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MBA - Learning Outcomes

Educational aims

The MBA is a career development generalist programme for those who have significant post-graduation and relevant work experience on which the learning process should build. The main emphasis of the programme is on leadership through strategic management. While the academic level is masters, there is a strong practical and professional orientation to the curriculum.

As an MBA graduate you should be able to ground your new knowledge within the base of your professional experience. You will be able to reflect on and learn from that prior experience and thus be able to integrate new knowledge with past experience and apply it to new situations. You will be able to challenge preconceptions and to remove subject and functional boundaries so as to handle complex situations holistically. You should also have particular strengths in analysing, synthesising and solving complex, unstructured business problems. In addition to being able to communicate your findings, you should have developed the skills to implement agreed solutions effectively and efficiently. You should therefore have strongly developed interpersonal skills and be able to interact effectively with a range of specialists.

The MBA is directed both at the acquisition and critical understanding of a body of knowledge and at the acquisition of a range of personal capabilities.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

You will be able to collect relevant information across a range of areas pertaining to a current situation, analyse that information and synthesise it into an appropriate form in order to evaluate situations and alternative courses of action that may be contemplated. Within the broad framework of organisations, their external context and management, you will be able to use knowledge to analyse (e.g. by classifying, contrasting, discriminating, examining), to synthesise (e.g. by constructing, creating, formulating, hypothesising, negotiating, planning, validating) and to evaluate (e.g. by appraising, concluding, judging, measuring, prioritising, recommending) cases in the following topic areas:

  • the impact of contextual forces on organisations including legal systems; ethical, economic, environmental, social and technological change issues; international developments; corporate governance
  • markets and customers; the development and operation of markets for resources, goods and services; expectations of customers and equivalent stakeholders, service and orientation
  • the concepts, processes and institutions in the production and marketing of goods and/or services; the management of resources and operations
  • the financing of the business enterprise or other forms of organisations: sources, uses and management of finance; use of accounting for managerial and financial reporting applications
  • the management and development of people within organisations: organisational theory, behaviour, industrial/employee relations, human resource management, change management
  • the development of appropriate business policies and strategies within a changing context to meet stakeholder interests.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed your MBA you will be able to:

  • think critically and creatively: manage creative processes in yourself and others; organise thought, analysis, synthesis and critical appraisal; including to identify assumptions, evaluate statements in terms of evidence, detect false logic or reasoning, identify implicit values, define terms adequately and generalise appropriately
  • tackle situations by establishing criteria, formulating potential courses of action implementing and controlling selected courses of action, evaluating results, and reviewing processes
  • exercise and develop relevant personal and interactive skills.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed your MBA you will be able to:

  • select appropriate leadership style for situations
  • set targets, motivate, monitor performance, coach and mentor, in order to continuously improve the people, activities, operations and units being managed
  • recognise situations in which unusual ethical matters arise; and apply ethical, societal and organisational values to situations and choices
  • conduct some research into business and management issues and explore different frameworks of analysis
  • learn through reflection on practice and experience.

Key skills

When you have completed your MBA you will be able to:

  • scan and organise data, abstracting meaning from information and sharing knowledge
  • perform everyday mathematical skills in relation to quantitative data, including using models of business situations; exercise basic qualitative research skills
  • use proficiently communication and information technology, including word-processing and spreadsheet software, messaging and conferencing, and the internet
  • communicate effectively, orally and in writing, using a range of media, including preparing and appraising business reports; including listening to, negotiating with and persuading and influencing others
  • exercise self-awareness and self-management, perform time management; exercise sensitivity to diversity in people and different situations; and continue learning and reflection in your workplace
  • perform effectively within a team environment, and recognise and utilise other people’s contributions in group processes; perform team selection, delegation, development and management.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You learn through two inter-related methods. First, using a range of specially-written study materials, case studies, original texts, study guides and assignments and through a range of multi-media material and activities. Secondly, your learning is supported through an allocated tutor. This tutor is your first and main point of contact. The tutor answers queries on the materials, grades and comments on your work and arranges and runs tutorials, face to face or online.

Samples of tutors’ marking and comments are monitored by members of the central module team or experienced tutors who provide feedback to generate comments intended to support and develop tutors’ assessment and grading of assignments.

In some cases the assignments may be formative (for example at the beginning of a module to enable you to develop your confidence), but usually they are summative, i.e. they count towards your module result. Modules may also include computer-marked assignments or examination papers.

Formative assessment in the form of informal self-assessed questions allow you progressively to assess your own progress and understanding. Formal assessment of knowledge and understanding components of the programme is achieved by a series of tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). These assignments are marked and assessed by the module tutor. They are central to the teaching of the module since they allow you an opportunity to display your knowledge and understanding – and in consequence any issues concerning either – and so enable tutors to identify and comment on your knowledge and understanding. Tutors receive detailed marking guidance from the module team.

Online forums

You are also encouraged to participate in online forums at both national and local levels. This gives you a chance to share and resolve issues with fellow students as well as tutors and the module team.

Examinations

Most modules also include a three-hour written examination but may involve an end-of-module assessment which could include an investigation-based report.

Skills development and assessment

Cognitive skills in the programme are developed through a range of activities within the programme’s modules. Case studies and residential school activities allow students to engage with the issues around management and develop appropriate analysis, evaluation and problem-solving skills.

Skills associated with working with others in a group are developed at the residential schools, which are compulsory components of the compulsory modules within the MBA.

The programme materials and support from tutors helps develop your skills in managing your own learning. In particular, many of the modules expect you to work largely under your own direction and initiative. You are expected to reflect on your own performance, identify your own learning needs and develop appropriate learning strategies.

Key skills will also be assessed in each end-of-module examination.

You are expected to have work experience in management. As such, you should already have gained some of these skills. The programme will however allow you to demonstrate and develop them further.

Evidence of practical and professional skills will be apparent in all TMAs and tutors will comment on the evidence of skills as well as on demonstrated levels of knowledge and understanding.

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