Shape your own programme

Electives provide you with the opportunity to specialise in an area of particular interest or to explore new avenues.

The Global Online MBA elective portfolio consists of 14 modules across a number of subject areas which have been newly developed for online learning. You can choose five electives from the portfolio which you will study in the second year of the programme.

Supported by our own experienced faculty, many of the electives include guest lecturers from industry and other academic institutions who impart their unique insights and real-world experience to the class.

As a Global Online MBA student, you can also attend up to two face-to-face electives from our on-campus portfolio.

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GMBA electives


Advanced Corporate Finance

This module covers corporate financial decision-making, specifically, an overview of corporate financial policy, and financial forecasting, financing decisions, corporate investment decisions and valuation, and mergers and acquisitions. By the end of this module, you’ll:

  • Have a thorough understanding of the main aspects of financial decision-making, and in particular financing decisions, investment decisions and mergers and acquisitions.
  • Be able to apply the concepts and methods to make financial decisions in real-life cases.

Private Equity

This elective examines the role of private equity financing as a type of financing, and the critical issues that the parties (investors, banks, managers, entrepreneurs/shareholders) involved in a transaction will face during the investment process and their negotiations. Topics covered include fundamental analysis, applications and models related to private equity professionals, management and the entrepreneurs.

The purpose of this module is to provide a strong theoretical framework, practical applications and tools to Business School students interested in private equity finance and investments covering the topics of Raising Equity and Debt Finance, Growth Capital Finance, LBO Finance, Distress, Project & Infrastructure Finance. Through this module, students will learn about the PE market and new trends, finance instruments and structures, the applications of these tools in companies’ acquisitions, the role of the investment banks or the private equity funds in the equity and debt-raising process, the financial and legal structuring and the valuation process executing an investment, risk and returns analysis.

Mergers and Acquisitions

This module is designed to introduce you to the issues raised by corporate mergers and acquisitions. The subject is one that calls on the services of many professionals including company executives involved in the initial search and screening of candidates, investment bankers and stockbrokers who may advise on bid tactics, dealing with city regulations and raising finance, corporate lawyers who deal with the documentation and who may present a case if the bid is referred to the anti-trust regulators, and PR consultants who may advise on lobbying various parties and presenting the case for or against the proposed merger to shareholders. The module integrates knowledge gained earlier in the MBA programme in areas such as accounting and finance, strategic management and organisational behaviour.

Advanced Company Valuation

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.

Alternative Investments

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.  

Entrepreneurial Finance

Entrepreneurial Finance is designed primarily for students who plan to get involved with a new venture at some point in their career - as a founder, early employee, advisor or investor. The course is also appropriate for students interested in gaining a broader view of the financing landscape for young firms, going beyond the basics of venture capital and angel financing.

EF introduces students to the myriad complexities of evaluating and financing young, high potential ventures, with specific introduction of frameworks, tools, deal terms, and varying sources of capital. Through a combination of lectures, case studies, and mock negotiations, this course will help demystify the fund-raising process by addressing key questions facing all entrepreneurs: When should I raise money?  How much?  From whom?  Under what terms? And what are the longer-term implications of my chosen financing strategy?

Topics in Asset Management

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.

Venture Capital Finance

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.

Financing the Blue Economy

There is a growing awareness that the world’s oceans, which in total cover > 70% of the earth's surface, are in a state of critical decline. Once seen as “environmental” problems, finding solutions to issues like plastics pollution, overfishing and ocean acidification are increasingly viewed as crucial global economic challenges. In this unique class, we will gain an insider’s view on the innovations taking shape for financing sustainable development of the world’s oceans.  

We will consider how blended finance, impact investing, and public/private partnerships are unlocking a more prosperous future in the blue economy.  Our aim is to understand both the promise, and the potential pitfalls, of financing new business models that protect the diversity, productivity, and diversity of the world’s marine economy.  The course is held on location in the Republic of Seychelles, a country well known not just for its outstanding beauty, but also for its path-breaking approaches to preserving natural capital.

Marketing and Analytics

Brand Management

This module is concerned with building, measuring and managing brands over time, and with how to leverage advertising and the other elements of the marketing communications mix to build and strengthen brand equity. Firms are increasingly becoming aware that one of their most valuable assets is the brand associated with their products and services. Creating strong brands that deliver customer value, and maintaining and enhancing the strengths of those brands over time, are management imperatives. Given that marketing acts as the boundary spanning activity between the firm and the external environment, nearly everybody will, at some point in their career, wear a marketing hat. So, understanding key marketing topics such as branding is beneficial regardless of one’s professional background and career direction.

International Business

Business is a global workplace – if you want to operate successfully in this environment, you have to be international. This module deals with the major issues faced by companies in international business and marketing. A central theme is a continuing need to balance the competing dimensions of local adaptation and global integration, which means that international managers can neither fully adapt to the demands of local markets nor fully apply globally standardised models.

The challenge in international business is how to reconcile local and global demands from both inside and outside the company. You will develop the skills needed to navigate the dilemma of recognising international differences in culture and behaviour while avoiding stereotyping. Special attention will be paid to strategies for and from emerging markets.

Consumer Behaviour

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.

Marketing Analytics

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?

Pricing Strategy

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.


Venture Capital Finance

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.

Clean Technology Investment

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

Design for Business Transformation

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.

Digital Opportunities: Insights from the Startup Nation

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

Energy Business

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.

Family Business

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.

Leading Social Innovation

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

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.

The Future of Cities

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

Strategic Management

Advanced Strategy

This module gives you the opportunity to develop a detailed understanding of the sources of competitive advantage as well as a clear strategic approach to the understanding of strategic decisions and decision-making. The module builds on the Strategy core module.

The aim, through looking at a variety of case companies, is to discern patterns, teasing out common strategic and leadership characteristics that are the hallmark of breakout companies. These are companies that are not confused about strategy – they evolve and change rapidly. However, a constant feature is the ability to keep things simple and focussed and make the moves that have a big impact on the market. Whatever the company examined, the evidence amassed in this elective reveals that using a strategic perspective to take entrepreneurial actions are crucial determinants of business success.

Digital Business

The Internet, together with other information and communication technologies, 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).


The study of leadership is about how to better manage the challenges we face motivating and inspiring people. At its most basic, it’s about making things happen in an organisation in a constructive way. It’s not about wasting our energy trying to change who we are. Instead, it’s about finding new and better ways of ‘being ourselves’ through enhanced insight and new skills.

In order to make you more effective as a leader, this module will help you become aware of your personality and other traits in order to make you more effective through diagnosis (questionnaire assessment exercises), insight (introspection and reflection of one’s traits, habits, and behaviours) and self-development (plans to adapt and change to tackle future challenges), as well as introduce you to new skills useful in dealing with common leadership challenges and dilemmas.

Leading YourSelf

The prerequisite of organisational leadership and managerial effectiveness is the capacity to lead and manage oneself. To this end, the module will take students on an enriching inner journey through which they will learn to unveil and develop their qualities thanks to the empowering experience of deep meditation. The module will integrate notions of holistic wellbeing with positive psychology and eastern philosophy to provide a balanced learning experience connecting knowledge development with practical wisdom.

Managing Negotiations

Managing Negotiations will develop your understanding of the principles, strategies, and tactics of effective negotiation and professional relationship management. You’ll learn how to critically analyse a conflict, recognise and avoid common barriers to effective negotiation, improve your ability to analyse negotiation situations, and create opportunities for mutual gain in negotiations.

Knowledge objectives:

  • Distributive and Integrative Negotiations
  • Cognition and Biases in Negotiations
  • Negotiation Analytics
  • Power and Influence in Negotiation
  • Multi-party Negotiations
  • Cross-Cultural Negotiations

Skill objectives:

  • Diagnostic and analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Relationship management skills

Operations Management

Operations management plans and coordinates all activities in the process of producing and delivering the products (goods and services). Matching supply with demand is one of the most critical steps toward effective operations management for firms. In this module, we will explore how firms can better organise their operations so that they more effectively align their supply with the demand for their products and services. This module will cover a mix of qualitative and quantitative problems and issues confronting operations managers. The first part of the module details different kinds of business processes, the impact of variability on business processes, and explains how to measure key process parameters like capacity and lead time. The second part of the module focusses on process improvement and examines classic ideas in quality management as well as recent ideas on lean operations. The module concludes with a brief introduction to inventory management with applications in revenue management.

Breakout Strategy

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.

Climate Change and Business Strategy

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.

International Business

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.

Management Challenges in Healthcare

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.

Project Management

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


Strategic Networks

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.

Sustainability and Competitive Advantage

Sustainability and Competitive Advantage: Rethinking Value Creation

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.

Economics of Information and Intellectual Property

The Economics of Information and Intellectual Property

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.

Strategic Problem Solving

Through this blended module, which is delivered online and in-person, you will learn the fundamental skills of strategic problem solving, including how to approach a business problem in a structured and efficient way utilising techniques from the top-tier consulting firms. Relevant for consultants and non-consultants alike, you will be taught how to apply the skills of strategy consulting to business problems that you may encounter in any field. At the end of this module, you will understand how to define and structure a problem, conduct analysis, and synthesise and communicate recommendations.

Business Analytics

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.

Strategy in Volatile and Uncertain Environments

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.

Digital Transformation: Leading Real-World Change

This module deals with the major issues faced by companies when addressing digital transformation.  As digital technologies have become more deeply embedded within day-to-day life, the way industrial structures are constructed has changed rapidly and companies themselves must adapt as a result. Digital transformation is therefore about much more than understanding the role of data and information – it is about managing new forms of strategic alliances – enacted and enabled by technologies. This course provides real-world examples and the chance to hear first-hand from global business leaders about the challenges and opportunities of digital transformation. This course aims firstly to develop students’ skills in assessing the risks and opportunities of digital transformation within different industries and secondly to enable them to understand how to lead those changes within a company.  Specifically, they will have:

·         developed their skills in integrated business thinking

·         understand the strategic frameworks available for digital transformation

·         demonstrated a proficiency in basic analytical skills for management

·         presented their ideas informatively and persuasively

Leading & Executing Strategic Change

Organisations need to be increasingly proactive and nimble in today’s fast-paced, intensely competitive environment. Executing strategic change, however, continues to be a complex and difficult process. One of the biggest challenges is for leadership teams to recognize and understand that implementing a strategic transformation entails attention to both the rational and emotional aspects of the process. The bottom line is that change is hard, it is overwhelming, and fraught with uncertainly for people in the organization.


In this module, we unravel the puzzle surrounding the strategic change process by systematically examining the following issues: What is the typical organizational mind-set toward change? What are the different types of strategic change? What about the timing, scope and pace of executing change? What are the common pitfalls as the process of strategy implementation unfolds and how can leadership teams avoid those? How can they mitigate their frustration by adopting a nuanced understanding of why people resist change? How can recipients of change avoid feeling like victims but empowered in a strategic change process? We draw upon different frameworks and models from existing empirical research in strategic change - we apply them through in-depth case analyses, role plays and simulations to understand practically how a process can be constructively managed.

Strategic Networks for Innovation and Change

Received wisdom tells us that professional networks matter.  In particular, networks are important as sources for information for developing new ideas or identifying pathways for change in organizations. Also, networks play a crucial role in gaining support for innovative ideas and in leading change initiatives through to implementation.  Despite the importance of networks, it is much less self-evident how the potential of networks can best be leveraged and how the most effective networks are built. This course focuses on how networks may help individuals, entrepreneurs, and organizations to create value. More specifically, it aims to generate insights into the role of interpersonal and interorganizational interaction in the achievement of creative outcomes, innovative performance and organizational change.

Independent Project (optional)

This module allows you to put the theory taught on the MBA into practice. You’ll develop specialised expertise by researching a real business issue and influence real commercial outcomes, if your recommendations are implemented by a sponsoring organisation.

Find out more

Electives available and course outlines are subject to change. Imperial College Business School reserves the right to alter courses whenever they need to be amended or improved. Faculty may also change as and when required.

Imperial’s MBA was an incontestable opportunity to have the best of both worlds: a global, highly-ranked, online MBA programme that fits in my busy lifestyle whilst still maintaining the option to attend a number of second-year electives on campus together with other MBA programme students.
Nikolaos Demiridis
Global Online MBA 2019-21
Nikolaos Demiridis