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Course content

Programme description

The full-time MBA is an intensive programme designed for students with a minimum of three years' managerial experience who wish to progress to more senior and leadership roles in business.

The programme immerses students in a world of academic thought, current business practice and applied projects.

Studied over 12 months, this is a taught programme delivered by world class faculty complemented by guest business practitioners.

Successful businesses in the future will be those that can confidently and capably steer a path through a world characterised by intense competition, rapid technological development, economic turbulence and increasing resource insecurity.

Businesses need leaders who can think and act strategically in this volatile environment, managing the risk and challenges involved, but also spotting and seizing opportunities for efficiency, innovation and new business models. Businesses also need leaders who will act responsibly in delivering value to all stakeholders.

The Edinburgh MBA will prepare participants to progress with confidence into leadership roles in this new world. We will:

  • deepen participants’ understanding of how businesses and markets work, how value is created through innovation and marketing, how strategies are crafted, how businesses are financed, how performance is measured, how value is delivered efficiently and effectively, and how organisations should be governed, managed and led through change
  • instil a passion for business improvement, innovation and entrepreneurial action to help participants lead in the growth or creation of new business opportunities
  • develop participants’ ability to think strategically and beyond disciplinary silos

Successful leadership also requires accomplished interpersonal skills to bring about change in organisations. Through skills training and professional development, we will work with participants to understand their leadership strengths and weaknesses and provide support for improvement.

Programme structure

The MBA is delivered full-time starting in September each year. The programme combines intensive academic study with practical application. This is achieved both in the classroom through case studies, but also via consultancy-style projects with external organisations to broaden participants’ insights into alternative business models and approaches.

Compulsory courses include:

  • Strategic Leadership
  • Strategic Marketing
  • Organising for Effectiveness
  • Operations Improvement
  • Understanding Economies
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Qualitative Methods and Tools
  • Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • Creative Strategy
  • Critical Eye for Business
  • Professional Development Programme

A range of specialist options are also available. In parallel with academic study, we deliver a Professional Development programme to help enhance interpersonal and leadership skills. Your studies will culminate in a major Capstone Project.

On our core 12-month MBA, there is an opportunity to study International Business in Context (a one-week intensive module located in an emerging market) and to undertake your Capstone Project focused on a country outside of the UK. For those who want further international experience, there is an opportunity to study on our MBA (within international exchange) which will give you the chance to spend 2-3 months on an exchange at one of our international partner Universities (Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Mexico, Spain and USA).

12-month MBA

The programme is delivered in four parts:

  • September–December: students focus on core business disciplines
  • January–March: students develop integrative and strategic thinking, and choose a number of specialist elective subjects
  • April–June: students' specialisation continues
  • June–August: students undertake a Capstone Project as the final part of the 12-month MBA

12-month MBA (International Business)

The MBA (with International Exchange) programme is delivered in four parts:

  • September–March: students study the same core disciplines, integrating courses and a number of specialisations as the main MBA programme
  • April–June: students study abroad at one of 12 partner institutions worldwide, experiencing new cultures and new ways of business
  • June–August: students undertake a Capstone Project as the final part of the 12-month MBA.

Learning outcomes

Students will develop an integrated understanding of the essential aspects of business and leadership skills as well as the development of specialist knowledge through the choice of option courses and MBA Capstone project research.

Recently introduced is the option of a specialisation route consisting of taking two options and the MBA Capstone Project in a specific area of focus. Students will have their specialisations recognised with a Business School Certificate in Finance, Entrepreneurship, Strategy or Sustainability. Specialisations must be agreed in advance with the programme team.

The personal development programme ensures that, alongside the in-depth business learning, students will also develop the personal skills and characteristics required by senior managers in the modern business setting.

For those following the MBA (with international exchange), the study abroad period will add an international dimension to their studies, valuable to all who work internationally.

Career opportunities

The employment market is highly competitive, but the Edinburgh MBA is distinctive and will provide participants with a competitive edge. MBA participants will engage in a leadership and professional development programme that includes personal diagnostics, career planning and skills enhancement designed explicitly to support participants in their pursuit of promotion or new careers.


Visit the Business Administration, Master of - MBA page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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