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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.

“In terms of career impact, my OU MBA was a game changer… The OU MBA has helped me to become an entrepreneur with a global mindset and cross-cultural leadership abilities.” – Ala Russu, MBA Graduate

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 25,000 alumni in 100 countries when you graduate.

More information about our MBA is available from The Open University Business School.

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
2–7 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.

Core disciplines that you'll study include human resource management, organisational behaviour, accounting and finance, marketing and operations.

In total, 75 per cent of the programme consists of compulsory elements with 25 per cent comprising elective modules. This enables you to select the curriculum to suit your needs. MBA modules are challenging, but will always direct you towards improving your management capabilities.

The MBA qualification is in two stages. You must successfully complete Stage 1 before moving on to Stage 2. 

Stage 1
Select one version of the following
60-credit module: 

Compulsory module  Credits Next start
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716)

This MBA module will enable you make a real difference within your management practice and provide a good grounding in the core disciplines of management.

See full description

Register 
60 04 May 2019 FINAL
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (fast-track)* (BXFT716)

This MBA module will enable you make a real difference within your management practice and provide a good grounding in the core disciplines of management.

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Register
60 06 Apr 2019 FINAL

*This version is for the accelerated study route and should only be selected if you intend to complete your MBA in two years. See How long it takes for more information. 

Stage 2
45 credits from the following list:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
The dynamics of strategy (BB835)

This module will help you gain an understanding of the frameworks of strategy and help you to use these imaginatively within your organisation.

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Register
30 04 May 2019
Corporate finance (BB831)

This module will show you how best to finance a company, what dividend policy to choose, how to appraise projects, and how to value companies.

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Register
15 04 May 2019

Or the discontinued B831, B835 and a 45-credit examination towards Stage 2.

plus
45 credits from the following list:

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 02 Nov 2019
Entrepreneurship: experience and perspective (BB846)

This module looks at the challenges of creating and developing entrepreneurial ventures and helps you develop your own venture or engage with other entrepreneurial organisations.

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Register
15 04 May 2019
Leadership and management in intercultural contexts (BB848)

This module examines the conceptions of leadership and management in different cultures and the expectations these raise in different cultural settings.

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Register
15 04 May 2019
Management beyond the mainstream (BB847)

This module looks at some important limitations of mainstream management thinking and explores a variety of alternatives to it – some longstanding, some recently developed.

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Register
15 04 May 2019
Managing financial risk (BB841)

This module explores the nature of the risks that confront all institutions and how exposure to that risk can both be measured and managed.

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Register
15 04 May 2019
Managing in the digital economy (BXM871)

A route to credit for learners holding Certificates of Achievement from the four Open University MOOCs that comprise the FutureLearn Digital Economy program.

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Register
15 06 Jul 2019
Marketing in the 21st century (BB844)

This module explores the issues that emerge from marketing planning and uses current theories and examples to show how organisations deal with environmental challenges.

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Register
15 04 May 2019
Strategic human resource management (BB845)

This module explores the different aspects of human resource management and helps you understand and influence decisions regarding the management of human resources within organisations.

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Register
15 04 May 2019
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.

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Register
15 04 May 2019
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.

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Register
15 04 May 2019

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued module T882.

plus
A 30-credit compulsory module:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Making a difference: the management initiative (B839)

This module enables you to integrate your learning from the MBA programme through undertaking a self-directed real-time management initiative of your own choosing.

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Register
30 04 May 2019

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 8th June 2018.

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. Usually this means that you are at least 25 years old as it is unusual (but not impossible) to be able to satisfy the ‘experience’ requirement under this age.

Depending on your previous qualifications, there are a variety of routes into the MBA:

If you already hold an honours degree awarded by a recognised UK university, or equivalent you can begin your MBA studies by taking either the MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716) or the fast-track version of this module (BXFT716).

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.

If you are experienced in managerial work but do not have an honours degree or equivalent you need first to gain our Professional Certificate in Management (S01) (previously coded C31). This is also a valuable qualification in its own right.

If you have the equivalent of a UK bachelors degree without honours you may be permitted to progress on to the MBA course by taking the first part of the Professional Certificate in Management, 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. The minimum time to complete is two years, the maximum time to complete is seven years. You can complete within two years if you choose to study BXFT716 instead of B716. Please note this will require you to devote 20-25 hours a 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 over 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)


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.