The course

Delivery
Online learning
Course award
MBA
Location
Online
Entry date
Open enrolment

The Online MBA with a Specialism in Strategy is designed to give senior managers the tools they need to advance in their career or become a senior manager.

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Overview

Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University’s online MBA with a Specialism in Strategy programme has been designed for those looking to advance in their career or become a senior manager.

You will cover the seven general MBA mandatory courses, which will arm you with a solid understanding of key business disciplines, such as economics, financial decision making, marketing, organisational behaviour, before completing four specialist optional courses, which include competitive strategy, corporate governance and strategic risk management.

Programme duration

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.

To find out more about the online MBA programme structure, resources and support please visit our Online learning delivery and support pages.

Student support

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. Facebook community.

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Course content

The MBA with specialism in Strategic Planning programme covers various areas of business, which will arm you with the skills and knowledge you need to progress in your career.

The programme comprises of seven mandatory courses, and four optional courses that focus on strategic planning techniques. Courses are assessed by a written examination and/or written coursework. Pass these and join our global network of EBS graduates and business professionals. 

Mandatory courses

Elective courses

  • Corporate Governance
  • Making Strategies Work
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Strategic Risk Management

See full details of optional courses below.

Course descriptions

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.

Topics include:

  • 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.

Topics include:

  • 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 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.

Topics include:

  • The Role of Economics in Business 
  • The Market Mechanism 
  • Demand 
  • Supply
  • 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.

Topics include:

  • The financial landscape
  • Financial accounting
  • Working capital management
  • Management accounting
  • Budgeting
  • 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.

Topics include:

  • 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

Read an extended outline of the course syllabus for Leadership Theory and Practice, which gives you an overview of the course content.

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.

Topics include:

  • 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.

Strategic Marketing

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. 

Topics include:

  • 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.

Optional courses

Choose any four of the following optional courses:

Corporate Governance
Corporate Governance will help establish a clear skillset for company directors, allowing them to reconcile external and internal controls, risk management, competitive behaviour and adherence to corporate law.

Topics covered:

  • 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.
Making Strategies Work
Making Strategies Work examines all the issues that both help and hinder a good business plan and shows how a series of complex monitoring and control tools can keep the strategy on course. It introduces a practical and rigorous process to help convert plans into actions that deliver results.

Topics covered:

  • 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.

Topics covered:

  • Strategic focus.
  • Why mergers fail.
  • Valuation.
  • Bid tactics.
  • Due diligence.
  • The concept of implementation.
  • Project management of implementation.
  • Developing the implementation plan.
  • Executing the implementation plan.
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.

Topics covered:

  • 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.

Entry requirements

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.

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.

Exemption eligibility

If you would like to enquire about your eligibility, please complete an Exemption Application Form

Fees

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.