Imperial student working on laptop

Shape your own programme

Electives allow you to specialise in an area of interest or explore new avenues.

The Global Online MBA elective portfolio consists of online modules across a number of subject areas. In addition, you can choose up to two modules from the wide range of on-campus elective modules that we offer at Imperial College Business School, which are shared across our entire suite of MBA programmes.

You may choose to specialise in Analytics and Operations, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Finance, Leadership and Organisation, Marketing or Strategy. You can have this specialisation certified for your employer. Module groupings below are indicative, some modules fit multiple specialisations, further details will follow once enrolled on the programme.

You will study these modules from the third term of the programme if you choose the fast-track (21 months) option, and from the second year if you choose the standard (24 months) or extended (32 months) options.

You need to complete four elective modules, unless you take more than the required two flexcore modules. In the latter case, the number of required elective modules reduces accordingly. Overall, the total number of all flexcore modules and elective modules you choose needs to add up to six.

A sample list of electives is below. Please note, this is subject to change.

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GMBA electives

Analytics & Operations

The focus of this module is on the external corporate reporting of financial and non-financial information. Using case studies and recently published Annual Reports of companies listed on leading stock exchanges, you will critically analyse today’s corporate financial and sustainability reporting under US GAAP and IFRS.

You will explore the role of selected judgments and estimates on the corporate reporting process, as well as disclosures to capital providers in the corporate reporting environment with an emphasis on the identification, measurement, and reporting of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

The module prepares students to visualise and analyse data, and to use analytical and data-driven approaches to make sound management decisions.

The module introduces several tools for data manipulation and visualisation, including Excel, Tableau and SQL, on an advanced level, with an emphasis on how to ask insightful business questions and analyse data interactively.

The exploratory data analysis method will be discussed from a statistical point of view and with case studies in a management context. We also cover the computational aspect of the data analytics and briefly introduce online computing platforms. Our discussion will be complemented by real data sets from IT, supply chain, retail, finance, etc.

A firm can create competitive advantage through efficient and effective management of its operations. This module covers key concepts of operations management including the analysis of process flows and bottlenecks, capacity planning, inventory and supply chain management and quality management. You will understand how to apply these ideas to achieve operational excellence and total quality.

The operations part of the module will cover a mixture of video lectures, cases, and computer simulations. Students are encouraged to share their own work experience when relevant to the class material during online discussions. At the end of the module, you should understand the fundamentals of operations and how these contribute to competitive advantage.

Big Data, AI and Machine Learning are revolutionising many industries, creating new ones and seeping into common consumer lives. This course is a combination of managerial and technical overview of these topics.

Most managers are curious about how modern AI, Big Data and Machine Learning can affect their firms (and their jobs). This module will cover these three topics with technical concepts, managerial overviews and basic programming implementations.

The module provides students with an understanding of project management and its role as one of the principal managerial tools and approaches by which organisations adapt, innovate and grow in a rapidly changing and uncertain environment.

Automation and globalisation have profoundly changed manufacturing industries, displacing many jobs and creating turmoil. Until now, service operations were considered relatively safe, but this is soon set to change. We are seeing the beginnings of profound changes in the design and operation of service industries.

This module will concentrate on the management of services for efficiency and quality using big data and analytics. We will cover modern service design and include topics such as the use of automation and sensors to achieve efficiency and total quality. Data on customer reviews, complaints provide valuable information on improving service. Such data can be analysed using modern machine learning tools and procedures.

This module takes place on our campus in London.

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

The goal of the venture capital module 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.

In this project-based, team-oriented module, you will explore applications of artificial intelligence technologies that will improve or transform existing financial, health and other systems, markets and methods, by spending dedicated time building new business models, products or technical concepts.

This module focuses on practical application of relevant tools and frameworks such as the business model canvas, value proposition canvas, network value mapping canvas, triple bottom line canvas, and ecosystem orchestration template.

Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business. Digital transformations challenge businesses to reconsider how they operate and how they deliver value to their customers. Adopting new digital tools and processes, as well as building on existing digital capabilities, are part of innovating to improve business solutions.

Digital transformations require cultural and organisational change that challenge the status quo. In this module, we will explore the technologies that are the foundations for digital transformation across organisations and industries. Drawing upon decades of research, teaching, and industry experience in this field, we will cover two main areas of digital transformation: the technologies driving digital transformation and how to implement a successful digital transformation.

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. This elective 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.

The Entrepreneurial Journey is a team-based venture start-up programme which you can take as an elective. It is a live entrepreneurial experience designed for you to learn how to introduce products and services to market. The journey is suitable for both those wanting to start their own venture or work as intrapreneurs from within an organisation.

 

This module explores the brave new world of social innovation and how businesses can tackle social problems through social innovation. This module intends to introduce students to social innovation and equip them with tools for becoming social innovators by exploring core approaches to social entrepreneurship and social intrapreneurship.

This module will introduce the epistemologies and real-world applicability of a new set of frameworks, approaches, and tools to address ‘wicked problems’ in the sustainability, energy transition, circular economy, and healthcare domains.

To further develop and test these new systemic innovation heuristics, you will also work closely on projects with Wicked Acceleration Labs’ industrial and academic partners, including World Economic Forum, Arup, Telefonica, Frog, MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence, Swisscom, Co.Station, Daimler, Airbus, BP, the Ministry of Energy of the Government of Chile and the Port of Rotterdam, among others.

This module will be delivered using digital environments and will be highly experiential and practitioner oriented.

This elective considers the characteristics of the digital economy and digital technologies, and how these create both global and local opportunities for entrepreneurs, in the start-up nation of Tel Aviv. 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.

Frugal innovation helps to meet the needs of underserved populations by reducing the cost of an existing product or service without compromising quality. Many frugal innovations have emerged ‘bottom-up’ as innovators seek solutions for unmet needs.

Some are driven by large corporations who believe frugal innovations can help them expand market share. The module explores definitions, advantages and significance of frugal innovation. India is often identified as a hotbed of frugal innovation. We hear from experts and innovators with different perspectives and learn from successful and unsuccessful examples. You will apply this knowledge to a case study of your choosing as your assessment.

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

Since this module is a Glocal Elective, the topics will be discussed from a global perspective and the transformation going on in Singapore will be used as a central case study for the contextualisation of the problems analysed. The module will also leverage local guest speakers from industry and government, as well as site visits.

Finance

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.

The goal of this elective is to explore investments strategies in different asset classes such as equities, bonds, commodities, and currencies. You will learn about active money management techniques followed by mutual funds, pension funds, hedge funds, and family offices. At the same time, you will reflect on the limitations of investing through behavioural finance.

This module aims to allow students to critically analyse the financial position and performance of a company using both internal and external financial information.

This module is the key elective for students interested in pursuing a career in asset management (buy or sell side). It covers the trading strategies used by asset managers and hedge funds from a theoretical and practical point of view. The module combines the latest research with real-world examples of both equity and fixed-income models and strategies. It discusses 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. It uses several cases studies which are used to discuss real word business scenarios.

In this module, you will explore the fundamentals of clean technology investing. There are now countless opportunities in this space, but the challenge remains to make them viable within mainstream capital markets. Our approach in this class is highly practical, drawing on guest speakers, case discussions, and an applied group assignment to foster learning about the sector.

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. This elective 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.

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.

Deciding how to price products and services depends heavily upon economic, marketing, and behavioural phenomena. This module 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. Although the emphasis of this module is on one aspect of the marketing mix (i.e. pricing), the pricing decision is not independent of other marketing decisions. As a result, this module will constantly integrate the pricing decision back into the marketing mix, and evaluate its effectiveness in achieving broader managerial objectives.

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.

This module will cover the major types of activities and risks faced by intermediaries operating in credit markets. We will lay out 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. Lectures and cases will provide an introduction to key concepts in banking and online credit markets.

Explore current developments and trends in sustainable finance & investment, with a special focus on capital markets, institutional investment and emerging markets.

The module will help you understand what’s behind the increasing focus on sustainability in the global finance and investment community, distinguish between different types of sustainable finance products and relevant eligibility criteria, the application of various sustainability scoring and assessment approaches to real life case studies and explore how sustainable finance is evolving in emerging markets (with a focus on South East Asia).

The goal of the venture capital module 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.

Leadership & Organisation

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 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

This module deals with the major issues faced by companies when addressing digital transformation. Digital transformation is 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 module provides real-world examples and the chance to hear first-hand from global business leaders about the challenges and opportunities of digital transformation.

This module is designed to help current and emerging leaders and owners of family businesses 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 series of lectures, case studies, activities, interactive presentations and discussions with a number of visiting family business owners sharing their experiences, students will have a rich experience in understanding the “how to” and the “how not to” of Family Enterprise.  

The purpose of this module is to provide a comprehensive understanding of different aspects of executing strategic change in organisations. You will gain familiarity with different change frameworks that illuminate how organisations make transitions from one set of structures, systems and values to another to align with their strategy, the different processes by which that transformation unfolds, the critical leadership challenges and the role that middle managers can play in the process. You will develop a deeper understanding of these issues when they understand their own strategy implementation experiences and the case scenarios we analyse in class applying these frameworks.

This module explores the brave new world of social innovation and how businesses can tackle social problems through social innovation. This module intends to introduce students to social innovation and equip them with tools for becoming social innovators by exploring core approaches to social entrepreneurship and social intrapreneurship.

This module will focus on strategy and leadership in digital environments, combining cutting-edge research with deep field experience. A significant element will be the engagement with senior leaders across different industries, who will share and discuss their perspectives and experiences.

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

Since this module is a Glocal Elective, the topics will be discussed from a global perspective and the transformation going on in Singapore will be used as a central case study for the contextualisation of the problems analysed. The module will also leverage local guest speakers from industry and government, as well as site visits.

Marketing

This module will teach you the skills required to understand shareholder interests and the levers available to deliver both growth and profit. The emphasis of the module will be on practical, applied techniques used by strategy and marketing consultants and industry professionals alike. Contemporary examples drawn from recent B2C, B2B and multi-layered industries will be used to illustrate the outcomes achieved and the skills and capabilities required to deliver them.

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.

The module intends to provide students with a thorough understanding of digital marketing strategies and tools and with an overview of the major issues facing marketers in the rapidly growing area of online marketing communications. Additionally, the module aims at enabling students to understand how to integrate Digital Marketing into a Communication and Marketing Plan.

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. This module will equip you with the skills to evaluate marketing strategies by measuring effectiveness and profit generation. You will develop a complex understanding of how to derive insights from data using models and tools, including digital analytics tools for web and social media, and advertising and campaign metrics.

Taking a very hands-on approach with real datasets and cases, you will learn how best to apply these analytical techniques to effectively understand customer needs. The goal is not to be a statistician, but to equip you with analytical thinking and a set of applied quantitative marketing skills so that you are best prepared to succeed in the workplace.

The marketing landscape is changing at an astonishing rate as a result of new emerging technologies, granular data availability and ever-growing analytics tools. Today’s marketing requires the use of data and quantitative approaches to support strategic decisions in rapidly evolving online and offline environments. Coding, machine learning tools, big data analytics and insight generation are becoming the new ‘must have’ skill set for marketing managers.

Taking a very hands-on approach with case study discussions and real-world datasets, this module aims to equip you with a working knowledge of analytics and big data applications in marketing. The ultimate goal is to help today’s business leaders transform their organisations by seizing the opportunities that big data and analytics present.

The module’s practical orientation will allow you to learn sophisticated data analytics in an applied, easy-to-understand, and accessible manner. You will learn how to leverage value from data and focus on deriving actionable managerial insights.

This module will help participants acquire skills in market research (MR) in order to execute MR projects and use MR findings in strategic decisions. The module examines problem formulation, research design, data collection, data analysis, and interpretation of MR results. Participants will also develop an appreciation of how MR can contribute to managerial decision-making, as well as the limitations and flaws of prevailing MR methods.

Deciding how to price products and services depends heavily upon economic, marketing, and behavioural phenomena. This module 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. Although the emphasis of this module is on one aspect of the marketing mix (i.e. pricing), the pricing decision is not independent of other marketing decisions. As a result, this module will constantly integrate the pricing decision back into the marketing mix, and evaluate its effectiveness in achieving broader managerial objectives.

Today, business needs to engage its stakeholders. This module focuses on helping participants apply consumer psychology theories and current research findings to the design of effective marketing strategies that grab consumers’ attention, make an emotional connection, and help build and grow a business.

Sales is a key function for any organisation operating within a competitive market. This module will cover the fundamentals of both personal selling and sales management including how to organise sales, personal selling techniques, leadership in sales and recent trends in the digital transformation of sales. The module will be carried out in collaboration with the Sales Excellence Institute at the University of Houston - the world's leading institution for sales research and education. Students will leave the module with a profound understanding of the concepts and frameworks needed to succeed in sales functions and to become leaders in sales.

This module takes place in Houston, Texas, USA. The module is to be confirmed for 2022/23 entry.

Strategy

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. You will develop the skills to apply concepts and theoretical frameworks to real-life business cases, analyse and identify the sources of a firm’s competitive advantage, understand how to achieve sustainable growth and understand newly emerging business models and their challenges.

Through this module, 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.

You will develop an understanding of analytic frameworks for developing digital business models. After this module, you will be able to assess the effects of technological and societal change on digital business models, and understand how to apply the strategic mechanisms for capturing the economic benefits from new technological opportunities, as well as identify and address the strategic and organisational challenges involved in managing rapid change.

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.

In this elective, you will learn by doing how to design and deliver strategy that works for you and your organisation. In so doing, we will address key questions including: What does growth look like moving forward? How can you proactively engage to create competitive advantage in these turbulent and uncertain times?

Organisations increasingly care about managing and protecting their reputations, since it acts to set expectations for their stakeholders and acts as a perceptual filter through which the organisation’s actions and outcomes are interpreted. This module will use the research on reputations and related social evaluations to help students understand how to manage the reputations of their organisations, both during normal times and in times of crises.

Given the importance that climate change is going to have in shaping both the policy and business environment for the decades to come, this module 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.

This module will provide students with the knowledge, frameworks, concepts and tools to lead a profound design-driven business transformation, thus gaining or reclaiming leading positions in their industries. It will build on the core Innovation & Entrepreneurship module of the MBA, of which it represents a deeper and more elaborate version. It aims at providing a deep understanding of how firms can leverage upon design and designers to stimulate innovation and to build competitive advantage, as well as of the managerial challenges they encounter as they do so.

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.

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

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. In this module, 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.

Based on the latest research into networks, this module is designed to help you to turn your network into a strategic asset. Through a broad range of case study discussions, network simulations, and in-class exercises, you will gain insight into how the structure and composition of networks matters for a broad range of outcomes and obtain practical guidance on how you can develop the networking skills and practices you need to develop rich and varied social capital.

This module will focus on strategy and leadership in digital environments, combining cutting-edge research with deep field experience. A significant element will be the engagement with senior leaders across different industries, who will share and discuss their perspectives and experiences.

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. You will learn knowledge on how to limit downside risks, create opportunities, and extract the value that such environments provide.

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.

This module takes place on our campus in London.

This elective considers the characteristics of the digital economy and digital technologies, and how these create both global and local opportunities for entrepreneurs, in the start-up nation of Tel Aviv. 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.

Sustainability is one of the key issues of today’s society as confirmed by increasing attention of governments, media, academics, and industry. In the context of sustainable development, businesses that are often referred as part of the problem, can be part of the solution. The need for a system in which corporations are oriented to serve the interests of all their stakeholders, and not just shareholders is clear.

In this context, this module allows students to expand their learning of corporate sustainability by understanding how leading Italian organisations have developed sustainable practices, innovated their businesses, and engaged with successful initiatives of sustainable transformation. The module, hosted by SDA Bocconi in Italy and taught by a team of expert scholars from Imperial and SDA Bocconi, leverages the case method and includes company visits and guest speakers (very often the protagonists of the cases) in addition to traditional Italian setting, as well as providing a global perspective.

This module takes place in Milan, Italy. The module is to be confirmed for 2022/23 entry.

Further electives

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.

This module counts as a double-weighted elective.

Find out more

The Global Experience Week is a unique hands-on learning experience, which is optional for Global Online MBA students looking to further broaden their horizons. Joining the Global Experience Week with the wider MBA cohort, you can travel to another country for an intensive week-long trip to explore a new culture and business in an international context.

The Global Experience Week counts as one elective module option if taken for credit.

Find out more

The optional Global Exchanges programme allows you to increase your international exposure and build your network by taking advantage of specialised electives at one of our partner schools. You can choose to learn from their expert faculty in the classroom or join one of their international tours to experience learning on a different world stage.

Find out more

Electives available and module outlines are subject to change. Imperial College Business School reserves the right to alter modules 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, while still giving me the option to attend a number of second-year electives on campus together with other MBA programme students."
Global Online MBA 2019-21
Nikolaos Demiridis