Executive MBA core courses

The core courses taught by our faculty ensure participants understand the different business disciplines they need to run an organisation. They encompass the full range of subjects generally taught as part of an MBA programme.

View the EMBA programme structure

This course helps participants understand the concepts and techniques used by organisations to make practical financial and investment decisions, utilising real business examples.

The course is aimed at the non-specialist and provides a strong overview of theoretical and practical financial issues that will inform other areas of their EMBA studies.

Participants also develop a basic understanding of risk management, asset valuation, mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructuring.

Corporate governance is a critical topic for senior executives to understand. It concerns issues of ownership, control and accountability for organisations.

This course examines the role of governance, the justifications for governance reforms and the ethical problems involved across issues like takeovers, mergers, auditing processes and shareholder engagement.

Participants are taught to understand the roles that boards, shareholders and other stakeholders play in corporate decision making, that they can then relate to their own organisations. They also explore key pressures for reform in governance standards, and explore the ethical impact corporate activity can have on corporate, personal and societal values.

Knowledge of accounting is essential for understanding the financial performance of any organisation. The main objective of this course is to help students with no prior academic knowledge of accounting become informed users of financial statements.

The course enables participants to understand, record and present economic information, before developing skills to critically analyse and interpret accounting data for use in management decisions.

Understanding accounting as the language of business further allows participants to perform analyses of major decisions and even evaluate their own organisation’s financial reporting policies and procedures.

The International Business course takes place in the form of an International Business Study Trip with all lectures for the course delivered during the trip. The course covers internationalisation strategies, including why and how firms internationalise.

You meet local business leaders and government officials and visit leading domestic and international organisations to understand the varied responses to globalisation.

Learn more about the International Business Study Trip

The course provides participants with an introduction to macroeconomics. The aim is to give participants sufficient background information for them to make judgments about macroeconomic events and policies. This includes their likely impact on organisations and the ability to follow and appreciate non-technical commentaries on the macroeconomy and macroeconomic policy.

Making informed decisions in an increasingly complex business environment and articulating the value proposition behind them is a prime challenge for all managers.

This course examines how managers can use scientific modelling to test their business intuition and understanding of a complex issue. It then explores how simple models can be used to communicate business insight and decisions up and down an organisation.

Participants learn how to map the drivers of organisational performance, and how to communicate and manage uncertainty in an organisation.

In order to compete successfully and thrive, organisations must continuously adapt to new market needs and new technology. However, innovation consistently emerges as one of the major challenges faced by CEOs in their organisations, leaving them vulnerable to losing competitive advantage.

The course is designed to enable participants to develop their own perspectives on implementing innovation, exploring how companies can redefine themselves in the digital era and the frameworks and tools that can be used to support innovation objectives.

Marketing is a managerial process whose final outcome is the creation of value for the customer in a profitable way. It goes beyond having a team ‘doing marketing’ and is an essential part of managing an organisation.

The course covers the role of marketing as a process, how it contributes to an organisation’s survival and growth and how marketing plans are developed, implemented and evaluated over time.

Participants gain the skills needed to develop and communicate strategies, analyse customers and competitors and build strong brands within a global context.

The purpose of this course is to provide you with an introduction to the parts of microeconomics that are especially relevant to management. This is a foundational course designed to give you an economic perspective on the topics, concepts and analytical tools that you will encounter in other parts of the EMBA.

Topics covered include price theory, the firm, market structure, game theory, transactions costs, market power and externalities and the environment.

Relationships are key to business success, yet they are fragile. Good management, of one’s life and professional career, requires a set of distinct relational skills: the ability to distribute value, to spot opportunities for value creation, to deal effectively with differences, to circumvent or resolve conflict, to be seen as fair and objective and to manage difficult conversations.

The course provides strategies and tactics to succeed in all types of negotiating environments; drawing on case studies, role playing and real-world experiences to help develop the skills required to successfully and confidently manage the negotiation process.

Most of an organisation’s personnel and assets are typically devoted to processes – systematic activities to be delivered reliably over time. From marketing and sales, to finance and HR, every corner of a company is affected by processes.

The goal for participants, in taking this course, is to understand the different levers operations managers have at their disposal to manage supply and demand effectively and efficiently.

Participants are taught to understand different kinds of processes, critically examine them and make recommendations for improving their productivity. This learning will ensure participants understand issues facing supply chain management and process alignment, and its impact on key operational decisions such as revenue management and product development.

Can you motivate your employees without using formal authority? Can you persuade your peers and get their buy-in to a new business idea? Can you adapt your leadership style to the diverse needs of your employees?

This course explores answers to these and many other ‘people management’ questions. It is designed to enhance participants’ understanding of people’s behaviour within organisations and how it can be influenced and managed to maximise organisational performance.

The main objective of this course is to help participants understand the role of strategy in the success and failure of organisations.

Participants learn how to develop, evaluate and implement organisational strategy, the frameworks involved to address strategic dilemmas and how to align strategic activities to attain competitive advantage, amongst other learning outcomes.

We have recently introduced a new element – the Cambridge Ecosystem – a 3-day optional course designed to showcase Cambridge businesses. The course was piloted in June 2024.

In this course, we explore how to think strategically about sustainability and we support you academically, theoretically and through applied experiences.

Executive MBA electives

Electives let you broaden your experiences, focus on subjects of particular interest, and tailor your EMBA to your specific needs.

Subjects vary from year to year, chosen to best complement the interests of each cohort. Electives undertaken by past cohorts include:

  • Fast Strategy, Intrapreneurship & Business Instinct
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • From the Savannah to the Boardroom: The Evolutionary Roots of Decisions & Leadership
  • Finding Customer Insights & Staying Customer-Focused
  • How to Start Technology Companies
  • Innovation Management: The Secret of Growth
  • Project Finance: Innovative Techniques in Valuing & Raising Finance for Large-Scale Projects
  • Strategy & Organisation for the Information Age
  • Changing the Game: Business Models, Marketing Strategy & Innovation
  • Global Energy Security
  • Philosophy in Business
  • Strategic Performance Management
  • Understanding Consumers: Using Psychology to Build Brands & Increase Profits
  • Venture Capital, Private Equity & Acquisitions

I had to pick just two electives when I was doing the programme, and afterwards there was a lot of feedback from the other participants about the courses they’d done. I felt I’d really be interested to do some of those courses myself, and when I came back this year I was able to do the Fast Strategy, Intrapreneurship and Business Instinct elective.

Shiri Gold, Senior Engineering Manager, Imagination Technologies

António Horta-Osório, Lloyds Banking Group

António Horta-Osório speaks to Executive MBA participants and alumni, during electives week, about Lloyds Group’s strategy in recovering from the financial crisis.

View video with transcript

António Horta-Osório.