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How much should I charge for custom Master thesis

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    So here is the thing. I am talking over with a company to write custom master thesis for them.

    Thesis would research new opportunities in foreign market for this company. I would go abroad and do custom marketing research. It would last around 4 months full time writing and research. Aprox. 70 pages.

    Any suggestion, what I could ask for?
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    (Original post by Hisound)
    So here is the thing. I am talking over with a company to write custom master thesis for them.

    Thesis would research new opportunities in foreign market for this company. I would go abroad and do custom marketing research. It would last around 4 months full time writing and research. Aprox. 70 pages.

    Any suggestion, what I could ask for?
    OK, just to clarify: do you mean
    a) that this company has offered to sponsor (or partially sponsor) your master's degree, provided you write your dissertation on a topic that directly benefits their interests?
    or b) that you've been asked by the company to do marketing research for them and write up the results in a format that's equivalent to an MA dissertation but isn't actually an MA dissertation, because you're not enrolled on a course / planning to enrol on a course for which you could submit this 'dissertation'?
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    a)
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    (Original post by Hisound)
    a)
    Right, in that case they should definitely cover your travel expenses for the period of your research abroad. I'd say it would probably also be appropriate to ask them to pay for your course fees, though, since you'd effectively be dedicating your degree to their interests.
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    There is no course fees, we have free education

    Travel costs are sure the thing which have to be covered, but considering that I am quite competitive in this field and with thesis company would get statistical analysis, researched marketing opportunities, framework for business plan and other benefits, I would ask for appropriate award. I was thinking somewhere between 15-20k, if it is not considered overkill.

    Oh, and foreign market is on the other side of the world, where I have experience, so alternatively they could hire only big expensive consulting company.
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    (Original post by Hisound)
    There is no course fees, we have free education
    Sorry, this forum is mainly used by students enrolled at UK universities, so that's always the first assumption.:p:
    Travel costs are sure the thing which have to be covered, but considering that I am quite competitive in this field and with thesis company would get statistical analysis, researched marketing opportunities, framework for business plan and other benefits, I would ask for appropriate award. I was thinking somewhere between 15-20k, if it is not considered overkill.

    Oh, and foreign market is on the other side of the world, where I have experience, so alternatively they could hire only big expensive consulting company.
    Since I already made a wrong assumption once, which currency are we talking about here? Euros?
    Anyway, it does sound like a lot. Then again you're probably looking at some 200 hours of work that you would be investing (if not more), and if you have the sort of expertise they wouldn't be able to find anywhere else with a lower pricetag attached, then by all means go for it.:dontknow: They'll probably try to haggle you down anyway.
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    Yes, 15-20k euros, forgot to mentioned, if it doesn't lose too much value

    Well, if they would hire consulting company for this, there is no way they would get it under 50k, but more likely much more. Further, I have indeed unique experience (lived, worked and studied at top tier uni in foreign market), so I if we come to an agreement I will ask probably somewhere in this range.

    Finally, I am not willing to do it under, but it is nice to hear opinions from others, so thanks
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    Are you planning to get this project supervised by an academic at the university? I doubt youre going to find anyone willing to supervise a Masters project that is just doing research for a company, unless they are being paid for it also.

    Apart from anything else, its not clear that the sort of market research a private company would be interested in is going to have much (any) academic value. A Masters thesis isnt just about studying something you find passably interesting, it has to actually be relevant to academic research and make a contribution to the literature somewhere.
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    Your argument above is exactly why I wouldn't do it for the less than 15k. As it has no long term value, but only short very narrow value for selected company.

    As for the academic supervision, it would be of course supervised, probably at home as well as in foreign country uni, but shouldn't be problem with getting approval as company founder and CEO is alumni of my faculty, and given as a major success story at many lectures. If anything, my guess is supervisor would very welcome project as such. There have to be many references in thesis of course, but if it is "practical thesis", like undergrad business plan, references can narrow down. Also, I would do research in form of meetings, interviews, etc., which are also references.

    I would appreciate comments on the amount of 15-20k too.
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    Ok I'll make it a bit clearer.

    1) It is highly unlikely you will get this project supervised, 2) It is highly unlikely that you will get a passing mark for your dissertation doing such a project, 3) On the offchance you do manage to get it supervised, you will have to adapt it substantially in order to make it academically acceptable, and so 4) Making any financial arrangement with a company to deliver something which you almost certainly will not be able to deliver in the form they want it, will be folly.

    If you are serious about this then you need to first (before agreeing anything with the company) find an academic willing to supervise it, discuss exactly what it will be, and then make a joint pitch to the company together. It is quite possible that he will want to be paid as well, since they are also buying his expertise and the hourly rate of his expertise will cost a lot more than yours.
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    (Original post by poohat)

    1) It is highly unlikely you will get this project supervised, 2) It is highly unlikely that you will get a passing mark for your dissertation doing such a project, 3) On the offchance you do manage to get it supervised, you will have to adapt it substantially in order to make it academically acceptable, and so 4) Making any financial arrangement with a company to deliver something which you almost certainly will not be able to deliver in the form they want it, will be folly.
    I don't know why you think this is the case. Assuming the degree will be done through a business department, a real-world case-study would seem ideal thesis-fodder. I think what the company wants is his research results, how he writes this up for the submitting of the dissertation will hardly matter to them.

    You write as if this is somehow wildly unusual, but it is far from that in, for example, biosciences, where hundreds of UK post-grads are doing research sponsored by Wellcome, Glaxo, or Astra-Zeneca, or are undertaking commercially sponsored projects in computer science or operational research or whatnot.
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    @poohat I appreciate your comments. I already have supervisor and I am positive that it would be accepted, so no worries here. I will do research 10.000 miles away from home and supervisor will only check my work, so I ll do just about all contributions. I don't know how it is in the UK, but supervisors here get paid per thesis by university, so demanding additional money from students is not a practice. That said, some contribution could be arranged.

    I agree with not be able to deliver something which you made a deal on, is folly, but Im pretty confident that I can do it - well.

    What concerns me is, if I want to phd in the future, I don't think I can show master thesis as an example of good work.

    Therefore, I can suggest company to do non academic research, e.g. marketing plan, which is alternative of course, but in that case I would have to pay helpers (prof.) myself and do double work: thesis + company research.
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    (Original post by cambio wechsel)
    I don't know why you think this is the case. Assuming the degree will be done through a business department, a real-world case-study would seem ideal thesis-fodder. I think what the company wants is his research results, how he writes this up for the submitting of the dissertation will hardly matter to them.

    You write as if this is somehow wildly unusual, but it is far from that in, for example, biosciences, where hundreds of UK post-grads are doing research sponsored by Wellcome, Glaxo, or Astra-Zeneca, or are undertaking commercially sponsored projects in computer science or operational research or whatnot.
    That is a very good point. My major is business administration/economics and practical thesis are something common. Even some banks sponsor students to write thesis in real actual public finance scenarios.

    Also, at an MBA you learn from study cases, which were all written by academics and researchers.
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    (Original post by cambio wechsel)
    I don't know why you think this is the case. Assuming the degree will be done through a business department, a real-world case-study would seem ideal thesis-fodder.
    Generally when an academic supervises a Masters student, they will want to work on a project which benefits the supervisor's research agenda in some way, and which is sufficiently academic for the student. Its not obvious that a private research project would satisfy this unless it could be heavily modified, and the company might not be happy with this.

    More importantly, there are usually official schemes where companies and universities can collaborate through (eg) private companies sponsoring Masters/PhD students. When this happens, it is typical for the university/supervisor to be paid for their time, and for the use of university facilities. A company agreeing a private fee with a student means that a) the supervisor doesnt get paid for the private research he is essentially now doing for free, and b) the university doesnt get paid for the use of their faciliites. Therefore it is unlikely that either will find it acceptable, and (depending on the university) it may even be explicitly against the university regulations.


    where hundreds of UK post-grads are doing research sponsored by Wellcome, Glaxo, or Astra-Zeneca, or are undertaking commercially sponsored projects in computer science or operational research or whatnot.
    Yes, and every single one of these will have come out of arrangements between the company and the university, not between the company and the student. There is nothing unusual about a company funding a Masters/PhD student, but this is not what he's talking about. Even when a company is prepared to fully sponsor a PhD student, the university will usually expect a sizeable additional fee in order to cover their overheads (supervision, facilities, etc).

    Thats what I said in my previous post; if he's serious about this he would be better off agreeing the supervising arrangements first, and then approaching the company second. You cant just take a private fee for a project and then turn up expecting to find someone to supervise it.

    I dont want to sound too pessimistic - its not impossible that he will get someone to supervise it/etc, but he definitely shouldnt sign a contract which commits him to produce a piece of work which I personally think is unlikely he will be allowed to do.
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    (Original post by poohat)
    Academics doing supervise masters students for fun, they usually do it because they can do something which furthers their research agenda in some way.
    Much more usually they do it because it is their job to do. Very few Masters theses benefit the supervisor beyond being another successfully supervised thesis.

    A company agreeing a private fee with a student means that... the supervisor doesnt get paid for the research he is essentially now doing for free
    The supervisor will not him/herself be conducting any research for this or any other masters project, and is anyway salaried.
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    (Original post by poohat)
    Academics dont supervise masters students for fun, they usually do it because they can work on something which furthers their research agenda in some way. A student doing a private project is not going to benefit the superviser in any way. More importantly, there are usually official schemes where companies and universities can collaborate through (eg) private companies sponsoring Masters/PhD students. When this happens, it is typical for the university/supervisor to be paid for their time, and for the use of university facilities. A company agreeing a private fee with a student means that a) the supervisor doesnt get paid for the research he is essentially now doing for free, and b) the university doesnt get paid for the use of their faciliites. Therefore it is unlikely that either will find it acceptable, and (depending on the university) it may even be explicitly against the university regulations.
    University facilities wont be used by any other means other then defending thesis as I will do research 10.000 miles away from home in foreign market. Supervisior has the obligation (and he is paid) to do his supervising job in either scenario, whether I would write about bananas, mathematics or weather. Research will be done completely by myself, supervisor will only check and suggest, which is something he would do anyway.

    (Original post by poohat)
    Yes, and every single one of these will have come out of arrangements between the company and the university, not between the company and the student. There is nothing unusual about a company funding a Masters/PhD student, but this is not what he's talking about.

    Thats what I said in my previous post; if he's serious about this he would be better off agreeing the supervising arrangements first, and then approaching the company second. You cant just take a private fee for a project and then turn up expecting to find someone to supervise it.
    In my case, uni and company can't colaborete in this project as I have unique knowledge through experience, which can be found only in major consulting companies.

    Of course I wouldn't accept any payment before coming to an agreement with all parties, but should be the case that uni or supervisor would demand money (which I am 99% sure they wont), I'd simply make a deal with a company to do private (non thesis) research.

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