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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 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.

Request your prospectus

Explore our subjects and courses.

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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.

There are three routes to the MBA depending on when you start your MBA and our fee calculator tool will help plan your studies by showing the total cost based on the electives you choose. 

Route 1 - Starting November 2019 onwards

If you're starting on B870 in November 2019, including if you've previously studied any electives as a standalone module, you'll need:

105 credits from the following modules: 

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

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 02 Nov 2019
Creating and sustaining value  (B872) NEW

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

See full description

Register
30 02 Nov 2019
Effective strategic management in business and the public sector  (B873) NEW

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

See full description

Register
30 02 May 2020
Finance for strategic decision making (B874) planned for November 2020
15 Nov 2020

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

Register
30 02 Nov 2019
Contemporary issues in organisations (BB853) planned for May 2021
15 May 2021
Entrepreneurship: experience and perspective (BB851) planned for November 2020
15 Nov 2020
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019
Leadership and management of public services (BB852) planned for November 2020
15 Nov 2020
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.

See full description

Register
15 04 Jan 2020
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019

plus 30 credits from the following:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
MBA project: making a difference (B875) planned for November 2020
30 Nov 2020

Route 2 - Final study in May 2020

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

60 credits from either of the following discontinued modules:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716)
60  
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (fast track) (BXFT716)
60  

plus 45 credits from the following:

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.

See full description

Register
30 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019

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

plus 45 credits from the following:

Stage 2 - 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

Register
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
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.

See full description

Register
15 04 Jan 2020
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
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 02 Nov 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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019

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

plus 30 credits from the following:

Stage 2 - 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.

See full description

Register
30 02 Nov 2019

Route 3 - Hybrid route

If you have completed, or are currently studying either B716 or BXFT716, you'll need:

60 credits from either of the following discontinued modules:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716)
60  
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (fast track) (BXFT716)
60  

plus 30 credits from either of the following modules: 

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.

See full description

Register
30 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
Effective strategic management in business and the public sector (B873) planned for May 2020
30 May 2020

plus 15 credits from either of the following modules: 

Compulsory modules  Credits Next start
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019
Finance for strategic decision making (B874) planned for November 2020
15 Nov 2020

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

Register
30 02 Nov 2019
Contemporary issues in organisations (BB853) planned for May 2021
15 May 2021
Entrepreneurship: experience and perspective (BB851) planned for November 2020
15 Nov 2020
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019
Leadership and management of public services (BB852) planned for November 2020
15 Nov 2020
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
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.

See full description

Register
15 04 Jan 2020
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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019 FINAL
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 02 Nov 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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2019

plus 30 credits from the following:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
MBA project: making a difference (B875) planned for November 2020
30 Nov 2020

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 20th March 2019.

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.

- are experienced in managerial work and hold our Professional Certificate in Management (S01) (previously coded C31). Both are now discontinued.

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 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)

NLA Logo
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.