Executive MBA Electives

This list of electives is only an indication of the range of subjects on offer and is subject to change. Note that international electives are subject to a specific allocation process, which will be explained during your second year. Given the popularity of international electives, places cannot be guaranteed.

Students are required to take a minimum of seven electives.

Consulting and Strategy

Advanced Corporate Strategy for a Globalizing World

Understanding corporate strategy requires both understanding what organisations can do strategically and what you as individuals need to do to be effective in making strategy happen. You will look at these four key issues:

  1. Cognitive processes and the mind of the chief executive
  2. The logic of business models and the fit between business models and strategic thinking
  3. Social networks and corporate strategy
  4. Managerial action, politics and strategy implementation

Consulting to Management

This elective aims to meet the needs of three groups of students who will have different needs, namely, those thinking of becoming management consultants and/or toying with the idea of starting their own consulting business, or specialists/professionals who wish to advise/intervene in organisations as internal consultants. Visiting speakers from consulting firms, internal consultants, and purchasers of consultancy services, will deliver a variety of practical perspectives to ensure the interplay of theory and practice.

Learning outcomes

  • Know and understand the management consulting industry (global, European, national)
  • Understand institutional theory in the context of consulting.
  • Understand guru theory and fashion setting
  • Understand theories relating to the consulting process; dynamics of consultant- client relationships; consultants' roles and skills; client responsibilities; consulting methodologies, tools and concepts; strategy and management of consultancy firms.
  • Understand guidelines on choosing and using consultants.
  • Differentiate internal consultants and consulting - advantages/ disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses, in comparison with external consultants. Issues of objectivity and independence. Guidelines on marketing an internal consultancy unit
  • Identify issues in assessing and evaluating consultants, consulting, consultancy - intangibles and identification and measurement.

Corporate Restructuring

This module will provide you with a knowledge and understanding of the strong connections between effective ongoing corporate restructuring , strategic and operational performance and enterprise value. You will be asked to consider various corporate restructuring options and approaches which can be taken by organisations in differing circumstances, for example distress restructuring, strategic splits, strategic alliances and refinancing etc. You will also review and consider the ethical and moral imperatives of corporate restructuring in the current environment.

Learning Outcome

  • Understand the role of corporate restructuring in corporate survival, growth and performance
  • Understand the fundamental corporate restructuring approaches and methods
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the relevance of differing restructuring approaches in differing circumstances
  • Understand  the practical issues which need to be identified and resolved in a corporate restructure

Managing Strategic Change

This elective aims to give you both a theoretical and practical understanding of the issues involved in managing strategic change. In particular it emphasises the need for the use of context sensitive approaches to change in organisations. By the end of the elective you should be capable of putting your theoretical knowledge into practice within an organisation.

Learning Outcome

  • An appreciation of the different theories on strategic change
  • An understanding of tools and frameworks that can help with the design of context sensitive change
  • Knowledge of how to link strategic thinking through to strategic action to help deliver change
  • An appreciation of the need for context sensitive approaches to strategic change
  • An appreciation of the issues facing change agents when managing complex change
  • An understanding of the issues involved in managing / leading transitions

Managing Value Creation Linking Strategy and Finance

The aim of this module is to provide you with a greater understanding of how senior executives can manage to create value for their companies and shareholders.

You will learn what value means from a finance perspective and covers topics such as the core principles of valuing value; the relationship between growth, return on invested capital and cash flow; shareholder returns and managerial expectations; intrinsic value; financial risk and business risk; investor communications; financial engineering and managing for value.

You will explore issues and topics beyond those taught in the core strategy and finance modules. The module introduces advanced finance and valuation concepts with an emphasis on demonstrating the application of these concepts and techniques to common strategic issues and scenarios to help measure and manage value creation.

Learning Outcome

  • Gain an advanced understanding of what value means from a strategy and finance perspective
  • Understand the principles underlying the assessment of the intrinsic value of a company
  • Learn about concepts and application of value based management

Strategies of Fast Track Venturing

  • Introduce concepts, theories and techniques that are reshaping our thinking about business success and strategic management in fast moving environments.
  • Critically formulate the key factors that determine whether a venture achieves its maximum potential and grows to a significant size?
  • Develop strategic angles (what kind of business model do we need) and address practical issues (how to start the business either inside or outside the corporate environment and ensure that the key stakeholders such as founders realise their objectives).

Learning Outcome

  • Understand the important methods by which high-velocity firms are formed, valued and financed
  • Appreciate the important different business models for running a high technology business
  • Understand some of the key factors needed to start and scale one's own business in a high velocity environment
  • Integrate venturing ideas with theories relating to business strategy

The New Strategic Landscape

    Strategy as a management practice worthy of study has a history of fifty years. Over the years many frames through which to view the practice have been explored, but one –economics - has dominated and remained popular especially with especially with Western management. But organisations, and the organisational world, are perceived, almost daily as more complex.  The western crisis of 2007/8 and the apparent failure of economists to find agreement on solutions and forward directions, even to be able to predict and avert the crisis, have opened minds.

    There is a new appetite for different ways of thinking and making sense of a world that has more knowledge, new technologies and different community concerns and motivations than were salient even a few years ago.

    One lens might never have been sufficient, but now is even less so.  A wide variety of situations and organisational types have evolved where leaders are interested in 'doing' strategy. Strategic insight is more valuable to organisations trying to survive hectic and challenging contexts and find the new possibilities that instability and uncertainty create.

    You will focus on the ideas for strategy making and activity that are fit for the 21st century context. You will attend a mix of lectures, discussion and student group presentations of a series of topics that are relevant to aspects of strategy.

    Learning Outcome

  • Understand a breadth of strategic theories and concepts, those that are beyond economics and where the locus of attention is people, behaviours, emotions, humanness and meaningful work places.
  • Understand the reality of managing with uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity and how different strategic models deal with these aspects of everyday practice
  • Understand how to balance different stakeholder views and concerns within the ‘wicked problems’ that strategy has to deal with

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Capturing Value from Innovation: Strategies for Innovative Firms

In this module, you will learn how to bridge this gap by integrating knowledge at the crossroad between technology management and business and corporate strategy, offering a guide on how to capture value from innovation.

Some of the questions that you will find addressed in the course include:

  • How can innovation be integrated in a sound business model?
  • How can competitive advantage be protected and sustained over time in contexts characterised by a high degree of innovation?
  • How can a company compete successfully in innovation ecosystems?
  • What are the best strategies for new entrants, facing the challenge of scaling up their business model? How should incumbent companies respond to rivals’ disruptive business models?

Learning Outcome

  • Understand the core sources of competitive advantage in innovation - intensive contexts
  • Understand competitive strategies in innovation-intensive environments
  • Understand innovation leveraging strategies (vertical, horizontal, geographical)
  • Understand innovation ecosystems

Competitive Edge with Digital Technologies

Competitive Edge with Digital Technologies provides additional content on the MBA about big data and artificial intelligence for decision making purposes, which is becoming increasingly demanded by students.

Design Thinking

Design thinking is a human-centred innovation process that combines creative and design activities to deliver more innovative solutions, from objects and products to services and business reorganisations. Organisations are increasingly turning to it to solve problems in more sophisticated, design-oriented ways.

The UK’s Design Council defines design as the process that shapes creative ideas to become practical and attractive propositions for users – creativity deployed to a specific end. Design represents a critical intersection between creativity and innovation – that without design, creative ideas be shaped to become the practical and attractive propositions that users need and want.

In this module, students will learn about and experience different design thinking activities, understand how design thinking processes can be used to channel creative outcomes, and learn about how to initiate and support creative design thinking in organisations.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the core principles and models of design thinking
  • Understand the intersection between creative thinking and design
  • Acquire relevant knowledge of the processes and techniques used for design thinking.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The module aims to provide knowledge and practical tools for the management of innovation and entrepreneurship, which are crucial organisational processes bringing new products, services and technology from a mind or a lab to the market.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are multidisciplinary activities involving strategy, R&D, marketing and project management. In practice, managers face a number of complex issues simultaneously.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the new product development process (How do organisations introduce new products? How is the idea developed and processed? Who talks to whom inside the company? How do we manage successful product development projects)?
  • Have a good feel for technology management (How can we organise and fund R&D? What is the role and practice of patenting and licensing? How can we sell and/or buy technology?)
  • Understand the distinguishing characteristics of innovative organisations (regarding external communications, leadership, strategy, creativity and structure).
  • Be introduced to issues regarding the launch and the post-launch marketing campaign supporting new products and services.
  • Understand how to launch and to finance a HIGH-GROWTH, innovative business.

Intrepreneurship

In this elective you will have the opportunity to study Intrapreneurship – which involves acting like an entrepreneur within an organization to bring about change/innovation in products and capabilities. Intrapreneurs are important value creators for the business, and have been key to the competitive success of major organizations such as Google, 3M, and Virgin. To change the organization from within, they need to develop skills in mobilizing top management support, and the ability to tap into wider social networks for ideas and advice.  They provide a means of driving innovation from the bottom or middle of the organization, and not in a top-down way.

The module is highly participative and builds on the knowledge gained in core courses. You will be able to integrate theory and learning on innovation, social networks and organizational change with the practical experience of intrapreneurs, including your own and your peers’ experience of driving change. Through the course of this module you will develop relevant knowledge and skills in intrapreneurship, coupled with a deep understanding of how this practice can help organizations address major business and societal challenges of market and environmental change, disruptive technologies and sustainability.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the need for intrapreneurship in responding to major organizational challenges
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the different dimensions of effective intrapreneurial behaviour
  • Show awareness of the organizational barriers to intrapreneurship and how they can be overcome, including by the effective use of novel ideas
  • Understand the role of social networks in supporting intrapreneurial change and innovation.

Leading Digital Transformations

On this course you will have the opportunity to study strategy and technology entrepreneurship in the context of digital transformation and is compulsory for all students interested in attending the Digital Strategy in Action international elective in Silicon Valley.

The course is divided into four parts. First, in order to develop a (preliminary) vision of what digital transformations are and of their far-reaching impact, you will review some evidence on the far-reaching psychological and socio-economic implications of the ongoing digital transformations.

Second, you shall examine regulation of digital markets since regulation poses both opportunities and challenges for established companies and entrepreneurial start-ups.

Third, you will focus on the digital transformations’ business implications and after reviewing some basic tools from economics, you will delve deeper into topics including value chain digital transformations, digital ecologies, digital convergence, digital disruptions, digital innovation and digital business models.

In the last part of the course, you will briefly describe the emergent London’s ‘TechCity’ to equip you with a comparison point for your subsequent visit to the Silicon Valley.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the links between strategy, organization, capabilities and digital transformations
  • Develop convictions and scenarios on the psychological, sociological, economic and business impact of the on-going digital transformations;
  • Critically evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the traditional strategy and entrepreneurship tools;
  • Understand transformational patterns and best practices.

New Venture Creation

The aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge and understanding of the entrepreneurial and innovation agenda, the need for innovation and all aspects of the new venture creation process including feasibility testing, marketing financial forecasting and securing finance. At the end of this process the participant will be able to produce a comprehensive business plan covering the first three years of the commercialisation of their business idea.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module students will have an understanding of:

  • The entrepreneurial environment
  • Triggers and barriers to entrepreneurship
  • The innovation process
  • The importance of small firms to the economy
  • Appropriate business models for commercialisation of business idea.
  • Financial forecasting
  • Sources of funding of funding and the investment process
  • IP protection
  • The business Planning Process.

Finance

Advanced Corporate Finance

The course aims to equip you with the skill sets they need in order to recognize financial and strategy related situations you may come across in your professional lives as advisors or managers. These could be situations such as LBOs, restructuring in order to create shareholder value, the use of private equity to fund and grow a business, project finance, mezzanine finance and M&A. We will build on knowledge learned in Applied Corporate Finance 1, M&A, Investments and Strategy.

Learning outcomes

  • Gain a detailed knowledge of valuation skills
  • Understand deal mechanics and structuring issues
  • Understand the impact of financial decisions on corporate strategy
  • Learn to apply valuation skills under real life conditions.

Applied Corporate Finance

Looks in depth at the capital structure, process and cost of different funding strategies as well as their implications for the corporate .In addition the module covers the topic of financial risk management, its latest trends and development as well as derivatives, forwards, options, swaps and their use for funding and acquisition purposes. It also looks at issues of efficient working capital and inventory management.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand and value the cost of financing strategies available to a company.
  • Understand and develop models for cash flow forecasts and conduct sensitivity analysis and to understand the key drivers of such models.
  • Understand key business questions, such as what form of investments a firm should take and how to finance these investments or how to manage day-to-day cash and financial affairs of a company.
  • Engage in finance discussions to answer the needs of their companies.
  • Understand the different types of financing instruments (debt/equity/hybrids).

Applied Financial Analysis for Managers & Investors

This module aims to help you develop hands-on expertise in applied financial analysis; developing both general skills as well as skills specific to certain sectors in finance. It also helps to integrate and extend learning gathered in previous modules (such as financial reporting, financial statement analysis and corporate valuation) without however posing any strict pre-requisites to take this elective.

You will benefit from taking this elective if you are expecting to work directly with financial information in Excel, or to supervise those doing this kind of work.

Content outline

  • Microsoft Excel best practices for maximizing speed and efficiency when working with financial information
  • Key Excel tools for budgeting and project appraisal
  • Structuring a corporate forecast model based on best practice techniques used by investment professionals
  • Using a corporate forecast model for equity valuation and transaction analysis (M&A and LBO)
  • Sensitivity analysis and scenario analysis
  • Checking financial information in Excel: error-checking and stress-testing techniques.

Learning outcomes

  • Understanding how practitioners utilise Excel for financial analysis
  • Learn how financial techniques for project and investment appraisal are applied in practice
  • Link your knowledge of accounting / financial reporting to the practice of building a budget and a corporate forecast model
  • Understand the limitations of applied financial analysis in Excel and the most common pitfalls.

Behavioral Finance

Behavioural Finance is a hot topic among academics as well as practitioners. The main paradigm in Finance is that the financial markets are efficient. Thus the main assumption behind the valuation models we teach is that the financial decision makers are rational. Behavioural finance introduces work in the psychology of decision making in finance and argues that human nature is prone to bias and this can be extended to financial decision making. Once we move away from the idea that market participants are rational and are able to process knowledge logically then the efficient market hypothesis cannot hold true in its purest form.

The module aims to introduce you to the key insights from research in “behavioural finance”. This name itself is quite broad with different books emphasising different aspects. In this module we will take a very broad approach and will use ideas from psychology, philosophy, neuroeconomics, game theory and decision theory to show that humans are not rational creatures in the way we like to think we are and that our brain which evolved over time is better equipped to deal with survival than rational, emotionless choices.

The course will be lecture based but very interactive. Information will be presented and attendees will need to vote or enter their selections based on information given. The ideas in class will not be purely finance driven but the biased responses which will be derived will be analysed and then set in the context of financial decisions in the area of stockmarket investing, project decisions and also in our daily lives.

Learning outcomes

  • Recognise and understand the major issues in behavioural finance. These include biases, which frequently occur in financial decision-making such as optimism, mental framing, over-reaction, trend-chasing, conservatism and anchoring of expectations
  • Appreciate the practical understanding of cognitive psychology in a financial domain
  • Appreciate modern theory of finance on asset valuation
  • Appreciate the experience of practitioners on the use of modern finance theory and related problems/possible solutions.

Forecasting

The aim of this course is to give you a working understanding of the main quantitative and judgmental methods used to guide business and marketing decisions in general and financial decisions in particular.

In addition to conventional business forecasting techniques, the course introduces in an accessible way some specialist techniques in vogue in financial markets (volatility forecasting, technical analysis), and the new techniques of data mining that are increasingly applied in “big data” environments (neural networks, genetic algorithms).

A background in statistics is not necessary to enjoy the course. Methods are explained at an intuitive level, and you will get hands-on experience using industry-standard forecasting packages such as EVIEWS and Metastock.

Content outline:
- What makes a Good Forecast?
- Telling a Story: Regression Models
- Keeping it simple: Smoothing Models
- Making it complicated: Box-Jenkins (ARIMA) Methods 
- Forecasting Volatility: VaR, RiskMetrics and GARCH 
- Technical Analysis in the Financial Markets
- Big Data and Data Mining with Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms
- New Product Forecasting 
- Judgmental Forecasting, Delphi and beyond.

International Financial Management

This module provides you with an understanding of the international financial environment in which businesses operate and looks at the way businesses source, manage and invest funds.

Learning Outcome

  • Understand the development and shape of the international financial infrastructure
  • Have knowledge of international sources of corporate funding and their characteristics
  • Understand the nature of the management & investment of corporate funds internationally
  • Understand financial management in the context of international business generally

Investment Strategy & Practice

This module aims to bring investment management and strategic level asset allocation into real life, encouraging you to rehearse skills that will be important in your future careers

The course aims to bring financial theory and investment practice together. It aims to engage you in discussion about the fundamental concepts of traditional finance and challenge this against the observed behaviour of investors.

It will explore and educate you in both how and why, in practice, different investment funds and approaches are put together and illustrate why investors should critically analyse and understand their own needs before setting their investment strategy

Learning outcomes

  • differentiate types of investors and their liability models
  • understand different investment strategies and approaches
  • have an understanding of both major and alternative asset classes
  • understand the parts played in asset allocation by correlation and returns expectations
  • work with confidence within  the investment management industry
  • consider the social and financial costs and benefits of financial decisions.

Managing Value Creation Linking Strategy and Finance

The scope of this module centres on how corporate executives can maximise the value of the companies they manage drawing on new insights into business strategy, finance and investor behaviour.

This module sets out what value means from a finance perspective and covers topics such as the core principles of valuing value; the relationship between growth, return on invested capital and cash flow; shareholder returns and managerial expectations; intrinsic value; financial risk and business risk; investor communications; financial engineering and managing for value.

Learning outcomes

  • Gain an advanced understanding of what value means from a strategy and finance perspective
  • Understand the principles underlying the assessment of the intrinsic value of a company
  • Learn about concepts and application of value based management.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Focuses on the topics you need to know to prepare yourself for a world where M&A is an integral part of the strategic and financial business landscape. It takes a global perspective, not focused on any one market or industry. The aim of the module is to familiarise you with the various aspects of M&A so that you will be able to understand the role of M&A in the life of a corporation, how to apply valuation techniques learned elsewhere, to be familiar with the various techniques used in the different stages of a merger or an acquisition (including post-merger integration) and to understand the alternatives to M&A. This is a multidisciplinary module that combines strategy, finance and individual and group behaviour.

Learning outcomes

The principal learning outcome is to become comfortable, if not fluent, in the topic of Mergers & Acquisitions. When you have completed the module you will have not only an understanding of the blend of strategic and financial concepts applied to M&A, but more importantly a full recognition of the impact on organisations and people of corporate restructurings.

Private Equity

The aim of this module is to impart a thorough understanding of how private equity functions as an asset class. Also covers the different sub-classes which it contains, and how its returns are earned, measured and analysed. During the module you will also cover areas such as venture, capital, due diligence and planning an investment programme.

Learning outcomes

  • Be able to model and analyse buyout returns
  • Be able to model and analyse venture returns
  • Have a thorough understanding of the drivers of returns in the different private equity categories
  • Be able to segment private equity funds by size, sector, stage and geography
  • Know how to plan and implement a private equity fund programme
  • Be familiar with the main documentation used in the private equity industry.
  • Consider the ethical implications of the PE model.

The Wealth Management Industry

In this module, you will explore in detail the concepts that underlie private client and institutional wealth management as well as the governance framework that practitioners follow.  The module places emphasis on active management, where the investment manager seeks to render higher performance than the markets, as against passive management where the objective is to replicate market performance.

Learning outcomes

  • Have a good understanding of the variety of firms that provide wealth management services to private individuals and institutions and of their internal structure and governance
  • You should be able to analyse why and how different firms are structured depending on the characteristics of their wealth management offer;
  • Have a grasp of the various concepts behind active investment management
  • Based on the characteristics, investment goals and risk profile of both retail and institutional clients, you should be able to argue in favour of suitable investment portfolios and create appropriate models
  • Obtain an understanding of the need for sound internal governance procedures and learn how regulation seeks to promote corporate and individual practitioner behaviour so as to safeguard the interests of clients
  • You should be able to articulate why certain behaviours that run counter to sound governance may result in detriment to the client, the firm, or even the sound functioning of the industry as a whole.

Topics in Derivatives

The aim of the course is to help students understand the sources of risk in corporations and financial institutions, and to provide a clear understanding of the nature and practical use of modern derivative instruments, both exchange traded and over the counter, in managing these risks.

The course is not a course in how to price derivatives, but basic quantitative and arithmetical skills are expected. The course is predicated on the view that the modern business manager should understand the nature and use of derivatives but is unlikely to implement such strategies without expert advice from banks or specialist firms. It is that dialogue which this course is intended to facilitate, along with an understanding of where derivatives use may be dangerous and even potentially destructive to the corporation.

Learning Outcome

  • Understand sources of risk for corporate and financial institutions: credit risk and market risk
  • Understand the nature and design of modern derivative instruments and markets
  • Understand the principles of hedging interest rate, foreign exchange, equity and credit risk with options, futures, swaps, and forwards
  • Understand the rationale for of credit default swaps and their role in the global financial crisis
  • Understand the limitations and dangers of using derivatives.
  • Avoid pitfalls in the use of derivatives

General Management

Corporate Restructuring

This module will provide you with a knowledge and understanding of the strong connections between effective ongoing corporate restructuring, strategic and operational performance and enterprise value. You will be asked to consider various corporate restructuring options and approaches which can be taken by organisations in differing circumstances, for example distress restructuring, strategic splits, strategic alliances and refinancing etc. You will also review and consider the ethical and moral imperatives of corporate restructuring in the current environment.

The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of the methods and approaches to corporate restructuring and their relevance in differing circumstances. This includes developing an understanding of the rationale for corporate restructuring and its links with corporate finance, strategy and value creation. You will understand how corporate restructuring can contribute to corporate survival, growth, performance and value.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the role of corporate restructuring in corporate survival, growth and performance
  • Understand the fundamental corporate restructuring approaches and methods
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the relevance of differing restructuring approaches in differing circumstances
  • Understand  the practical issues which need to be identified and resolved in a corporate restructure.

Leadership

A highly interactive elective linking theory with practice, incorporating application and consideration of current business strategy   techniques, leadership theory and organisational behaviour and change theory.

We’re making the transition from the capital age to the knowledge economy yesterday’s winners were those who could extract value from capital, today the winners are those who can generate and enhance value from knowledge. But hierarchical, command and control, target driven, shareholder value maximising environments are not necessarily the best for knowledge incubation. What new structures and cultures are being created? And what does the new leader look like?

Learning outcomes

  • Improve understanding of corporate culture
  • Improve understanding of different leadership styles and approaches
  • Apply business strategy techniques
  • Apply organizational behaviour and change theories
  • Identify critical success factors for innovation
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Exercise self-development.

Leading in Challenging Situations

Leading in Challenging Situations has been created to develop and improve the students’ leadership decision-making skills in challenging situations by increasing their self-awareness and self-reflective capabilities, enhancing their leadership and team effectiveness. This elective will link more efficiently the current expeditions to the credit structure of the programme, and will also provide a more solid academic framework to the Explorer’s Mindset as a characteristic theme of Cass Business School’s MBA programmes.

The module may include an additional expedition linked to the International Consultancy Weeks, but these expeditions are already offered to students not for credit.

Managerial Decision Making

Presents the various models and tools that are available to practitioners, and to rehearse the organisational and managerial situations and contexts in which they are relevant and effective. The value of an interdisciplinary approach to decision-making will be stressed. The aim is to build capability in the appropriate use of these models based on a thorough understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the tools presented.

Learning outcomes

  • Awareness of the value of the operations management approach to managerial decision-making
  • An appreciation of the value of a systematic and inter-disciplinary approach to managerial decision-making
  • Ability to recognise situations where particular problem-solving techniques can be applied effectively
  • Ability to apply the following in order to improve the systematic manner in which problems are addressed and resulting decisions are made: decision theory, utility and risk analysis, heuristic and bias management, conflict models, project planning and control, inventory management, simulation.
  • An awareness of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the above approaches to decision-making
  • An appreciation of the power of the operations management approach to decision-making when applied to real management problems, and the ability to effectively interpret the results of consequent analyses.

Managing Strategic Change

This elective focuses on strategy implementation and specifically planned strategic change as opposed to emergent change or change that comes about in organisation due to constant realignment and organisational learning. The particular aim is to explore organisations which set-out to undertake a step change, either in a pro-active manner in recognition of the need for pre-emptive change given potential threats that may arise in the future, or in a re-active manner in response to an immediate need, such as a direct competitive threat.

For planned strategies to become a reality, rather than dusty reports on shelves, strategists need to be able to link strategic thinking through to action. This in turn requires us to integrate the different streams of work on strategic change from a strategy and a strategic HRM perspective. With its focus on managing strategic change, the elective aims to give you an overview of different theories on strategic change, but also to introduce you to some practical frameworks that can be applied in organisations to deliver strategic change.

Learning outcomes

  • Appreciation of the issues facing change agents when managing complex change
  • Appreciation of the need for context sensitive approaches to strategic change rather than the application of simplistic "ten step recipes"
  • Understanding and practical grasp of tools and frameworks that can help with the design of context sensitive change
  • Understanding of the issues involved in transition management
  • Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses as a Change Leader
  • Appreciation of the skills required of change agents if they are to deliver change successfully.

Storytelling in Business

Storytelling has been with us for as long as the existence of humans but it is only more recently that its practical merits have sparked interest from academics and practitioners around the globe. For some time psychologists and neuroscientists have been fascinated by the human fondness for storytelling. More recently, business academia has turned its attention to the subject, leading to published research by a number of business schools on the topic.

These research papers confirm the effectiveness of storytelling as a powerful tool in various business disciplines, including leadership, change management, marketing and corporate communications. Beyond published research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a knowledge management tool based on storytelling techniques, and Lincoln Business School has run a storytelling conference.

Learning outcomes

  • An appreciation of the different theories of storytelling in business
  • Knowledge of pyramid thinking and other tools on how to create and structure stories to demonstrate that storytelling is not an art but can be applied as a modern business tool
  • An understanding of tools and frameworks that can help with the design and implementation of storytelling
  • Knowledge of the four stories each company has to have in their repertoire
  • An understanding of the issues involved in building stories and using them in a corporate environment.

Succeeding in Professional & Financial Services

In the past two decades professional service firms have emerged as some of the most rapidly growing, profitable, and powerful organizations in the global economy. Consulting firms and investment banks are now listed as Fortune 500 companies; accounting firms and law firms have pioneered the development of the global professional partnership; and advertising agencies have become exemplars at managing creative, knowledge-based workers across complex international projects.

Professional service firms pose distinctive challenges for the people who work within them. As such, conventional management models are of only limited value in understanding and analysing the complex interpersonal and organizational dynamics that operate within these firms. This course will help you to understand these firms in depth and help you to navigate your way more effectively within them. It will also introduce you to leading edge research being conducted by the Cass Centre for Professional Service Firms.

Learning outcomes

  • Manage professionals, how to perform a functional role effectively within a PSF
  • Manage knowledge and develop new practices, how to manage client relationships
  • Exercise leadership at all levels within a PSF
  • Grow a PSF from start-up, how to manage subsequent growth and global expansion
  • Address the challenges currently confronting the professions and PSFs
  • Manage mergers and large scale change management projects, how to deal with being involved in them
  • Exploit the benefits and address the problems associated with different models of governance and ownership.

Marketing

Branding & Advertising

To help you to understand the economic contribution that advertising can make to an organization and the extent to which advertising can provide companies with a substantive source of differentiation.

To demonstrate what advertising communications can achieve for a company and its offerings both in the short and long term.  This entails analyzing the specific financial contribution can make and more generally how advertising can influence customer choice. In particular, the course looks at the influence of branding and how advertising can contribute to building brands.

Learning outcomes

  • Evaluate what advertising can (and has) achieved for a given organization. For instance the economic contribution that advertising/branding has made to companies such as BMW and Coca-Cola.
  • Understand what brands are and why branding is so important.
  • How organizations can create effective advertising.
  • Critically evaluate advertising campaigns against the stated objectives.
  • Understand the importance of advertising in achieving differentiation, namely establishing perceived quality.

Digital Marketing and Social Media

This module, provides clarity on the definition of digital marketing. It describes the structural properties across which digital and electronic resources can differ and reviews some wider considerations in the development of digital marketing strategy.

An important part of digital marketing is social media, both in terms of interaction avenues for customers as well as new and evolving native advertising platforms. We discuss how the approach to digital marketing has evolved from accumulating to selecting traffic.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of a marketing model for the internet—digital marketing strategy.
  • Evaluate the role of digital media and social media in the marketing mix and how it is challenging established marketing theories
  • Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the necessary steps for a successful internet campaign.
  • Critically evaluate when and how digital and social media marketing can be best integrated into a marketing mix.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the differences between advertising, native advertising, and influencer marketing.
  • Be equipped to keep an interaction going online.

International electives

Please note that the destination and content of international electives are indicative, based on what has previously run. It is subject to change and additional costs to cover flights and accommodation will be required.

Find out more about the Executive MBA

China International Study Tour

The aim of the China international study tour is to give you practical insights into how businesses operate within cultural, economic and regulatory environments that are very different from those in North America and Western Europe.

The course will focus on the outlook for China with its burgeoning economy, the impact its growth will have on business and the ways in which companies, large and small, have made the most or can make the most, out of the huge market potential it has to offer. The key learning objective is to develop a better understanding of China and its business environment and to apply the learning outcomes of the core MBA courses and the electives to a specific international context.

The objectives of the programme are to:

  • learn about the institutional, political, socio-economic and business environment of China;
  • gain real life exposure to a variety of Chinese sectors and functions;
  • apply MBA learning and skills to a real international business issue.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the institutional, political, social and cultural dynamic of doing business in China
  • Recognise the importance of China in global business terms

Israel and Palestine - Innovation and Technology Study Tour

This 5-day intensive tour is designed to allow you to become immersed in an area of the world described by The Economist as an “economic miracle”, noting that Israel now has more high-tech start-ups and a larger venture capital industry per capita than any other country in the world. Israel is a first-tier innovation hub, second in the world only to Silicon Valley in its concentration of start-up companies with more companies on the tech-oriented NASDAQ stock exchange than any country outside the US – more than all of Europe and India combined.

You will observe first hand the Israeli high tech industry and learn how entrepreneurs generate new ideas, assemble teams, start up new ventures and create successful innovative companies across multiple sectors; including the health sector. You will attend workshops and company visits and conduct field research on designated themes to collect further primary data to use in your syndicate assignments.

The aims of this module are to expose you to a vibrant technological environment in both Israel and the young emerging tech industry of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. You will be able to explore the technological ecosystem in the different stages of business growth and development including insights not only of the entrepreneurs but also venture capitalists, government offices, technological incubators and established technology companies. You will be able to reflect on the way Israel’s culture, environment and strategy create centres of innovation and get deeper insight of Palestinian entrepreneurial challenges. You will be encouraged to reflect on the role of business and ethics in leading change and economic growth in conflict affected areas.

Learning outcomes

  • learn about the institutional, political, socio-economic and business environment supporting the high tech industry in Israel;
  • gain exposure to a variety of technological start-up across multiple sectors;
  • Get deeper insight of innovation and technology in conflict affected areas.
  • Apply MBA learning and skills to international business issues

Kenya - Tech for Social Good

Technology is increasingly playing a central role in the generation of innovations that target the grand challenges of today’s world, captured by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org). The UK is at the forefront of this effort with its flourishing social innovation scene populated by countless social enterprises, tens of social innovation intermediaries, and a fast-expanding impact investment industry. London – and in particular the City where Cass is uniquely positioned – is the pivotal centre of Europe’s digital innovation landscape (Nesta, 2017), arguably fulfilling the dream of ‘Social Silicon Valleys’ envisioned by the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) in 2006 and described in the important “Manifesto for Social Innovation: What it is, Why it matters, and How it can be accelerated” published by the Young Foundation in the same year. Africa, though, is fast gaining ground and closing the gap, supported by the “technical renaissance” of many of its Sub-Saharan countries, with “the world’s tech titans… floundering to understand and gain a foothold in this market” (Techcrunch, 2018). A fundamental reason behind this ‘reinaissance’, with regard to social innovation and the application of technology for social good, is the pervasiveness of social needs in these regions, coupled with huge and expanding market demand, and significant advancements in the penetration of the Internet.

With this background, you will have the unique opportunity to explore London’s Tech for Good scene in an on-campus preliminary day with seminars, events, and activities before flying to one of the target countries to observe first-hand the depth and breath of tech for good evolution in Sub-Saharan Africa - with company visits and workshops to understand its ecosystem of innovation hubs, startups, investors, and corporate players – before immersing yourself in contexts where the social needs are profound and tech solutions are being explored.

The aims of the module are to challenges deep assumptions about the sources and nature of technological innovation, with emphasis on social needs as key drivers, and to expose you to vibrant yet very different Tech for Good environments in London and Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of this immersive journey, you will have the opportunity to conduct field research on designated themes to use in your syndicate assignments. You will be encouraged to reflect on the role of technology as a driver of social change as well as on the role of new business models that can foster economic growth and shared value creation across developed and developing countries.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the Study Tour programme you will be able to:

  • Understand the nature and characteristics of digital social innovation, the challenges, and interfaces with sources of structured support within innovation ecosystems, and the impact of different technological solutions on the ground.
  • Gain insight into modes of Tech for Good development;
  • Appreciate the drivers of innovation in an emerging market context;
  • Contextualise and apply knowledge gained to your working practices in a challenging business environment.

South Africa - Leading Change in a Complex World

The South Africa tour will provide an opportunity for you to learn about the management, finance and cultural issues facing businesses within this geographical location.

The aims of the course are to provide examples of how business operates within different cultures, the regulations and issues facing start ups as well as the broader socio-economic issues.Specifically the South African Symposium will focus on how organisations have managed change in this increasingly complex and highly diverse business and cultural environment. Key issues highlighted will include the challenges of managing political transformation, improving the quality of service delivery, internationalizing businesses, making positive contributions to job creation, and combating the pandemic of HIV/AIDS.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the issues facing business within the geographic region. The course will explore different business sectors such as professional services, financial services, international business, manufacturing and support services. You will also be able to develop knowledge of the socio-economic issues facing businesses within the geographical region.
  • Understand the underlying reasons for success and failure of companies within the region
  • Understand the socio-economic issues facing regional economies
  • Investigate the importance of specific industries to the region and how they will perform in the future.

UAE - The Dubai Symposium

The Dubai Symposium elective looks at economic development and brand-building in the UAE, the achievements of state-sponsored and private initiatives in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and the challenges that currently arise in these states, and in the broader MENA region, from the global recession and financial crisis, and from the increasing openness and internationalization of historically conservative societies.

This elective will involve a four day trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. You will be required to attend lectures, site visits and networking events.

The course aims to cover the following subjects:

  • History and culture of the UAE
  • Working in a Gulf-based multicultural organisation
  • The development and economy of Dubai
  • Key sectors in Dubai property, finance, tourism, trade and transport, media and telecommunications
  • The development and economy of Abu Dhabi
  • Key sectors in Abu Dhabi oil and gas, sustainable energy, sport and the arts
  • Political Risk and Economic Outlook.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the long term challenges that economic development and internationalization have brought to the Gulf and MENA region.
  • Understand and predict the impact of global recession and political change on specific sectors in the Gulf and MENA region.
  • Know how businesses can set up and operate within the Gulf and MENA region, and use this knowledge to inform decision-making within the students own organisations.

UK - The London Symposium

The Cass MBA London Symposium looks at the economic drivers of the City as a commercial hub and its influence in international business.

The elective will use our unique location and network to create insights into how business is conducted and impacts the UK, European and the global economy.

The objectives of the module are to:

  • learn about the financial, technological, socio-economic and cultural business environment of London
  • gain insights into the operating strategies and processes of a variety of sectors and organisations
  • apply MBA learning and skills in a reflective context to real business challenges.

The module will mix Faculty, senior industry executives and commentators with small group site visits arranged through Cass unique network of contacts with companies and organisations.

You will benefit from interacting with MBA students from other Global Business Schools who have been invited to join the event.

Learning outcomes

  • have an understanding of the drivers of the London economy and its significance within international business context
  • know how businesses succeed within London within a variety of sectors and use this knowledge to inform decision-making within the students own organisations
  • Reflect upon the economic environment that supports business success.

USA - Las Vegas - Strategic Marketing in Action: Exploring Location Brands

This elective will allow you to apply your knowledge in several of the core MBA subjects to a number of strategic, financial, operational and marketing challenges. You will be able to study and investigate the various operating models of many different kinds of organisations in entertainment sector including global resorts, and entrepreneurs with a variety or corporate structures and financial backing.  You will be able to study the location’s marketing and branding and the ways in which competitors seek to differentiate through value, service and operating propositions, strategies and segments. You will undertake the evaluation of brand identity, brand experience and brand equity in their assessment of strategic marketing effectiveness as different strategic, operational and marketing choices made by resort operators to deliver customer value and organisational performance.

Resorts or locations which allow at least 3 businesses to be actively compared may be considered as a suitable location for the Strategic Marketing elective.  One sample location might be Las Vegas where several resort operators are offering strongly differentiated products under the location brand to a market of more than 40m visitors per annum.

The aims of the elective are to:

  • Boost your strategic thinking about role of brands in a competitive landscape
  • Gain insights into drivers of customer value, behaviour and choice, and how alignment of different stakeholders, such as employees and partners is necessary to deliver differentiated value propositions in branded customer experiences
  • Become familiar with the application of world class marketing metrics in customer experience management and organisational performance
  • Understand the financial drivers and challenges in the hospitality industry
  • Reflect on the issues of CSR and sustainability.

Learning outcomes

  • Witness the application of the principles of strategic marketing to business practice
  • Understand and make use of relevant marketing metrics
  • Reflect upon the role of technology in service management.

USA - Silicon Valley - At the Core of Entrepreneurship

This 5-day immersive tour aims to expose students to the most famous entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in the world – Silicon Valley. This is where the “innovation – venture capital – startup” engine that created powerhouses like Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Google, and Intel began. Every day, groundbreaking companies such as PayPal, Netflix, Uber, Tesla, and Airbnb are challenging the status quo, transforming age-old industries, and changing our lives in profound ways.

You will observe first hand the Silicon Valley high tech industry and learn how entrepreneurs generate new ideas, assemble teams, start their ventures, raise funding, and scale up. Through a combination of company visits, hands-on workshops, lectures by faculty, founders, investors and business leaders, and field research, you will acquire a deep and critical understanding of the opportunties and challenges that an entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem offers to established companies as well as startups.

The pre requisite to this module is successful completion of the 10 credit modules ‘New Venture Creation’ MBM542 or ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ MBM019.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the links between strategy, organisation, capabilities and context
  • Critically evaluate strengths and weaknesses of traditional strategy and entrepreneurship tools
  • Critically evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the locations of start-ups.

USA - Silicon Valley - Digital Innovation in Action

This elective will allow you to sharpen your knowledge at the intersection of strategy, digital technology, innovation, entrepreneurship and policy

The elective will take place in Silicon Valley, the alma mater of digital ventures, a hot bed for innovation and the most influential place for entrepreneurship in the world. Silicon Valley is one of the engines of growth for the US economy, building revolutionary platforms for interconnected communities, instantly accessible knowledge and frictionless commerce.

The aims of the elective are to:

1.  boost students understanding of the latest trends in digital strategy, digital business models, digital innovation, digital entrepreneurship

2.  gain insights into the role of venture capital, business angels and other funding options to boost entrepreneurial growth

3.   understand the role of policies and of the business ecosystem in fostering innovation and entrepreurship

4. get exposure to (best) practices in innovation and innovation management

Learning outcomes

  • Have a deep knowledge of the mechanisms at the intersection of digital strategy, digital business models, digital innovation, digital entrepreneurship and the wider business ecosystem
  • Know how businesses succeed within Silicon Valley within a variety of sectors and use this knowledge to inform decision-making within the students own organisations
  • Reflect upon the economic environment that supports business success