Created specifically for the defence community, the MBA Defence programme has been developed out of a growing interest both within the UK defence sector and the international defence community for management education. The programme does not just allow students to improve their skills and techniques in general management, but in addition we help our students to build the confidence, emotional intelligence, decision-making and team-working qualities that make for inspirational leaders.

The course is offered in partnership with Cranfield Defence and Security at the Defence Academy, Shrivenham and the School of Management at Cranfield.


  • Start date8 January 2020
  • DurationTwo years part-time.
  • DeliveryWritten examinations 50%; case study reports, class tests, group presentations and project work 50%.
  • QualificationMBA
  • Study typeExecutive
  • CampusCranfield campus, Cranfield University at Shrivenham

Who is it for?

The Cranfield Executive MBA (Defence) course is designed for military officers, civil service personnel and defence industry executives looking to contribute more effectively towards future military initiatives.

It is designed to meet the requirement for postgraduate management education in the defence sector. It aims to provide management skills with a specific bias towards defence. Students are provided with an exceptional opportunity to study in a dynamic and enquiring scholarly arena, but using practical case studies to explore the appropriateness of theory to real-life practical contexts.

Defence managers will benefit from this advanced programme of study, aimed at providing specialist knowledge to target new horizons. Without peers, the MBA Defence degree meets the modern defence community’s need for specialised policy-oriented defence management education. The learning experience is unique: forged from a mix of theoretical models, the extraordinary challenges posed by timely and efficient defence resource management, and the leadership imperative of lateral thinking.

Consequently, the MBA Defence produces graduates highly skilled in the resolution of contemporary defence management problems.

Why this course?

Relevant management skills are at a premium today, as business practices evolve rapidly as the pace of business increases. With greater reliance on technology and deeper integration of the commercial sector within the defence economy, managers and planners of defence resources must possess the skills to respond quickly and decisively in making informed and effective decisions. 

For defence managers in the military, civil service and private sectors, a recognised postgraduate degree in management is essential for progression into senior management. 

With a multi-national, multi-cultural and multi-professional mix, the MBA provides a hotbed of knowledge sharing and networking that is invaluable and inestimable, both personally and with respect to your business environment, whatever it may be. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Learning outcomes

  • On successful completion of the MBA Defence, a graduate will be able to:
  • Demonstrate robust qualities of leadership and a broad range of management techniques, both in the corporate and defence domains
  • Exhibit a conceptual understanding of the principal functional areas of defence management along with a systematic knowledge of the relevant underlying commercial, scholarly and policy-oriented literature
  • Develop and analyse business and defence-related planning, strategy, cross-functional working and core business processes
  • Assess all elements of the global business environment, relating particularly to the political, economic, cultural and ethical challenges facing the defence community
  • Display the capabilities to identify, explain, analyse and implement appropriate conclusions and follow-on policy conclusions for complex problems in the context of uncertainty and change.

Course details

You will study thirteen core modules in part one and four core defence modules, two commercial modules, one module from the suite of electives and an Independent Research Project

Course delivery

Written examinations 50%; case study reports, class tests, group presentations and project work 50%.

Individual project

The Independent Research Project provides an opportunity for you to carry out an in-depth specialised study of a defence management topic of personal and/or professional interest. With support from your project supervisor at Shrivenham, you will integrate your understanding of theoretical principles with the practical aspects of a defence management issue.

Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course.

Organisational Behaviour: Personal and Professional Foundations of Leadership and Change

Module Leader
  • Professor Richard Kwiatkowski

    In this module you will be introduced to various aspects of people and organisations.  This module combines models, theories and ideas from organisational behaviour, psychology, and sociology in order to provide students with a basic understanding in recognising, understanding and utilising what has been termed the "human factor" in organisations; including ways of conceptualising organisations and how people behave within them.  We shall consider the impact of the external environment; and address notions of organisational change.

    • Culture
    • Development
    • Diversity
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Individual and Organisational Change
    • Individual differences
    • Introduction to People and Organisations
    • Leadership
    • Learning
    • Motivation
    • Negotiation, influence & persuasion
    • Performance Management
    • Personality
    • Politics
    • Self-Awareness
    • Stress, Resilience, Well being
    • the Individual and the Team
    • Values

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  1. Understand a number of different ways of conceptualising people in organisations, including culture, ethics, well-being, diversity, politics, management, performance and change
  2. Understand the importance of relationships at work, group dynamics, effective teams and leadership in achieving effectiveness
  3. Critically engage with various relevant models, theories and ideas in order to enhance personal capability, including identification of gaps in knowledge, skills, and competence, linking to insights regarding one’s personal and professional development agenda, based on sound data and experience.


Module Leader
  • Dr Matthias Nnadi

    The module looks at both financial and management accounting. You will be provided with a thorough understanding of company accounts, how they are construed and how to interpret them. Further to this, you will look at and understand the key issues in management accounting from the point of view of business leaders needing to make practical decisions in their organisation.



    The module covers:

    • The fundamental accounting documents: income statement, statement of financial position and cash flow statement.
    • Consolidation of the accounts of companies with subsidiaries.
    • Interpretation of accounts through ratio analysis.
    • Cost/volume/profit analysis and breakeven.
    • Allocation of overhead costs.
    • Budgeting and variance analysis.
    • Divisional performance.
    • Transfer pricing.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the fundamental principles of financial accounting.
  • Describe how subsidiary accounts are consolidated.
  • Prepare key financial statements from basic information.
  • Analyse and interpret company accounts.
  • Classify different types of costs and conduct break even analysis.
  • Prepare budgets and interpret variances from budget.
  • Evaluate divisional performance and different transfer pricing methods.

Strategic Operations Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Abdelkader Aoufi

    This module will help you to develop a theoretical and practical skill base of strategic operations management including its key concepts, as well as the main tools and techniques used by a variety of organisations in different sectors of activity.


    The module covers:

    • The strategic role and contribution of operations.
    • The process and content of operations strategy.
    • Process design and layout.
    • Managing the process experience.
    • Tools and techniques of process improvement.
    • Capacity management.
    • Inventory management; lean and agile operations.
    • Quality management and improvement.
    • People in operations.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Develop an operations strategy for organisations, identifying key operational performance criteria for each area of its activities.
  • Evaluate the operations contribution to the development and implementation of successful business strategy.
  • Appraise the critical issues faced by different organisations; demonstrate how to select the priorities for operational performance improvement and plan the means to bring about that improvement.
  • Identify key issues in the management of change in operations through understanding the critical transitions of both processes and people.

Strategic Marketing

Module Leader
  • Dr Carmine Basile
  • Dr Dennis Esch
  • Dr Ahmed Shaalan

    This module will prepare you for general management responsibilities by focussing on the input of the marketing perspective across all functions. You will be presented with a strategic perspective of marketing, understanding the needs and wants of customers as a guide to direct the organisation.


    The module will cover:

    • Marketing from a value-driven perspective, considering how the assets of the organisation can be used to create and deliver value to customers and shareholders.
    • The role of strategic marketing and the means whereby high level strategy can be implemented by way of a marketing plan.
    • The nature of markets as the basis for the creation and delivery of value to customers and shareholders.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Evaluate the organisation-wide implications of being a market-oriented and customer-led organisation and its impact on management and business performance.
  • Apply marketing theories, tools and frameworks to business opportunities and problems.
  • Understand the key elements of the marketing mix and customer management.
  • Write and defend a strategic marketing plan.

Economics and Business Strategy

Module Leader
  • Professor Catarina Figueira

    What is it that business students need to learn from a course in economics? Few if any intend to become professional economists, instead the vast majority seek a career in management and here at Cranfield many MBA students are focused on senior management positions. Yet, to operate as a successful manager requires an economic way of thinking, in particular a clear understanding of efficiency and the working of markets. The more senior a manager the more important are two overriding concerns if they are to perform well: the ability to successfully formulate and implement strategy; and the skills to coordinate and motivate those they manage. Organisational behaviour, personal development and strategy are backbone subjects of a good MBA programme but these three subjects, indeed practically all subjects you will study on the programme, draw to a greater or lesser extent on microeconomic theories in order to gain insights into how people are motivated and markets work.  Thus, the role of economics as part of an MBA Programme is to provide the depth and rigor necessary to properly understand and analyse real world business situations.


    The course is divided into three parts:
    Part I: The Basics.  
    • This serves as an introduction to the core microeconomic concepts of demand, revenue, costs and profits. 

    Part II: The Firm and the Creation of Value.   
    • This section turns the focus on the firm itself, its role in dealing with uncertainty and the contribution its internal structure makes to strategic opportunities and competitive advantage.   
    • Alternative explanations of firms are explored as well as the issues that determine vertical (supply chain) relationships and horizontal boundaries.   
    • The sessions also explore the ways in which owners seek to ensure their interests are paramount, the ways in which internal control and reward systems deliver efficiency and the ways in which the focus on economic sustainability has increasingly had to take account of the demands for social and environmental sustainability.   
    • The purpose is to integrate organisational and economic theory in order to explain why the rate at which firms grow and profitability vary.

    Part III: Capturing Value from the Market.   
    • This examines the strategic behaviour of firms which to a significant extent is influenced by alternative market structures.  
    • Market structures and market power are related concepts and this section of the module largely focuses on oligopolistic markets and the behaviours such firms engage in to achieve competitive advantage. 
    • Throughout the module traditional microeconomic models are combined with game theory and reality is further enhanced by an emphasis on uncertainty and the role of governments.   
    • In keeping with the School’s policy to embed corporate social responsibility in the curriculum, the economic perspective on sustainability and associated micro policy is also discussed.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Appraise how the behaviour and performance of economic organisations are influenced by their external and internal environments;
2. Evaluate the key economic theories and relevant research regarding the nature and distinctiveness of individual organisations;
3. Critically assess and comment coherently on economic explanations of the management of organisations and their competitive behaviour;
4. Demonstrate  practical skills in using economic models to measure and analyse the economic performance of organisations and individuals;
- Assess the contribution economics makes to showing business how to create sustainable economic, social and environmental value.

Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation

Module Leader
  • Dr Oksana Koryak

    The module will promote productive and self-sustaining entrepreneurship. It provides you with a rigorous grounding in business analysis of entrepreneurship in order to prepare for the risky, uncertain, and challenging environment for new business ventures. It also requires you to immerse yourself in the real life experience of launching new ventures. Therefore, you will be required to either start your own business or contribute to the development of another venture while on the course.


    The module will include:

    • Entrepreneurial risk, performance and environment.
    • Business planning techniques and their application in entrepreneurial ventures.
    • Venture strategy in dynamic markets.
    • Protecting and securing intellectual capital: intellectual property rights and antitrust law.
    • Start-ups and resources to exploit a profit opportunity.
    • The evolution of the venture and managing growth.
    • Financial management for new ventures: financing a start-up.
    • The entrepreneurial financing process: buying and selling a venture.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Understand the key stages and challenges involved in identifying opportunities and strategies for business start ups.
  • Manage and finance the early stages of new venture development and growth.
  • Evaluate, research, write, and present business plans using their knowledge of the entrepreneurial process.

Financial Management

Module Leader
  • Professor Ruth Bender

    This course explores financial management from the point of view of the corporate manager.  It will equip students to make business decisions using standard financial tools, linking theoretical issues with real life management and practice, and integrating with other modules on the MBA.


    The module covers:

    • Cash flow forecasting and working capital management
    • Appraising capital investment projects
    • Financing a business
    • Corporate finance, including the cost of capital, sources of finance, capital structure and dividend policy 
    • Company Valuation.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

1. Prepare a simple cash flow forecast, and understand the role of working capital management in finance.
2. Compare and contrast alternative capital budgeting techniques and the underlying factors that determine their usage in practice by various types of organisation.
3. Examine key concepts in finance including the time value of money, risk and return and the opportunity cost of capital.
4. Analyse the factors that need to be considered in making financing decisions including those related to borrowing and dividend policy.
5. Organise data for capital investment project appraisals and evaluate the results, including the preparation and interpretation of multi-year forecasts.
6. Deal with complications in capital budgeting that arise due to factors such as inflation, taxation or capital rationing.
7. Estimate the cost of equity, cost of debt and the weighted average cost of capital.
8. Construct simple valuations of shares, bonds and whole companies.

Strategic Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Richard Schoenberg

    Strategic Management is concerned with the future direction of the organisation; determining its scope, establishing objectives and formulating strategies to achieve them. In order to do this, leaders must understand the needs and priorities of the organisation’s stakeholders, anticipate and react to changes in the organisation's environment and harness and develop the organisation’s internal resources and capabilities.  The overriding aim of this module is to build students confidence in undertaking these activities, so that as leaders they can form and communicate a credible and believable view of their organisation’s future direction and scope.  


     The module will cover:

    • We begin by examining the different levels of strategy and the joint importance of strategy content and strategy process.
    • We then explore strategic management at the business unit level, introducing the notions of industry analysis, resources and capabilities and sustainable competitive advantage.
    • We then turn to corporate level strategy, dealing with issues such as parenting advantage, corporate value creation logics and modes of corporate development.
    • Finally we address the challenge of how strategies can be turned into action and the particular role of strategic leadership within this.
    • Throughout the module a range of tools and techniques for strategic analysis and choice will be introduced.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  1. Describe the key issues and concepts involved in formulating both competitive and corporate strategies.
  2. Appraise and differentiate between corporate, business unit and functional strategies.
  3. Evaluate strategic challenges facing organisations.
  4. Think strategically and confidently in making strategic decisions.
  5. Critically apply practical skills and use various strategic management concepts and techniques.

Defence Programme and Project Management


    The module will allow you to critically evaluate defence project, programme and portfolio management practices and allow you to assess opportunities for improvement.


    The module will allow you to critically evaluate defence project, programme and portfolio management practices and allow you to assess opportunities for improvement.

    The module covers:

    • Portfolio management.
    • Programme management.
    • Bodies of knowledge and methodologies.
    • Project life cycle, principles and processes.
    • Estimating and risk management.
    • Earned value management.
    • Soft skills and multi-cultural management.
Intended learning outcomes

As a result of this module, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish between a project, a programme and a portfolio and recognise the key success factors and management issues associated.
  • Describe key sources of professional knowledge, guidance and standards (including bodies of knowledge, methods, management of portfolios and managing successful programmes).
  • Critique the defence sector approach to portfolio, programme and project in the context of defence capability and business change.
  • Apply P3M principles, processes, tools and techniques with an awareness of their challenges and limitations.
  • Appraise defence projects and programmes in terms of key success factors.

Global Macroeconomics and Business Environment

Module Leader
  • Professor Joe Nellis
    • The main aim of this module is to help tomorrow’s business leaders develop a deeper understanding of the impact of developments in the wider macroeconomic environment – at the national and international levels – on strategic planning and management.
    • A deep and critical understanding of the macroeconomy is essential to the formulation of effective corporate strategies particularly in the context of a rapidly changing and challenging global economic and business environment.
    • Business decisions are not taken in a vacuum. Arguably one of the most important influences on corporate leaders at the highest levels is their assessment of the external economic and business environment. Successful business leaders understand how key macroeconomic variables, such as economic growth, earnings, unemployment and inflation, are likely to impact on the markets their businesses serve. The traditional view is that the external environment is largely driven by domestic government fiscal and monetary policies. But increasingly it is external influences at the international level such as global trade and international capital flows that drive the world economy and force reactive policies from nation state governments – with direct and indirect consequences for strategic decisions by leadership in both the private and public sectors.
    • The module places particular emphasis some of the latest developments and perspectives at the macroeconomy level that now dominate policies and business in an international context – including topics such as: the recent global financial crisis and the importance of global competition; international trade relationships; currency movements and business cycles. This module will provide an opportunity to discuss the causes and consequences of macroeconomic developments and policies, nationally and internationally, in order to deepen understanding of the consequences for governments, society and the corporate world.

    The module is based on a number of core models and empirical research. 

    Throughout, the emphasis is on the “real world” – theory is included only as an aid to developing a deeper understanding of the practical problems and policy challenges in the context of strategy formulation and analysis of the forces driving change in the external business and economic environment.

    The first set of sessions serve as a foundation, explaining:  how economic activity is measured and interpreted;  the main macroeconomic flows;  what determines the level and changes in national income as well as the meaning of inflationary and deflationary gaps.  The following sessions focus on management of the domestic economy including fiscal policy, monetary policy, economic growth and supply-side policies. International aspects of the macroeconomy are then examined in detail covering:  the balance of payments account, trade policy, exchange-rate regimes and the various exchange-rate policy choices available to countries.  The final session brings together the core concepts and explains the causes of business cycles.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  1. Critique the importance and implications of national and international macroeconomic trends and forecasts as a basis for strategic decision making by business leaders.
  2. Describe the drivers of economic activity at the national and international macroeconomic levels and the implications for economic growth.
  3. Evaluate the goals (and conflicts) of macroeconomic management including sustainability of growth, low and stable inflation, a stable currency coupled with a “sustainable” international trade position and full employment.
  4. Critique the policy tools used by governments and central banks in their efforts to manage the economy including: fiscal policy, monetary policy, supply-side policies, trade and exchange rate policies.
  5. Demonstrate practical skills and confidence in preparing an economic situational report for a country as an essential input into the strategic planning process by business leaders.

Challenges for Leaders II

Module Leader
  • Professor David Grayson, CBE

    The module will provide you with an introduction to the challenges faced by leaders in developing and sustaining organisations. In particular the module will focus on the challenges presented by the context and environment in which they operate.


    The module covers:

    • The changing context of work in a globalised world.
    • National cultures.
    • International employment relations.
    • The global sustainability crisis, sustainable development and the implications for business.
    • Corporate responsibility: identifying what are the most material social environmental and economic impacts that companies have.
    • Change management for corporate responsibility and sustainability.
    • Diversity and inclusion.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of challenges presented by the external context in which organisations operate.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of how these contextual factors influence leadership practices.
  • Understand sustainable development and what it means for business transformation.
  • Apply knowledge and understanding about contextual challenges to leadership behaviour.
  • Appreciate how sustainability considerations affect organisational design and policy decisions.

Data Analytics and Decision Making

Module Leader
  • Professor Catarina Figueira

    The module equips you with the ability to critically examine existing literature that underpins the decision-making process and also provides the skills to collect, process, analyse and present relevant data that will support your decisions. In addition, the module will also provide a platform which will help you engage with internal or external clients, undertake a consulting project and, consequently, be able to make coherent and compelling recommendations to senior managers.


    The module covers:

    The principles of management research:

    • Strategies.
    • Research designs.
    • Planning a management project and formulating management questions.
    • Using literature to inform the research process.

    The nature of quantitative analysis:

    • Sampling.
    • Structured interviews and questionnaires.
    • Statistical analysis of data and probability theory.
    • Correlation and regression analysis.
    • Cluster analysis.

    The nature of qualitative analysis:

    • Ethnography and participant observation.
    • Semi-structured interviews and focus groups.
    • Mixed methods project: breaking down the quantitative/qualitative divide.

    The analysis of business processes in the context of:

    • Business analysis tools which enable the identification of specific opportunities aligned to strategic goals.
    • A stakeholder-centred model of organisational processes.
    • Frameworks to assist students in identifying areas in which IT can be employed to improve performance.

    Consulting skills as pivotal in the success of a consulting project:

    • Principles of building strong relationships with clients and the benefits of earning trust.
    • Key components on how to give advice.
    • Attitude of an effective consultant.
    • Framing the issues.
    • Envisioning an alternate reality.
    • Process versus expert consultant roles.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Select and make use of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative techniques for the analysis of business issues.
  • Use frameworks and analytical tools to structure analysis and recommendations which are supported by data in a consultancy engagement.
  • Understand how to build effective internal and external client relationships.
  • Present key findings from a consulting project effectively to senior managers; ensuring that substantive recommendations are developed as a result of competent data collection and analysis.

Leading with Impact


    Leadership is a central concept and practice in organisations. Yet what leadership is and what leaders do is subject to intense debate. This module explores how leadership with impact can be developed through practice. It does so by using a blend of research-based insights and experiential teaching methods. Learners are developed as resourceful stewards of leadership.

    Module content will include the following:

    • Leadership Transitions  
    • Crisis Management
    • Press Conference
    • Resilience & Leadership
    • Strategic Mindfulness
    • Leadership Moments

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Define different approaches to leadership in contemporary organisations through having engaged with the leadership literature and through having experienced different leadership approaches.
2. Critically evaluate different leadership practices in theory and in application to generate a personally meaningful perspective of leadership.
3. Develop leadership capabilities at multiple levels in organisations by drawing on practical experiences gained.

Entrepreneurial Finance for Early Stage Businesses

Module Leader
  • Dr Stephanie Hussels

    The module aims to provide the students with a detailed understanding of the venture capital funding process. Thereby students will not only gain an insight on how the sector works, from both a venture capitalist as well as entrepreneur’s point of view, but will be required to assess real business plans, conduct due diligence and negotiate a deal. The module requires developing both hard and soft skills.


    The module covers:

    - Outline of the sources of funding available to early stage businesses
    - The venture capital industry: Players, expected returns and cost of capital
    - Venture capital due diligence: Process and content
    - Company valuations: Intrinsic and relative
    - Fundamentals of term sheets: Theory and practice
    - Negotiating a deal: An entrepreneurs and investors perspective.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Understand the real world processes involved in raising venture capital including how the industry is structured.
2. Be aware of the various sources of funding for early stage businesses such as business angels, crowdfunding, government courses, debt and customer finance.
3. Conduct due diligence on early stage ventures.
4. Prepare and evaluate terms sheets.
5. Valuate early stage companies.
6. Negotiate an investment deal with early stage entrepreneurs.

Driving Value Through the Supply Chain

Module Leader
  • Michael Bernon

    This module recognises the development of supply chain management as a set of practices and methods, aimed at managing and coordinating the entire supply network from raw materials to the eventual end user and to provide the means by which an operation can create capabilities beyond those it can develop alone. You will develop a critical understanding of how supply chain practice can deliver maximum and sustainable value for the least possible total cost.  


    The module covers:

    Supply chain competiveness and shareholder value

    • Creating superior value through the supply chain.
    • The link between supply chain and shareholder value.
    • Competing through the supply chain - Wal Mart case study.

    Integrated planning (S&OP)

    • Forrester effect – business simulation.
    • Matching supply and demand.

    Strategic sourcing

    • Portfolio and spend analysis.
    • Buyer-supplier power balance.
    • Off-shore/near sourcing - total landed costs.

    Integrated manufacturing systems design

    • The emerging role of manufacturing in global supply chains.
    • Forms of postponement and designing for agility.
    • Models of integration with suppliers.

    Role of in/outsourcing

    • Functional outsourcing through to supply chain orchestration.
    • Unilever: The journey back in-house.
    • Li & Fung.


    • A framework for managing supply chains more sustainably.
    • Measuring sustainability performance.
    • Emerging sustainable supply chain practices.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Identify the role and contribution of supply chain management to gaining and sustaining competitive advantage.
  • Apply knowledge gained of the concepts and methods relating to the creation of value along the supply chain.
  • Analyse the inherent supply chain trade-offs at stake both internally and externally to the organisation.
  • Apply different supply chain and product design strategies to deliver product /service variety while minimising lead time and costs.
  • Illustrate and evaluate differentiated supply chain strategies in order to meet different demand characteristics.
  • Criticise and debate real life strategies driving value through the supply chain.
  • Appreciate and judge the role and impact that supply chain management plays in developing responsible and sustainable economic practices.

Negotiating in Business and Organisations

Module Leader
  • Dr Javier Marcos Cuevas

    The module will address different types of negotiation in various contexts. The emphasis will be on integrative approaches to negotiation, where parties aim to reach mutually satisfactory agreements. This will often depend on the negotiator’s ability to identify and create sources of mutual value, and to establish fair standards to distribute this value. You will be provided with an approach to negotiation that blends strong analytical and planning techniques with interpersonal and individual skills.  


    The module covers:

    Negotiation Planning I

    • Negotiation preparation.
    • Stating proposals.
    • Exchanging and bargaining.
    • Reaching agreement.

    Negotiation Planning II

    • Different contexts both micro and macro.
    • Setting the parameters.
    • Using preparation tools.
    • One to one negotiation.

    Price Negotiation

    • Expected negotiation outcomes.
    • Identifying each party’s interests and priorities in potential agreements.
    • Behaviors adopted when negotiating.

    Intra-organisational Negotiation and Decision Making

    • The special circumstances of upper echelon negotiations.
    • Selection of appropriate approaches.
    • Achieving goals in group processes.

    Employment Terms and Conditions

    • Stages when negotiating employment.
    • Defining key personal priorities.
    • Addressing the Salary question.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Define the expected negotiation outcomes.
  • Identify each party’s interests and priorities in a potential agreement.
  • Calculate the importance and cost of concessions for each party.
  • Critically evaluate the achievements of outcomes and why these were/were not achieved.
  • Understand how states of mind such as level of self-confidence, focus and motivation affect the negotiation process.
  • Adopt tactics for influencing and persuading others.
  • Manage pressure and self-control more effectively.
  • Understand the behaviours you adopt when negotiating and the likely emotional and cognitive underpinnings of these behaviours.

Leading Change Management in Defence

Module Leader
  • Dr Iftikhar Zaidi

    To provide a foundation for the application of knowledge and understanding of change leadership and change management to defence and the wider security sector.


    The module comprises a combination of plenary lectures and discussions, case studies and practical exercises, addressing:

    • leadership in defence and the public sector;
    • the public sector post ‘New Public Management’, its similarities and differences with the private sector;
    • theories and models for leading and managing change in a defence context;
    • managing transitions and the role of organisational culture; and ethical and gender considerations in leading change.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of change management and change leadership in the public sector;
  2. Critique contemporary change theories and models and evaluate their relevance and risk when applied in the defence context;
  3. Identify resistance to change in the defence and demonstrate ability to develop context and culture rich approaches to change;
  4. Appraise moral and ethical contexts in change leadership in defence;
  5. Critically assess a particular aspect of change within defence through a case study and make recommendation for theory and practice.

Defence Portfolio and Programme Management


    To allow students to critically evaluate defence portfolio and programme management principles and practices and assess opportunities for future improvement.


    The module will comprise a combination of plenary lectures and discussions, case studies and practical exercises.  The overarching approach to learning will be problem-based and experiential.  Key curriculum topics will include:

    • Generic Portfolio Management (with reference to MoP)
    • Portfolio Management in Defence (with reference to Defence Operating Model)
    • Programme Management (with reference to MSP)
    • Bodies of Knowledge and Methodologies (APM, PRINCE, MSP, MoP)
    • Introduction to Defence Capability Management
    • Evaluation of Defence ‘Develop’ and ‘Deliver’ capability management functions
    • People Skills & Multi-cultural Management
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Distinguish between a project, a programme and a portfolio and recognise the key success factors and management issues associated with each.
  2. Describe key sources of professional knowledge, guidance and standards (including Bodies of Knowledge (APM, PMI), Methods (PRINCE2) Management of Portfolios (MoP) & Managing Successful Programmes (MSP).
  3. Critique the defence sector (MOD) approach to portfolio and programme management in the context of defence capability and business change.
  4. Apply P3M principles, processes, tools and techniques with an awareness of their challenges and limitations.
  5. Appraise defence projects and programmes regarding key success factors.

Defence Economics and Finance

Module Leader
  • Professor Ron Matthews

    To apply economic and financial principles to the defence context, critically evaluating their contribution to the efficient management of resources in the UK and global defence environments.

    • Introduction:What is Defence Economics?
    • The Defence Market
    • Acquisition Cost Escalation
    • Revolutions in Defence Finance
    • Defence 'and' Development
    • Defence-Industrial Sovereignty: Contemporary Relevance?
    • Technology-Sharing and regional/Global Consortia
    • International Arms Market
    • Technology Transfer through Defence Offset
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  1. Compare the principal theoretical and practical issues influencing the allocation of scarce defence resources within the defence sector, between the defence and civil sectors, and across the international defence community.
  2. Analyse the complexities and challenges associated with competition in UK Defence Economy.
  3. Evaluate the underlying economic drivers underpinning change processes in the global defence context.
  4. Apply skills and technical ability to thus act as informed customers in financial dealings within the Department and between the Department and external stakeholders.
  5. Apply the skills and knowledge that will benefit the framing of appropriate government (MoD) and commercial policies in such fields as exports, defence-industrial investment, technology transfer, arms production collaboration and European/US defence-related corporate mergers and acquisition.
  6. Explain the process of defence globalisation, particularly its potential negative impact on defence-industrial sovereignty.

Risk and Defence Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Edith Wilkinson

    The aim of this module is to generate critical understanding of the key concepts, tools and theories associated with Risk Management, and the ability to appraise their application within the public and private defence sector.


    The module will comprise a combination of plenary lectures and discussions, case studies and practical exercises, addressing: 

    • The emergence and growth of Risk Management
    • Concepts, tools, theories and processes of Risk Management
    • Psychology and Risk Management
    • Fields related to Risk Management, including Business Continuity, Health & Safety, Disaster Management, Resilience, Complexity Management and Managing under Uncertainty
    • The concept of a Risk Management system
    • Defence policy and capabilities as probability and impact reduction measures with risk management at the national level
    • Risk Management within the governmental defence sector: distinctions between the defence operational and non-operational spaces
    • Risk Management within the private sector supporting defence
    • Assessing the effectiveness of Risk Management within defence
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Critical awareness of the fundamentals of Risk Management thought, addressing concepts, tools and theories, including Risk Appetite and Enterprise Risk Management;
  2. Appreciation of the role of individual and group psychology in the application of Risk Management thought and processes;
  3. Understanding of the links of Risk Management thought to related literature addressing Business Continuity, Disaster Management, Health & Safety, Crisis Management, Resilience , Complexity Management and Management under Uncertainty;
  4. Assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the evolving operation of Risk Management within the governmental and private sectors associated with defence.

Independent Research Project

Module Leader
  • Professor Ron Matthews

    To integrate theoretical principles with the practical aspects of Defence Management. This will be achieved by in-depth specialised study of a selected Defence Management topic of professional significance, with guidance from a project supervisor (normally based at Shrivenham).


    Students will select a relevant topic of study, and will be assigned a supervisor with relevant knowledge and experience. Students can work independently or form small groups.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Relate management theory and concepts to evidence and practice in the Defence sector.
  2. Demonstrate an awareness of the strategic management context in which Defence decisions occur.
  3. Critically appraise relevant policy literature, and use with respect to the specified field of study.
  4. Have developed and delivered your specific personal learning outcomes for the project (agreed with your supervisor).
  5. Conduct an independent advanced research project, including a literature review, and a critical evaluation of the specified topic.
  6. Plan a research investigation based on a real world study, using and applying appropriate research methods.
  7. Write clearly and effectively, meeting approved criteria for formal presentation of a project.

Elective modules
A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course

International Business Assignment

Module Leader
  • Professor Emma Parry

    This module will provide you with the opportunity to place your learning in the context of a global perspective by visiting a foreign country and within it a number of organisations. The course offers the opportunity to explore issues around diversity, sustainability and corporate responsibility as they affect organisations and society in the host country. You will be equipped with the knowledge of how different businesses are using the tools and techniques taught on the MBA Programme to cope with specific national issues and more generally the process of globalisation.  


    You will choose from a list of countries drawn up by the School of Management e.g. China, Japan, Ghana, etc. The visits generally start with a day at a partner business school where you will receive a number of lectures on issues such as the state of the economy, employment practices and business culture. The rest of the week is devoted to hosted visits to commercial and public sector organisations, during the days and a number of additional events such as meetings with journalists, politicians and alumni during the evenings. The hosted visits normally involve a presentation by senior officials and possibly a tour of facilities. Most importantly, you will be given the opportunity to ask questions relating to aspects of the organisation and in many cases the visit also affords opportunities for networking and employment.   

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a balanced view of the key political, social and economic drivers of the country you visit.
  • Appreciate how the country visited and its businesses are attempting to maintain and build competitive advantage in response to domestic circumstances and the process of globalisation.
  • Engage in meaningful discussions and debate with a range of individuals involved in the local business scene.
  • Understand political, social, economic and business issues in different cultures.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with and sensitivity to the differences between business practices and attitudes across cultures.
  • Appreciate how the learning gained on the MBA programme can be applied to organisational issues in a foreign country and alternative business cultures.
  • Understand and be familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of a particular country’s industrial structure, workforce skills and government policies.
  • Improve personal development by exposure to and awareness of different international working environments.
  • Appreciate diversity and inter-disciplinarity by providing an opportunity to integrate learning across cultures and functional areas.
  • Refine different behaviours adapted to the cultural context in which you are operating.
  • Learn across cultures and functional areas.

International Strategy

Module Leader
  • Professor Patrick Reinmoeller

    The overall aim of the module is to equip participants with the conceptual and managerial skills required to develop and lead the international strategy of an existing business unit. It will take an integrated perspective, commencing with the analysis of international markets and regions, exploring the motives and drivers of internationalization, moving through the evaluation and selection of alternative market entry strategies and structures and finally considering some of the key issues faced in implementing an international strategy. Focusing on the relationship between advanced and (re)emerging economies, we specifically emphasize these countries in sessions and in project work and encourage focusing on the countries chosen for the IBE course.

    • The module explicitly draws on Cranfield’s research base and practical expertise in international strategy.
    • The content is divided into three parts, looking sequentially at the key stages of establishing and embedding an international business strategy. Each part is shaped by one key question.
    • Part I, why internationalize explores the motives of companies that seek going abroad.
      • While focusing on the motives of companies we discuss the important external influences (drivers) which may compel firms to internationalize.
    • Part II, focuses on where do we go?
      • In this section we focus on how to assess the strategic attractiveness of individual national markets and the conditions that can lead to national and regional competitive advantage.
      • We also reflect on political risk and factors that can militate against investing in certain countries or regions.
      • We examine the advantages and disadvantages of alternative market entry modes such as joint venture or acquisition; and considers the balance between local responsiveness and global integration when structuring cross border enterprises and foreign subsidiaries.
    • Part III, of the module asks what do we do there?
      • Here we explore a variety of issues relevant to the implementation of international strategy, in particular the challenge of product and service standardization, the challenges of managing national cultural diversity, and the opportunities of strategic innovation.
    • In parallel to the formal class sessions, participants will conduct a practice oriented group project focusing on how firms strategically approach, enter and operate in emerging economies to aid skills development in the application of the taught concepts.Two choices of group project are available:
    1. The team tracks the international (ization) strategies of foreign firms in an emerging economy and formulates a strategy for a real business unit or a real corporate whole of a self-selected organization that intends to enter or has entered the country.
    2. The team tracks the international (ization) strategies of firms from emerging economies and formulates an international (ization) strategy for a real business unit or a real corporate whole of a self-selected organization that has its headquarters in the country and intends to enter or has entered an advanced economy.
    • The two alternative project topics allow students the choice between gaining detailed insights into international strategy formulation for a specific firm and exploring continents and specific country.
    • We encourage leveraging the IBE experience in the choice of the country for this project.
    • In both cases the project outputs will form the basis of the assessment for the module (see below).
Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Describe and evaluate the multiple levels of competitiveness and the strategic attractiveness of individual countries and regions, including the conditions that can lead to regional competitive advantage.
  2. Appraise motives and drivers which lead companies to select and implement an international strategy.
  3. Critique the advantages and disadvantages of alternative market entry modes and organizational structures and the appropriate strategic criteria for their selection.
  4. Evaluate key implementation issues faced by companies expanding internationally, including issues of human resource management and financial co-ordination and control within transnational corporations.
  5. Examine international strategy relevant to working in an international business environment, including an appreciation of national cultural influences and social responsibility.

Managing International Mergers and Acquisitions

Module Leader
  • Dr Richard Schoenberg

    The module will equip you with the intellectual and practical skills required to manage mergers and acquisitions effectively in both domestic and international contexts.  It takes an integrated perspective, moving through strategic, financial and regulatory considerations before covering the organisational and human resource issues raised during implementation, including cultural compatibility and the dynamics of building stakeholder support.


    The module covers:

    • Scene setting: integrative case study.
    • Target identification.
    • Mergers and acquisition regulation.
    • Deal-making considerations.
    • Valuation and form of payment.
    • Process and cultural integration.
    • Integration planning and stakeholder communication: the merger plan simulation.
    • A non-executive chairman’s insight into making a public acquisition.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Understand the leadership challenges posed by mergers and acquisitions.
  • Appreciate the strategic, financial, regulatory and organisational aspects of mergers and acquisitions and how the success of any merger or acquisition depends on taking a cross-functional perspective.
  • Understand the key management concepts and recent research relevant to mergers and acquisitions, including the determinants of acquisition outcome and how value can be created through mergers and acquisitions.
  • Identify potential acquisition targets, negotiate transactions, and manage the post-acquisition integration phase, including cross-cultural issues and the gaining of stakeholder support.

Corporate Financial Strategy


    This module extends the learning from the core course, to cover the basics of financial strategy for corporates, in terms of their financing structures and needs. An understanding of finance is necessary in making most business decisions.  This module is primarily designed to equip an MBA who goes on to become a general manager with knowledge about finance and financial markets in order to help the business meet its objectives.

    - An introduction to financial strategy
    - Financial instruments
    - Managing foreign exchange exposure
    - Forecasting
    - Advanced investment appraisal
    - Advanced valuation technique
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Describe how a company’s financial choices can be used to enhance its business strategy, and thus its value.  
2. Evaluate the different types of financial instrument and the financing alternatives available to a business, given the strategic and operational constraints.
3. Apply and appreciate the way in which a company’s financial management can be used to add value to the execution of its business strategy.
4. Assess the issues a business faces when dealing with foreign currencies, and the strategies it can use to minimise its currency risk.
5. Deeper knowledge of investment appraisal tools (such as Modified IRR).
6. Evaluate the financial requirements of a business or a potential business strategy.
7. Apply and adjust valuation methods to various types of business (e.g. start-ups or financial institutions).
8. Prepare a suite of cash flow forecasts using Excel.
9. Compare the benefits and costs of alternative hedging techniques and make a decision as to the preferred strategy.

Corporate Finance Transactions

Module Leader
  • Professor Ruth Bender

    This module follows on from the Corporate Financial Strategy element. Whereas the previous course introduced you to corporate financial strategy, this module takes that further by applying the principles to transactions such as flotations, acquisitions and private equity.


    Company-based projects allow you to apply your learning in a real business environment, get experience in a sector of interest, gain international exposure and can support your career progression. You can source a project yourself, use the school's alumni network or dedicated Career Development Services to help you find the right organisation.

    The module covers:

    • Corporate governance
    • Initial public offerings
    • Acquisitions
    • Private equity
    • Turnarounds
    • Integrated case studies.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Evaluate the impact of good or bad corporate governance on a company’s financial strategy.
  • Appreciate and discuss the reasons a company might choose to float on a recognised stock exchange, and understand the alternatives.
  • Identify the key financial aspects of a proposed acquisition, and understand how to structure such a deal. 
  • Appreciate how synergies are identified and valued.
  • Plan and structure a private equity transaction and appreciate how private equity differs from venture capital.
  • Identify appropriate financial strategies for a business facing a decline or turnaround.
  • Assess financial transactions reported in the financial press, and comment critically on why they are being undertaken and whether, in your opinion, they are likely to add value to shareholders.
  • Value companies and identify and distinguish value creation strategies from value destructing ones.
  • Structure private equity transactions.

Strategizing in Challenging Contexts

Module Leader
  • Dr Richard Schoenberg

    Strategizing – to devise a strategy - is a key task for any organisational leader. In the core strategic management module the fundamentals of both competitive and corporate strategy were introduced, together with a set of well established generic concepts and techniques available to assist the leader in the development of a credible and believable strategy. However, these traditional strategy approaches can reach the limits of their applicability in a number of extreme, but increasingly encountered, environments, where they may need to be complemented with more context specific approaches. For example, how should strategy be devised in highly dynamic environments where strategic assets face almost immediate redundancy; or in market sectors where business model innovations make incremental improvements in customer value of little relevance; or in social networking contexts where exploiting the primary strategic asset (the membership base) is constrained by both privacy concerns and regulation?

    1. Strategizing  in dynamic environments 
    2. Strategizing in crisis environments 
    3. Strategizing in  a social networking context 
    4. Strategizing in politicized environments 
    5. Strategizing in contexts characterised by business model innovation

    The module covers:

    The module will be delivered in five four-hour blocks, each block devoted to strategy development in a specific context.  The exact contexts examined and example case-studies may vary slightly from year to year dependant on topicality and relevance, but initially the following are planned:

    1. Strategizing  in dynamic environments

    - What dimensions make environments dynamic?
    - What are the implications for strategy development?
    - Case-Study: Formula 1

    2. Strategizing in crisis environments

    - How do firms make sustained recoveries following a period of sharp decline?
    - Lessons available from the business turnaround literature
    - Building an ambidextrous organisation.
    - Case-Study: Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

    3. Strategizing in  a social networking context 

    - How do firms build social networking strategies to enhance their performance?
    - Lessons on aligning business strategy with social networking goals and key performance indicators. 
    - Case-Study: Starbucks

    4. Strategizing in Politicized environments

    - How should an organization defend their interests with public institutions and private interest groups, including governments, regulatory bodies, judiciary, trade unions and pressure groups?
    - Lobbying and other corporate political strategies
    - Case-study: JP Morgan

    5. Strategizing in contexts characterised by business model innovation.

    - What is business model innovation?
    - Building an innovative business model
    - Responding to business model innovation
    - Case-study:  Cirque du Soleil

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

1. Appraise and evaluate the need for approaches to strategy development which are sensitive to different environments.
2. Evaluate the strategic and organisational challenges created by increasingly dynamic environments.
3. Appraise the strategic and organisation challenges faced in crisis situations and appropriate business recovery strategies.
4. Assess the importance of an organisation’s non-market strategy and how it can influence legislation, regulation and public opinion.
5. Appraise the notion of business model innovation and the approaches available to design and respond to strategic innovations. 
6. Develop the ability to think strategically and to build confidence in making strategic decisions in challenging contexts.
7. Develop and apply practical skills in critically using various strategic management concepts and techniques.

Strategic Human Resource Management in the 21st Century

Module Leader
  • Dr Debora Gottardello

    The module provides an understanding of strategic approaches to managing people and an awareness of a range of issues which have strategic significance for Human Resource Management (HRM) departments and managers in general. You will develop the ability to apply theoretical understanding in a global context, and a base of relevant skills in strategic human resource management.  The module also explores the key concepts as well as the main tools and techniques of strategic HRM used by organisations and its leaders.


    The module covers:

    • Aligning business and HR strategies.
    • HRM configurations in a global context.
    • Employment relations in an international environment.
    • Regional HRM patterns.
    • HRM and flexibility.
    • HRM and organisational crises.
    • Managing the global workforce.
    • HRM and the future.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Critically review how different business strategies influence the choice of people management strategies, structures and processes.
  • Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of different HR strategies, structures and processes.
  • Appraise and contrast various employment relations systems operating in different countries and the scope for global regulation.
  • Examine regional HRM patterns and evaluate the different implications for international management.
  • Evaluate the implications of key HR challenges with regards to flexibility, global management and the preparation for/responses to crises.
  • Appraise the critical issues faced by multinational and other organisations.
  • Be sensitised to a variety of key challenges in relation to flexible and effective global HR management.
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage in HR configurational planning and global career management using both organisational and individual perspectives.

Managing Strategic Innovation

Module Leader
  • Professor Mark Jenkins

    The module will demonstrate the importance of innovation to organisations in the private and public sectors, and in manufacturing and service. You will understand the key dimensions of innovation, including new products, services and new business model innovation. Further to this, you will recognise how innovation can be managed using leading-edge tools and techniques and will be provided with experience of the key challenges that teams face in developing new products.


    The module will cover:

    • Understanding innovation: What it is and the role it plays within an organisation.
    • The dimensions of innovation: product innovation; service innovation; process innovation; innovation in organisations and business processes.
    • The degrees of innovation: radical, disruptive, and incremental.
    • How innovation can be managed - models of innovation and innovation management.
    • The innovation pentathlon as a framework for innovation management.
    • Creating customer-focused ideas: understanding customers’ hidden needs through enhanced methods for market research. Creativity techniques to stimulate original approaches to solve the customer’s problems.
    • Prioritisation: selecting and managing the portfolio. Methods for assessing the technical, market and financial risks of innovation projects. 
    • Creating novel processes to maximise the effectiveness of management decision-making.
    • Implementation and new product development: how to define and quickly implement concepts for new products, services and processes.
    • People and organisation: building a culture of innovation. Hiring, developing and motivating individuals, teams, and networks to bolster innovation output.
    • Recognising cultural, political and cognitive barriers to innovation. Supporting organisational learning. Creating innovation networks.
    • Developing an innovation strategy: technology management and disruptive innovation. Understanding innovation and determining suitable performance measures. Sources of innovation: internal and external.
    • Auditing innovation performance: determining how innovative an organisation is, both in terms of its output of new products and services and its internal processes.
    • Boosting innovation performance: designing and launching programmes to improve an organisation’s capability to innovate.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Describe key concepts and issues in innovation and will be able to identify the potential for product service, process, and business model innovation within an organisation and/or network.
  • Compare and contrast strengths and weaknesses of an organisation in terms of its innovation management and performance.
  • Evaluate and apply key tools, techniques and approaches to managing innovation and the ability to critically select and apply these in actual business situations.
  • Judge the challenges in managing new product development.

Business Law

Module Leader
  • Dr Anicee Van Engeland

    The Business Law module will provide students with an understanding of the processes by which legal rules are applied in both the public and the business sectors.


    The module covers:

    • The Legal Framework
      • Common law and equity.
      • Judge-made law.
      • Statute law.
      • Regulations and directives of the European Union.
      • The structure and powers of the civil courts in England and Wales.
    • Liability for Providing Negligent Advice
    • An Outline of Aspects of Law of Contract of Particular Relevance to the Executive and Director
      • Creation of the contract.
      • Relative importance of contractual terms.
      • Clauses of limiting liability for breach.
    • Forms of Business Association
      • The Legal consequences of forming a limited company, an LLP or an unlimited partnership.
    • Aspects of Contract Law in France and Germany.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  • Provide a managerial understanding of the legal system and thought processes.
  • Recognise and manage the pitfalls in giving professional advice including liability for negligent advice.
  • Describe key elements of contract relevant to managers.
  • Examine and appreciate the legal consequences of forming a partnership or a registered company.
  • Distinguish the similarities and differences in approach between the Common Law legal system and those based on Roman Law.

Leading Sales and Customer Management Organisations

Module Leader
  • Dr Javier Marcos Cuevas

    Sales and Account Management is increasingly being recognized as an important boardroom topic. Sales management paradigms are shifting rapidly, and many sales and customer management organisations are undergoing fundamental transformations to address critical changes in the market. The degree of globalisation and connectedness, technological breakthroughs, and new ways to co-create value with customers are opening unprecedented opportunities but also posing significant challenges to businesses both large and small. 

    The purpose of this module is to provide the foundations for leading sales organisations and customer management business units successfully. In so doing, it aims to offer practical approaches and tools to develop sales strategies and key customer relationships.

    This module will be of interest to individuals who:

    • Are in business development or customer facing functions.
    • Have a technical or professional background (e.g. engineering, medical, legal, accountancy) and wish to develop into leadership positions with P&L responsibility or Senior Partner positions.
    • Are in Key Account Management, Customer Relationship Management and Sales Management roles.
    • Work in a non for profit or public organisation and wish to enhance the significance and impact of the entity by strategically influencing stakeholders such as donors, user groups etc.
    • Have a military and armed forces background and wish to learn frameworks for enhanced customer centricity.
    • Consultative selling skills
    • Leading sales and customer management functions:
      - Co-creating compelling customer value propositions
    • - Delivering customer value
    • Managing Strategic Accounts
    • Challenges and paradoxes in leading sales organisations
Intended learning outcomes
  1. Define and critically analyse sales and customer management strategies.
  2. Employ practices to lead a sales force enhancing its performance.
  3. Conduct a comprehensive Key Account analysis.
  4. Plan and execute a sales meeting with a professional buyer or business partner.
  5. Develop a sales strategy route map.
  6. Craft a compelling customer value proposition.

Major Critical Projects and Programme Management - a Sectoral Approach

    The importance of effective major project management has won growing recognition in recent decades. Most companies and governments are well aware of the need to invest on major critical projects and programmes, but many are facing enormous challenges in their delivery. New approaches to the delivery of major critical projects and programmes are fundamental when dealing with complex interdependencies of specific physical, social, technical, environmental, economic, political challenges and legislative environments. As the complexity and technical requirements of today’s critical major projects evolve to become more sophisticated, the demand for skilled and adaptive project management personnel cannot be underestimated. In this respect, this module aims to:

    1. Examine challenges and complexity of major critical projects and programmes, and determine how the two can be avoided and better managed.
    2. Explore the nature and delivery of major critical projects and programmes in the energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, construction sectors as well as major strategic corporate schemes.
    3. Compare different major critical project management methodologies on a sector-by-sector basis, and introduce optimisation for major project delivery principles.


    The following lecture content is indicative:

    - Major project/ programme challenges and complexity.
    - Stage-gate process for major critical projects and programmes.
    - Major critical project management processes and methodologies.
    - Transforming policy into practice: Implementation project plan on major critical projects.
    - Principles of stakeholder sense-making and system dynamics.
    - Investment appraisal for sustainable value creation on major critical projects: economic, social, environmental and technical systems.
    - Optimisation of major critical projects/programmes.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Demonstrate proficiency in major critical project processes and methodologies, and be able to develop a critical awareness of the project management life cycle for projects in your chosen domain.
2. Evaluate various major programmes challenges and complexities, and determine how they can be avoided or better managed. 
3. Develop an awareness of key economical-political issues and challenges faced by governments, policy makers and other important project stakeholders in transforming policies into major critical projects and programmes.
4. Appreciate the value of optimisation in assuring efficiency, capital effectiveness and project value creation.
5. Apply the principles of stakeholder sense-making and system dynamics to major critical projects and programmes.
6. Appraise major critical projects and programmes, and appreciate the value of economic, social, environmental and technical systems.

Leading and Managing the Family Enterprise

Module Leader
  • Dr Stephanie Hussels

    Family businesses form the backbone of most economies around the world. For example, in the UK alone 90 percent of UK private businesses are classified as family businesses and hence contribute enormously in terms of employment and wealth contribution. Family businesses are unique in a way that they combine ownership, management and the family. This creates many challenges which this elective will address, see intended learning outcomes. The elective is not only relevant for students from family businesses, but also for those who are planning to join a family business in the future as either a staff member or a non-executive director.

    - Family Business: Definition, Nature, and Significance 
    - Life Cycle of a Family Business 
    - Growth Strategies of Family Businesses 
    - Succession Planning (Are the Kids Good Enough to Run the Business?)
    - Succession (Continued) - Family Participation (Is Family Business the “Right Career”?)
    - Conflict Resolution 
    - Corporate Governance in Family Business 
    - Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Innovation within a Family Business  
    - Managing Culture and Change in Family Business
    - Financing Planning in the Family Business / Selling a Family Business
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Examine and critically analyse the life cycles of family businesses from the perspective of business, family and ownership development.
2. Apply methods to enhance communication ability and conflict resolution with family business owners, managers, and family members, including relatives.
3. Recognize and evaluate situations and propose solutions to problems in family businesses.
4. Apply strategic planning skills in dealing with the issues of growth and regeneration of the family business.
5. Create a family dialogue on family business issues and topics.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the unique planning challenges facing family businesses, including but not limited to:
- Balancing family and business demands.
- Regenerating the business with life cycle transitions.
- Creating effective governance.

Strategic Quality Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Abdelkader Aoufi

    At 99% quality you can expect:
    - 20,000 lost articles of mail per hour (based on 2,000,000 per hour)
    - 5,000 incorrect surgical operations per week
    - Two short or long landings daily at an airport with 200 flights per day
    - 2,000,000 wrong drug prescriptions each year
    - No electricity for almost 7 hours each month

    At 99.9% quality: 50 new-born babies dropped at birth every day; 810 commercial airline flights would crash every month and 22,000 cheques deducted from the wrong bank accounts each hour.

    It’s a remarkably high number of defects and costs. What can be done? Whatever type of organisation you work in (Bank, Pharmacy, Hospital, University, Industry, Insurance) most companies strive to remove human errors and defects and face a unique set of service-oriented process improvement challenges. When they aren’t well considered, these challenges can easily disrupt and derail processes, impact negatively customer satisfaction and create internal and external costs. 

    What if we could judge the quality of processes and decisions at the time we make them, rather than waiting for their outcome? These processes are the product of how people think and behave to decide and do things. Strategic quality management including six sigma thinking is about getting key principles and ideas into the life-blood and DNA of organisation.

    To this content therefore the aims of the module are:

    - To provide students with a clear understanding of quality management and its role in the organisation’s strategic vision to achieve customer focus and continuous improvement.
    - To show the genuine synergy through the combination of measurement systems and process analysis, capability, people behaviour, Six Sigma methodology and apply them to improving the process and service.
    - To learn how to improve decisions and service by improving the processes that produce them and highlight the role of human behaviour in process performance.


    Organizations are recognizing, sometimes too late, that quality is the one thing they cannot compromise. The challenge for managers is the effect on customers’ requirements, based on how fast they attained target and how consistently they have maintained it (Efficiency, effectiveness and continual improvement)?

    Moreover, managers are being challenged strategically to identify problems, analyse root causes and suggest solutions.

    Specific topics will cover:
    • Quality culture and long term thinking: Brief overview of gurus’ contribution to the quality journey (inspection, quality conformance, quality assurance, kaizen, TQM) including their similarities and differences. A special attention will be given to the Deming Quality philosophy. 
    • Customer service strategy: Develop a customer service strategy and evaluating quality gaps in service to improve customer satisfaction and reduce cost of non-conformance. Describe the key drivers of quality to develop performance processes including prevention of defects and metrics that target critical dimensions of service quality.
    • Human behaviour and process: Highlight the role of human behaviour in process performance. Show an awareness of how improvements might be made in the organisation by understanding the people issues and avoiding errors, biases and cost of non-quality.
    •Process analysis and measurement, identifying and tackling constraint and bottleneck, determining the chain of events and finding out how the work gets done? Identifying value added steps, waste and what should be improved and how? How choose measurement and KPI?
    • Statistical thinking strategy: Understand variability of processes through statistical thinking and causes of variation in the system and provide guidelines and systematic approach for how to integrate Six Sigma data-driven problem solving approaches used in the DMAIC to ensure that potential failure modes and their associated causes have been considered and addressed.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Create strategies and develop capabilities for continuous process improvement, organisational efficiency and effectiveness with practical and proven methods.
2. Evaluate and analyse quality issues and how to adopt long term thinking to manage them strategically by taking into account behavioural aspects in any organization.
3. Examine and experiment with key tools and techniques covered to immediate use taking into consideration organisational context.

Challenges in Creating Organisational Cyber Resilience

Module Leader
  • Dr Ruth Massie

    Critically review the impact of cyber and digital operations upon organizations and the associated strategic risks.


    The course will be structured around a planning cycle, set within the context of leadership and oversight of a business with a strategic interest in information and cyber risk (nearly all businesses today). 

    1. Understand – underlying theory and approaches to enterprise risk management, governance and ethics.
    1a. Understand resilience and security of information and digital assets.
    2. Prepare - understanding the organization, strategic objectives and risk landscape.
    3. Protect and Assure – building appropriate strategies, programmes and cultures
    4. Detect and monitor – building appropriate monitoring and management solutions with associated programme.
    5. Respond – crisis and incident management, integrating response structures with other defensive programmes
    6. Review / improve – review of programme and risk, understanding lessons identified from isomorphic events and leveraging those lessons for improvements.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Critically appraise relevant risk, security and resilience theories.
2. Evaluate approaches to assessing information and digital value in organisations.
3. Determine and align security and resilience with organisational goals. 
4. Understand cyber resilience considerations within the context of Enterprise Risk Management, and the relevant linkages to strategic risk, to better enable the selection of appropriate strategies and proportional solutions.
5. Consider the impact of governance and ethics within the context of cyber resilience in organizations.
5. Evaluate the cost benefit analysis considered against the changes in the risk landscape created by deploying or changing cyber solutions in organizations. 
6. Propose options for shaping organisational value and culture regarding security and resilience.

Leading Sustainable Business

Module Leader
  • Dr Rosina Watson

    We are all becoming painfully aware of the urgency of taking action on climate change, biodiversity loss, hyper-social inequality and the other myriad social and environmental challenges we face today. We know that only the businesses that respond decisively to them will survive. This module will equip business leaders with the awareness and capabilities they require to steer their businesses towards contributing to positive change whilst reducing costs, managing risk, increasing trust and driving long-term sustainable growth.

    • Online pre-work
    • Assessment of the current state of sustainability in students’ own organization
    • Videos introducing key concepts and theories
    • Reflection and quizzes
    • Sustainability challenges and opportunities
    • Business’s role in addressing these
    • Drivers for action / stakeholder pressures
    • Business purpose
    • Strategy and planning
    • Target and metrics
    • Exploring sustainable futures
    • Sustainable innovation (& circular innovation)
    • Collaboration and partnerships
    • Leadership
    • Looking to the future

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Identify global social environmental and economic issues and relate how these present both challenges and opportunities to business
  2. Analyse business responses to these challenges and opportunities and assess the capabilities they require to respond effectively
  3. Classify the stakeholder groups businesses can work with to develop and implement their sustainability strategies and compare collaboration approaches
  4. Consider the role of personal leadership in an organization’s values, strategic direction and ability to execute its sustainability strategy
  5. Critically assess the content and reporting of a businesses’ sustainability strategy; recommend improvements and identify barriers to change and approaches to overcoming these


Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff. As a result, they may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed above the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.


Cranfield School of Management is one of an elite group of business schools worldwide to hold triple accreditations from:

Triple Accreditation

How to apply

Individuals seeking MOD sponsorship can find information on the application process by visiting the MBA Defence course pages on the Defence Academy Website.

MOD sponsored individuals who have received sponsorship approval by the Defence Academy and self-sponsored individuals should apply using our online application form.