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 18 online 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.
You can choose to take up to two face-to-face electives from our on-campus portfolio (instead of online electives).
Advanced Corporate Finance (Online)
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.
Mergers and Acquisitions (Online)
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.
Private Equity (Online)
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.
Venture Capital Finance (Online)
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.
Advanced Company Valuation (On-campus)
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 (On-campus)
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.
Banking and FinTech: Strategies and Challenges (On-campus)
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.
Entrepreneurial Finance (On-campus)
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 (On-campus)
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.
Marketing and Analytics
Applied Strategic Marketing (Online - new for 2020/21)
The growth in collaborative business models, digital innovation and structural shifts in developing markets have accelerated in recent years. To succeed in today’s fast-changing global marketplace, marketing leaders need to deliver winning strategies that engage consumers, accelerate new market success, outperform competitors and embrace disruptive economic models.
This module will teach you the skills to understand shareholder interests and the levers available to drive growth and profit. You will be able to deliver outcomes using practical, applied techniques used by strategy and marketing consultants and industry professionals alike. By drawing on contemporary examples, you will gain the tools to solve a growth challenge. Bring on disruption – you will be ready for it.
Big Data, AI and Machine Learning (Online)*
Big Data, AI and Machine Learning are revolutionizing many industries, creating new ones and seeping into common consumer lives. This module covers these three topics with technical concepts, managerial overviews and basic programming implementations. Machine Learning is a collection of algorithms to learn from data, and in this module you will examples of such as classification, regression, and clustering. You will also learn about AI techniques like deep learning based on neural networks, reinforcement learning, natural language processing and computer vision, and understand what they are capable of doing (and not doing). Your learning outcomes will be to understand:
- at a high level the technical concepts driving Big Data, AI and Machine Learning
- basic machine learning and AI algorithms and implementation with Python
- basic database, data analytics and visualization techniques
- relevant business applications of these technologies.
*This module is currently planned, and subject to approval.
Brand Management (Online)
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.
Data Analytics and Management (Online)*
This module prepares students to visualize and analyse data, and to use analytical and data-driven approaches to make sound management decisions. The module covers the fundamentals of data manipulation and visualization, 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. You will learn basic Python and other languages, how data is organized, manipulated and analysed and how to use algorithmic and statistical thinking. Concepts will be illustrated with real data sets from IT, supply chain, retail and finance.
*This module is currently planned, and subject to approval.
Digital Marketing (Online - new for 2020/21)
Digital media and the Internet have had a huge impact on marketing practice in recent years, dramatically changing how marketers communicate and interact with consumers, as well as what consumers expect from their relationship with a company. As digital technologies continue to develop in terms of speed, availability and functionality, marketing strategies need to be integrated with digital and interactive tools and practices.
In this module, you will learn how to utilise the latest tools and technologies to identify new opportunities for strategic marketing and analyse online customer behaviour. Search optimisation, paid search, mobile marketing, social media, online advertising, email marketing and e-CRM– you will develop a firm grasp on all of these digital tools. Applying these skills to real examples, you will be able to integrate digital marketing into a communication and marketing plan and unlock a greater level of customer value.
Marketing Analytics (Online - new for 2020/21)
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.
Market Research (Online - new for 2020/21)
Market research is vital to making informed decisions and formulating effective marketing plans. This module examines problem formulation, research design, data collection, data analysis, and interpretation of market research results. You will gain the practical skills to design, analyse, interpret and critically evaluate market research studies. This is an important skill for an integrated marketing strategy – market research complements marketing analytics and big data analytics to help solve business problems.
Pricing Strategy (Online)
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.
Business Analytics (On-campus)
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.
Consumer Behaviour (On-campus)
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.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Clean Technology Investment (On-campus)
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 (On-campus)
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.
Energy Business (On-campus)
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 (On-campus)
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 (On-campus)
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 intrapreneurs. 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 emphasises aspiration, willingness to learn and dedication to process.
The Future of Cities (IB Glocal elective)
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 New York City will be used as 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.
Advanced Strategy (Online)
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.
Business Problem Solving (Online)
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.
Digital Business (Online)
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).
International Business (Online)
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.
Operations Management (Online)
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 (On-campus)
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.
Building and Managing Reputations During Good Times and Bad (On-campus)
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.
Climate Change and Business Strategy (On-campus)
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.
Digital Business Model Design (On-campus)
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. The module approaches business models as value co-discovering and value co-creating interaction systems composed of multiple stakeholders, where stakeholders engage in mutual interactions to co-create benefits for one another.
Economics of Information and Intellectual Property (On-campus)
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.
Management Challenges in Healthcare (On-campus)
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 (On-campus)
This module covers modern project management techniques that are relevant to practicing professionals.
Strategic Networks for Innovation and Change (On-campus)
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 organisations. Networks also 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 organisations to create value. More specifically, it aims to generate insights into the role of interpersonal and inter-organisational interaction in the achievement of creative outcomes, innovative performance and organisational change.
Strategy in Volatile and Uncertain Environments (On-campus)
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.
Sustainability and Competitive Advantage (On-campus)
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.
Leadership and Organisation
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.
Leading YourSelf (Online)
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 (Online)
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.
- Distributive and Integrative Negotiations
- Cognition and Biases in Negotiations
- Negotiation Analytics
- Power and Influence in Negotiation
- Multi-party Negotiations
- Cross-Cultural Negotiations
- Diagnostic and analytical skills
- Communication skills
- Negotiation skills
- Relationship management skills
Digital Transformation: Leading Real-World Change (On-campus)
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 proficiency in basic analytical skills for management
- Presented their ideas informatively and persuasively.
Leading & Executing Strategic Change (On-campus)
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 organisation.
In this module, we solve the puzzle surrounding the strategic change process by systematically examining the following issues:
- What is the typical organisational mindset 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 and we apply them through in-depth case analyses, role plays and simulations to understand practically how a process can be constructively managed.
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.
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.