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Postgraduate

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

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College
Central Saint Martins
Start date
September 2024
Course length
2 years
Extended full time low-residency mode

What happens when you mix an arts school with a business school?

Applying for more than 1 course

You can apply for more than 1 postgraduate course at UAL but we recommend that you apply for no more than 3. Find out more in the Apply Now section.

The Central Saint Martins Birkbeck MBA is a different kind of MBA that places creative approaches and social engagement at the heart of future leadership. At Central Saint Martins, this course is part of the Culture and Enterprise programme, and at Birkbeck it is part of the Department of Management.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • A different kind of MBA: This joint degree is unique in many ways ­– in pedagogy, delivery mode and stakeholder network.
  • Joint networks: You will benefit from the combined strengths of two highly regarded institutions, giving you access to an expansive and supportive international network.
  • Flexible learning: This course enables you to pursue your studies part-time while continuing in your full-time career.
  • Cross-disciplinary approach: This will prepare you for complex and ever-changing business environments. You will develop critical thinking, decision-making, emotional intelligence, negotiation and creative cognitive flexibility.

Open days

There are currently no open days scheduled for this course, please check back at a later date.

Recordings

Watch a recording of the recent MBA open day.

Scholarships, bursaries and awards

Have a question?

Please email study@csm.arts.ac.uk and we'll respond as quickly as possible.

Read this

Making a difference in the local community: learning from the Central Saint Martins Birkbeck MBA

Course overview

The Central Saint Martins Birkbeck MBA places creative practice and social engagement at the heart of future leadership. Through an approach combining critical and analytical thinking, the course challenges existing business practice through creative and innovative approaches to effect positive change in a complex world. The ambition of this joint degree is to develop agile and resilient leaders who engage constructively, creatively and confidently with the uncertain to transform systems, cultures and communities.    

  • The MBA curriculum is driven by a desire to generate new values and impact, producing transformational leaders and change-makers with a humanity-centred, social purpose to address social, cultural, environmental and economic problems, and effect positive change.  
  • Focusing on the importance of identifying and understanding problem contexts and scenarios, live projects are integrated as part of the holistic experience to explore and challenge the core MBA disciplines of leadership, strategy, finance, entrepreneurship, operations and marketing.  
  • The MBA introduces art and design school thinking to business contexts through experiential and reflective learning, innovation practice, and the building of criticality from thinking-through-doing, a core strength of the art school.  
  • The converging crises of global pandemic, climate emergency and social inequality have proven the fragility and limitations of conventional economic models. The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report 2020 forecasts the top 10 skills for 2025 to include analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, complex problem solving, critical thinking and analysis, creativity, originality and initiative, and reasoning, problem solving and ideation, skills embedded within this forward-looking MBA.   
  • A collaboration between Central Saint Martins, one of the world’s leading art schools, and Birkbeck, a top ranked research-intensive institution, this joint degree is unique in equipping students to step outside of existing silos to develop a culture of creative practice combining art and business school thinking. The course supports community engagement, interdisciplinary knowledge, and industry networks to create a valuable difference for business, people and planet.   

We are committed to developing ethical business administration practices. To achieve this, we are working to embed UAL's Principles for Climate, Social and Racial Justice into the course.

Course units

The course has six units. Across all units, business and management-related theories are integrated with creative strategies into a real-world, problem-solving approach to learning and teaching, delivering theory through practice.   

Unit 1: Orientation and Provocation (20 credits)  

Unit 1 begins by orienting you in the learning culture of the course, unpacking creative explorations from the art school and data-driven analytics of the business school. The unit explores the intersection of creative arts and business practices and the potential of this meeting space to celebrate diversity and establish discourse. You will engage in collaborative group-work to experience the value of effective teamwork and the changing roles of leadership. The unit also introduces one of the core themes of the course – personal transformation and positive change – and how to achieve this through creative strategies, experiential and peer learning, and the development of networks across the MBA community.  

Unit 2: Strategy and Systems (20 credits)  

The aim of this unit is to critically examine and provide insights into the practices and processes of strategic management within a variety of private and public sector organisations and small and medium sized enterprises, including creative and design industries. Case studies introduce core concepts of business management and systems approaches to business model innovation and development, while workshops introduce you to the application and value of creative methodologies as systematic and iterative processes in creative problem solving. You will begin to explore innovation practice, risk analysis and the relationship between strategies and systems against the economic, societal and ecological contexts in which they sit. The unit introduces the principles that guide decision-making by anticipating future impact and developing appropriate scales of action.  

Unit 3: Collaborative Practices for Common Good (20 credits)  

The aims of this unit are to explore the potential of collaborative practice and to equip you with the ability to apply interdisciplinary approaches through collective agency. It supports you in building communities of practice across the College, drawing on interdisciplinary expertise and group working methods from a breadth of disciplines. The unit explores how relational and networked-based practices can create positive impact, based on a shared concern for a specific place, space or community of humans and non-humans, in order to create common and shared well-being (social, economic and environmental). 

Unit 4: Finance and Impact (20 credits)  

In this unit you will explore existing and alternative business models and finance systems by investigating the impact of macroeconomics and geopolitics, examples of positive social change, and social and cultural enterprise. Case studies and workshops will introduce you to key principles and contemporary issues in management and empirical finance, including financial management and reporting, small business finance, and financial modelling.  The unit also considers thought leadership on the future of finance and assurance in relation to sustainability, scarcity, carbon literacy, resources and resourcing, and the impact on people and planet, and planet-centric design strategies including circular design and regenerative design.  

Unit 5: Effecting Change – Entrepreneurship in Action (40 credits)  

This unit explores the ways creative practice, innovation and entrepreneurship intersect and contemplates how to bring about positive change. You will explore the development of enterprise, entrepreneurs as individuals and teams, and how to see and formalise opportunities – how do we identify the need for change and for whom is the change beneficial? How do businesses understand changing customer demands and the move towards more ethical/sustainable business models? This unit involves the interrogation of key theories and emerging models of social enterprise for positive social change, asking you to analyse and critically evaluate success criteria. You will be challenged to engage with industry networks and contemplate the implications of technological and economic paradigm shifts, such as automation or AI, and learn how to develop vision and originality in identifying business opportunities and strategic thinking. You will apply models of business innovation and social engagement through the live project, integrating design in the communication of your project to be persuasive to specialist and non-specialist audiences.  

Unit 6: Application: Extended Live Project or Dissertation (60 credits)  

This final unit acts as a culmination to your learning and will take the form of either a self-directed live project or dissertation. It asks you to draw upon the networks you have established to design and investigate an original research question or proposition and to critically reflect on previously encountered theories, discourses and tools to develop new approaches to social challenges and organisational opportunities. Importantly, it requires you to consider and manage the ethical implications of your project, to critically evaluate existing scholarship and methodologies, consider alternative approaches, and respond constructively to uncertainty, unpredictability and ambiguity in the context of your academic or practice-based project. The extended live project is defined by the transfer and exchange of knowledge through external verification in the form of a symposium, public forum or project pitch. As an academic and theoretical exploration, the dissertation focuses on the contribution of knowledge through designing and developing processes, models and frameworks.  

Important note concerning academic progression through your course: If you are required to retake a unit you will need to cease further study on the course until you have passed the unit concerned. Once you have successfully passed this unit, you will be able to proceed onto the next unit. Retaking a unit might require you to take time out of study, which could affect other things such as student loans or the visa status for international students. 

 

Mode of study  

The Central Saint Martin’s Birkbeck MBA is offered in an extended full-time, low residency mode which runs for 60 weeks over 2 years. During term time you will be expected to commit 30 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.  

This course is delivered through a series of intensive study weekends that occur once a month. Each intensive weekend runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is accompanied by two online sessions of 1.5 hours each.  The MBA includes regular online consultations, tutorials and networking sessions to support the face-to-face weekends. Students are taught across the Central Saint Martins and Birkbeck campuses and will have access to both libraries, learning resources, career services and academic staff.  

Credit and award requirements  

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits.  

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Business Administration (MBA degree). Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MBA is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MBA and the classification of the award is derived from the achievement in all units.   

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits. 

Learning and teaching methods

The learning and teaching methods devised for this course include:   

  • Lectures, seminars and workshops 
  • Collaborative project work 
  • Group presentations 
  • Studio and seminar discussions 
  • Interactions with project partners and hosts 
  • Peer-group reviews and self-reflection 
  • Group and individual tutorials and supervision 
  • Project briefs and feedback sessions 
  • Independent study 

An introduction to Master of Business Administration (MBA)

What are the ten skills you need to succeed in business?

Our students

MBA stories

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Staff

Graduate Teaching Assistant: Valentina Marquez

Fees and funding

Home fee

£16,360 per year

This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

International fee

£16,360 per year

This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

  • An Honours degree
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification

And normally at least three years of relevant professional experience.

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference

Or a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

IELTS level 7.0 or above, with at least 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

  • 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 mindset and an ability to negotiate roles within multidisciplinary and cross-cultural teams
  • Have a strong level of standard computer literacy.

What we are looking for

We actively seek applicant whose prior experience and track record will equip them to make a meaningful contribution to classroom activity and discussion.

Apply now

Application deadline

Deadline

Round 1:

13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)

Round 2:

3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

Video task deadline

Round 1:

7 days after digital portfolio and/or video task request

Round 2:

7 days after digital portfolio and/or video task request

Decision outcome

Round 1:

End of March 2024

Round 2:

End of June 2024

Round 1
Round 2
Deadline
13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)
3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)
Video task deadline
7 days after digital portfolio and/or video task request
7 days after digital portfolio and/or video task request
Decision outcome
End of March 2024
End of June 2024

All applications received by 3 April will be treated equally. If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Read more about deadlines

Apply now

Application deadline

Deadline

Round 1:

13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)

Round 2:

3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

Video task deadline

Round 1:

7 days after digital portfolio and/or video task request

Round 2:

7 days after digital portfolio and/or video task request

Decision outcome

Round 1:

End of March 2024

Round 2:

End of June 2024

Round 1
Round 2
Deadline
13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)
3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)
Video task deadline
7 days after digital portfolio and/or video task request
7 days after digital portfolio and/or video task request
Decision outcome
End of March 2024
End of June 2024

All applications received by 3 April will be treated equally. If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Read more about deadlines

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How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement and CV and two references.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 500 words and include:

  • your reasons for choosing the course
  • your current creative practice and how this course will help you achieve your future plans
  • any relevant education and experience, especially if you do not have any formal academic qualifications.

Visit our personal statement page for more advice.

CV advice

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If you have any web projects or other media that you would like to share, please include links in your CV. If English is not your first language, please also include your most recent English language test score.

References

Please provide two references, academic or professional, as part of your application.

Step 2: Video task

We will review your initial application. If you have met the standard entry requirements, we will ask you to submit a digital portfolio.

You’ll need to submit this via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool.

Video task advice

We’d like you to submit a 1-2 minute video to help us learn more about you. When recording your task, please face the camera and speak in English.

What to include in your video task 

  • Tell us briefly about your professional/educational background and how your experiences have prepared you for the CSM Birkbeck MBA.
  • Provide an example of how you have demonstrated effective leadership in past projects, social or community engagement, working groups, etc.

Read our guidance for how to submit your video task and which file types we accept.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Applying to more than 1 course

You can apply for more than 1 postgraduate course at UAL but we recommend that you apply for no more than 3 courses. You need to tailor your application, supporting documents and portfolio to each course, so applying for many different courses could risk the overall quality of your application. If you receive offers for multiple courses, you'll only be able to accept 1 offer. UAL doesn't accept repeat applications to the same course in the same academic year.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

We do not accept any deferral requests for our postgraduate courses. This means that you must apply in the year that you plan to start your course and you will not be able to defer your place to start at a later date.

Application deadlines

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 equal consideration deadlines to ensure fairness for all our applicants. If you apply ahead of either of these deadlines, your application will be considered on an equal basis with all other applications in that round. If there are places available after the second deadline, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Careers

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: