The structure of the programme runs across 24 months with 180 credits being attained over this period.
Students study 8 modules – each carrying 15 credits. All these modules are compulsory. They are followed by a final self-managed module which carries 60 credits: Dissertation or Consultancy Project. In addition to modules carrying academic credits, there’s a programme component that is non-credit but compulsory: Personal and Professional Development (PPD). The aim of PPD activities is to build or enhance management, and leadership skills and abilities of IMBA participants. The course uses group coaching as the principal teaching method, supported by appropriate techniques and tests, such as Individual Competence Profile (ICP), based on the 360 degree survey. Students’ personal traits and managerial competences are diagnosed at the beginning of the IMBA studies, based on which areas requiring development are identified and addressed throughout the course. At each residential meeting, students participate in group and individual coaching sessions, which focus on analysing and interpreting the results of competency tests and discussing improvement strategies. At the end of the programme, students’ personal traits and managerial competences are assessed again to determine progress so far and strategies for further development.
The graphic below depicts the programme’s main elements, including the eight modules. The programme starts with a day-long Induction. Parallel to academic modules students participate in PPD activities, which take place throughout the programme. After about a third of the programme duration, students start working on their dissertations or consultancy projects. Upon completion of all the modules and defending their dissertations or consultancy projects, students are ready to graduate.
The programme is self contained Flexible and Distributed Learning with reduced student attendance required. Exams will be conducted at IBD premises. Buckinghamshire New University has a formal articulation agreement with IBD, which has been through a due diligence and quality assurance process and therefore has the right to invigilate examinations on behalf of the university. Buckinghamshire New University has the right to moderate the examination papers and second mark students’ examination scripts.
Throughout the programme, the objective is to enhance the knowledge, skills and analytical ability of students to enable them to proceed with their careers in business and non-profit organisations. This objective is met by a combination of in-class meetings, self-study, directed research and investigation, on-line tutor support and electronic materials available through an e-learning platform. The assessment tasks include individual assignments, examinations, a Time Constrained Assessment, case study analysis, personal blogs and postings to online discussion fora in a combination designed to assess and meet the stated aims and the required learning outcomes. There will be opportunity for formative assessment through discussions with tutors, F2F and at distance, for example via Skype, to review progress of work to date. The modules have regular class meetings and on-line discussion forums which will be facilitated by the tutor to check understanding, give formative feedback and allow peer assisted learning.
The assessment strategy is designed to ensure that learning outcomes are achieved and that there is development of knowledge and skills. Independent learning is embedded within the programme and students develop a depth of understanding via synthesis, critical analysis and evaluation. Assessments are by coursework and examination with some modules being assessed by coursework only.
Brief Module Descriptions
MB751 International Management of Finance
The module will simulate debate and thus understanding of the impact of globalisation and internationalisation on organisations from a financial management perspective and their responsibility to stakeholders. This module will broaden your understanding of the international financial environment and the financial instruments used by multinational corporations to minimise risk. The reporting and harmonisation of financial information around the world will also be considered. International Management of Finance will also enable you to develop a broader understanding and appreciation of the concepts and theories relating to an entity’s expansion beyond national borders and the financial, ethical and social implications of such expansion. With financial statements as a reference point, the students in this module will gain an overview of the acquisition, financing and management of business assets.
MB752 Marketing Strategy in an Always on World
Whilst all marketing aims to identify, anticipate and satisfy customer needs, designing strategies to deliver this is increasingly challenging due to the advances in ICT and the resultant changes in customer behaviour, organisations’ responses and competitive dynamics. The customer journey does not follow a definitive linear path; instead, there may be multiple online and offline ‘touch points’. Diverse and ever changing legal, economic, social and technological factors also shape organisations’ response to customer needs. The competitive environment is dynamic with competitors seeking to stay one step ahead. Against this backdrop, the module will explore how to research, analyse and develop marketing strategy, with a view to adding value and building differentiation in the marketplace. We will consider how to brief external marketing agencies to deliver the strategy and maximise customer engagement.
MB753 Leading, Managing and Developing Talent
This module will develop a critical understanding of the contribution that talent management can offer to organisations. It will explore the various notions of talent and the way it can impact on organisational policy and strategy in variable and changing contexts: local and global, niche and mass markets, unionised and non-unionised, group and individual levels. It will then examine alternative approaches to leadership, management and development which will allow students to explore different themes such as managing values and culture, staff engagement, coaching and mentoring. It will also explore the role of professional Human Resource functions in helping address these functions. The module will require and help students to critically reflect on theory and practice from different standpoints: ethical, professional, organisational. And will continue the theme of developing students’ thinking, problem-solving and empathetic skills.
MB754 International Logistics and Operations Performance
This module aims to equip students for careers in international business management, by focussing on the contribution of Logistics and Operations Management to business performance. During the module, students will learn about the different Operations Management techniques and the role of Logistics and E-Commerce in managing international business operations. Students will also have the opportunity to gain some ‘practical’ experience of the implications of operational decisions through, for example, a business game or case study. The module will enable students to gain an overview of Project Management software (e.g. Microsoft Project) that is widely used in industry. They will also gain hands on practice using some industry-standard Total Quality Management tools.
MB755 Strategic Leadership
Successfully embedding a sense of leadership into a business can be the difference between success and failure, or mere survival versus stratospheric profitability. Furthermore, many significant research studies, including Belbin’s conclusions about an ‘Apollo Syndrome’ (whereby groups of highly-skilled individuals failed to perform impressively as a team) indicate that strategic leadership development is both an essential ingredient to corporate resilience and also national economic wellbeing. This module seeks to move forward the mindset of business managers in order to advance them to become responsible and reflective, putative leaders. It will help to transform competent managers into rational, motivational and resilient corporate leaders and strategic thinkers who are empowered to understand and communicate the inherent differences between the roles of a ‘manager’ and a business ‘leader’.
MB756 Project Management
Project management is about systematically incorporating customers’ requirements, prioritising efforts and resolving trade-offs between time, cost and performance. Good project management ensures that the associated risks are identified and managed and objectives and benefits are achieved within budget – and are not limited to large scale projects but apply equally to smaller scale tasks that have to be achieved. In this module, students will explore the analytical and organisational principles underlying project management to equip them with the skills used during project initiation, planning, co-ordinating and evaluating projects. They will also gain practical experience of key project management techniques and industry standard methodologies including PRINCE 2 and Microsoft Project. Through various case studies, students will also gain an insight into an understanding of the various components and constraints which apply to the creation and execution of a project.
MB757 Organisational Resilience
Business organisations are vulnerable and exposed to threats from malicious or accidental events on a constant basis. In order to be able to manage the impacts of any risks upon an organisation and its assets, there are multiple levels of planning which should be considered. Planning and subsequent management and operational activities must ensure that the business can not only anticipate, but also respond effectively and efficiently to a major incident. The need for organisational managers and leaders to fully understand and put in place capabilities to effectively counter wide-scale disruptions and risks, and also maintain alignment with strategic business objectives, is essential for a business’s survival, corporate reputation and profitability. Due to the fusion of digital communications, heightened public accountability, global supply chains, and accelerated trends in decision-making, a holistic leadership approach to delivering organisational resilience is not only desirable, but an essential modern business approach.
MB758 Digital Leadership in a World of Continuous Change
For most businesses, the kinetic growth of ‘cyber space’, and the creation of a near-borderless digital marketplace, has broken down trade barriers, opened up supply chains and heightened public awareness of their products. This profound business environmental change has occurred in a fluid and often-unpredictable manner, which is complex to understand or to competently exploit by many firms. Conversely, businesses and corporate executives are increasingly exposed and vulnerable to theft of important data, malicious cyber-attacks, and insider risks around the use of company IT systems. Therefore, identifying and setting the right balance between a creative, unencumbered, approach to innovation and entrepreneurship, on the one hand, whilst delivering a safe and secure approach to protecting company assets on the other, is now a major strategic decision-making test for business leaders. This module prepares today’s leaders to be able to effectively anticipate, manage and respond in a dynamic and continuously disrupted global business environment that is underpinned by digital infrastructure.
This is the final piece of work that the student choosing the Dissertation option must complete to gain their MBA. It is a major piece of self-managed work, where the student must identify their own research question, set research objectives, gather and analyse appropriate literature, and conduct secondary and primary research to meet those objectives. The student will be given a suitable competent supervisor in their subject who will be able to advise and guide the student through the process of dissertation completion. To complete this module successfully, the student must analyse and evaluate the theories and concepts around the chosen subject as well as show proficiency in the design and conduct of primary research and integrating any relevant secondary research undertaken.
MBA760 Consultancy Project
This option runs in parallel with the dissertation and equates to the same amount of words required and within the same timescale. This project is one that encompasses the consultant skills and requires the student to work as a consultant to identify a management problem and work with the organisation to research the problem, complete primary research and write a complete business report on the solution and implementation of the solution. The student is required to identify and negotiate independently with the organisation to gain access to data, resources and to plan the research project within the timescales required for submission. The student will work in the organisation as a consultant on a specific problem and will present the problem, research and findings in a business report as well as sharing the findings with the organisation.