Executive MBA

Aimed at Directors and Senior Managers in the private, public or third sectors, the Executive MBA has been designed to support your career progression, preparing you to successfully carry out senior strategic roles or to build your own business. At York St John University we prioritise social justice and the impact that our students can make through effective leadership.

York St John University
Course fees
2019 - 20 Full-time Home & EU students: £12,000, International (non EU) students: £15,000 per annum
Full-time for 1 year | Part-time for 3 years
Start date
2019-2020: January, October
York or London

Course overview

This Degree Apprenticeship Executive MBA is delivered in partnership with Primeast, an established Leadership and Organisational Change company, experienced in working with some of the world’s largest blue-chip organisations and global brands.

You will study with a cohort of experienced professionals, building your network and giving you insights into best practice internationally. As a consequence, you will explore issues that have significant impact within organisations by working with others - building on personal experiences and comparing and contrasting them with those of your cohort members.In addition you will be able to apply the knowledge and skills you develop during the programme immediately in the workplace. You will carry out projects and assignments and participate in competitions and business simulations, designed to help you apply the theories, tools and techniques you learn.

You will develop a critical understanding of the issues relating to business and management, which will enhance your ability to maximise individual and organisational potential. The Executive MBA brings together contemporary academic theory and research with a practical understanding of activities within organisations. This will be developed by enabling you to share knowledge, relate this to theories developed from relevant research, and learning by practical application.

This Executive MBA has been designed to meet the requirements of the Level 7 Senior Leader Master’s degree apprenticeship. Subject to eligibility, your organisation may be able to use their apprenticeship levy to cover the costs of this course.

Embarking on this highly innovative programme the York MBA Apprenticeship will enable you to:

  • Foster an intensively collaborative community where your analytical, innovative and entrepreneurial skills will be challenged and stretched. Work-based projects will allow you to apply your learning to achieve real life solutions in your organisations.
  • Instil a culture of Innovation and Change within your organisation.
  • Develop as a leader who sets vision, direction, purpose and strategic intent and challenges assumptions in the quest for deeper understanding and smarter, more effective solutions.
  • Deepen understanding of global, macro-level market trends and environmental influences when identifying opportunities and risks.
  • Develop inclusive approaches to leadership which develop sustainable, ethical, innovative and supportive cultures to achieve results.
  • Become a role model for others by influencing positively at all levels and across diverse groups of internal and external stakeholders.




Course structure

A relatively new, and growing, development for Higher Education in England, Degree Apprenticeships are designed to fill high-level skills gaps by tailoring learning to specific business needs. A degree apprenticeship combines full-time paid work and part-time university study to offer candidates the opportunity to gain a full Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree while participating in practical, on-the-job training.

Candidates study using whichever flexible study method suits their employer’s needs - whether that’s distance learning, blended learning or block mode learning (where the apprentice takes a period of full-time study away from their full-time work).

The qualification is similar to the higher apprenticeship, and degree apprentices hold full-time employment status rather than student status. However, while higher apprentices have the option to gain a Bachelor’s level qualification, university study is a mandatory part of degree level apprenticeships.

Special features of the programme include:

  • Flexible approach to enable you to make the best use of your time
  • Blended approach to teaching and learning which will provide you with a range of online materials and on-campus workshop support
  • Online lectures, specially tailored to help you develop your critical thinking and innovative leadership skills
  • Range of assessment methods used to mirror organisational based activities
  • Opportunity to work with a range of experienced managers and professionals, both as tutors and peers
  • Provides a supportive platform for critical reflection, through the application of academic theories to your real work situations
  • Potential to learn from other experienced managers and professionals participating in the programme
  • Participation in active and supportive forums drawing on practical expertise

Full-time and part-time

Modules include:

Executive Perspectives on Innovation, Change and Leadership (30 credits)
This module develops a critical understanding of leadership, innovation and change, including a critical analysis of the leadership of innovation and change in different contexts.
The impact of disruptive technologies that challenge traditional business methods and practices will be explored, alongside new ways of working across infrastructure, processes, people, culture and sustainability.

Using your own experience of leadership, innovation and change, you will be encouraged to ask questions and think critically, developing your interpersonal skills and applying core leadership techniques to persuade others and drive change.

Organisational Design and Strategic Thinking (30 credits)
This module examines why ‘strategy’ is critical, exploring strategic development, strategic management and how to develop sound strategy in a complex environment.
The interfaces between strategy and the internal and external environments in which an organisation operates in will be explored.

You will also learn about why innovation is so important to strategic management, considering the highly complex and turbulent environments in which most private and public sector organisations currently exist and focusing on real world issues, products and systems.

Strategic Resource Management (30 credits)

This module focuses on developing a critical understanding of how resources are managed, deployed and allocated to achieve sustainable competitive advantage for organisations. We focus on two main resources: financial and human.

By studying the theoretical concepts underpinning resource development and deployment - such as human capital development, change management, motivational theories, learning organisations, financial methods, short and long term decision making and budgeting - students will develop the financial accounting skills that executives need to communicate company results and make accounting choices. This includes interpreting management information, such as management accounts and ration analysis and exploring differences in reporting practices.

Participants will also consider strategic workforce planning, including talent management and workforce design, to enable the development of frameworks for leading a team effectively to reach shared goals.

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (30 credits)
This module provides a critical understanding of the concept and practice of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviour in modern society, organisations, communities and individuals. It develops insight into contemporary thinking about ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ in different cultural and organisational contexts. The module introduces the fundamentals of entrepreneurship along with small business theory and practice.

Students develop the knowledge of how to manage the entrepreneurial task environment, particularly in terms of managing networks and relationships, and risk management. Students gain an understanding of the types and characteristics of small firms, how entrepreneurs approach opportunities, the outcomes of this activity and the challenges inherent in starting up and running a new enterprise.

Capstone Project (60 credits)

The Capstone Project is a multifaceted module that will allow students to undertake a number of different routes through to completion of the course. The aim of this module is to encourage participants to select a route where they can demonstrate the understanding and knowledge gained from the course and how this can be applied in a practical or theoretical way in a particular setting or context. There will be 4 possible routes to choose from:

The existing, traditional Dissertation will remain an option.

The Business Consultancy Project
This involves a students attempting to solve a business problem within his or her organisation using Peter Block’s “Flawless Consulting” model.

The New Business Project
With this option the student proposes a start-up venture and provides all the support material and justifications to show that the idea has real potential and merit.

Connect to Business
A student or group of students can enter into an organisation that is new to them and act as consultants in exploring a new market possibility or niche.

Teaching and Learning

Our long-standing and extensive experience of customising programmes means we can offer the option of closed cohorts for clients wishing to develop the management and leadership skills of entire groups of employees (15 people minimum).

Unlike a traditional MBA degree, a degree apprenticeship MBA is focused on work-based learning. MBA apprentices study alongside their leadership roles, with 20% off-the-job development.

Our tutor-supported virtual learning environment provides a platform to work and study flexibly from anywhere in the world at times that suit your organisational needs. This also means that travel costs and expenses are minimised.

Our online delivery is diverse and collaborative, using rich media formats that engage apprentices on their journey including virtual lectures, online forums with peers and tutors, interactive quizzes and e-texts and academic journals that you can access 24/7 on computers, tablets and mobile devices. This virtual collaborative learning environment allows for apprentices to learn from different industries and backgrounds, challenge each other and share best practice.

The programme is designed to meet the needs of professional participants with appropriate current or recent work experience who wish to add a level of theory-based understanding to the knowledge they have gained through experience. The programme delivery is based on principles of adult learning, recognising that participants are likely to bring a large amount of experience and knowledge to the group, and can share this with each other. The style of the programme is participative and resources for learning explicitly include the knowledge, experience and skills of all participants and staff.

Some participants may not have been engaged in formal education for some time, and may never have studied social sciences at Postgraduate level. This should not be cause concern as support with study skills, conventions of academic analysis and writing will be available for you from the first module, and will continue throughout the programme.

A key philosophy of the programme is that by bringing together relevant academic theory and practical experience, you can enhance your deep understanding of these elements, and develop yourself as an individual and as a leader. All modules are delivered using a range of teaching, learning and assessment strategies. This includes lectures, seminars, a guest speaker programme, tutorials, workshops and global café style learning activities.

Assessment and Feedback

You will be assessed through a range of coursework which will be tailored to meet your organisational objectives and fulfil your business needs so that everything you do is driven by your work based learning and is relevant to you. Also, when you finish the apprenticeship, there is a final review process which includes presenting a portfolio of work-based evidence and a panel interview, for you to achieve your professional CMI status.

Through work-based learning, online resources and collaboration with your colleagues and peers, you’ll find the study methods that work best for you.

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Disability Advice

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of disability advice services to assist students throughout their studies.

The Executive MBA - FAQs

Below are some of our most frequently asked questions, from both employees and employers:

Who is the programme designed for?

The Master’s is suitable for those who are, or wish to become, professional managers, i.e. people that take strategic responsibility for projects, people, operations and/or services, to deliver long term organisational success. It is applicable to professional managers from all sectors - the private, public or third sector - and all sizes of organisation.

Apprentices must be employed in order to undertake the Master’s. Job roles must allow sufficient opportunities for apprentices to undertake activities and tasks and implement learning acquired through their studies for the degree. Off-the job training and assessment will take place as part of their paid working hours.

It is important to consider that alongside practical workshops and work-based learning, the programme involves academic study and assessment at Master’s level. If you are applying to the programme you will be presented with an eligibility form to ensure that you meet the criteria

What will the apprentice study?

Participants will take five modules:

  1. Executive Perspectives on Innovation, Change and Leadership
  2. Organisational Design and Strategic Thinking
  3. Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
  4. Strategic Resource Management
  5. Executive Capstone Project

The overall aim of the programme is to develop critical understanding and self-awareness of the issues relating to business and management, in order to develop leadership skills and knowledge, and develop both individual and organisational potential. Key learning outcomes include:

  • develop critical awareness and understanding of the key concepts of leadership, management, organisational strategy, and national and organisational culture
  • develop the ability to connect theory with practice in creative and innovative ways and reflect upon the learning involved as well as the outcomes
  • develop critical awareness and understanding of the impact that leadership, management, strategy and culture can have within organisations
  • develop and enhance life-long learning skills and personal development in order to work with self-direction and originality

How will the apprentice learn?

All modules are delivered utilising a range of teaching, learning and assessment strategies. These include lectures, seminars, workshops, and online learning through video lectures, case studies and academic reading.

The programme delivery is based on principles of adult learning, recognising that participants are likely to bring a large amount of experience and knowledge to the group, and can share this with each other. The style of the programme is participative and resources for learning explicitly include the knowledge, experience and skills of all participants.

Learning will also take place in the workplace. Throughout the programme the student will collate evidence in a portfolio. The portfolio will contribute towards the achievement of the degree, the assessment for Chartered Manager and will also be reviewed as part of the end-point assessment. The portfolio should enable the apprentice to demonstrate how they have applied their knowledge and understanding, skills and behaviours in a real work environment to achieve real work objectives.

Module 5 takes please over the top of the whole programme. This is a capstone project that the participant completes using the knowledge gathered over the programme that will have a big impact on the business.

Will apprentices go to university?

Yes. During the programme participants will attend day long face to face workshops and coaching sessions (each coaching session will be about an hour to an hour and a half) throughout the programme. Full day sessions occur once or twice a month.

Materials are released at the start of each module via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Moodle. Many students find it beneficial to schedule in work from home days where they can focus on these materials, along with assignment and portfolio work.

How will apprentices be assessed?

There are a number of elements that make up assessment for the Master’s including formative, on-programme assessment, a work-based project and a summative end-point assessment.

On-programme assessment includes presentations, critical essays, portfolios and reflective journals and case study work. Each module tutor will provide opportunities for formative assessment feedback to inform work prior to submission. Deadline dates and word counts will be given to students at the start of each module. It is important that line managers and mentors are aware of these.

The table below indicates the kind of workload that on-programme assessments involve, however, some reports are split into different components and students will be given details at the start of each module.

ModuleAssessment typeWord count/duration
Year 1
Executive Perspectives on Innovation, Change and Leadership Presentation 15 - 20 minutes
Reflective Portfolio  

Organisational Design and Strategic Thinking

Written report 6,000

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

Written report 6,000
Year 2
Strategic Resource Management Written Report 3,000
Project appraisal 3,000
Executive Capstone Project Written proposal 2,000
  Written Report 12,000
n/a Preparing for and doing End Point Assessment  

The End Point Assessment Organisation for this apprenticeship is the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Successful completion of the degree is required to progress to the end-point assessment. This is confirmed during the gateway process to the end-point assessment. The gateway process is there to ensure that the work is of a standard which will pass the End Point Assessment. The final project and portfolio will be submitted to the Independent Apprentice Assessor and a professional discussion will take place, based on the work submitted.

What if I'm finding it difficult?

A Master’s qualification will involve hard work and independent learning. However, we are here to make things as smooth as possible for you. Some participants may not have been engaged in formal education for some time, and may never have studied social sciences at postgraduate level: support with study skills, conventions of academic analysis and writing will be available for you from the first module, and throughout the programme.

For each written assignment students will have the opportunity to submit a draft, following which feedback will be given. Marks for each assessment will be available through Moodle. Students will receive detailed feedback on assessment to help them develop and continuously improve their performance whilst on the programme. Advice will be provided in relation to development, further areas for research and guidance on how to enhance your subject knowledge.

York St John University provides a wide range of support for students, all of which are available to Master’s students through our Student Services Team. Additional support is available to students who have a disability, long term health condition, mental health condition or a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) through the Disability Advice team in Student Services.

How much does the employer need to be involved?

Support for apprentices from their employer is key to getting the most out of the programme. Line managers and mentors should be aware of how the programme is delivered and assessed. Familiarity with the programme not only means that employers are more likely to support the apprentice at pressure points such as when deadlines are approaching, it also provides scope to tie work projects in with what is being studied, allowing content to benefit real work situations.

Helping to identify projects
Mentors and line managers will need to support the apprentice in identifying a Capstone Project. This is the final module of the Master’s, and incorporates learning from the programme. This should have an impact on the business, and therefore is hugely beneficial to both parties.

Allowing learning time
Employers are required to allow apprentices at least 20% of their contracted hours in off-the-job learning. This can include face to face workshops at the University and online learning. It can also involve training in the workplace, so long as this relates directly to the Apprenticeship Standard and is not part of their day to day responsibilities. It is important that this time is planned in and that the apprentice’s line manager is fully supportive of it.

Providing a workplace mentor
Each student needs to identify a workplace mentor. The workplace mentor should support the apprentice in the workplace. Mentors can help apprentices to identify relevant work activity that can operate as a source for work-integrated learning, advise on the development of work-based projects, provide feedback on the development of professional competence, ensure the apprentice is coping with the balance of work, and formatively comment on progress in achieving negotiated work-integrated learning objectives. Key responsibilities might typically include ongoing liaison with tutors with responsibility for supporting the learning development of apprentices (which can involve induction sessions and regular, scheduled virtual or face-to-face meetings).

A mentor training session is available three times a year for mentors of students new to the programme. Mentors will be invited to this soon after the start of the programme. A mentor handbook and course overview will also be provided.

Attending review meetings
During the delivery and assessment of the Master’s there will be quarterly reviews between the employer (line manager or mentor), the apprentice and the University. These will be carried out in the workplace or in an online meeting and will be led by a member of the Business School team.

Entry requirements

UK/EU Students

Entry Requirements.

Applicants must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent, achieved at Class 2.2 or above, from an approved university or institution.
  • Current or recent work experience (within the last two years) appropriate to enable you to contribute to the programme.

In exceptional cases, York St John University reserve the right to interview applicants directly to help clarify their eligibility, as appropriate. When this is the case, interviews would normally be conducted virtually.

International Students

Students whose first language is not English will be required to achieve IELTS 6 or above with no less than Band 6 in any area, or equivalent.


Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Visit York St John.

Discover life as a York St John student by visiting us. You’ll be able to explore our beautiful city-centre campus, meet our friendly staff and find out more about your chosen course.

Visit us

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

UK & EU 2019 / 20

The tuition fee for 2019 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,000 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Part-time students will be charged per module of their study pro-rata based on the full time price of £12,000.

Postgraduate Loan: A new Postgraduate Loan is now available to help you pay for your Master’s course for students commencing in the 2019/20 academic year. Find out more about the postgraduate loan.

Overseas 2019 / 20

The tuition fee for 2019 entry to this postgraduate course is £15,000 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, International Students on a Tier 4 visa must be studying full-time. For more information about Visa requirements and Short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration webpages.

International Fees & Funding

How to Apply

You can apply directly to the course via our Apply Now links. Please select the variant of the course that you intend to undertake (e.g. full-time or part-time) as the link will take you to a customised form for the specific course. You will need to create a login and password and complete the online form. Please contact two referees in advance of submitting your application as an automated request will go out as soon as you submit, and your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Apply Now: Full-time October 2019 start

Apply Now: Part-time October 2019 start

For any queries or assisstance please contact admissions@yorksj.ac.uk or on 01904 876598


Thank you for bearing with us while our online application form has been undergoing maintenance. We are pleased to confirm that it is now up and running, and you can submit your application using the link(s) above.



Ask a question

Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876598.

Cookie Settings