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Open University Business Management

MBA (Master of Business Administration)

Our internationally recognised MBA is a unique distance learning qualification that will build and develop your business skills. You'll be able to critically assess multiple perspectives and start applying your new understanding of management as you study. Designed for practising senior and middle-level managers, it will develop your strategic analysis, interdisciplinary skills, creativity and innovation. With an international emphasis and global reputation, our MBA programme is highly attractive for all ambitious executives.

Key features of the course

  • Our triple-accredited status puts us in an elite group of business schools in the world
  • Practice-based learning brings your MBA to life in your workplace
  • Flexible options enable you to adjust the curriculum to suit your needs 
  • Strong international emphasis essential for developing leaders in a global marketplace 
  • Join an influential network of over 26,000 alumni in almost 100 countries when you graduate.

Masters degree

Course code
F61
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
180
How long it takes
18 months–7 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

The emphasis for your learning is directly rooted in management practice. The ‘master’ in the degree title signifies your ‘mastery’ of the art and science of management.

To achieve this level of capability the general MBA programme concentrates on strategic analysis, interdisciplinary skills, intellectual stimulation and independent judgement and covers core themes such as: critical engagement; embedding theory in practice and global impact awareness.

Your employer could contribute towards your study fees. Generate a personalised, compelling business case for your employer, with this interactive Business Case Builder.

There are three routes to the MBA depending on when you start your MBA. 

Route 1 - Starting November 2019 onwards

If you start with B870 in November 2019 or thereafter, including if you've previously studied any electives as a standalone module, you'll need:

105 credits from the following: 

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
Managing in a changing world  (B870)

This module will encourage you to develop, as well as challenge, your current knowledge and skills in order to deal with contemporary and rapidly changing areas of management and marketing.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2021
Creating and sustaining value  (B872)

Critically explore the ways organisations create, sustain and expand value in an increasingly complex and dynamic business environment.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2021
Effective strategic management in business and the public sector  (B873)

This module provides you with the necessary tools to become an effective strategic decision-maker.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2021
Finance for strategic decision-making  (B874) NEW

You will learn a range of accounting and data analysis techniques to enable you to use financial information and other data for making management decisions.

See full description

Register
15 01 May 2021

plus 45 credits from the following:

Optional modules Credits Next start
Contemporary issues in organisations (BB853) PLANNED
15 6 Nov 2021
Entrepreneurship in context (BB851) NEW

This module will equip you with an entrepreneurial mindset and help you learn about entrepreneurship as well as different forms of entrepreneurial practice.

See full description

Register
15 06 Nov 2021
Leadership and management of public services (BB852) NEW

In this elective module you’ll study the many dimensions of managing public services, which may be public, private for-profit or not-for profit.

See full description

Register
15 01 May 2021
Supply chain management (BB849)

This module provides analysis of important concepts and practices in supply chain management, taking into account issues such as globalisation, sustainability and risk management.

See full description

Register
15 01 May 2021
Sustainable creative management (BB842)

This module explores creative, innovative and sustainable ways of developing and managing organisations and offers practical approaches for developing yourself, your team and your organisation.

See full description

Register
15 01 May 2021

Or the discontinued modules BB844, BB848, BXM871, W822.

plus 30 credits from the following:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
MBA project: leaders of change (B875) NEW

You’ll have the opportunity to make a real change and leaders of change as you become a reflective and independent practitioner by exploring a real business environment.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2021

Route 2 - Final study started in May 2020

If you started your final module(s) in May 2020, including BB831 and/or any final electives, you'll need:

60 credits from the following:

The discontinued module B716 or BXFT716.

plus 45 credits from the following:

The discontinued modules B831, B835, B836, BB831, BB835.

plus 45 credits from the following:

Stage 2 - Optional modules Credits Next start
Supply chain management (BB849)

This module provides analysis of important concepts and practices in supply chain management, taking into account issues such as globalisation, sustainability and risk management.

See full description

Register
15 -
Sustainable creative management (BB842)

This module explores creative, innovative and sustainable ways of developing and managing organisations and offers practical approaches for developing yourself, your team and your organisation.

See full description

Register
15 -

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules BB841, BB844, BB845, BB846, BB847, BB848, BXM871, T882, W822.

plus 30 credits from the following:

The discontinued module B839.

Route 3 - Hybrid route

If you have completed B716 or BXFT716 you'll need:

60 credits from the following:

The discontinued module B716 or BXFT716.

plus 30 credits from the following: 

Compulsory modules  Credits Next start
Effective strategic management in business and the public sector  (B873)

This module provides you with the necessary tools to become an effective strategic decision-maker.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2021

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued module BB835.

plus 15 credits from the following: 

Compulsory modules  Credits Next start
Finance for strategic decision-making  (B874) NEW

You will learn a range of accounting and data analysis techniques to enable you to use financial information and other data for making management decisions.

See full description

Register
15 01 May 2021

Or the discontinued module BB831.

plus 45 credits from the following:

Optional modules Credits Next start
Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibility (W822)

This module examines the nature of corporate commitment to principles of corporate social responsibility in different contexts and its inter-relationship with human rights law.

See full description

30 No current presentation
Contemporary issues in organisations (BB853) PLANNED
15 6 Nov 2021
Entrepreneurship in context (BB851) NEW

This module will equip you with an entrepreneurial mindset and help you learn about entrepreneurship as well as different forms of entrepreneurial practice.

See full description

Register
15 06 Nov 2021
Leadership and management of public services (BB852) NEW

In this elective module you’ll study the many dimensions of managing public services, which may be public, private for-profit or not-for profit.

See full description

Register
15 01 May 2021
Supply chain management (BB849)

This module provides analysis of important concepts and practices in supply chain management, taking into account issues such as globalisation, sustainability and risk management.

See full description

Register
15 01 May 2021
Sustainable creative management (BB842)

This module explores creative, innovative and sustainable ways of developing and managing organisations and offers practical approaches for developing yourself, your team and your organisation.

See full description

Register
15 01 May 2021

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules BB841, BB844, BB845, BB846, BB847, BB848, BXM871.

plus 30 credits from the following:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
MBA project: leaders of change (B875) NEW
30 01 May 2021

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2020.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Master of Business Administration entitling you to use the letters MBA (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

You will need a minimum of three years’ experience in a managerial, professional or technical role, so that you have a practical business base on which to build your MBA learning. 

Also depending on your previous qualifications, you can start the MBA if you:

- hold an honours degree awarded by a recognised UK university, or equivalent. Various higher education and professional qualifications are considered equivalent to an honours degree. Please contact us if you hold a qualification that you believe is an equivalent level to a UK degree, to ensure that it meets the requirements for admission.

- have a minimum of 3 years managerial experience and have successfully completed modules Managing 1: organisations and people (B628) and Managing 2: marketing and finance (B629)

If you have the equivalent of a UK bachelors degree without honours you may be permitted to progress on to the MBA course if you have taken Managing 1: organisations and people (B628). Alternatively if you have an official Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score of 640 or above, and the equivalent of a UK undergraduate degree, you will be allowed to progress directly on to the MBA. If you think either of these possibilities may apply to you, please speak to an adviser.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 6.5 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

How long it takes

Most students study this qualification in three years by studying 60 credits a year. To achieve this you should expect to devote 12 – 14 hours each week to your studies. You can however study certain modules concurrently depending on your study intensity and complete within 18 months. This will require you to be able to devote 24 – 28 hours each week to your studies.  

Career relevance

The Open University Business School is one of an elite group of schools that are accredited by the three leading international accrediting bodies - AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS - hallmarks of quality of teaching, learning materials and qualification impact. It is home to more than 25,000 successful MBA graduates in almost 100 countries.

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Employers value the MBA as an indication of high level business and management skills. These skills are in demand, increasingly so in times of economic uncertainty, and employers want practical experience, a thorough grasp of business, and the ability to lead at a strategic level. Much of the work in this qualification involves an evidenced-based approach, thus ensuring relevance in the workplace. AMBA’s careers survey shows that MBA students can expect their salary to increase, and the MBA to have a positive impact on their career progression, as well as bring improvements to their organisation or business.

Endorsed by the NHS Leadership Academy (NLA)

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The NLA has appointed the Open University Business School to deliver the NHS Masters in Business Administration (MBA) programme.

For more careers information

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.