Postgraduate Course

Master of Business Administration: The Essex Executive MBA

Master of Business Administration: The Essex Executive MBA


The details
The Essex Executive MBA
October 2019
5 years
Colchester Campus

The University of Essex is home to the brave and the bold. Our Executive MBA harnesses this daring and experimental spirit. Whether you want to advance to a leadership role or run your own business, you will gain the knowledge, self-confidence and skills to develop new projects and ventures and champion innovation.

You study a broad range of business topics and learn the fundamentals of management and leadership. We foster your entrepreneurial spirit, so you can build sustainable, resilient business models that make sense to shareholders and the environment. You explore the impact of internationalisation on businesses, suppliers and customers and gain the skills to lead in increasingly demanding marketplaces.

Executive study gives you the flexibility to complete your Essex MBA alongside employment or running your own business. You opt for a two or three year pathway and take two or three one week modules per term.

The Essex MBA is accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) the only chartered professional body in the UK promoting the highest standards in management and leadership excellence. On successful completion of the MBA you will receive a Level 7 CMI qualification in Strategic Management and Leadership alongside your Essex MBA.

Our Director’s Workshops run immediately after each weekly-module. The sessions may include company visits, trips to business incubators and presentations from external speakers, as well as our specialist academics. For Executive MBA students, the Director’s Workshops are entirely optional, meaning you can select those most relevant to your professional aspirations or simply focus on your taught modules. Recent examples include sessions on personal branding, new business creation, business ethics, big data for small businesses and company visits to the likes of Adnams PLC, Cambridge Science Park and HSBC.

Your course begins with a week of activities to develop your networking, team work and adaptive thinking skills. It ends with an MBA project, where you choose to complete a dissertation or comprehensive business plan that can be tailored to your professional experience or goals.

Our MBA is taught at Essex Business School, which is placed in the top 25 in the UK for research quality (TGUG 2018). Our MBA scholarship can offer you up to a £6,000 discount if you're funding your own studies and our Alumni Loyalty Discount gives you a fee discount of up to25% if you've previously completed another course at Essex (in most cases, these scholarships and discounts can't be combined and so you can only receive one).

We offer a range of learning styles to fit around your professional commitments. As well as the Executive MBA, we offer a year-long full-time MBA

and an online MBA.

Join our MBA applicant Facebook page.

Why we're great.
  • You gain a Level 7 CMI Qualification in addition to your MBA
  • Our small class sizes mean you benefit from personalised learning and individual attention
  • We are close to London, providing excellent networking opportunities

Our expert staff

We have a truly international faculty, attracting students from all over the globe. You benefit from a wealth of expertise and experience in the classroom and can form lasting connections.

Our world-class MBA tutors have both academic and extensive private sector experience and are at the cutting-edge of research in: business ethics and corporate social responsibility; organisation studies; leadership and strategy; finance and banking; risk management; and international management.

The course is led by our MBA Director, Professor of Management, Nicolas Forsans. An international business and corporate strategy specialist, Nicolas investigates the role of business in society and the impact of emerging business models built around digital technologies. Nicolas has 20+ years of experience teaching international business, responsible management and strategic management modules at all levels.

Nicolas has designed, developed and repositioned various Master, MBA and dual degree programmes, embedding innovation in programme design and delivery, securing world class, academic and professional accreditations while collaborating with business and the third sector to create experiential learning opportunities and securing enviable positions for those programmes in leading league tables. He previously held academic appointments at the University of Exeter (2013-1018) where he repositioned and led the growth of the MBA. Prior to that he worked as a FME Research Fellow, Lecturer then Associate Professor at the Centre for International Business, University of Leeds (CIBUL).

As well as support from academic tutors, our MBA Programme Manager Sian Savage, will be in regular contact and can answer any non-academic questions you have. Throughout your course, you benefit from a personalised and supportive learning environment where help is always at hand.

Specialist facilities

The Essex MBA is taught at our Colchester Campus in the state-of-the-art Essex Business School building, the first zero-carbon business school in the UK.

You benefit from exceptional facilities, including:

  • an exclusive MBA Syndicate Room just for MBA students, offering space for group work, meetings and presentation preparation
  • a beautiful winter garden, which gives the building its own micro-climate
  • a virtual trading floor with Bloomberg Financial Market Labs to practice trading stocks and securities
  • light and spacious teaching areas
  • study pods and innovation booths for group working
  • study support to help you achieve your academic potential
  • a café with an adjacent sun terrace

Our building is located on the University of Essex Knowledge Gateway, the location of choice for knowledge-based enterprises in science, technology and creative sectors in the eastern region. This can provide significant networking opportunities for students with businesses at the cutting-edge of their fields.

Your future

The Essex MBA is designed to foster the business leaders of the future, using their creativity, innovation and ethical awareness to solve the many challenges that the international business world continues to present. Studying with us is an excellent investment in your future career.

Our MBA students have gained posts in a range of businesses, including large corporations, and have used their qualification as the catalyst to start their own business.

Career support is given to you throughout your degree, but you can also gain advice from our Student Services Team and the University’s Employability and Careers Centre. You can also access employer talks on campus.

In 2018, 80% of our postgraduate taught students were in professional employment or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE 2017).

I'm an economist, but my long-term goal is to become a manager within the banking industry or start my own business venture. Having an MBA will give me the knowledge and confidence to apply for senior management positions both globally and also within domestic markets. I chose The Essex MBA because of the ranking of the University of Essex and Essex Business School, and the scholarship incentives available for international students. I love studying here in this modern, beautiful building. Across campus there are great facilities, it’s an inspiring place to create something new.

Alexander Malygin, 2016

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A 2:2 degree. You are also expected to have at least three years of relevant, professional work experience, post-graduation, at the time of application.

If you are a non-standard applicant (which is typically an applicant who possesses an undergraduate degree below a 2:2 standard, or an applicant who does not possess an undergraduate degree at all) we require at least five years of relevant managerial experience. You will also be required to write an essay (2000 words) outlining a range of business situations which you have experienced and identifying what you have learnt from them.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here.Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 6.0

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.


Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Business Research

The effective manager and leader makes decisions based on the available evidence. However not all evidence should carry equal weight and some should carry no weight at all. This module will help you understand sources and the quality of data that will form the basis of this evidence. We look at qualitative and quantitative methods of data gathering and analysis to help ensure that evidence-based decisions are effective. This module will prepare you for your MBA Project and encourage you to think about the key issues of method, research design and analysis.

View Business Research on our Module Directory


This module focuses on the formation of new businesses, innovative growth and impact of these on economic and social development in different environments. You acquire a critical understanding of economic, sociological, psychological and managerial theories of enterprise creation and development and learn how they apply in practice. We provide the critical, theoretical underpinning for the study and investigation of enterprise development and the critical components of entrepreneurship.

View Entrepreneurship on our Module Directory

International Business Environment

This module gives you a sound global outlook and an advanced understanding of the external context within which international businesses operate. It helps you take advantage of the opportunities and challenges by entrepreneurial firms, both large and small. We introduce you to key international trade theories and practices, and apply this to the study of entrepreneurship. We examine the external challenges facing international firms; in particular economic, financial, political, legal, technological and cultural challenges.

View International Business Environment on our Module Directory

Business Strategy

Business strategy is the means by which an organisation achieves its long-term aims. This module will consider the components of strategy, their external and internal influences, what makes a successful strategy and the pitfalls to avoid. You are encouraged to reflect on the nature of business strategy, the approaches to strategy development, the implications of strategic choices, stakeholder interests and the wider context of strategy. Informed by our internationally recognised research, we also consider how strategy delivers a sustainable and ethical business.

View Business Strategy on our Module Directory

People and Organisations

This module covers many of the key human aspects of management that are, so often, taken for granted. It provides you with an understanding of core issues that shape the management of organisational performance. We invite you to analyse workforce issues that will shape your own management practice.

View People and Organisations on our Module Directory

Consulting to Organisations: Depth Psychology Approaches

This module will equip you with a critical understanding of the nature and design of consultancy engagements and develop an understanding of a range of depth psychology models of organisational change processes. You study approaches to observing organisational process, including the role and stance of the consultant, models of organisational change and interpersonal dynamics in teams. You also learn approaches to relational data collection, including a variety of consultancy models informed by gestalt and study complexity and psychodynamic perspectives. You learn the process of negotiating, contracting and concluding consultancy assignments.

View Consulting to Organisations: Depth Psychology Approaches on our Module Directory

Public Sector Management

We look at the key issues associated with the challenges of service transformation in delivering vibrant, engaging and cost effective public services. This module is set against the background of a range of new challenges facing leaders across public services organisations during a period of reductions in funding and rising expectations of service users. We take you through a journey designed to empower you to take a critical and practical approach to the challenges of transforming large and small organisations across the public sector.

View Public Sector Management on our Module Directory

Supply Chain Management

In the modern world, it’s supply chains that compete for and deliver business opportunities, not individual organisations. This module considers how supply chains are formed, managed and made sustainable. It looks at the details of logistics, considering the options for lean and reactive supply chains that meet fluctuating customer demand. Through a variety of lectures projects and simulations, you understand why supply chains are so crucial to delivering responsive, flexible business solutions.

View Supply Chain Management on our Module Directory

Leadership and Business Performance

So you can emerge as an effective leader, we offer the practical skills that you can use in your workplace. This module provides a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the behavioural, values, culture and psychological frameworks. It’s taught and facilitated by experienced practitioners who have been deeply active in both the research and practical application of the methodology. You learn how to identify the factors which differentiate outstanding from average organisational performance and develop an appreciation of the critical levers which drive and facilitate change and value in a business.

View Leadership and Business Performance on our Module Directory

Social Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Impact

The module develops your critical understanding of social entrepreneurship, social innovation and social impact. You learn how these areas connect with entrepreneurial and management skills to address exclusion, collaboration, poverty, inequality and environmental concerns and examine their impact on business and the economy. You also explore how they promote better management capabilities in social enterprises, enhance corporate social responsibility in the private sector and enable sustainable policy making by the public sector.

View Social Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Impact on our Module Directory

Managerial Economics

Managerial Economics is the application of economic theory to business management. It lies on the borderline between economics and business management. In this module, you develop a critical understanding of how economic concepts can be used to solve business problems. We examine decision making and forward planning as an efficient means of attaining a desired end, such as profit maximisation. The focus of the module is theoretical and enables you to examine the different economic concepts which can be used to analyse business situations.

View Managerial Economics on our Module Directory

Marketing in a Global Economy

A sound understanding of marketing strategy is essential for all modern managers. This module provides the foundations of the marketing concept and market orientation for international operations and examines issues related to internal and external environments for strategy-making, across borders. We focus on strategic and functional aspects of international marketing activities of firms of varying sizes and industries and integrate insights of strategy from international marketing literature. You gain a critical awareness of the facets of international marketing both from the strategic and functional point of view.

View Marketing in a Global Economy on our Module Directory

Sustainable Operations

This module will equip you with the skills to manage operations in a sustainable way that helps deliver the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. We introduce models that help you manage a range of operations, from high volume batch processing to low volume bespoke businesses. We consider both production and service organisations and address the increasing blurring of the distinction between the two.

View Sustainable Operations on our Module Directory

Accounting and Managerial Finance

All managers, whatever their discipline, must understand their sources of capital and how their money is used. This module enables students to understand how to finance their organisation, assess shareholder value and control their organisation based on key financial statements. We will consider the key issues of current debate and while not creating fully fledged financiers or accountants the module will enable managers to ask the right questions and understand the answers.

View Accounting and Managerial Finance on our Module Directory

Business Planning

This module challenges you to create a business plan and implement it within a simulated environment. You work in a group to prepare a business plan and pitch for funding. The module brings together strategy, marketing, accounting and entrepreneurship by giving you the chance to assume the role of a director within a start-up. Together, you put theory into practice by devising plans and operating models to bring your business idea to life.

View Business Planning on our Module Directory

MBA Project

This module allows you to demonstrate your understanding of a management problem, the relevance of empirical research and how these might be applied to the problem, and the implications of the findings of your research. You develop, integrate and apply the concepts, skills and techniques acquired during the MBA programme in addressing a management problem or issue. You are assigned a project supervisor with extensive research experience in your chosen subject area. You are required to complete either a dissertation or comprehensive business plan.

View MBA Project on our Module Directory

Developing a Business Plan

Gain the critical, practical and transferable skills associated with the development of sustainable business plans for new ventures. You discover the four stages of development of an effective and practical business plan - causation and ideas generation; articulation and development; consolidation and implementation; and evaluation and obligation.

View Developing a Business Plan on our Module Directory


The course consists of 12 taught modules and a final project. Each module is delivered in a one week period. We use a mixture of lectures, case studies, syndicate exercises, group work and guest lectures.


Assessment for each taught module usually consists of a combination of two-or three-hour examinations and coursework. Coursework takes the form of individual written essays, group projects and presentations. The Business Research Methods and Skills module is provided to support you with your final MBA Project.


You are required to complete one of the following in the summer term:

  • dissertation - using robust research methods and tools to explore specific business issues of your choice
  • comprehensive Business Plan - a structured business planning document for a new or growing business

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee


Annual fees depend on the number of modules taken. (Standard modules: £1,267, MBA project: £3,800)

International fee


Annual fees depend on the number of modules taken. (Standard modules: £1,267, MBA project: £3,800)

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.


You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

MBA applicants will be asked to take part in either a face-to-face, online or telephone interview.

Additional Documents

Official transcript(s), in English or a certified translation of your academic results to date, showing marks or grades, must be provided at the time you make your application. (Transcripts are not required from current or previous University of Essex students, or from students who have previously completed a degree at Colchester Institute awarded by the University of Essex).

A personal statement with a 500 word limit to support your application saying why you wish to undertake the course and what you hope to achieve from it. If you require a Tier 4 visa to study with us, your personal statement should refer specifically to your reasons for wishing to study in the UK, and why you have chosen your area of study.

We will also require two references during the application process, one of which must come from a current employer, or appropriate other person, confirming your employment status. Don’t worry if you cannot provide references when you make your application, as if we make you an offer you will be able to provide these at a later stage.

Applicants with an undergraduate degree 2.2 or above

Students applying to the MBA with a 2.2 degree or above, must evidence at least three years of managerial experience, post –graduation, documented by your CV.

Applicants without a first degree, or a first degree below 2.2

Evidence at least evidence at least five years of relevant managerial experience, a significant portion of which should be middle-management level, documented by your CV.

Applicants applying to the MBA without a first degree, or a first degree below 2.2, need to provide an essay of 2,000 words outlining a range of business situations which the applicant has experienced and identifying what s/he has learned from them. When writing the essay, please consider that the admission team will typically be looking at the ways in which the applicant constructs an argument, is able to reflect on his/her experiences, and is able to indicate how these reflections have influenced, his/her subsequent practice.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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