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If you are already registered on the earlier version of this qualification see MBA (F02).

This internationally-recognised MBA course is designed for practising managers aspiring to higher positions. The emphasis for your learning is directly rooted in management practice - the 'Master' in the degree title signifies your 'mastery' of the art and science of management. To achieve this level of capability the programme concentrates on strategic analysis, interdisciplinary skills, intellectual stimulation and independent judgement and builds these upon a solid foundation of core disciplines, including human resource management, organisational behaviour, accounting and finance, marketing and operations.

The MBA course is designed as an integrated programme, and balances your learning time between 75% of compulsory elements (including the final organisation-based project) with 25% from optional modules. This enables you to adjust the curriculum to suit your needs. MBA modules are challenging but will always direct you towards improving your management capabilities. You will need to have some experiential knowledge at a managerial level and/or of decision-making, so that you have a practical business base on which to build your MBA learning.

You will learn to analyse, synthesise and evaluate a wide range of situations within the broad framework of organisations, their external context and internal management. Among these you will look at economic, environmental, social and technological change issues, corporate governance, markets and customers, managing resources and operations, financing organisations, management and development of people, developing information technologies for application in business and management within a global knowledge-based economy, and development of appropriate business policies and strategies within a changing context to meet stakeholder interests.

The Open University Business School is accredited internationally by the European Foundation for Management Development, through its EQUIS programme; by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); and the MBA is accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA). There are only about 50 business schools worldwide that have achieved all three accreditations.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

Employers value the MBA as an indication of high level business and management skills. These skills are in demand, increasingly so in times of economic uncertainty, and employers want practical experience, a thorough grasp of business, and the ability to lead at a strategic level. AMBA's careers survey shows that MBA students can expect their salary to increase, and the MBA to have a positive impact on their career progression, as well as bring improvements to their organisation or business.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

60 credits (600 study hours) from the following compulsory Stage 1 module:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716)

This MBA course will enable you make a real difference within your management practice and provide a good grounding in the core disciplines of management.

See full description.

60 May

or the discontinued modules B700, B713, BZX700

And 450 study hours from the following compulsory Stage 2 modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Corporate finance (B831) (150 study hours)

This course will help you develop the knowledge needed to tackle the main financial issues that you are  likely to encounter in your organisation.

See full description.

0 May
The dynamics of strategy (B835) (300 study hours)

This course will help you gain an understanding of the frameworks of strategy and help you use these imaginatively within your organisation.

See full description.

0 May

And a 45-credit examination covering strategy and finance

And 450 study hours from the following optional (or 'elective') Stage 2 modules and 45 credits is obtained by taking the assessment module:

Postgraduate optional modules: Credits Next start
Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibility (W822) (300 study hours)

This course examines the nature of corporate commitment to principles of corporate social responsibility in different contexts and its inter-relationship with human rights law.

See full description.

30 May
Business operations: delivering value (T883) (300 study hours)

The course aims to equip managers with the skills to make the business processes in their organisation more effective in meeting the needs of stakeholders.

See full description.

30 May
Entrepreneurship:experience and perspective (B846) NEW (150 study hours)

This course looks at the challenges of creating and developing entrepreneurial ventures and helps you develop your own venture or engage with other entrepreneurial organisations.

See full description.

0 May
Leadership and management in intercultural contexts (B848) NEW (150 study hours) planned for first presentation in May

This course examines the conceptions of leadership and management in different cultures and the expectations these raise in different cultural settings.

See full description.

0 May
Management beyond the mainstream (B847) NEW (150 study hours)

This course looks at some important limitations of mainstream management thinking and explores a variety of alternatives to it - some longstanding, some recently developed.

See full description.

0 May
Managing financial risk (B841) NEW (150 study hours)

This course explores the nature of the risks that confront all institutions and how exposure to that risk can both be measured and managed.

See full description.

0 May
Marketing in the 21st century (B844) NEW (150 study hours)

This course explores the issues that emerge from marketing planning and uses current theories and examples to show how organisations deal with environmental challenges.

See full description.

0 Nov
Strategic human resource management (B845) NEW (150 study hours)

This course explores the different aspects of human resource management and helps you understand and influence decisions regarding the management of human resources within organisations.

See full description.

0 May
Supply chain innovation, strategy and management (T882) (300 study hours)

Supply chains are reshaping contemporary business and affect everyone. This course looks at the complex challenge of managing them, including their effects, using interdisciplinary approaches.

See full description.

30 May FINAL
Sustainable creative management (B842) NEW (150 study hours)

This course explores creative, innovative and sustainable ways of developing and managing organisations and offers practical approaches for developing yourself, your team and your organisation.

See full description.

0 Nov

And a 45-credit assessment module

And 30 credits (300 study hours) from the following compulsory module:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
Making a difference: the management initiative (B839) planned for first presentation in November

This compulsory capstone module is the culmination of your MBA study. It integrates your learning from your prior management studies and consolidates your ability to make a real difference to your organisation€˜s performance as a manager or leader. After some preliminary exploration, you will undertake a largely self-directed programme of work based on a real-time management initiative of your own choosing. Through support from a tutor, online tuition, a residential school and web-based resources, the module aims to enable you to ground your management learning in your professional practice as a manager. Throughout the module you will be expected to monitor your own learning and development. Informed by appropriate theory and evidence, critical reflection on your learning and practice as a manager during your initiative will be an important part of the work. The assessment will be based on three reports you are required to produce at key stages of your initiative.

Educational aims

The MBA is a career development generalist programme for those who have significant post-graduation and relevant work experience on which the learning process should build. The main emphasis of the programme is on leadership through strategic management. While the academic level is masters, there is a strong practical and professional orientation to the curriculum.

As an MBA graduate you should be able to ground your new knowledge within the base of your professional experience. You will be able to reflect on and learn from that prior experience and thus be able to integrate new knowledge with past experience and apply it to new situations. You will be able to challenge preconceptions and to remove subject and functional boundaries so as to handle complex situations holistically. You should also have particular strengths in analysing, synthesising and solving complex, unstructured business problems. In addition to being able to communicate your findings, you should have developed the skills to implement agreed solutions effectively and efficiently. You should therefore have strongly developed interpersonal skills and be able to interact effectively with a range of specialists.

The MBA is directed both at the acquisition and critical understanding of a body of knowledge and at the acquisition of a range of personal capabilities.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

You will be able to collect relevant information across a range of areas pertaining to a current situation, analyse that information and synthesise it into an appropriate form in order to evaluate situations and alternative courses of action that may be contemplated. Within the broad framework of organisations, their external context and management, you will be able to use knowledge to analyse (e.g. by classifying, contrasting, discriminating, examining), to synthesise (e.g. by constructing, creating, formulating, hypothesising, negotiating, planning, validating) and to evaluate (e.g. by appraising, concluding, judging, measuring, prioritising, recommending) cases in the following topic areas:

  • the impact of contextual forces on organisations including legal systems; ethical, economic, environmental, social and technological change issues; international developments; corporate governance
  • markets and customers; the development and operation of markets for resources, goods and services; expectations of customers and equivalent stakeholders, service and orientation
  • the concepts, processes and institutions in the production and marketing of goods and/or services; the management of resources and operations
  • the financing of the business enterprise or other forms of organisations: sources, uses and management of finance; use of accounting for managerial and financial reporting applications
  • the management and development of people within organisations: organisational theory, behaviour, industrial/employee relations, human resource management, change management
  • the development of appropriate business policies and strategies within a changing context to meet stakeholder interests.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed your MBA you will be able to:

  • think critically and creatively: manage creative processes in yourself and others; organise thought, analysis, synthesis and critical appraisal; including to identify assumptions, evaluate statements in terms of evidence, detect false logic or reasoning, identify implicit values, define terms adequately and generalise appropriately
  • tackle situations by establishing criteria, formulating potential courses of action implementing and controlling selected courses of action, evaluating results, and reviewing processes for same
  • exercise relevant personal and interactive skills.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed your MBA you will be able to:

  • select appropriate leadership style for situations
  • set targets, motivate, monitor performance, coach and mentor, in order to continuously improve the people, activities, operations and units being managed
  • recognise situations in which unusual ethical matters arise; and apply ethical, societal and organisational values to situations and choices
  • conduct some research into business and management issues
  • learn through reflection on practice and experience.

Key skills

When you have completed your MBA you will be able to:

  • scan and organise data, abstracting meaning from information and sharing knowledge
  • perform everyday mathematical skills in relation to quantitative data, including using models of business situations; exercise basic qualitative research skills
  • use proficiently communication and information technology, including word-processing and spreadsheet software, messaging and conferencing, and the internet
  • communicate effectively, orally and in writing, using a range of media, including preparing and appraising business reports; including listening to, negotiating with and persuading and influencing others
  • exercise self-awareness and self-management, perform time management; exercise sensitivity to diversity in people and different situations; and continue learning
  • perform effectively within a team environment, and recognise and utilise other people's contributions in group processes; perform team selection, delegation, development and management.

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