Executive MBA (Master of Business Administration)


2023/24 Part-time Postgraduate course


Master of Business Administration


Ulster University Business School


Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing


Belfast campus

Start date:

September 2023


The Executive MBA is a globally recognised qualification allowing experienced and aspiring business leaders and managers to shape a successful career.

The University regularly ‘refreshes’ courses to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible.

In addition it undertakes formal periodic review of courses in a process called 'revalidation’ to ensure that they continue to meet standards and are current and relevant.

This course will be revalidated in the near future and it is possible that there will be some changes to the course as described in this prospectus.


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.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course


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, 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 - 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.

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.

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 (former CEO, Danske Bank NI); Kirsty McManus (IoD NI Director); John McMullen, MBE (former 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 an induction 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 8.05pm) 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.

Start dates

  • September 2023

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

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:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Negotiation; and
  • Conflict resolution

The course is mainly assessed via coursework (individual and group).

Academic profile

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 (20%) or Lecturers (55%).

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) by Advanced HE - 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 2021-2022.

Belfast campus


High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

Find out more - information about accommodation  

Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student wellbeing  

Belfast Campus Location

The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.

Find out more about our Belfast Campus.

Campus Address

Ulster University,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP

T: 02870 123 456


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.

In this section

Year one

Accounting and Finance for Senior Leaders

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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.

Operational Excellence

Year: 1

Students will develop a strong foundation in operational data analytics and operational strategy to be able to explore the bigger picture for their organisation i.e. how operations can be transformed to provide sustainable competitive advantage and/or superior service. The module aims to support both personal and professional development.

Digital Transformation

Year: 1

This module will introduce and equip students with the key concepts, theories and approaches to digital transformation within the organisational context. Specifically, it will examine key organisational capabilities needed to examine digital transformation initiatives or programmes such as Digital Strategy, Business agility, People, Processes, Tools/Technologies, Culture and the focus on the Customer which are necessary for effective digitisation efforts.

International Competitiveness

Year: 1

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.

Marketing and Strategy

Year: 1

Strategy consists of the analysis and decisions an organisation undertakes in order to create and sustain competitive advantage. Understanding these interrelated processes is crucial for creating and developing organisations. This module explores these decisions areas from a range of contemporary perspectives and contexts. Closely aligned to the concept of strategy is that of marketing. This part of the module focuses on understanding and analysing the key determinants of marketing and introduces the concepts, theories and techniques of marketing, and examines their practical application to organisations to support sustainable competitive advantage

Year two

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Year: 2

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

Year: 2

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.


Year: 2

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.

Management Project Proposal

Year: 2

The Management Project Proposal enables experienced executive learners to propose a creative and a well thought-out PLAN that comprises of a set of systematic procedures

  • to identify a problem,
  • design and implement an intervention or other alternative approach to the problem,
  • assess the effectiveness of the proposed solution, and then
  • develop a plan for where to proceed next.

Economics and the Business Environment

Year: 2

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.

Standard entry conditions

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.

Entry Requirements

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. The course team will consider relevant experience of each applicant but as a guide, this may include middle to senior management experience or a senior professional role.

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

Career options

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.


Start dates

  • September 2023

Fees and funding

Important notice - Tuition fees for this course may vary

Visit Tuition Fees 2023/24 for more details on the price of this course.

Fees (total cost)

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

Additional fees do apply for certain optional elements e.g. the Chartered Management Institute’s Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management.

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information visit


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.”

Working internationally

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. “

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