The Lancaster MBA

The Lancaster MBA

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Robyn Remke

Welcome to the Lancaster University MBA

Hello and thank you for your interest in the Lancaster University MBA programme. I am very proud of our MBA programme and happy to share with you the highlights of our programme.

The Lancaster MBA, our flagship programme, enjoys a rich heritage and engaged community that is over 30 years in the making. Our committed MBA team make sure our programme curriculum is constantly evolving to ensure our graduates acquire the skills, knowledge, and experiences they need to excel in contemporary business environments. Consistently remaining relevant and delivering excellence, the Lancaster MBA is built upon our expertise in strategy, social sustainability, and responsibility. Theory is contextualised through real examples and live cases, and learning is enhanced through a practice-based approach 

Read our full welcome statement.


The Economist Which MBA

Lancaster MBA ranked No.2 in the world for corporate strategy.

Our MBA programme is ranked 2nd in the world for corporate strategy and 8th in the world for value for money in the Financial Times MBA global rankings 2021.  The Lancaster MBA is placed 9th in the UK, 25th in Europe and 96th in the world.

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LUMS’ MBA climbs The Economist’s rankings

The Lancaster MBA has climbed 22 places to be ranked 66th in the 2021 WhichMBA? rankings, published by The Economist.

WhichMBA? compiles data from alumni of 100 MBA programmes run by universities across the world. In the 2021 rankings, LUMS is positioned 13th globally and first in the UK for the education experience delivered to its students.

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The Economist Which MBA

Key Facts

Discover why the Lancaster MBA stands out from the rest.

Course Content

Discover the programme design and core themes you will explore during our one-year MBA programme.

The programme design of the MBA combines taught modules with action-based consultancy interventions. Beyond learning in the classroom, you will complete a series of challenges to help you gain practical experience and develop your leadership and managerial skills. These academic modules and interactive challenges are complemented by modules focusing on personal development that help develop your capacity to work in teams and give presentations. These modules include our MBA Career Advancement Programme.

Learning and Assessment

A diverse range of teaching and learning methods are used within the programme, so your sessions will typically involve group work and interactive discussion to draw out your experiences and relate them to the topic at hand. You will work on case studies, and some sessions may also involve simulations. 

On the Lancaster MBA, assessments are not simply designed to test you; they are designed to develop your skills. With this objective insight, we take multiple approaches to assessment so that you are stretched in different ways. Many parts of the programme involve assessed group-work, including examination of case studies, report-writing, practical tasks, presentations and assignments.  This enables you to both learn from your diverse peer group and integrate the understanding and skills you’ll develop in your modules.

In addition to group work, you will complete stimulating individual assessed pieces which prompt you to reflect, encourage you to push your boundaries and give you the experience of managing pressure. In addition to exams and in-class tests, we will ask you to complete reports, reflective experiential learning papers, academic essays and deliver presentations.

Here are the core modules that you will study on the Lancaster MBA.

  • Organising Behaviour

    Organising Behaviour offers a broad theoretical and practical understanding of some key concepts and issues in this area of study, particularly in the areas of organisational work and politics, culture and structure, and addresses their implications for managing the human resources of organisations at a time of disruptive change and the globalisation of business. The module develops important knowledge, but also crucial skills of analysis and critical reflection.

  • Marketing

    Marketing is a crucial knowledge area for aspiring top management executives. It is not simply a promotional arts and crafts toolbox, but is rather the whole business as seen from the customer’s point of view. Marketing is, as we say here at Lancaster, the ‘business of business’ - the core commercial process of ‘going to market’. This module enables an appreciation and understanding of the conceptual, descriptive language of marketing. Such learning will enable you to understand your marketing colleagues and the so-called experts of the consultancy world. You will consequently be able to insightfully and confidently critique their arguments and add to the dialogue.

  • Finance 1

    At the most fundamental level senior managers should possess a high level of competence in the use of financial information, whether it is information generated for internal or external consumption. Finance 1 has been designed for non-specialists, to make you confident in discussing financial information with professional accountants and financial staff. It does so by providing a conceptual framework of accounting, enabling you to understand the theoretical reasoning behind financial reporting and decision making in practice. It seeks to give you the level of financial literacy you will need to interpret and make use of both published and internally generated financial information.

  • Finance 2

    Building on Finance 1, Finance 2 takes a broad approach for non-finance specialists and further addresses the principal issues that are of concern to the general manager and to all those needing to make financial decisions. These include, but are not limited to, nett present value, measures of risk and return, the capital asset pricing model, the financing decision, financial instruments, and derivative securities. By the end of the module, you will have developed knowledge of investment appraisal, including the time-value of money, and the measurement and treatment of risk. You will also know the fundamental characteristics of financial markets and financial instruments (such as stocks, bonds, and derivatives). Finally, you will have knowledge and understanding of corporate capital structures and its implications for a firm's cost of capital.

    This module is partly delivered at The Work Foundation in London. Twin room accommodation is provided in London.

  • Business Economics

    Business Economics introduces a framework for beginning to understand some of the behaviour observed in firms, markets, and industries. A range of models and concepts, both at the micro and macro level, for the analysis of business activity are introduced.

  • Digital Innovation in Business

    Digital Innovation in Business is a learning thread in the MBA. You engage with the subject area in Terms 1 and 2. As the digitally-enabled economy has become dominant and pervasive, the importance and necessity of understanding how businesses can adapt digital innovation to stay competitive has been heightened. This module will develop a narrative for how digital innovations have, and will continue, to transform business enterprises and organizations. The focus will be the trifecta of technology, strategy and innovation and aims to develop an understanding of the strategic role of information systems and digital technologies in product, service and process innovation, in business integration, in developing new business models, and in industry transformation. Drawing on a collection of both theories and cases, DIB focuses on how the deployment of information technology influences and transforms interactions and processes within and between organisations.

  • Strategic Management

    Strategic Management is both a ‘science’ and an ‘art’, and this module enables you to gain an understanding of both. On the one hand, you will be taking an essentially analytical perspective, studying the traditional ‘toolbox’ of strategy as a business discipline. On the other, you will gain practical exposure to strategy development by engaging in strategy-making and reflection. The module will explore various subjects within the umbrella of strategic management, such as the nature of strategy, the roles and implications of governance, stakeholders, corporate parenting and strategic purpose, as well as the important issue of good relationships in theory and in practice. Crucially, you will develop your capacity to assess, evaluate and research strategic positions, and develop strategy itself.

  • Responsible Management and Ethics

    Responsible Management and Ethics is a capstone component of the MBA; management approaches have significant implications in the contemporary world, socially, ethically and ecologically. In a sense, all of management is about choice - what factors to take into consideration in the making of a decision, and what future we should seek, and top managers and leaders must therefore be appropriately equipped with the ability to integrate this into their management strategies and practices.

  • Business Management Challenge

    The first of the four ‘Challenges’ on the Lancaster MBA, the Business Management Challenge is a four day simulation in which, working in small teams, you manage a business through an eighteen month period. It addresses the real, complex organisational issues involved in developing and deploying a ‘go-to-market’ strategy. As in the real world, each team is given the initial investment capital required, which you can use, for example, to build a factory. At the end of your ‘simulated’ first year of trading, your team prepares an investment pitch, to present a convincing case to the board of the holding company in order to acquire further funding to grow the business. You then continue trading for two further quarters, giving you time to act upon the funding decisions and make any additional changes. This learning experience is invaluable as you can apply the learnings of the first 10 weeks of the programme to a ‘real life’ situation of business management, in an integrative way. This action-learning challenge stress tests your cognitive and collaborative conduct, requires you to use many of the skills you have already acquired and generates a substantial opportunity for powerful experiential learning.

  • Consultancy Challenge

    The Consultancy Challenge is the third challenge on the Lancaster MBA, designed to increase your effectiveness in a consultancy context. The module particularly helps you to understand consultancy as a process of influence, oriented towards exploring opportunities, solving problems and implementing action. You begin training in the class-room, with a 'consultancy tool-kit'; a set of tools and skills that will enable you to address complexity and deliver targeted outcomes. We focus on consultant mindset and consulting skills by examining the principles of effective consultancy, the barriers to successful intervention and how consultants manage risk. Subsequently, students work as teams of consultants, to analyse a problem or situation for a client organisation and develop implementable recommendations. In the past students have typically worked with a variety of organisations such as Microsoft, Kellogg, Hendelsbanken, BAE Systems and the NHS based in the North of England looking for support to address a wide range of business issues.

    This action-learning challenge ultimately stress tests your cognitive and collaborative conduct, requires you to use many of the skills you have acquired and generates a substantial opportunity for powerful experiential learning.

  • Leading Responsibly

    Leading Mindfully will help you to explore your understanding of leading, and will develop your capability to lead others. Taking a practical approach to the subject of leadership, this module will encourage you to become mindful of what you believe good leadership is. It will ask you to explore your values and the responsibilities of a leader, and challenge you to find ways to lead others responsibly. The module uses practical exercises, talks and discussion groups, skills development, self-awareness questionnaires, and reflective practices to help you develop your leadership capability.

  • Core Capabilities

    The Core Capabilities module is designed to help you to develop the skills that are vital for effective managing and leading. We focus on developing key mindsets around critical thinking, reflexivity, and collaboration. The module provides an intense experiential learning process and continues throughout the year.

  • Operations Management

    Good management of operations is essential both to ensure that day-to-day operations run smoothly and deliver value to customers and the business as a whole within its overall strategy. To deliver value, operations must identify and work to appropriate success criteria, drive continuous improvement and be capable of delivering the changes required to develop performance for the future. This module develops your understanding of operations and supply chain management, using a series of cases to explore various aspects of operations management within companies. The focus will be on the particular issue of ensuring that Customers’ current requirements and expectations are met or exceeded and that the operations function works in an integrated way.

  • Entrepreneurial Challenge

    The Entrepreneurial Challenge is one of the action-learning challenges within the Lancaster MBA. This module allows you to apply your learning in the context of a business start-up. Working in teams, you are required to produce a business development plan for a potential new company. You have to research the market, develop a market strategy, and specify how the business would be organised and financed in the future. This challenging process requires you to take an integrated view of all aspects of a business. The challenge goes beyond traditional orientations to business models that focus on profit only. The entrepreneurial challenge requires the development of a business plan that provides a plausible explanation of two aligned objectives: profitable growth integrated with positive social and environmental impact. In this way the challenge provides the opportunity to think anew ideas regarding the purpose of business.

  • International Business in Context

    This exciting module is based around a short but intensive study visit of seven-to-ten days to an economy at a different stage of development to the UK. Prior to travel, you are briefed in Lancaster by experts about recent economic developments and business context in the host country. Then, whilst in situ, you learn first-hand about aspects of international trade and business management, from a range of guest speakers and organisational/company visits that enable you to understand, experience and observe the local business environment. In completing this module, you will develop your understanding of the particular economic and business problems associated with different economies. You will also be able to reflect on the social, cultural, ethical and management issues which arise when managing companies which operate in such economies, including the special problems facing multinational enterprises. The cost of the module is included in the tuition fee and twin accommodation is provided.

  • Capstone Work Placement (Corporate Challenge)

    The Corporate Challenge is the fourth of the Lancaster MBA’s action-learning challenges, and builds on the Business Management Challenge, the Entrepreneurial Challenge, and the Consultancy Challenge. The Corporate Challenge gives you the chance to undertake a consultancy assignment for a global company. The majority of these challenges are based in London.

    Student can also choose other forms of final projects such as an internship and reflective essay or an academic dissertation.

The optional modules for the Lancaster MBA are listed below.

  • Managing Strategic Change

    This elective module explores change management and implementation, including understanding the need for change, individual responses to change, planned versus emergent change, and tools for change. These are specifically addressed through case study examples and relevant change management theory. This module can assist students in their preparation for their final challenge, focused on consultancy, where they undertake a consultancy report with recommendations for a real business and must understand how implementation might follow. Managing Strategic Change consequently provides an excellent opportunity to move beyond analysis to explore implementation and the consequential human issues evoked through change, and prepares students for the ultimate part of the programme.

  • Corporate Strategy

    This highly interactive elective module complements your study of strategic management. It particularly addresses the strategic questions that face large multi-business groups and how these differ from the issues faced by single business firms. This module further addresses the reasons, benefits and boundaries of diversification strategies and critically evaluates approaches to managing the portfolio of the group. An important focus will also be on the role of the corporate centre for value creation, as well as the organisation design choices of large corporations. You will have the opportunity to work in groups to explore case studies of large multi-business firms.

  • Mergers and Acquisitions

    This elective module addresses issues specific to mergers and acquisitions, such as deal structure, deal financing, and target valuation. It also introduces topics such as leveraged buyouts and the role of private equity in the market of corporate control. At the end of the module you will have an understanding of the motivations behind mergers and acquisitions. You will also have knowledge of the financing of M&A transactions, the choice of deal structure and the valuation of target companies. Finally, you will understand the role of various parties in the M&A market.

  • Strategic Brand Management

    Building on the earlier core Marketing module, this elective is designed to develop a critical understanding of brand management as a major issue in strategic marketing. This module moves away from the traditional classical model of branding, which emphasised the consumer, and instead addresses the new, more balanced perspective which recognises the importance of staff and other stakeholders as brand builders. The latter necessitates an integrated communications approach, as successful corporate brands result from coordinated pan-company actions involving stakeholders, to create coherent brand promise. No longer is it viable to claim long term competitive advantage from functional benefits: instead corporations recognise the importance of emotional differentiation, driven by their organisational culture.

    The module opens by discussing the nature of brands, the concept of the brand as a promise, and mechanisms to encourage a coherent brand strategy. The attributes associated with powerful brands will be explored, along with techniques to ensure effective brand differentiation. You will be exposed to diverse managerial interpretations of the brand concept and will see how models enable brand evolution to be anticipated. A typology of added values will be described. A significant amount of time will be devoted to a strategic framework which enables the development of a coherent brand.

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What makes the Lancaster MBA unique?

Through the innovative programme design and the core themes below, the Lancaster MBA will develop your practical wisdom and capacity for judgement in the turbulent and ambiguous world of international business. It's just one of the reasons our MBA is ranked amongst the best in the world, offering a range of opportunities for your leadership development.

Your Career

The Lancaster MBA embeds career advancement throughout the whole year, enabling you to draw on your learning and experiences as you progress through your studies.

Practical Sessions: Participate in workshops focusing on success in the recruitment process, delivered by experienced professionals. Hone your performance through tailored interview scenarios, assessment centre group exercises and case study practice sessions.

Coaching & Guidance: Receive continual support from our dedicated careers advisers. In addition, benefit from individual sessions with an external, executive careers coach. Address your goals, identify areas for development, and move towards your future career path.

Employer and Alumni Engagement: Enjoy regular visits and business networking opportunities, both locally and in London, which enable you to engage with a wide range of SMEs, high profile employers and our alumni. Once you graduate, remain part of this network and benefit from our continued support.

Extensive Work Placements: Enjoy 8 weeks of work placements, which we organise for you. Work first as part of a team on a particular business problem encountered by an SME, and then progress to a consultancy project in London with a high profile company. You may complete an internship in place of the consultancy project.

Success after the Lancaster MBA: The Lancaster MBA is the catalyst to career progress.

MBA students

Find out about the support available from the MBA Careers team in this overview video.

The Challenges

Following our action learning ethos, The Lancaster MBA includes practical challenges at key points in the year. These challenges are exciting milestones which actively draw together and integrate your learning, enabling you to apply it to real-life business problems. The challenges move from short, intense simulations within the classroom, to longer real-life projects on a larger scale. The programme culminates with the Corporate Challenge, during which you work on a consultancy project for a major firm. These challenges are critical for your development as a strategic leader, because you refine your skills in the safety of the classroom, with expert feedback, before moving on to live consultancy work. You also fully explore what it means to work collaboratively under pressure, which is critical to your success. Watch our video below for a past example of our Entrepreneurship Challenge.

MBA Entrepreneurship Challenge
MBA challenges

Experts in Strategy

Our Strategy corpus includes our core Strategic Management module, which addresses the science and art of strategy, as well as four electives: Managing Strategic Change; Corporate Strategy; Mergers and Acquisitions; and Strategic Brand Management. All content is delivered by experts who are leaders in their fields. Read more about the student experience of strategy at Lancaster.

Experts in Strategy

Living in Lancaster; Exploring the United Kingdom

Our programme offers you the chance to explore the United Kingdom with various programme trips, networking events in London, and reflection opportunities in the beautiful English Countryside. You will further benefit from learning at our Lancaster Campus, which has extensive academic facilities and a dedicated MBA suite which you can access out of business hours. In order to enable you to reflect on yourself as an individual and as a manager, we take you to the nearby Lake District, which offers calm and tranquillity, and to key locations such as Quarry Bank Mill.


International Focus

Internationalism is a critical component of our MBA. We actively seek a multinational cohort, and past cohorts represent over 25 different nationalities. We believe that a mix of backgrounds enhances learning, as each student brings a different perspective. Internationalism also comes to the fore in our international business module, during which you visit an economy at a different stage of development to the UK. Finally, on the Lancaster MBA, you have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner institutions. 


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Latest Activity

Discover our latest MBA news. For information on our packed calendar of dedicated MBA events throughout the year, visit the MBA Events page.

Inspirational Alumni

Across the world our MBA alumni have used their experiences on the programme to develop successful careers in a wide range of roles. Whether exploring new opportunities, or embarking on an unexpected direction, our inspiration alumni share personal stories of the influence that their MBA studies had on the course of their future careers. Visit Inspirational Alumni for more details.

Recent Graduates

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