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Executive MBA - Master of Business Administration


Are you ready to take your career to the next level? The Ulster University Executive MBA is a challenging Master's degree designed for ambitious professionals.

Offered by the Ulster University Business School, the Executive MBA is designed to meet the needs of experienced or aspiring managers who wish to expand their knowledge and skills to equip them for senior management positions.

This Master's programme will help you to relate your work experience to business theory, broadening your understanding of organisations and the increasingly competitive environment in which they operate. You will enhance your knowledge of business functions, processes, and strategies. The innovative modules will also challenge you to examine your own business practices and management style, and develop your strategic and critical thinking skills.

The Ulster University Executive MBA allows students to make an impact in the workplace via practical based assessment and assignments, many of which have led to demonstrable improvements within the students' organisations.


An MBA is an internationally recognised passport to a successful business career. The Ulster University Executive MBA can be studied part or full-time and is designed to equip experienced or aspiring industry leaders and business owners with the knowledge and confidence to be successful in their fields.

Delivered by the Ulster University Business School, Northern Ireland's leading business school for research and ranked 7th out of 101 business schools in the UK (Research Excellence Framework 2014), the Ulster MBA blends both commercial experience and theoretical learning.

As an Ulster University MBA student, you will study alongside a diverse range of professionals, gaining exposure to different organisations and sectors whilst developing your network. This diversity makes for a richer learning environment where knowledge and ideas can be shared. We also offer students excellent support throughout the course, both in their academic study and in their development as managers and business leaders.

You will be taught by academically qualified subject experts who possess a wealth of industry experience within leading organisations. We also work in close collaboration with local and international employers to ensure that the course is relevant and that what you study meets business needs.

The quality of our MBA is recognised by a number of professional bodies and chartered institutes who have provided exemptions from their own qualifications.

What Separates the Ulster University MBA?

A practical and applied learning experience - Designed through engagement with over forty local and international employers, everything covered in our programme is readily applicable to real organisations and delivered by our subject experts.

Assessment involves applying course learning to the individual's organisation or live case studies.

Personal and professional skills development - The course begins with an immersive 2-day professional development residential (costs covered in course fees). As part of the course assessment there is a strong focus on personal and professional skills development throughout the programme.

Overseas field trip- Embedded in personal and professional skills development, this 3 to 4 day trip is offered in semester 3. Whilst subsidised, some additional costs may apply.

Linked with the Harvard Business School- Ulster is the first UK university to join the prestigious network of universities affiliated with Harvard Business School. Our students benefit from modules, such as International Competitiveness, delivered by our staff (trained at Harvard) in this area.

Become a Chartered Manager- We have embedded the Chartered Management Institute's (CMI) Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management into our programme. Students can opt to gain this qualification automatically at graduation meaning they can become a Chartered Manager through the exemption route (additional costs to the CMI apply). We are the only MBA in Northern Ireland to offer this professional accreditation.

Networking - Our students have many opportunities to build their networks, both during, and after the course via events, conferences and guest talks. All students are members of the MBA Association of Ireland providing a range of events and inter-university competitions.

Flexible completion points - Ulster University's Executive MBA allows you to have the flexibility and choice over your learning. Should your circumstances change, you have the option to exit with a postgraduate certificate or postgraduate diploma.

Babson Build: Entrepreneurship Programme - Babson Executive Education is in the top eight global customer providers (Financial Times and BusinessWeek). Our students are offered the opportunity to attend a 5-day entrepreneurship programme at their campus in Boston (additional cost applies).

Largest Alumni Network - Ulster University has the largest alumni of any MBA programme in Northern Ireland, including: Gerry Mallon (Chief Executive, Tesco Bank); Dr Joanne Coyle (Innovation Manager, InvestNI); Chris Conway (Chief Executive, Translink NI); Kevin Kingston (CEO, Danske Bank NI); Kirsty McManus (IoD NI Director); John McMullen, MBE (Chief Executive, Bryson Charitable Group); Cara McAleer (Chief Operating Officer, Flowlens); and Jerry Milliken (Senior Director, Caterpillar NI).

Teaching and learning assessment

The MBA is taught in a lecture format which is highly interactive, this allows students to draw upon their own experiences when discussing management theory and practice leading to an in-depth understanding of the subject area. This form of teaching also allows students to learn from each other as well as from the lecturing staff.

In addition to business theory and practice, you will develop your skills in the areas of:



Team working

Negotiation; and

Conflict resolution

The course is mainly assessed via coursework (individual and group).

Work placement / study abroad

Executive MBA students tend to be in employment while undertaking the course, as such, a work placement is not offered. There are opportunities to conduct live case studies within several host organisation and students may decide to undertake their Management Project in an organisation other than their own. There are also opportunities to study abroad e.g. the overseas field trip and the Babson Build Entrepreneurship Programme.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally have a second class honours degree or an equivalent professional qualification, together with a minimum of three years' relevant post-graduation work experience.

However, applications will be considered from experienced, practicing managers and technical or other specialists who do not have an honours degree but who have more significant work experience and can demonstrate the ability and commitment to complete the programme.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability


Consideration will be given to applicants who transfer from other accredited MBA courses.


Students who have studied an equivalent qualification to level 7 covering the subject matter on the MBA may, by application to the Course Committee, be granted exemption from specific modules.



The full-time Executive MBA is taught over 1 academic year, starting in September.

The course begins with a 2-day induction residential where students are introduced to the course, their classmates and the academic team. Students undertake team building and a self-analysis facilitated by relevant external consultants and develop their planning regarding what they wish to gain from the programme.

Students attend lectures on a weekly basis, (Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1.15pm to 8.15pm) in semester 1 (September to December) and semester 2 (January to May).

Semester 3 modules are completed on a 'block' basis. (9.30am to 5pm over 3 consecutive days usually).

There are no examinations on the Executive MBA.

The part-time Executive MBA is taught over 2 academic years, starting in September each year. If you wish to 'fast track' you can study the course as a full-time student over 1 academic year September to September.

The course begins with a 2-day induction residential where students are introduced to the course, their classmates and the academic team. Students undertake team building and a self-analysis facilitated by relevant external consultants and develop their planning regarding what they wish to gain from the programme.

Students attend lectures on a weekly basis, (Tuesdays in year 1 and Wednesdays in year 2, from 1.15pm to 8.15pm) in semester 1 (September to December) and semester 2 (January to May).

Semester 3 modules are completed on a 'block' basis. (9.30am to 5pm over 3 consecutive days usually).

There are no examinations on the Executive MBA.

Careers or further progression

Career options

An MBA will help you develop your career whether it is progressing within your current organisation, changing career into a different profession/sector or working internationally. As a qualification, the MBA is valued and sought after by employers.

Graduates from the MBA course have found that they have been able to deliver value to their organisations through the work that they carry out on the course and thus progress their careers with their respective employers.

Other students use the MBA as a springboard to seek new opportunities both domestically and internationally.

Many students wish to either set up their own business or become business consultants. The course is specifically tailored (especially in terms of assessment and practical teaching) to allow students to develop the necessary skills and expertise to allow this fulfilment.

In 2017, we surveyed 115 Ulster University MBA graduates:

75% felt the programme represented value for money;

78% believed the programme had helped them progress their career; and

93% were satisfied with their experience with us.

How does Ulster University help its MBA participants with job hunting?

We have a career development centre which we work in partnership with to ensure students are prepared for the main elements of job hunting (psychometric testing, team interviews, assessment centres, cv building, presentations, etc).

Further enquiries

If you would like to have an informal discussion about the course, or your application please contact:

Mark McCrory

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6092


Nick Read

T: +44 (0)28 9036 8880

M: 077 3818 2370


Subjects taught

Year one

Accounting and Finance

The overall aim of the module is to introduce students to the key areas of financial and management accounting. In order to achieve this, students will be exposed to some numerical calculations during the module. However, there will be significant emphasis passed on understanding the issues around the numbers and the context within which they are set. In particular, the assessment for the module will strike a balance between calculation, interpretation and discussion. In summary, whilst it is not intended to equip students with a detailed knowledge to enable them to pursue a career in accounting, the module aims to take students to a point where they are capable of engaging in intelligent discussion with financial experts and to be able to grasp the big picture rather than get lost in the detail.

Managing People in the Organisation

This module aims to enable students to develop knowledge and understanding of individual and group behaviour within organisations, and the core areas of Human Resource Management, and to be able to apply this knowledge and understanding in a range of organisational settings.

Operations Management

In the dynamic environment in which businesses operate the importance of business improvement cannot be ignored. Customer focus through streamlining of value chains is imperative. It presents challenges in terms of how we classify, relate to and manage the internal and external chain of customers. The ability to remove costs, optimise value creation, understand the competencies, and effectively reconfigure the organisation in the context of a continuous improvement philosophy is crucial.

Digital Transformation

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of digital transformation in a range of organisational contexts. On successful completion of the module, a student will be able to: assess how digital technologies can disrupt industries by transforming industry value chains, patterns of demand and competitive pressures; understand how digital technologies and frameworks can be applied in a digital transformation strategy; understand the organisational and people capabilities required to support and implement a digital transformation strategy; and critically evaluate current practice and theory on digital transformation.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovation and entrepreneurship are important drivers for value creation in modern economies. A central idea for both disciplines is the identification, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities. This module presents a contemporary exploration of the nature of innovation and entrepreneurship whilst also providing students with an opportunity to examine emerging sources of innovation in either a sector or organisational context.

Leadership and Change

This module will give you the knowledge and skills to be an effective leader. You will consider the key theories of leadership and consider their application in the context of leading organisational change.


This module is designed to introduce students to the key concepts in business strategy. On successful completion of this module students will have an in-depth knowledge of strategy; be able to conduct a strategic analysis of an organisation, its environment, and its future strategic options; understand the fundamentals of formulating an international strategy; appreciate some of the key issues associated with strategy implementation; and critically evaluate current theory and practice on strategy.

International Competitiveness

This applied module focuses on the importance of understanding and analysing the key determinants for international competitiveness. Viewed from the strategic management process, the module will provide holistic view of the topic with applied experiential learning opportunities focusing on the importance of key stakeholder collaborations to drive and sustain competitiveness at a firm, industry, regional and national level.

Management Project

The Management Project enables students to apply the theoretical concepts encountered on the MBA to a live management issue. In doing so they choose appropriate research methodologies, gather data and make conclusions and recommendations to the host organisation.

Economics and the Business Environment

This module introduces managers to the principles of economics as they apply to the business environment and aims to enhance mangers' understanding of, and ability to adapt to, changes in the environments in which operate. The module is designed to first explain the problem of scarcity of resources and then analyzes the demand - supply - equilibrium model of economic analysis. This is followed by an examination of the internal and external environments within which firms must operate, focusing on production, cost, profits, market conditions and the objectives of the firm. In so doing, it illustrates a strategic approach to their business activity. A critical examination of the economic role of the government and a review of the macroeconomic environment complete the syllabus.


This Marketing module focuses on the challenges management faces in developing and implementing both a marketing philosophy and successful marketing programmes. The critical importance of marketing arises from its role as the boundary function between the organisation and the marketplace. Changes in the market require changes from the company; changes made by the company create changes in the market. Marketing is concerned with managing this ever-changing relationship.

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2019

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