This collection of stackable modules introduces the fundamental principles of modern strategic thinking and the basic tools of strategic analysis, building your capability to outline a meaningful future direction for an organisation.

Recognising the nature of organisations as complex open systems, this course offers an integrative, practical perspective on strategic thinking and puts forward a view of Strategic Management as Guided Emergence.

Who is this for?

  • Anyone who is, or aspires to be, in a leadership position and who will be involved in the strategic decision-making process for an organisation.
  • If you choose to study past our Bronze, Silver and Gold badges, minimum criteria for the Postgraduate Award is an English language speaking IELTS score of 6.5.

How you will study

Our modules are fully stackable and self-paced, so you choose how much you want to learn and when.

Available stacks

  • Bronze: 4 hours online, access anytime
  • Silver: 6 hours online, access anytime
  • Gold: 10 hours live online cohort based learning (live dates are every six months, split across two half-days at times to suit many global time-zones)

Our stacks offer exercises and reflection activities throughout the programme. We suggest you allow additional time to do this. You can do it at your pace, but our guidance is up to 8 hours for Bronze and up to 12 hours for Silver. This is your opportunity to apply your new knowledge and reflect on the impact it can have on you in your current and future roles.

Location: Online – a combination of always available, access anytime and live online.


What you will learn

Bronze Strategic Thinking

Bronze – Self-paced

Award: Cranfield Bronze Digital Learning Badge

By the end of your Bronze stack you will be able to:

  • Understand the features of complex systems, such as systemic view, non-linearity, episodic change, and emergence.
  • Recognise the strategic leadership challenges posed by complexity, such as control and prediction.
  • Appreciate the challenge of simultaneously ‘exploring’ and ‘exploiting’.
  • Know how organisations learn.
  • Be familiar with the five key strategic questions.

Silver Strategic Thinking

Silver – Self-paced

Award: Cranfield Silver Digital Learning Badge

Should you want to progress to our Silver stack, by the end of your study you will have developed knowledge enabling you to:

  • The customer matrix: comparing perceived use value and price.
  • Application of the customer matrix.
  • Seven strategies: low cost, excellence, no frills, specialisation, targeting, adaptive, innovation.
  • Required capabilities for each strategy.
  • Categories of strategic assets.
  • Tacit knowledge and complexity as barriers to imitation.
  • Conducting an asset audit.
  • Industry analysis: five competitive forces.
  • Identifying competitors: a customer perspective.
  • The value system: profit pools and value capture.

Gold Strategic Thinking

Gold – Live Online

Award: Cranfield Gold Digital Learning Badge

Taking your stack up to Gold level will deepen your knowledge and learning, enabling you to:

  • Appreciate the nuances of applying strategy tools in practice.
  • Understand the contextual and conceptual limitations of basic strategy tools.
  • Apply the complexity leadership perspective and appreciate the notion of adaptive space.
  • Synthesise the results of strategic analysis into a set of strategic recommendations.

Postgraduate Award

Completing the Bronze, Silver and Gold Cranfield Digital Badges within this stack alongside those in the Strategic Management stack and an Integrated Assessment will earn you a Postgraduate Award in Strategic Management.

To qualify for the PgCert in Business and Management, three core PgAwards are required, which are:

  • Making Sense of the Economy and Introduction to Financial Management
  • Leadership and Organisational Behaviour
  • Strategic Thinking and Strategic Management

The PgCert is a requirement for applying for a PgDip and MSc.

Postgraduate Certificate

This comprises 3 Postgraduate Awards.

Postgraduate Diploma

This comprises 6 Postgraduate Awards.

Master of Science (MSc)

PgDip, plus a thesis.