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.