MA (Hons) Business Management

Honours degree; for employees in Scotland; duration 4 years; 20% study, 80% work

The programme

MA (Hons)
New or existing employees in Scotland
4 years
No limit
20% at University, 80% at work

As the modern business world becomes increasingly dynamic, understanding the way businesses and organisations operate and how they make key decisions, is crucial.

In the Business Management GA programme our objective is to develop the general management and business knowledge and skills of participants in the context of contemporary private and public sector organisations, large and small.

Employees examine organisations, understand workings and relate theories to actual business practices. Throughout the programme we develop the management and business skills necessary for a professional organisation.

Programme Structure

The programme is structured so that essential foundational knowledge is provided in the early stages and this can be built on during the learning that will take place in the workplace.

The programme comprises a number of courses that are undertaken through a blend of University attendance and work-based learning. Attendance at University will normally be one day per week. Although each course has specific learning objectives, the learning and work-based project work associated with each course is tailored to meet each student’s individual work context. In the third semester (over the summer period) of each year, students will be working on assessments and projects which will be supervised by a tutor from the University, course instructors, and work-based mentors.

Year 1

During the first year, the apprentice will be provided the foundations of management that include: finance and economics; a knowledge of different management and business functions; the enterprise in the context of its environment. The apprentice will also develop business skills that include: questioning and interviewing techniques; presentation skills; and design thinking.

At the end of year 1, the apprentice will be aware of the skills required within business and show an understanding of both the internal and external influences on the organisation. Additionally, they will have gained introductory organisational skills for working as managers.

Year 2

During year 2, building upon the basic business knowledge and skills gained in year 1, the apprentice will develop an understanding of human behaviour in the workplace, basic accounting, and understand themes, theories and concepts of organisational behaviour.

Projects will be undertaken to consider improvements that can be made to an operational element within the organisation and taking greater responsibility for personal development.

The apprentice will also learn about contemporary marketing issues and problems faced by organisations; intercultural issues in business and management; and legal principles within the context of public-, private-, and third-sector organisations.

Year 3

Year 3 will build up on the knowledge and skills gained in year 2. The apprentice will have had experience of project management and be able to discuss the theoretical and practical issues involved in the strategic and innovation management of organisations.

After gaining an understanding of how to carry out research in the business context, the apprentice will carry out a business analysis and consultancy project and present findings within their organisation.

The apprentice will also undertake a timely course in logistics and supply chain management and learn how to analyse and troubleshoot logistics chains and distribution networks in the context of industrial, commercial and public sector organisations.

Year 4

The final honours year will see the apprentice taking full responsibility for a major work-based Capstone Project throughout the year. This project will be supported by the workplace mentor and an academic supervisor matched with the chosen topic. The apprentice will also consider the impact of various global political, economic, social and technological trends on the way we manage organisations, leading to an increased global awareness for managing international business.

Building on the operational excellence, quality management course, the apprentice will acquire the methods, tools and techniques for measuring and managing performance as well as analysing and troubleshooting existing performance measurement and management systems.

Finally, the apprentice will gain and understanding of processes, techniques, challenges and opportunities associated with digital marketing.


Graduates' skillset

The Business Management Graduate Apprenticeship is designed to produce graduates with the following high level skills and knowledge attributes:

  • An understanding of business/organisations and their key functions and processes
  • An understanding and consideration of environment, organisational strategy, markets and processes – and how these work together.
  • Knowledge and understanding of organisational strategy and models and how to apply them.
  • Understanding of approaches to project management and the ability to apply them
  • Knowledge of financial models and how to use them to analyse performance
  • Understanding of how technology can enhance business
  • Able to communicate effectively using a range of media
  • Knowledge and understanding of leadership styles and organisational culture
  • Knowledge and understanding of how to manage people and teams effectively
  • Understands how to build effective relationships internally and externally
  • Able to manage self effectively, use emotional intelligence and core values
  • Knowledge and understanding of how to plan effectively and undertake personal development
  • Able to make effective decisions and solve problems based on research

Key areas of the programme

The primary focus of the Business Management Graduate Apprenticeship programme is on developing the knowledge, understanding and skills outcomes sought by employers.

Organisational performance
  • Organisational strategy and operations
  • Project management
  • Business finance
  • Digital business and new technologies
Interpersonal excellence
  • Communication
  • Leading People
  • Managing People
  • Developing collaborative relationships
Personal effectiveness
  • Awareness of self and others
  • Management of self
  • Decision making


Why Heriot-Watt University?

Our graduates are specialist, creative, progessional, global citizens. Our Graduate Apprenticeship programmes are taught by respected and experienced academics and business professionals.

With five campuses, in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Orkney, Dubai and Malaysia, Heriot-Watt is a truly global community.

GA students in our flagship Business Management programme work in forward-thinking organisations that recognise the future of higher education and understand the value of growing management talent from within, rather than acquiring talent from outside.

David C. Steinberg, Ph.D., Director of EBS GA Programmes

Heriot-Watt University is consistently ranked at a high level across a number of key university league tables.