Detailed rules, agenda, portfolio of projects and much more on

Assessment methods and criteria

Besides being original and far-reaching, the topic will imperatively consist in analysing a real management problem related to the specialist field of the student's programme.  It has to be validated by both the thesis director for the specialist field concerned and by the thesis management committee.
As an output, the student writes a thesis manuscript. It contains at most 70 pages, excluding the appendices.  It is written in French, in English or possibly in another language with the agreement of all the jury members.  The student defends orally his/her work at the end of the year.
For a project-thesis, the jury is composed of the project-thesis supervisor (a School Faculty member), a project thesis reader (a School Faculty member), the mentor (a manager or executive of the company or organization where the project-thesis is carried out) and a facilitator. The latter's attendance, though, is not mandatory. Should the student wish for a facilitator to attend the defence, (s)he will address this request in writing with due motivation to the project-thesis officer.  The internship "mentor" is invited to attend the defence.  In his absence, he will forward his appraisal of the student's behaviour to the thesis supervisor and to the project-thesis director.
For a research-thesis, the jury is composed of the project-thesis supervisor (a School Faculty member) and of two readers (School Faculty members and/or specialists from outside).
The full rules are available in a separate document (Lol@).

Work placement(s)

Each HEC student must do an internship (see the corresponding description).  In the case of a project-thesis, the internship must be related to the project thesis.

Organizational remarks

During the 2nd quarter of the Master's programme, block 1, students choose their project-thesis topic:

  • they either choose a topic (and a company) themselves
  • or select one from the portfolio of "project-theses" compiled by the project thesis officer and the thesis directors for the specialist fields.
During the 2nd quarter of the Master's programme, block 1, students choose their research-thesis topic: Students either:

  • propose a topic of their own choice which will already have been approved by their future supervisor:
  • or, when there is such a possibility, choose a topic among those proposed for the various specialist orientations in the "research-thesis" portfolio and obtain the supervisor's agreeement.
Project-thesis and research-thesis:
In either case, the topics are submitted for approval by the School's thesis management committee.  The committee analyzes the proposals at the beginning of May and constitutes the jury.
Every student MUST submit his/her project before the Committee meeting; otherwise he/she will NOT be allowed to defend his/her final work during the following academic year. Exceptionally, projects can be submitted until August 16th, 2017 at the latest.


Project thesis:

Research thesis: