Electives

Shape your own programme

Electives are your opportunity to truly shape the programme to your own ambitions, whether you want to specialise in a particular area or expand your breadth of business knowledge. Building on the skills you develop during the core modules, you will choose six electives on the Imperial MBA, developing your expertise with your future career objectives in mind. Whatever you want to achieve from the electives, the Careers team, MBA team and Faculty are available to advise and help guide your choice.

Taught by the experts in their field, electives give you a chance to learn from our world-class faculty in their areas of specialisation. Many of the electives also include guest lecturers from industry and other academic institutions who impart their unique insights and real-world experience to the class.

Ben Kirk

Design Thinking with Dr Ileana Stigliani was one of the highlights of the MBA for me and I also chose to study Ileana’s elective Design Management. The process of ideation and design centred around empathy and subconscious consumer needs is a method I have built into other projects this year and will continue to use in my professional career.

Ben KirkFull-Time MBA 2017-18Hear more from Ben Kirk

You can choose from a range of on campus or online electives. On campus electives usually run over four days either during the Spring or Summer terms and are offered over week days or weekends. There is a wide range of elective options, from which approximately 20 are run each year depending on student interest.

Electives are shared across the MBA programme portfolio, giving you the opportunity to forge more relationships across the School community with students from the Weekend MBA, Executive MBA and Global MBA cohorts. If you are looking to enter financial services after graduation, you can also opt to take finance electives alongside MSc students on our Finance programmes.

Ensuring that you have access to the specialisations you are really interested in, you can also opt to study up to half of your electives during an exchange with one of our partner schools.

Finance

It is a fundamental precept of this module that any corporation can be valued, albeit imprecisely in some cases. The module starts addressing the value creation process and examines the validity and limits of value creation in the context of corporate restructuring. It continues with the analysis and practical examination of the traditional valuation models, then extends to relative valuation models, and finally, combines different pricing frameworks in valuing a number of entities with different investment and financing characteristics. The module is highly participative and the extensive use of real-world cases guides you through the theory and application of valuation models highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

This module covers corporate financial decision-making. It provides an overview of corporate financial policy, and address financial forecasting, financing decisions, corporate investment decisions and valuation, and mergers and acquisitions. You will learn to apply the concepts and methods learnt to make financial decisions in real-life cases.

Real Estate is often considered as one of the major asset classes, next to equities and bonds. It also has a prominent role on the balance sheet of many companies. This module introduces real estate investment analysis from the perspective of an investor.

The module emphasises both the teaching of the theory of real estate investment and real estate markets as well as the practical methods and their implementation as used in a professional investment context. The module will take students through a number of examples of how to assess real world real estate investment opportunities (e.g. the acquisition or development of an office building or supermarket) within a professional fund management environment. This is linked to how to finance such transactions and the practical and structuring points that arise, as well as looking at several of these examples from a distress point of view. The module also introduces several topics in real estate economics and portfolio theory in relation to real estate. The module concludes by discussing the type of arbitrage opportunities that real estate private equity aims to exploit through, for example, the acquisition of non-performing loans.  

This module will cover the major types of activities and risks faced by intermediaries operating in credit markets. We will layout the important functions performed by banks and risks involved in banking. Subsequently, we will discuss how new financial technologies are disrupting the traditional banking markets and the challenges ahead.

This module allows you to experience finance in a different economy. The module is taught in two parts: one part delivered online and the other travelling to Dubai in April 2017 for an intensive study experience in the capital of an emerging economy. Traditional lectures will be complemented by guest speakers, company visits and experiential learning activities. This elective will incur additional costs.

The module is designed to introduce you to the issues raised by corporate mergers and acquisitions. It draws on knowledge gained earlier in the programme in areas such as accounting and finance, strategic management and organisational behaviour.

This module is an advanced elective in investments and portfolio management. We will discuss the key trading strategies used by hedge funds and demystify the secret world of active investing. The module combines the latest research with real-world examples to show how certain trading strategies make money–and why they sometimes don’t. We will look at how market price of stocks and bonds can differ from the model prices, leading to new perspectives on the relationship between trading results and finance theory. We will explore several different strategies in depth, including fundamental tools for investment management, dynamic portfolio choice, equity strategies, macro strategies, yield curve logic and arbitrage strategies.

The purpose of this module is to provide a strong theoretical framework, practical applications and tools relating to private equity finance. The elective looks into areas such as raising equity and debt finance, growth capital finance, leveraged buyout finance, distress, and project and infrastructure finance.

The goal of this module is to understand the decision-making process with respect to screening and selecting of business proposals, negotiating and structuring the deal, following up on investments, and exiting.

The goal of the venture capital course is to understand what venture capital is from both an investor’s and entrepreneur’s perspective.  We will explore how it differs from other types of financing and seek to understand the screening and selecting of business proposals, negotiating and structuring of transactions, monitoring of investments, and completion.

Although the venture capital industry worldwide has been growing significantly over the last decades, the industry still retains an air of mystery. The course is structured to combine principles, cases and real life practical experience. By meeting venture capitalists and learning about their real life experiences, the student will gain insight into the VC industry.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

We take an in-depth look at rapidly evolving global energy markets with a specific focus on low-carbon and renewable energy technologies.

This module will introduce participants to design thinking and practice. It will provide them with concepts and tools to improve their capacity to manage the collaboration with designers in the development of new products and services.

Companies around the world are realizing that good design is good business. The increasing awareness of how design can help create value for companies is definitely leading more and more firms, in industries ranging from home appliances to transportation, from food and beverage to consumer electronics, to attempt to use design as a source of competitive advantage. Clever design often makes the difference between the success and failure of innovative entrepreneurial ideas, as it can help firms make not only better products and services, but also better business decisions. However, one-time investments or occasional contracting of design superstars to revamp a product line may produce only ephemeral results. Good design stems from a systematic approach to design.

Many entrepreneurs, product developers, marketers, and service managers, though, still lack the preparation to fully take advantage of the benefits of design and designers. Research shows that this lack of preparation is among the most common causes for failures in design-business collaborations. This module, therefore, will introduce participants to design thinking and practice, and will provide them with concepts and tools to improve their capacity to manage the collaboration with designers in the development of new products and services.

In this course we consider the characteristics of the digital economy and digital technologies, and how these create both global and local opportunities for entrepreneurs. As well as considering those industries such as software, telecommunications, music, and other forms of digital content and services that have already seen significant entrepreneurial activity, we also investigate the entrepreneurial opportunities provided by emerging digital technologies such as Internet of Things, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

The goals of the module are for the student to understand, critically evaluate, and apply:

  • Impacts of digitization on industry structure and competitive dynamics
  • The special nature of digital artefacts and infrastructures as economic goods
  • Characteristics of emerging digital technologies such as blockchain and AI
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities arising from the changing digital landscape

This module provides students with an understanding of the principal challenges facing energy businesses in the modern world, and how they should respond to them. It aims to ask whether, and how, business can provide secure supplies of energy at a reasonable cost to consumers with minimal damage to the environment while still making a profit.

The module will cover the following topics:

  • The supply of energy and the demand for energy services
  • The opportunities and constraints arising from technology
  • Strategy for energy businesses
  • Financing projects and trading energy
  • Corporate social responsibility for energy businesses
  • Climate change and climate policy-making
  • Energy policies and their impact on businesses

The module will build on case studies from the oil and gas sector and from the energy utilities (gas distribution and electricity) to show where they face common issues and where different problems require different approaches. Technology and government policy create both opportunities and constraints for energy businesses – this module will explicitly consider these.

This one-week block module is designed to help current and emerging leaders and owners of family business understand the special challenges of Family Enterprises and manage the strategic and personal challenges that are ever present in this form of business entity. Through a serious of lectures, case studies, activities, interactive presentations and discussions with a number of visiting family business owners sharing their experiences, you will have a rich experience in understanding the “how to” and the “how not to” of Family Enterprise.

This module explores the brave new world of social innovation and how businesses can tackle social problems through social innovation. While achieving business success and creating social welfare have often been seen as oppositional, a new generation is challenging this by trying to use business as a force for good. These social innovators tackle social problems in two main ways: by becoming social entrepreneurs who lead social enterprises (businesses that seek to fulfill a social mission), or by becoming social intrapreneurs who seek to achieve social change within the for-profit firms that employ them. Through this module you will be equipped with the tools to become a social innovator.

Idea SMARTCamp focuses on teaching practical methods and skills that help aspiring intrapreneurs to build business cases that challenge the companies they work for and inspire them to extend their current businesses to adjacent markets and technologies.

We focus on how to develop compelling business cases, i.e. rationales why a business should be built, and on how to marshal sufficient resources for building robust venture structures that allow pursuing that business case but also adjust the start-up activities if necessary.

This SMARTcamp is primarily aimed at growth-oriented and ambitious future intrepreneurs. You may come with an idea for an innovative product or service (for your company or even for starting your own company) or you can team up with idea owners to then further develop that idea. The SMARTcamp is also suitable for students who intend to take the Entrepreneurial Journey as it can serve to develop an initial idea that they can then use for developing a business plan. The SMARTcamp emphasizes aspiration, willingness to learn and dedication to process.

This module will address the topic of the future of cities by focusing on forecasts, experts’ opinions, case studies and industry insights.

This module is designed to:

  •         Develop your understanding of strategic challenges faced by society and cities
  •         Develop your ability to analyse global problems from a local perspective
  •         Develop your ability to analyse complex problems, apply theoretical frameworks and MBA knowledge

Strategy and Management

This module will help you develop a more complex and nuanced view of strategy. It will look into critical concepts in competitive strategy, strategy frameworks for internal and external analysis and the key issues in competitive strategy formation and implementation in various contexts.

Breakout strategy is a state of mind and a managerial framework for proactively pursuing growth-oriented strategic objectives. This elective introduces the concept and technique of this type of strategy and explores the essential strategy practices and types of breakout.

This module introduces students to Business Analytics, which is the study of advanced analytical and computational methods to support effective and informed managerial decision-making based on data. The principal idea in Business Analytics is to formulate managerial decision problems as mathematical problems, which can subsequently be solved with analytical or numerical techniques. Typical applications include revenue management (e.g. revenue-maximal pricing of train and airline tickets), logistics (cost-effective transport of products in a supply chain), financial portfolio management (construction of asset portfolios with a good return/risk tradeoff) and production planning (e.g. reduction of late deliveries or inventory holding costs).

The module will explore various mathematical techniques to formalise and solve managerial decision problems. The use of these methods will be illustrated with applications in diverse disciplines, including supply chain design and production planning, supplier selection, revenue management and finance.

Given the importance that climate change is going to have in shaping both the policy and business environment for the decades to come, this elective has been designed to give students the tools to analyse different situations, understand the links between different issues, and have a perspective from a variety of sectors. You will develop a scientific knowledge of climate change and the technologies and policies it relates to, hear from corporates to understand the risks and opportunities it presents for business, and explore the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in climate change solutions and adaptation.

The Internet, together with other information and communication technologies (ICTs), continues to revolutionise industries. E-commerce is now a given in many industries, but many incumbent firms rooted in traditional business models struggle to figure out the new terms of competition. By examining the experience of earlier industry transformations we attempt to shed light on what may lie ahead for industries currently undergoing upheaval (software, telecommunications, music, and other forms of digital content and services).

This module deals with the major issues faced by companies in international business. It will help you understand the differences between doing business in emerging markets and in developed markets and deal with issues in an increasingly globalised world.

The study of leadership is about how to better manage the challenges we face motivating and inspiring people. This elective will introduce you to new skills useful in dealing with common leadership challenges and dilemmas. It will also help you become more aware of your personality and other traits in order to become more effective through diagnosis, insight and self-development.

Healthcare consumes at least 10% of the developed world’s resources and is growing fast. Many developing countries are beginning to experience similar pressures as the more established health systems. On this elective we focus on the emerging challenges that public and private healthcare providers face as a result. We consider the underlying causes, ways in which organisations are responding and what further changes are likely in the near term for which we should plan.

This module will develop your understanding of the principles, strategies, and tactics of effective negotiation and professional relationship management.

Today’s leaders face the challenge of having to cope with uncertain and dynamic environments when managing their businesses. Unpredictable shifts in customer preferences, technologies, regulations, competitive landscapes, social environments and political environments often threaten key organisational goals. While such conditions force some firms to switch to survival mode, others seem to persistently turn the odds to their favour and outperform their peers. In this module, we explore how to capitalise on opportunities in uncertain environments and mitigate challenges. Specifically, we disentangle different dimensions in today’s dynamic environments and look at how volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) shape effective strategies and determine business outcomes.

This module covers modern project management techniques that are relevant to practicing professionals.

The competitiveness of organisations does not exclusively depend on the financial and human capital at their disposal, but also on their social capital: the strategic value of the network relationships they hold. Although most will agree that networks within and between organisations matter somehow, it is much less self-evident how the potential of networks can best be leveraged, and how the most effective networks are built. This module focuses on how networks may help individuals, entrepreneurs, and organisations to create value. More specifically, it aims to generate insights into the role of interpersonal and inter-organizational interaction in the achievement of creative outcomes, innovative performance, organisational change and competitive advantage.

This module will address the topic of sustainability from a strategic perspective, with a particular emphasis on decision-making and trade-offs. The class will be involved in an engaging debate that will cover different perspectives on the topics discussed, including the economic, environmental and social perspectives. At the end, you will have a comprehensive understanding of sustainability issues, the relevance for policy makers, the role of corporations and the implications for decision-making.

Information, especially digital information, is different in many ways from other goods and services. Yet information is still subject to the laws of economics, and can be protected as intellectual property. The purpose of this module is to explore some of the economics of information and the different intellectual property approaches to protecting information.

We examine a variety of topics including: the pricing of information goods, network effects, multi-sided markets, standards, trademarks, patents, copyright and trade secrets. As such this module teaches students how to think strategically about two of the fundamental underpinnings of the digital economy. The module will be centred on case discussions.

Analytics and Digital Marketing

This course is concerned with building, measuring and managing brands over time. It looks into how to leverage advertising and the other elements of the marketing communications mix to build and strengthen brand equity.

This elective explores consumer psychology and how consumer behaviour can be shaped. It examines consumer psychology theories and current findings to learn how to apply these to develop marketing techniques that cut through the noise, shape or alter consumer behaviour, and help build and sustain consumer loyalty.

Today’s marketing is not just an art; it requires the use of data and quantitative approaches to support marketing strategies in rapidly changing offline and online environments. Only a few large international firms use marketing analytics. In emerging markets, even fewer companies adopt analytical practices.

As data has become one of the most important forces shaping all the business fields now, firms are increasingly seeking managers and analysts with sufficient technical background to make effective data-driven marketing decisions.

Taking a very hands-on approach with real datasets and cases, this course aims to expose students to a range of marketing problems dealt with various analytical tools. The goal is not to turn students into experts in statistics or econometrics, rather to equip them with analytical thinking and a set of applied quantitative marketing skills so that they are best-prepared to succeed in the workplace. The course’s practical orientation along with the extensive use of case studies will help students concentrate on the big-picture of marketing analytics.

Some of the questions/topics addressed analytically in this course include:  

  • How to segment your customers?
  • How to calculate the value of your customers?
  • How to predict future sales performance?
  • Which promotional strategies are most effective?
  • What is the return on marketing investment (ROMI) for advertising and other marketing instruments?
  • What drives web traffic?
  • How to allocate marketing budget across online and traditional channels?
  • How much to bid for online sponsored ads?
  • Social media listening: how to squeeze out social media data (e.g. Twitter) to better understand customers’ sentiments?
  • How to improve engagement with current and potential customers using social media data?

This course will provide you with a systematic presentation of the factors that need to be considered when setting prices, and will show you how pricing alternatives can be developed. The course will constantly integrate the pricing decision back into the marketing mix, and evaluate its effectiveness in achieving broader managerial objectives.