The Cranfield Executive MBA in partnership with Grant Thornton combines the best of academic insight and commercial application. We’ll use this to help you develop your leadership and management skills with a specific focus on business growth and innovation. 

This page is for students seeking an Executive MBA independent of Apprenticeship Levy funding. If you are looking for more information on our Apprenticeship Levy part-funded routes, please visit the Senior Leadership Apprenticeship+ Executive MBA programme page.

This Executive MBA programme will allow you to join a community of skilled individuals developing the necessary know-how and confidence to stand out from the crowd. Grant Thornton in the UK is part of a global organisation, the world’s 6th largest accounting and advisory firm with more than 40,000 clients.

We encourage you to come and experience a world-class university programme delivered by a university famous for innovation, career-enhancing services and world-renowned faculty and a company reputed for the quality of its service and advice, with a passion for shaping a vibrant economy.

This part-time programme meets the requirements of the revised Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard. Eligible organisations can use £14,000 of their Apprenticeship Levy to cover Part 1 of the programme tuition fee. Part 2 can be funded by the employer or employee.


  • Start date14 September 2022, 1 March 2023
  • Duration28 months
  • DeliveryYou will be assessed through a mixture of exams, written projects and presentations
  • QualificationMBA
  • Study typeExecutive / Part-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is the programme suitable for?

The Cranfield Executive MBA in partnership with Grant Thornton is aimed at Senior Leaders with mid-to senior-level experience, looking to develop the skillsets required to lead a department or business.  

  • Minimum of five years' post-qualification work experience. 
  • A strong degree and/or professional qualification or demonstration of high levels of achievement, exceptional career progression or evidence of leadership potential.
  • English language: full details of how you can meet this requirement can be found in our 'Entry Requirements' section.

What does the programme look like and what will I learn?

Exec MBA self-funded structure

As you begin the course, you will spend 15 months learning the core tenets of becoming a senior leader. These modules will allow you to reflect on your current role and focus on developing your business’s needs. The initial 15 months of the programme will deepen your understanding of  organisations and their contexts. You will become a more skilled and resilient senior leader whilst developing knowledge in areas such as data analytics, operations management, and managing strategic innovation. The first part of the programme is designed to set the foundation for your Executive MBA journey with a strong focus on your leadership development, enhancing your contribution to your business and focusing on your career progression.

You will focus on work-based projects and case studies, reflective statements, peer reviews, and progress appraisals with your executive coach. Allowing you to reflect how the new knowledge, skills, and behaviours that you have gained during will help you solve complex problems or lead change within your current or future organisations.

Modules & pathways

Part 1: Compulsory Modules

EMBA Part 1 compulsory modules

Part 1 of the programme is designed to deepen your knowledge of your organisation and your contribution towards its strategic goals.

Part 2: Compulsory Modules

EMBA Part 2 compulsory modules

Part 2 of your programme will inspire your leadership progression with Cranfield’s world-leading thought-provoking ideas, challenging you into thinking beyond your current role, to propel your thinking, your toolset, your career and your business to new heights. Here, you will build on your Senior Leader Apprenticeship+ learning by allowing an extension of your understanding of your business over and above particular functional expertise and further develop your leadership capabilities. It supports your career progression by preparing you to carry out senior strategic roles successfully. In particular, you will: 

  • Become more effective, analytical and adaptable. 
  • Focus on strategy development and apply best practice in your organisation. 
  • Become a high-performing Senior Leader able to drive the business forward, meet future challenges, solve complex problems, and implement change. 
  • Gain an internationally recognised qualification from a prestigious and highly ranked business school. 
  • Gain international exposure by carrying out an international business assignment. 
  • Discover the confidence and competence to take on new challenges. 
  • Join an exclusive network of alumni in over 160 countries around the world. 

At the application stage you will have two key choices:

  1. Your Part 2 subject pathway into Commercial, Entrepreneurship, Defence Export or Finance
  2. Your international exposure. 

Commercial Pathway

Commercial pathway

Resilience has been pushed firmly toward the top of the agenda for senior management teams of organisations of all types. It is therefore essential that today's leaders understand how they can develop resilience in their organisations. For organisations to thrive, they need leaders who can evaluate and develop strategies to overcome challenges created by increasingly dynamic environments and implement appropriate business recovery strategies in times of crisis.

Leaders who can devise strategies that respond to or drive strategic innovation into their business. And deliver successful change management projects thanks to their skilled management of stakeholders.

Entrepreneurship Pathway

Entrepreneurship pathway

Entrepreneurship education has a strong tradition at Cranfield. Early on, it was recognised that innovation and growth in the economy are critically dependent on the skills, capabilities, and entrepreneurial spirit of our future business leaders.

Entrepreneurship generates employment, contributes to GDP, and creates innovation by setting up high-growth ventures that make entrepreneurship an essential component of the DNA of existing large organisations and family businesses.

On the entrepreneurship pathway, students will explore the world of entrepreneurship from the founder, corporate entrepreneur, investor, and advisor perspective through three modules Leading and Managing the Family Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation Entrepreneurial Finance.

Defence Export Pathway*

Defence Export pathway

The pathway has been designed to respond to the needs of defence export specialists working for modern, dynamic organisations within the evolving defence market. The Defence Export pathway allows participants to gain a comprehensive understanding of the legal and political frameworks in which defence institutions function and the regulatory regimes affecting defence exports.

Participants will have an opportunity to analyse strategic marketing and key account planning processes within the defence and security sectors and 
evaluate marketing communications, including lobbying, techniques in defence and security settings.

*The Defence Export Pathway is only available as a March start.

Finance Pathway

Finance pathway

An understanding of finance is necessary for making most business decisions. The Finance pathway includes three modules Managing International Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Financial Strategy, and Corporate Finance Transactions.

The pathway will cover the basics of financial strategy for corporates in terms of their financing structures and needs. It will also equip students with the intellectual and practical skills required to manage mergers and acquisitions in domestic and international contexts.  

How do I learn?

Our blended programme enables you to fully immerse yourself in your studies and to network with faculty and peers during your time at Cranfield. Whilst the majority of your course will be face to face, we have built in a number of complementary digital elements to allow flexibility in your learning.

You will take part in business simulations designed to strengthen your critical and creative thinking. Case study learning will help you to apply the theories, tools and techniques to business and develop your ability to think strategically. You will carry out much of your work in small, diverse learning teams.

You will receive feedback from your colleagues, assess each other’s work, and sometimes submit or present assignments as a team. Cranfield’s unique feedback system helps you to review and evaluate your performance within your team. Using specialised tools developed by Cranfield faculty, you will learn about how you work in a team, how your colleagues perceive you, your leadership style, and how to get the best out of yourself and others.

Global exposure 

You can choose to make your programme global. The International Business Assignment (IBA) is chosen at application stage and allows you to take your learning outside the classroom and into an unfamiliar environment where you see the world through new eyes. Through the powerful combination of meaningful engagement with international business and a sharp focus on leadership, the IBA is for many a pivotal part of their EMBA journey. You will experience diverse business environments and deepen your understanding of the impact of culture on business practice. The experiences gained will challenge your values, recalibrate your worldviews, and change your mindset.

You can choose between two different kinds of Global Exposure.

The IBA will either allow you to travel to some of the most exciting economies in the world. During your visit, you will meet with business leaders, get privileged access to leading companies and meet notable alumni in your chosen destination.

This includes spending a day at a partner business school where you gain key insights through lectures on topics such as the state of the local economy, employment practices and business culture. The rest of the week is devoted to hosted visits to private corporations or public sector organisations, your group project, and additional events such as meetings with journalists, politicians and alumni during the evenings.

Alternatively working in a small team you will apply practical skills to support the growth of a small business in a developing nation. You will meet high potential entrepreneurs and their teams and provide support in helping them overcome barriers and grow a sustainable business. We recognise that you can’t change the world in a week, so each engagement is designed to be focused and scalable, and to have a real impact, both in terms of capacity building for the companies concerned and your own managerial capabilities.

Through the combination of meaningful engagement with emerging businesses and a sharp focus on leadership and personal development the IBA, marks a step on your Executive MBA journey, bringing together different strands of your EMBA in a powerful experience that makes you reflect not just on what you know but also who you are and what you do.

Should travel restrictions mean students are unable to travel they will have the option to complete the International Business Environment module (IBE). This module will not require students to travel. The overall aim of the module is to equip participants with an understanding of a number of different aspects of international business, and how learning on the MBA programme might be applied to international organisations. The module will expose students to a basic understanding of the challenges facing business leaders who want to internationalise, as well as discussing the business environment in a range of different contexts, and real-life experiences of internationalisation. Students will be asked to reflect on how national context affects business decisions and leadership in other regions.

How do I fund the programme?

Programme Standard
With International
Business Exposure 
The Cranfield Executive MBA - Commercial
The Cranfield Executive MBA - Entrepreneurship £27,000
The Cranfield Executive MBA - Defence Export* £27,000
The Cranfield Executive MBA - Finance

*The Defence Export Pathway is only available as a January start.

We are delighted to offer bursaries for exceptional students.

Useful information

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Next steps

Please use the Apply button below to proceed with your application.

The application deadline for September 2022 entry is 1 August 2022.

The application deadline for March 2023 entry is 2 December 2022.

Please only use this if you will be covering the full cost of the programme; applications for apprenticeship routes have to come via the Expression of Interest form.  Apprenticeship applications received via the application button on this page will not be processed.

For a more detailed conversation with one of our Executive Admissions Team members, please contact us

Read our Application Guide for a step-by-step explanation of the application process from pre-application through to joining us at Cranfield.

Apply now