Master of Business Administration
Students choose Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University’s online MBA programme for its academic rigour, its intellectual challenge and its proven ability to greatly enhance student career prospects.
They’re also drawn by its sheer flexibility; no other MBA programme gives you as much freedom. You can study the subjects you want, in the order you wish. You can begin and end whenever you choose.
Our MBA programme covers key management disciplines, including economics, financial decision making, leadership, marketing, people skills, project management and strategy.
It takes approximately 200 study hours per course. On average, it takes four years to complete a full MBA, but it can be completed faster or over a longer period. You can choose your own pace by picking up or setting aside your studies whenever it suits you best. Your schedule always takes priority.
Online learning delivery
Our progressive course materials are made available online through our virtual learning environment (VLE). The VLE links you with our expert academics and course materials through videos, webinars, articles, journals, assessments and discussion boards.
With us, it’s completely up to you when and where you sit your exams and you need only pay for one at a time. You can choose when to sit your exams and if you need to rearrange, that’s no problem either.
To find out more about the online MBA programme structure, resources and support please visit our Online learning delivery and support pages.
Even the most gifted and most confident of students need a little help from time to time. Whether you study online at home or with a learning partner you’re never far from the support of our faculty and your fellow learners. Additional support is available through optional online tuition and revision sessions and other online resources such as tests, practice essays, collaborative discussion forums where you can engage with your fellow students around the world and tools to help you track your progress through the course materials. Online support is also available through our very popular Facebook community.
The MBA programme covers various areas of management, which will give you the skills and knowledge you need to progress in your career.
The programme comprises of seven mandatory courses, and two optional. Courses are assessed by a written examination and/or written coursework.
- Delivering Successful Projects
- Developing and Executing Strategy
- Economics for Business
- Financial Decision Making
- Leadership, Theory and Practice
- People, Work and Organisations
- Strategic Marketing
- Advanced Financial Decision Making
- Corporate Governance
- Credit Risk Management
- Entrepreneurial Venturing
- Entrepreneurship and Creativity
- Financial Risk Management
- Making Strategies Work
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Negotiation (available for selection until 31st July 2022)
- Quantitative Methods
- Research Methods for Business and Management (available for selection until 31st July 2022)
- Strategic Risk Management
See full details of the optional courses below.
Delivering Successful Projects
Watch the course video: Delivering Successful Projects, Youtube
Delivering Successful Projects equips managers and business professionals with knowledge, understanding and skills to manage projects using integrative concepts, tools and techniques.
The course opens by setting the mind-set for project decision-making and covers the fundamental concepts of the project management discipline and how it assists organisations in materialising their strategic and change objectives.
- Projects in the organisational context
- Leadership and behavioural aspects of human resources
- How the project manager and the project team work
- Project success criteria
- Qualitative and quantitative planning and control processes
- Project conclusions, strategic intent, final evaluation and reporting.
The course concludes with a closer look at current topics trending the project management profession, such as the project management office function, ethics, sustainability and agile project management.
Explores the nature of a firm’s response to the challenges of internationalisation by examining the strategic basis, method and direction of international strategies. Examines both multi- and micro-nationals and utilises conventional strategic tools to study international strategies.
Read the full course syllabus
Read an extended outline of the course syllabus for Delivering Successful Projects, which gives you an overview of the course content.
Developing and Executing Strategy
This course covers the core areas of strategic management and uses the general management setting to integrate ideas across the core disciplines covered in other MBA core courses. Developing and Executing Strategy begins by examining the evolution of management and academic thinking around strategy and strategic management over the past 50 years, reviews the diversity of contemporary strategy theory and practice and examines the role of strategy in the management of different types of organisations.
The course then examines a variety of aspects of strategy, such as strategic intent, analysis, strategic options and implementation. At each stage the links with other management disciplines, such as leadership, organisational behaviour, economics, marketing and finance are considered. Finally an integrative framework for strategic decision-making is presented, which facilitates a holistic approach to complex business and management issues.
- Introduction to Strategy and Strategists
- Strategic Intent
- Strategic Issue Diagnosis
- Interpreting and Analysing the Environment
- Analysing the Organisation
- Generating, Selecting and Evaluating Strategic Options
- Strategy Implementation and Practice
The course encourages students to think and operate at the strategic level in a range of dynamic settings through integration of ideas across core business disciplines.
Read the full course syllabus
Read an extended outline of the course syllabus for Developing and Executing Strategy, which gives you an overview of the course content.
Economics for Business
Watch the course video: Economics for Business, Youtube
Economics for Business examines how companies compete by developing and understanding the interactions and relationships between theoretical concepts; examining the individual components of strategic management models; and considering how companies may achieve and sustain competitive advantage.
The course starts by outlining fundamental economic concepts and examining the workings of the market system. Different market structures and their impact on organisations are reviewed and the role of government in the economy is examined.
Relevant aspects of the macro-economy are introduced with a focus on business impact and decision-making. This is followed by an exposition of international economic issues.
- The Role of Economics in Business
- The Market Mechanism
- Market Structure
- Factor Markets
- The Role of Government
- The Macroeconomic Environment
- Macroeconomic Policy
- International Trade and Globalisation
- Research Activity.
The course ends with a research activity that will pull all the strands of the course together, and prepare students fully for the assessment.
Read the full course syllabus
Read an extended outline of the course syllabus for Economics for Business, which gives you an overview of the course content:
Financial Decision Making
Financial decision making aims to provide students with a set of accounting and financial tools that enables them to interpret and critique financial information from a variety of sources, and to make informed and effective financial decisions that directly impact company operations.
The course begins with a closer look at the current financial landscape. It then examines the application of financial and management accounting tools relevant to critical financial decisions, including key performance indicators, breakeven analysis, working capital management techniques and the budgeting process.
This is followed by a consideration of financial management and the decisions faced by organisations on investment (what projects), finance (what type of finance) and dividend (pay or retain) and how an organisation analyses takes action on each of those decisions.
- The financial landscape
- Financial accounting
- Working capital management
- Management accounting
- Financial tools
- Capital budgeting and investment appraisal
- Financing, payout policy and management.
The course concludes with an introduction to exchange rate and interest rate risk management.
Read the full course syllabus
Read an extended outline of the course syllabus for Financial Decision Making, which gives you an overview of the course content.
Leadership Theory and Practice
The course is divided into eight modules. Having explored what we mean by ‘leadership’ in the first module, the course then considers key developments in leadership theories and how they apply to modern organisations.
Leadership is enacted differently depending on the context, and the course hones in on some example settings for practice, including creative industries and projects, to explore alternative approaches to leading.
The role of leadership in setting and shaping organisational strategy is also explored, and contemporary issues of gender, culture and ethics are discussed.
- Introduction to leadership
- Traditional and contingency leadership approaches
- Modern theories of leadership
- Post-heroic leadership
- Leadership in contexts
- Leadership, gender and culture
- Leadership and ethics
- Developing leadership
The course ends by considering how leaders and leadership can be developed and provides insights into current trends and future directions.
Read the full course syllabus
People, Work and Organisations
Our People, Work and Organisations course aims for students to develop a detailed appreciation of factors influencing how people behave at work and how these link to performance.
The course focuses on understanding individual differences, how these differences affect group dynamics and how organisational factors affect individual behaviour. At its core, the course aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge to positively impact on individual, team and organisational performance in a variety of dynamic organisational contexts.
- Understanding behaviour in organisations
- Individual differences
- Motivation and engagement
- Work group dynamics
- Power, politics and conflicts
- Designing effective organisations
- Organisational culture
- Organisational change.
The course concludes with a detailed case study that allows students to draw on their knowledge of organisational behaviour and recommend interventions to improve performance. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to think critically about their role as managers and to reflect on their practice in light of relevant theory.
Read the full course syllabus
Read an extended outline of the course syllabus for People, Work and Organisations, which gives you an overview of the course content.
Our strategic marketing course is new and launched in 2019. It aims to provide students with the necessary tools and frameworks to enable them to make proactive marketing decisions. The philosophy underlying this course is that marketing-oriented companies put customers first, are geared for long-term success and that this orientation must be championed by top management and infused throughout the whole organisation.
Strategic marketing requires knowledge, skills and competencies in a range of techniques such as strategic analysis and planning, implementation – via a number of integrated and synergistic marketing functions and activities – and marketing control, aided by an array of marketing metrics and digital developments.
- Marketing management for a turbulent era
- Marketing fit with corporate and business strategies
- Marketing environmental insights
- Customer insights and customer connections
- Marketing insights for demand measurement
- Segmentation and target marketing
- Branding and positioning
- Marketing strategies for competitive and market scenarios
- The integrated marketing mix
- Organising, planning, delivering and measuring market performance.
This course aims to provide students with a strong grasp of both the strategic elements of establishing a long-term customer orientation and the operational techniques that are required of marketing managers to implement a strategic marketing orientation successfully.
Read the full course syllabus
Read an extended outline of the course syllabus for Strategic Marketing, which gives you an overview of the course content.
Choose any two of the following optional courses:
Advanced Financial Decision MakingThe Advanced Financial Decision Making course aims to enable students to analyse complex financial choices, both external and internal, facing a company and propose courses of action that are consistent with the organisation’s goals.
The course begins with a refresher of key topics covered on Financial Decision Making before moving on to financial reporting. Here, the course covers the consolidation process for a group of companies, examines the information available in annual corporate reports and looks at current reporting trends.
Management accounting then looks at tools to solve problems of resource allocation and moves on to other key tools currently used in practice including target and lifecycle costing, total quality management, six sigma and kaizen costing.
Planning and budgeting are the next topics where there is extensive coverage of compiling budgets, divisional performance management, transfer pricing issues and non-financial performance metrics.
We then move into the major area of financial management and the course covers tools to manage elements of working capital, complex capital investment appraisal, corporate valuations, and M&A (mergers and acquisition). Risk management is then examined, concentrating on exchange rate and interest rate risk exposures and how these are managed by companies.
The penultimate topics are corporate failure and business reconstruction. The course concludes with a discussion on current trends in finance and accounting.
Detailed topics include:
- International accounting and basic group accounting (consolidation)
- Annual corporate reports and interpreting information
- Earnings management and accounting scandals
- Corporate reporting and disclosure trends
- Alternative management accounting tools and techniques
- Planning and performance evaluation
- Working capital management
- Advanced capital investment appraisal
- Corporate share and bond valuation
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Exchange rate risk management
- Interest rate risk management
- Corporate failure and business restructuring
- Current issues in finance and accounting
- Corporate governance issues, concepts and domain.
- External governance – law and regulation.
- Codes of 'best practice' and norms of behaviour.
- Boards of directors: the lynchpin.
- Internal controls and accountability.
- Risk management.
- Financial market supervision and control.
- Governance and financial market economics.
- External reporting need vs. delivery.
- Definition inconsistency and system improvement.
- Reality in the face of prescription.
Credit Risk Management
- Introduction to credit risk management
- Understanding financial statements
- Ratio analysis
- Expert and ratio systems
- Credit scoring and modelling default
- Market-based credit models
- Market default models
- Managing credit risk in a corporate environment
- Financial distress
- The derivatives building blocks.
- Terminal instruments.
- Forward contracts.
- The basics of options.
- Option pricing.
- The Black–Scholes option-pricing model.
- 'The Greeks of option pricing'.
- Extensions to the basic option-pricing model.
- Using derivatives and hedging.
- Hedging and insurance.
- Using the derivatives product set.
The course consolidates and builds on the work undertaken in the preceding course Entrepreneurship and Creativity. Students are guided to use this knowledge to produce a business plan or similar document as appropriate to the financial or other requirements of the business. The work to be undertaken may be in the context of a start-up firm, or a new project or product within an existing organisation.
The course is divided into eight modules. The first module of the course explains the business planning process and what is required in a business plan. The second module revisits and reviews the feasibility study undertaken in Entrepreneurship and Creativity. The remaining modules in the course consolidate knowledge and understanding of the entrepreneurial process and further develop and apply through practice core entrepreneurial skills.
- Introduction to business planning
- Review, revisit and revise external environment and introduction to SWOT analysis
- Mission, Vision, structure and scalability
- Market segments and value propositions
- Marketing strategy and plans (including marketing, mix, channels of distribution and communication)
- Operational strategy and plans (including resourcing requirements)
- Financial planning and analysis
- Executive summary and business plan presentation
A key focus for this course is to strengthen and deepen knowledge and research acquired during the feasibility analysis. The areas surrounding customer relationships, marketing strategy, operational strategy and extended financial forecasting and budgeting are specifically explored and applied in more depth in order to satisfy the required outcome of a comprehensively researched, justified and creditable investor-ready business plan.
Entrepreneurship and Creativity
This course critically examines entrepreneurship by providing background understanding of the nature and value of entrepreneurship in economies, and to encourage thinking about ideas, considerations of the commercial world, creativity and innovation.
The course is divided into nine modules. The first two modules of the course explore theories of entrepreneurship and the role of business in the economy and society. The remaining modules in the course consolidate knowledge and understanding of the entrepreneurial process and develop core skills applicable to entrepreneurship, such as team working, communication, initiative, creativity, analysis, problem identification and solving.
A key focus of the course is for students to generate and develop their own business ideas, critically analyse these and investigate feasibility further developing business skills applicable to entrepreneurship, such as opportunity recognition, marketing research and presenting.
- Introduction to Entrepreneurship theories and concepts
- Where is entrepreneurship and what is it for
- Creativity and idea generation
- The external environment
- Industry, markets and competitor analysis
- Intellectual property and business structure
- Operational considerations and resourcing
- Sources of finance and analysis
- Pitching your feasibility study
The Entrepreneurship and Creativity course aims are two-fold: first, it will develop a baseline understanding of the enterprise environment and its value in an economy; second, it will develop skills in creativity, ideas development and refinement and commercial application.
Financial Risk Management
- Risk and the management of the firm.
- The markets.
- Market mechanisms and efficiency.
- Interest-rate risk.
- Currency risk.
- Equity and commodity price risk.
- The behaviour of asset prices.
- Risk assessment.
- Controlling risk.
- Quantifying financial risks.
- Financial methods for measuring risk.
- Qualitative approaches to risk assessment.
Making Strategies Work
- The strategy implementation age.
- The Making Strategies Work process for linking strategy to action.
- Organisational designs, processes and systems.
- Using causality for aligning activities with objectives.
- Competitive advantage and strategy implementation.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions rarely create shareholder value. Which begs the obvious question: why not? In examining real case studies, as well as innovative theoretical approaches, Mergers and Acquisitions will help executives to make better M&A decisions in the future.
- Strategic focus.
- Why mergers fail.
- Bid tactics.
- Due diligence.
- The concept of implementation.
- Project management of implementation.
- Developing the implementation plan.
- Executing the implementation plan.
Negotiations (Available for selection until 31st July 2022)
- What is negotiation?
- Distributive bargaining.
- Preparation for negotiation.
- Debate in negotiation.
- A proposal is not a bargain.
- Bargaining for an agreement.
- Styles of negotiation.
- Rational bargaining?.
- Streetwise manipulation.
- Personality and power in negotiation.
- Culture and negotiation.
- Simple uses and misuses of statistics.
- School mathematics applied to management.
- Data communication.
- Data analysis.
- Summary measures.
- Sampling methods.
- Statistical inference.
- More distributions.
- Analysis of variance.
- Regression and correlation.
- Advanced regression analysis.
- The context of forecasting.
- Time series techniques.
- Managing forecasts.
Research Methods for Business and Management
(Available for selection until 31st July 2022)
A thorough understanding of the methods and processes of business research is the key component of this course. It looks at the concept of research, both original and applied, and examines how information can provide a greater understanding of your business and its successful management.
- Research methods and your dissertation.
- The project process.
- The research process.
- Using what's already known.
- Semi-structured primary data techniques.
- Fully structured primary data techniques.
- Writing the dissertation.
Executive MBA, Edinburgh
If you are studying for your Executive MBA in Edinburgh, you will have the option of studying Research Methods for Business and Management as your elective subject.
- The first part of the course will be taught on campus and will focus on the submission of a business proposal.
- The second part is a 10,000-15,000 word individual project addressing an issue within your company or industry.
Alternatively, you also have the option of choosing two online electives instead of studying Research Methods for Business and Management on-campus.
Strategic Risk Management
Strategic Risk Management helps managers to identify and manage risk in all its dynamic complexity. It’s a potent tool kit with wide-ranging applications across both the private and public sectors.
- Background to risk.
- The concept of risk management.
- Strategic risk.
- Change risk and project management as a tool for managing change.
- Operational risk management.
- Unforeseeable risk.
- The risk interdependency field and the development of a process model.
Why Heriot-Watt Online?
Study towards the same high-quality qualification as if you were studying in-person, with no difference in degree certificate or transcript, including an Edinburgh campus graduation ceremony.
Flexibility and affordability
Study at a time and pace that suits you, and even while you work. HW Online offers pay-as-you-study courses and fees inclusive of exams and study materials, meaning you can focus on success, not extra costs.
Online community and help
Studying with us means you join an online community of over X students, allowing you to chat and learn from your fellow students through our virtual learning environment.
Employability and careers
Heriot-Watt produces more CEOs than any other University in Scotland, and 95% of graduates are in employment or further study within 6 months of graduation.
Upon completing your studies you will automatically join the UK’s oldest alumni association The Watt Club, with 147k members worldwide.
We’ve been providing high quality online and distance learning across the world for over 25 years.
Be part of a Business & STEM renowned University with over 200 years of heritage. We’re proud to be ranked #1 by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 for a number of our Engineering subjects, including Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Typically you will hold a recognised first or second class honours degree, or equivalent professional qualification. Students whose native language is not English and who have not been educated previously in the English language must provide evidence of their English language proficiency. Alternatively, formal entry can still be gained by passing three MBA courses one of which must be a core course.
Rewarding previous study
If you have gained a qualification in a relevant subject prior to the start of your online Edinburgh Business School programme, we may be able to reward this hard work with an exemption from certain courses.
These exemptions are only ever at our discretion and are considered on the basis of qualifications gained through formal examination - whether at degree level or through a professional body. The qualification being presented for consideration should have been gained within the last five years. Qualifications gained over five years ago may be considered if additional supporting evidence shows that you have keep abreast of current developments in the subject area through CPD (Continuing Professional Development).
Exemption from core courses may be granted on the basis of bachelor level and professional qualifications. Exemption from core and elective courses may be granted on the basis of postgraduate level qualifications (except fully completed degrees) and professional qualifications.
Exemptions will not be awarded on the basis of courses which have been used towards the award of another degree at Masters level, whether this was awarded by Heriot-Watt University or any other institution. For example, a student who has gained an MSc in Accounting will not be given an exemption in Accounting from Edinburgh Business School’s MBA or MSc degree programmes.
If you would like to enquire about your eligibility, please complete an Exemption Application Form.
Fees for this course can be found on the tuition fees page.
Additional fees information
You can study on a course-by-course basis and pay as you learn, or sign up for two or three courses at once.
Additional scholarship information
Each year Edinburgh Business School makes available a number of scholarships and discounts to help students to achieve one of our awards.
Fully funded scholarships for some of the courses contained within the MSc are available to people living and working in Scotland. Find out more information about the Upskilling Scotland Scholarship.