Central Saint Martins Birkbeck MBA

What happens when you mix an arts school with a business school? The Central Saint Martins Birkbeck MBA is a different kind of MBA that places creative approaches and social engagement at the heart of future management and leadership. The course challenges the orthodox business school approach to education, and instead focuses on cross-disciplinary collaboration. You will become a new type of business graduate: one who can combine genuinely creative thinking and innovation with core financial and strategic management skills.


Scholarship applications for this year’s degree are now closed.  This year’s Scholarships have been awarded.

This course is part of the Culture and Enterprise programme.

Meet the Course Leader, Pamela Yeow

Great reasons to apply

  • Our MBA’s radical approach lies in its philosophy: deep research and analysis leading to real, root-and-branch, change.
 This course places tools and concepts in context, combining design thinking and creative problem solving with rigorous academic content.
  • Benefit from the combined strengths of two highly regarded institutions, in the central London locations of King’s Cross and Bloomsbury, offering graduates access to an expansive and supportive international network.
  • A cross-disciplinary approach to prepare you for complex and ever-changing business environments allowing you to develop critical thinking, decision-making, emotional intelligence, negotiation and creative cognitive flexibility.
  • Embracing the different perspectives of your cohort comprising students from a variety of professional industries and international cultures. Your colleagues will reframe problems and challenge the status quo.
  • Enabling you to pursue your studies part-time while continuing in your full-time career.


Course Leader

Dr Pamela Yeow PhD (Sheffield)

Course Location

Central Saint Martins at King’s Cross and Birkbeck at Bloomsbury, London.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModePart time
Course Length18 months
Home/EU Fee

Tuition fees for 2017/18: £27,000.

Applicants who have previously completed an undergraduate or postgraduate course at UAL or Birkbeck are eligible for a 10% tuition fee discount, upon successful application to the CSM Birkbeck MBA.

International Fee

Tuition fees for 2017/18: £27,000.

Applicants who have previously completed an undergraduate or postgraduate course at UAL or Birkbeck are eligible for a 10% tuition fee discount, upon successful application to the CSM Birkbeck MBA.

Start DateSeptember 2017
Autumn Term DatesFriday 22 September 2017 – Friday 8 December 2017 (term one)
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January 2018 – Friday 16 March 2018 (term two)
Summer Term DatesMonday 9 April 2018 – Friday 24 August 2018 (term three)
Term DatesMonday 1 October 2018 – Friday 7 December 2018 (term four)
Monday 7 January 2019 – Friday 15 March 2019 (term five)
Application Route

Direct application

Content and structure

Course and Modular content

Unit 1: Provocation and Enquiry (60 credits)

Sprint 1: Team working

Location: CSM
Dates: September 22–24 2017

  • Collaborative teams: identifying their value, cultural capital and experience
  • Tackles complex, multi-themed problems involving points of provocation
  • Communications, problem definition, stakeholder analysis and action plan formulation

Sprint 2: Systems, complexity and networks

Location: Birkbeck
Dates: November 10–12, 2017

  • Practical systematic and holistic approaches to composite problem solving
  • Basic systems concepts
  • Principles of systems thinking, stakeholders, pluralism, critical systems, complexity, complex adaptive systems, agile working networks and network analysis

Sprint 3: Business models and strategy

Location: CSM
Dates: January 12–14, 2018

  • Business model innovation and development
  • Strategising networks of stakeholders, sustainability and ethical considerations
  • Practice and process of strategic management

Sprint 4: Finance and governance

Location: Birkbeck
Dates: February 9–11, 2018

  • Resource management: governance; accounting; financing decisions; sustainability; ethics; alternative value systems; law and regulation
  • Resource and planning
  • Finance and management accounting techniques

Sprint 5: Project

Dates: March 9–11, 2018

Working from both tutor- and student-led themes, contexts or questions, you will be tasked with self-organising and proposing an approach and/or set of responses which puts into practice the knowledge and skills developed in the earlier sprints.

Unit 2: Entrepreneurship in action (20 credits)

Dates: April – August, 2018

  • Entrepreneurship: creativity, innovation and problem solving
  • Value systems beyond economics
  • Emergent approaches to venture design: Lean Startup, Design Thinking and Effectual Entrepreneurship
  • Enterprise and entrepreneurship over the past three decades
  • Practical experience applying these tools by iteratively designing a new start-up project

Unit 3: Effecting change: Collaboration in practice (40 credits)

Sprint 1: Leadership and Change

Location: CSM
Dates: April 13–15, 2018

Organisational behaviour, leadership, change management, team working, and human resource development.

Sprint 2: Marketing, social media and analytics

Location: Birkbeck
Dates: May 18–20, 2018

  • Marketing decision making in contemporary business
  • Marketing strategies within the context of corporate objectives
  • Technology, consumer decision making and marketing practice
  • Exploring analytics and ‘big data’ strategies
  • Strategic marketing, consumer behaviour, digital channels, social media and marketing metrics

Sprint 3: Operations and technology

Location: Birkbeck
Dates: June 29 – July 1, 2018

  • Business processes, quality systems, risk management, production, ICT, and supply chain management
  • Customer orientation and competitive advantage
  • Strategic role of operations and operations strategy
  • Design of processes and the implications for layout and flow
  • Design and management of supply networks
  • Resource planning and management
  • Lean systems
  • Quality planning and managing improvement

Sprint 4: Project

Dates: August – September, 2018

Working in small groups and choosing a self-selected theme, context or question, you will tasked with self-organising and proposing an approach which draws on and puts into practice the knowledge and skills developed in earlier sprints.

Unit 4: Extended Live Project or Dissertation (60)

This final unit acts as a culmination of your learning, and requires critical reflection on previously encountered theories, discourses, tools and process, while developing new approaches to social challenges and business/organisational opportunities.

You will test some of the ideas and knowledge by electing one of the two following options:

  1.  Live Project: develop an individual practical project which revolves around the creation of an intervention, based on the theoretical approaches and practical tools and processes encountered earlier in the course. The project chosen can either be a real-world intervention, or can take the form of a detailed hypothetical proposal.
  2.  Dissertation: create a critical academic study based on in-depth, critical analysis of the theoretical principles and discourses of contemporary social challenges and business/organisational opportunities. These may encompass sociology and ethnography, economic and political theory, management and organisation theory, and other relevant fields of academic analysis and critique. You are encouraged to explore the boundaries of the disciplines concerned, and to identify new areas of research within a potentially expanded field of practice within business and organisations.

MBA Programme Specification 2016/17 (PDF, 672 KB)


The World Economic Forum consulted business leaders from major global organisations for its The Future of Jobs Report (2016). It concluded that the ten skills that an employee will need by 2020 are:

  • Complex problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • People management
  • Coordinating with others
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Judgement and decision making
  • Service orientation
  • Negotiation
  • Cognitive flexibility.

The MBA embeds these in its curriculum.

The course aims to prepare graduates for the next step in their careers, whether it be a transformational senior management role within their current industry, or a new role in a completely new field of work. Entrepreneurial students are encouraged to set up their own businesses.

The emphasis on positive transformation, and a socially-motivated desire to change the world, coupled with a solid understanding of business and management will create graduates who are keen to bring about fundamental innovation and systemic change. 

With this MBA, students will be able to transfer their skills within their current industry, or across industries. With developed managerial competences and innovation practice, graduates will be able to seek employment or further their career opportunities in positions that apply design thinking to complex problems, and take a holistic view of business issues. With developed leadership capacities, they will be able to combine ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’ with robust knowledge and application in organisations.

For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit:

Entry requirements

Central Saint Martins Birkbeck MBA applicants must have an Honours Degree, and normally at least three years of relevant working and/or professional experience, but we will look at exceptional candidates with less. Applicants without a first degree but with substantial number of years working experience will also be considered.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is: 

  • IELTS 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in any one paper, or equivalent.

For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

Selection Criteria

Candidates who meet the basic entry requirements will be invited to interview either in person or over the phone/Skype.  A key element of the process involves consideration of how an applicant’s prior experience and track record will equip them to make a meaningful contribution to classroom activity and discussion and to determine whether the course is right for the applicant’s aims and expectations.  Candidates are expected to:

  • Have the ability to think in abstract terms about planning, management, and resources
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Be numerate, and display some experience and understanding of logistics and strategic thinking
  • Be team players and builders, not competitive individualists
  • Demonstrate a collaborative mind-set and an ability to negotiate roles within multidisciplinary and cross-cultural teams
  • Have a strong level of standard computer literacy.

Visa Information for International Students

Please note that students offered a place on this course will NOT be issued with a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies). The Home Office have previously confirmed that the Short-term study visa route is the appropriate one for a distance learning course for students who need to spend short periods of time in the UK. For more information please check the UK government's Short-term study visa page.

Please note that we cannot guarantee that the current immigration rules will remain the same over the period of your study.

How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application form.

You can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the online application form, we will send you a confirmation email.

From January 2017 you will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Personal Statement

Your personal statement or 'Statement of Purpose’ should outline the reasons why you wish to be considered for the MBA course and should be no longer than 300 words


This course requires two professional references, one of which must be from a current employer. All references must be received from a verifiable source or on headed company paper. The reference should address the following points:

  • Professional and intellectual ability
  • Capacity for original thinking
  • Motivation for further study
  • Written and oral communication skills, including willingness to contribute valuably to discussion/ debate where appropriate
  • Leadership Potential 


You should provide a full and detailed curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé which demonstrates career progression. Applicants must have a minimum of three years full time post-graduate work experience preferably with some managerial responsibility.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form. 

What happens next

We read and consider all applications and give particular attention to your personal statement, CV and references.

Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, preliminary selection is based on your documentation of work and supporting information. You may then be invited to interview (either in person or by skype).

When to Apply

We strongly recommend you apply before 30th June 2017. After that point we cannot guarantee your application will be considered.

Deferred Entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.


Enrolment normally takes place in September/October in the year of entry. Initially students enrol in person at Central Saint Martins. Download the Enrolment terms and conditions for this course.