MEC461: Engineering Commercial Success: And Making the world a better place!

Autumn Semester
Optional on Programmes: MECT53


This module aims to use empathetic learning to develop a business proposition for a specific customer set, with the development of a business plan and prototype product.

 Dr Jen Rowson, Module Lead

Module Description

Essential to the module is the concept that the students work in teams to find solutions to a real problem provided by a real customer. Typically the customer will be a member or members of the community i.e. children with disabilities, visually impaired persons, and aged persons with mobility issues for example. The challenge is for the student teams to identify a technical solution to the customer problem (making their lives easier or better) and then develop a prototype product and a business proposition to ‘sell’ this product to a series of stakeholders. Students are supported by external contributors from a great range of disciplines including business angels, bankers, marketeers, business advisors, manufacturers, etc. At the end of the course, teams pitch their business plan and prototypes to an invited audience and judges from a mixed background (technical, commercial and legal). Prizes are then awarded to the best presentations.

Key Concepts & Assumed Knowledge

Knowledge of concept creation, development and ideation, such as brainstorming and mind mapping.

Teaching Methods

This is an active learning module where students work independently in teams to produce solutions and business plans. Students are supported by experts in the classroom sessions and group tutorials. Resources are made available and groups are encouraged to prototype their ideas through a choice of means.

Assessment Methods Assessment is in four stages:

• Formation of groups, submission of initial ideas, 10%

• Development of a prototype solution, 30%

• Development of a business model, plan and report (15 pages), 30%

• Production of a poster and delivery of a Q&A presentation (5 hours), 30%

Module Aims

• Offer students the opportunity to work with real users and external experts to create solutions that meet real-life social, functional and commercial objectives.

• Give students the opportunity to develop their pitching and poster presentation skills • Allow students to apply basic financial knowledge to propose a sustainable business proposition

• Prepare students for future leadership roles by providing the opportunity for them to leverage their existing foundational understanding of engineering to understand the complex context in which engineering takes place.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students, including undergraduate and postgraduate taught scholarships towards the annual tuition fee. Applications are open for existing offer holders.