When students embark on their MBA project, they are often required to read various books on the topic that they are dealing with. It is required of them that they should use these books as references when they are preparing their project. Universities that assign these projects often expect the students to correlate the works of scholars who have come before them to the assignment that they are working on and make comparisons. When they are writing the project, the students have to give references in their bibliography as to where they got the material from, and who the author of that content was, and even go so far as to write the page number that the words and sentences were sourced from.
This is a test of the students ability; a test to see how much they have read on the subject; how much they know about the works of others in their field; and a test of how original their own research is. It is impossible for any work to be completely original. There is a vast body of knowledge already available in the world. Most of the research ideas that the students get owes some measure of importance to the work that has been done by other scholars. The whole idea of referencing of such material is to pay homage to work that has come before, and acknowledge that the students owe some of their research data to it.
At this point in the research, the students have to make frequent trips to the library, spend many hours reading books, make notes, ask their professors where else they can get reference material from, and finally make sure they relate all the references to the assignment they are working on. When professors read through the references that the students have given, they know that they have done their research well.