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The Lancaster MBA

The Lancaster MBA will develop your practical wisdom and capacity for judgement in the turbulent and ambiguous world of international business.

More than an MBA

Established in 1989, the Lancaster MBA transforms high calibre students into leading managers in their chosen sectors. We draw on thirty years of experience to deliver a top-ranked, innovative, and inspiring MBA programme that will challenge you to make your MBA experience the first step in a lifetime of learning.

The learning experience is an ongoing process of discovery as you journey into the global world of business. From its inception, the Lancaster MBA has provided a relevant and cutting-edge curriculum that excites, inspires, and transforms students from across the world. We believe that students learn best when they are able to put ideas into practice, so you will have the opportunity to engage with our company partners including start-up companies, SMEs, and large corporations; and learn from our innovative teachers who conduct research in a wide variety of business-related disciplines. You will also have the chance to meet business change-makers, including our Leaders in Residence and our Entrepreneurs in Residence networks who provide guest lectures, site visits, masterclasses, and mentoring and coaching.

Watch our video to meet the Lancaster MBA Programme Director, Dr Robyn Remke, and learn more about what makes the Lancaster MBA unique.

Discover our class of 2019/20


11th in the UK and 91st in the world Financial Times 2019.

1st in the world for corporate strategy Financial Times 2019.

1st in the UK for the Corporate Social Responsibility module Financial Times 2019.

5th in the UK for value for money Financial Times 2019

1st in the UK for careers service Financial Times 2019.

Key Facts

Discover why the Lancaster MBA stands out from the rest.

Small class sizes create a rich learning experience

Excellent networking with several nationalities represented in each cohort

Action-based challenges put your learning to the test

Substantial scholarship funds available

Discover how business is done in an unfamiliar part of the world with the international module

Unique mindful manager module enhances your practical wisdom

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 in sight, 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 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 part delivered at The Work Foundation in London. Twin room accomodation is provided in London.

  • Micro-Economics

    Microeconomics introduces you to the fundamental concepts of economic analysis by demonstrating their relevance to the understanding of microeconomic problems. The module provides a useful background in economic principles for use in other modules within the programme, such as Marketing and Finance. Ultimately, you will gain an appreciation of how economic analysis can be usefully applied to understand consumer, business and government decisions at a micro level.

  • Macro-economics

    Macroeconomics gives insight into the main drivers of change in the broader economic context within which firms operate, distinguishing between short-term episodes and long-term trends, and recognising the roles played by trade, policy and business behaviour in shaping the wider environment. This module emphasises the importance of taking full account of the business environment in the decision-making process of the firm, and will further develop your analytical skills.

    This module is part delivered at The Work Foundation in London. Twin room accomodation is provided in London.

  • 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 the second of the four action-learning challenges within the Lancaster MBA, and allows you to apply your learning to starting up a business of your own choosing. Working in teams, you are required to produce a business development plan for your new company. You have to research the market, develop a go-to-market strategy, and specify how the business will be organised and financed in the future. This challenging process requires you to take an integrated view of all aspects of a business and pushes you to think holistically in the identification and exploitation of business opportunities, and integrate your 15 weeks of learning. This action-learning challenge is engineered to stress-test your cognitive conduct — your critical-creative-integrative thinking. It also provides yet another opportunity to practise your team-working, deliberative and presentational skills, and generates a powerful opportunity for some serious reflective experiential learning that will enhance your conduct in many dimensions.

  • Mindful Manager

    In the Mindful Manager module we are concerned with your development as a high performance business manager. The module is designed and deployed as the central element of your learning throughout the MBA programme.

    Today’s business world is volatile, uncertain, ambiguous and complex; and is suffused with diverse stakeholders with competing agendas. Instead of shrinking away from this complexity, we encourage you to embrace the challenges and opportunities it offers. We strive to ensure you learn to deal with the world as it is; not how you might like it to be!

    Through this module we focus on building the 'attitudes of mind' that you will require if you are to be highly effective at the most senior levels. We drive the development of your practical wisdom - your capacity to exercise quality judgement – your ability to deal with the real world of business and management.

  • 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.

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.

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 Corporate Challenge.

Watch Video
MBA challenges

Experts in Strategy

The Lancaster MBA is ranked number one globally for Corporate Strategy by the Financial Times (2018). 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

Lakes, Lancaster, London

Our programme offers you the chance to experience London, the beating heart of business in the UK, where our workshops and the Corporate Challenge take place. 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 office hours should you need to.  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.

Watch Video

International Focus

Internationalism is a critical component of our MBA. We actively seek a multi-national cohort, and that’s why we have 20 different nationalities represented in this year’s class. 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. 


Career Advancement Programme

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.

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.

Student Profiles