Executive MBA (Master of Business Administration) - MBA
The Executive MBA is a globally recognised qualification allowing experienced and aspiring business leaders and managers to shape a successful career.Take a look
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The Executive MBA is a globally recognised qualification allowing experienced and aspiring business leaders and managers to shape a successful career.
Are you ready to take your career to the next level? The Ulster University Executive MBA is a challenging Master's degree designed for ambitious professionals.
Offered by the Ulster University Business School, the Executive MBA is designed to meet the needs of experienced or aspiring managers who wish to expand their knowledge and skills to equip them for senior management positions.
This Master's programme will help you to relate your work experience to business theory, broadening your understanding of organisations and the increasingly competitive environment in which they operate. You will enhance your knowledge of business functions, processes, and strategies. The innovative modules will also challenge you to examine your own business practices and management style, and develop your strategic and critical thinking skills.
The Ulster University Executive MBA allows students to make an impact in the workplace via practical based assessment and assignments, many of which have led to demonstrable improvements within the students' organisations.
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About this course
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An MBA is an internationally recognised passport to a successful business career. The Ulster University Executive MBA can be studied part or full-time and is designed to equip experienced or aspiring industry leaders and business owners with the knowledge and confidence to be successful in their fields.
Delivered by the Ulster University Business School, Northern Ireland's leading business school for research and ranked 7th out of 101 business schools in the UK (Research Excellence Framework 2014), the Ulster MBA blends both commercial experience and theoretical learning.
As an Ulster University MBA student, you will study alongside a diverse range of professionals, gaining exposure to different organisations and sectors whilst developing your network. This diversity makes for a richer learning environment where knowledge and ideas can be shared. We also offer students excellent support throughout the course, both in their academic study and in their development as managers and business leaders.
You will be taught by academically qualified subject experts who possess a wealth of industry experience within leading organisations. We also work in close collaboration with local and international employers to ensure that the course is relevant and that what you study meets business needs.
The quality of our MBA is recognised by a number of professional bodies and chartered institutes who have provided exemptions from their own qualifications.
What Separates the Ulster University MBA?
A practical and applied learning experience - Designed through engagement with over forty local and international employers, everything covered in our programme is readily applicable to real organisations and delivered by our subject experts.
Assessment involves applying course learning to the individual's organisation or live case studies.
Personal and professional skills development - The course begins with an immersive 2-day professional development residential (costs covered in course fees). As part of the course assessment there is a strong focus on personal and professional skills development throughout the programme.
Linked with the Harvard Business School- Ulster is the first UK university to join the prestigious network of universities affiliated with Harvard Business School. Our students benefit from modules, such as International Competitiveness, delivered by our staff (trained at Harvard) in this area.
Become a Chartered Manager- We have embedded the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management into our programme. Students can opt to gain this qualification automatically at graduation meaning they can become a Chartered Manager through the exemption route (additional costs to the CMI apply). We are the only MBA in Northern Ireland to offer this professional accreditation.
Networking - Our students have many opportunities to build their networks, both during, and after the course via events, conferences and guest talks. All students are members of the MBA Association of Ireland providing a range of events and inter-university competitions.
Flexible completion points - Ulster University's Executive MBA allows you to have the flexibility and choice over your learning. Should your circumstances change, you have the option to exit with a postgraduate certificate or postgraduate diploma.
Babson Build: Entrepreneurship Programme - Babson Executive Education is in the top eight global customer providers (Financial Times and BusinessWeek). Our students are offered the opportunity to attend a 5-day entrepreneurship programme at their campus in Boston (additional cost applies).
Largest Alumni Network - Ulster University has the largest alumni of any MBA programme in Northern Ireland, including: Gerry Mallon (Chief Executive, Tesco Bank); Dr Joanne Coyle (Innovation Manager, InvestNI); Chris Conway (Chief Executive, Translink NI); Kevin Kingston (CEO, Danske Bank NI); Kirsty McManus (IoD NI Director); John McMullen, MBE (Chief Executive, Bryson Charitable Group); Cara McAleer (Chief Operating Officer, Flowlens); and Jerry Milliken (Senior Director, Caterpillar NI).
Academics employed by the Ulster University Business School teach on the Executive MBA programme, our teaching staff have well established track records in research and teaching excellence and many have experience of working in managerial roles within organisations outside the University. This means that we are able to ensure that the learning in the classroom is relevant to practising leaders and managers.
In addition to our academic teaching staff we also invite industry experts to guest lecture on the course, bringing expert and practical knowledge to the classroom in order to enhance the student experience.
The part-time Executive MBA is taught over 2 academic years, starting in September each year. If you wish to 'fast track' you can study the course as a full-time student over 1 academic year September to September.
The course begins with a 2-day induction residential where students are introduced to the course, their classmates and the academic team. Students undertake team building and a self-analysis facilitated by relevant external consultants and develop their planning regarding what they wish to gain from the programme.
Students attend lectures on a weekly basis, (Tuesdays in year 1 and Wednesdays in year 2, from 1.15pm to 8.15pm) in semester 1 (September to December) and semester 2 (January to May).
Semester 3 modules are completed on a 'block' basis. (9.30am to 5pm over 3 consecutive days usually).
There are no examinations on the Executive MBA.
- September 2019
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The MBA is taught in a lecture format which is highly interactive, this allows students to draw upon their own experiences when discussing management theory and practice leading to an in-depth understanding of the subject area. This form of teaching also allows students to learn from each other as well as from the lecturing staff.
In addition to business theory and practice, you will develop your skills in the areas of:
- Team working
- Negotiation; and
- Conflict resolution
The course is mainly assessed via coursework (individual and group).
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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Accounting and Finance
The overall aim of the module is to introduce students to the key areas of financial and management accounting. In order to achieve this, students will be exposed to some numerical calculations during the module. However, there will be significant emphasis passed on understanding the issues around the numbers and the context within which they are set. In particular, the assessment for the module will strike a balance between calculation, interpretation and discussion. In summary, whilst it is not intended to equip students with a detailed knowledge to enable them to pursue a career in accounting, the module aims to take students to a point where they are capable of engaging in intelligent discussion with financial experts and to be able to grasp the big picture rather than get lost in the detail.
Managing People in the Organisation
This module aims to enable students to develop knowledge and understanding of individual and group behaviour within organisations, and the core areas of Human Resource Management, and to be able to apply this knowledge and understanding in a range of organisational settings.
In the dynamic environment in which businesses operate the importance of business improvement cannot be ignored. Customer focus through streamlining of value chains is imperative. It presents challenges in terms of how we classify, relate to and manage the internal and external chain of customers. The ability to remove costs, optimise value creation, understand the competencies, and effectively reconfigure the organisation in the context of a continuous improvement philosophy is crucial.
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of digital transformation in a range of organisational contexts. On successful completion of the module, a student will be able to: assess how digital technologies can disrupt industries by transforming industry value chains, patterns of demand and competitive pressures; understand how digital technologies and frameworks can be applied in a digital transformation strategy; understand the organisational and people capabilities required to support and implement a digital transformation strategy; and critically evaluate current practice and theory on digital transformation.
This applied module focuses on the importance of understanding and analysing the key determinants for international competitiveness. Viewed from the strategic management process, the module will provide holistic view of the topic with applied experiential learning opportunities focusing on the importance of key stakeholder collaborations to drive and sustain competitiveness at a firm, industry, regional and national level.
This Marketing module focuses on the challenges management faces in developing and implementing both a marketing philosophy and successful marketing programmes. The critical importance of marketing arises from its role as the boundary function between the organisation and the marketplace. Changes in the market require changes from the company; changes made by the company create changes in the market. Marketing is concerned with managing this ever-changing relationship.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Innovation and entrepreneurship are important drivers for value creation in modern
economies. A central idea for both disciplines is the identification, evaluation and
exploitation of opportunities. This module presents a contemporary exploration of the nature
of innovation and entrepreneurship whilst also providing students with an opportunity to
examine emerging sources of innovation in either a sector or organisational context.
Leadership and Change
This module will give you the knowledge and skills to be an effective leader. You will consider the key theories of leadership and consider their application in the context of leading organisational change.
This module is designed to introduce students to the key concepts in business strategy. On successful completion of this module students will have an in-depth knowledge of strategy; be able to conduct a strategic analysis of an organisation, its environment, and its future strategic options; understand the fundamentals of formulating an international strategy; appreciate some of the key issues associated with strategy implementation; and critically evaluate current theory and practice on strategy.
The Management Project enables students to apply the theoretical concepts encountered on the MBA to a live management issue. In doing so they choose appropriate research methodologies, gather data and make conclusions and recommendations to the host organisation.
Economics and the Business Environment
This module introduces managers to the principles of economics as they apply to the business environment and aims to enhance mangers' understanding of, and ability to adapt to, changes in the environments in which operate. The module is designed to first explain the problem of scarcity of resources and then analyzes the demand - supply - equilibrium model of economic analysis. This is followed by an examination of the internal and external environments within which firms must operate, focusing on production, cost, profits, market conditions and the objectives of the firm. In so doing, it illustrates a strategic approach to their business activity. A critical examination of the economic role of the government and a review of the macroeconomic environment complete the syllabus.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Applicants should normally have a second class honours degree or an equivalent professional qualification, together with a minimum of three years’ relevant post-graduation work experience.
However, applications will be considered from experienced, practicing managers and technical or other specialists who do not have an honours degree but who have more significant work experience and can demonstrate the ability and commitment to complete the programme.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Exemptions and transferability
Consideration will be given to applicants who transfer from other accredited MBA courses.
Students who have studied an equivalent qualification to level 7 covering the subject matter on the MBA may, by application to the Course Committee, be granted exemption from specific modules.
Careers & opportunities
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An MBA will help you develop your career whether it is progressing within your current organisation, changing career into a different profession/sector or working internationally. As a qualification, the MBA is valued and sought after by employers.
Graduates from the MBA course have found that they have been able to deliver value to their organisations through the work that they carry out on the course and thus progress their careers with their respective employers.
Other students use the MBA as a springboard to seek new opportunities both domestically and internationally.
Many students wish to either set up their own business or become business consultants. The course is specifically tailored (especially in terms of assessment and practical teaching) to allow students to develop the necessary skills and expertise to allow this fulfilment.
In 2017, we surveyed 115 Ulster University MBA graduates:
- 75% felt the programme represented value for money;
- 78% believed the programme had helped them progress their career; and
- 93% were satisfied with their experience with us.
How does Ulster University help its MBA participants with job hunting?
We have a career development centre which we work in partnership with to ensure students are prepared for the main elements of job hunting (psychometric testing, team interviews, assessment centres, cv building, presentations, etc).
Work placement / study abroad
Executive MBA students tend to be in employment while undertaking the course, as such, a work placement is not offered. There are opportunities to conduct live case studies within several host organisation and students may decide to undertake their Management Project in an organisation other than their own. There are also opportunities to study abroad e.g. the overseas field trip and the Babson Build Entrepreneurship Programme.
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £17,420.00 Scholarships available
Scholarships, awards and prizes
There are a number of sponsored prizes available on the Executive MBA awarded to students who have produced outstanding work during their studies.
Additional mandatory costs
There are no additional mandatory costs associated with the Executive MBA. The cost of the overseas field trip is subsidised through the programme although some additional costs may apply (please note this trip is optional). Additional fees do apply for certain optional elements e.g. the Chartered Management Institute’s Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management or the Babson Build: Entrepreneurship Programme.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
If you would like to have an informal discussion about the course, or your application please contact:
For more information visit
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An MBA will help you develop your career whether it is progressing within your current organisation, changing career into a different profession/sector or working internationally.
Progressing within your current organisation
Many of NI’s leading organisations continue to sponsor their managers to undertake our MBA seeing the benefits this brings to both the individuals and the organisation. As Jerry Milliken, Senior Director Caterpillar NI (who is also one of our graduates), explains:
“In the increasingly global and competitive environment in which we all compete, the requirement to understand changing business conditions and react quickly is now an imperative. The MBA syllabus at Jordanstown is carefully attuned to the modern business world and has allowed many Caterpillar managers in NI from across all of our functional areas, to perform with greater understanding and skill in our markets worldwide.”
Changing career into a different profession/sector
Many self-sponsored students undertake the MBA with a view of making a career change. Michael Hulland graduated in 2013 and moved from a career in Prosthetics and Orthotics to Management Consultant with PwC:
“I joined PwC a year ago and without the MBA, I don't think I would have been able to make this career change. I found the course invaluable. It gave me a broad base of knowledge that I hadn't been exposed to before and allowed me to make my health skills more transferable as well.“
SME Business Owners and Managing Directors
Increasingly, MDs and owners of local SMEs choose to study our MBA to help take their businesses to the next level. An MBA is a broad-based management qualification and so it is ideally suited to the needs of SME organisations over more specialised Master's programmes. Michael Hamill graduated in 2014, he is Superintendent Pharmacist/Managing Director at Northern Pharmacies Limited:
“I enrolled in the 2 year part time MBA course at the Ulster Business School and it has been one of my best investments to date. Running an SME for me involves balancing time and cash flow effectively as well as developing your staff to the best that they can be and I found that the range of modules on the course greatly enhanced my ability to do this. The delivery of the teaching was excellent with an effective mix of theory and practical application through talks from guest speakers involved in business and the diversity of the other students on the programme.”
An MBA is the only internationally recognised management qualification. Paul Brannigan graduated in 2013, joining Wrightbus as Middle East Director:
“I decided to undertake a MBA at UUJ to diversify my skill set, apply academic credibility to over 20 years of diverse business experience and obtain employment in the Middle East, a highly challenging market where an MBA is highly valued. I found my Ulster MBA experience highly rewarding, the team of lecturers were very approachable and encouraged high levels of interaction as well as lateral thinking. “