MBA Collaborative Leadership, Senior Leaders

Year of entry

This course is only available to applicants via an apprenticeship scheme.

Our MBA Collaborative Leadership (Senior Leaders) programme combines higher and vocational education, giving Master Apprentices the opportunity to study towards their MBA Collaborative Leadership (Senior Leaders) award, a CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership and becoming a CMI Chartered Manager or Chartered Fellow, all while in paid employment.

The core aims of the programme, which has been designed for individuals moving into a senior or strategic role within their organisation, are to provide our Master Apprentices with a comprehensive and in-depth understanding and knowledge of collaborative leadership, shared services and organisational transformation in the public, private and third sectors. The objectives of the programme are to enable Master Apprentices to gain the required academic and professional knowledge, skills, experience and behaviours to lead organisational transformation through shared leadership vision, developing capabilities and engagement with collaborative (strategic) activities.

Our MBA Collaborative Leadership (Senior Leaders) programme has been mapped to the Senior Leader Management Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA) Standard by the CMI, which means that Master Apprentices are working towards their End Point Assessment from the outset.

As you are employed as a Senior Leader Master Apprentice throughout the programme, you will be able to apply what you learn on the MBA collaborative leadership (senior leaders) to real-world business situations. At the same time, you will apply knowledge of strategic problems as part of your MBA learning, to help you develop deeper understanding of organisational leadership and management issues within your sector. You will also gain understanding of the ever-changing collaborative leadership landscape in which many UK organisations now operate.

Critical reflection is encouraged on all 6 taught modules as part of a personal development and programme portfolio. Learning gained must be reflected as part of the ‘professional discussion’, which is assessed externally as part of the end-point assessment (EPA), at the end of the course.

Development of a ‘work-based management project’ (12,000-14,000 words) is important. This is developed over 2 years. There are 3 key development stages: firstly, as part of a works-based research project template (completed towards the end of Year 1); secondly, a fleshed out 4-6000 word proposal will be submitted by mid-Year 2; thirdly, this is extended into a works-based management project, which is assessed by CCCU at the end of Year 2.

The project will subsequently be refined and orally presented/defended as a ‘project showcase’ with an external assessor, i.e. as part of the final EPA process. CCCU tutors will actively help with the preparation of the EPA showcase – which is a distinct feature of our Senior Leaders offering. 

Year 1

Business Strategy for the Collaborative Environment (20 credits)

The aim of the module is to enable you to consider strategic alternatives and evaluate your suitability for a variety of collaborative leadership contexts. You will be made aware of the complex issues involved in formulating, implementing and managing inter-organisational projects and leading transformational change. The module will provide an overview of the concept of strategy in a collaborative leadership context. The nature of strategic decisions and strategy formulation will be explored in relation to both public and private sector organisations. External environmental analytical tools will be evaluated and applied with reference to a selection of case study organisations. Internal factors such as strategic leadership and organisational culture will be considered.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Collaborative Behaviour (20 credits)

This module aims to make you more aware of collaborative opportunities and to assess your own relationships with individual, or team-based entrepreneurial activity and innovation. You will evaluate theories concerning the nature of entrepreneurial behaviour, and the contributions made by individual and collaborative entrepreneurs to local, national and global economies. You will also examine the concept of shared innovation, and review the actions and behaviours that are contributing to collaborative leadership across different sectors. You will also know and understand ‘diversity’ in terms of the range backgrounds and circumstances of collaborative entrepreneurs. The module will deal with techniques for ‘buy-in’ and managing team buy-in, and/or dealing with organisational conflict.

Managing Ethics and Business Risk (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to enable you to develop the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate issues associated with managing ethics and business risk in an increasingly collaborative business environment. This involves demonstrating collaborative leadership in areas of corporate responsibility; to understand the complex relationships between business and society and to appreciate the systemic risks and challenges faced by organisations interacting in a global market place. Managing risk and ethics also include knowing about and understanding the use of big data, and being able to gain sufficient insights to implement and manage change effectively. Be able to use horizon scanning and conceptualisation to deliver high performance strategies focusing on growth/sustainable outcomes.

You will begin work on your work based project during your first year. You will develop your research template and research proposal alongside your other modules.

Year 2

Financial Management (20 credits)

This module aims to enable you to understand the range of financial issues in an organisation, how financial and business case decisions are made and how a variety of techniques can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of business planning, financial allocation and control. It will also enable you to know and understand application of economic theory to decision-making. To also know and understand the role of procurement strategies and be able to be able to oversee procurement, supply chain management and contracts. It is also important for you to be able to challenge financial assumptions underpinning key strategies. This module will adopt a managerial-user perspective and will address key issues relating to the use of financial information to manage performance.

Collaborative Leadership & Personal Development (20 credits)

This module will help you to understand and evaluate intercultural and collaborate leadership styles and personal development from a variety of organisational and professional perspectives. To be able to create and develop inclusive cultures, and encourage diversity in the make-up of collaborative teams. To know and understand how to use diplomacy with diverse groups of internal and external stakeholders. To be able to create and develop workable matrix structures for the benefit of one’s own organisation, and others in a collaborative partnership or inter-organisational network.

Change Management Theory and Practice (20 credits)

The aims of the module are to deepen your theoretical understanding of the management concepts and theories underlying the implementation of a shared service (collaborative) architecture, and to develop a critical awareness of the learning that can be achieved by analysing the implementation processes of other organisations.

Work-based Management Project (60 credits)

This module provides you with the opportunity to produce a major independent work-based management study/project in the area of collaborative leadership. This study may be in the form of: (1) a critical case study evaluation; (2) an on-going innovation-based project, or; (3) a contemporary research project that addresses current trends and/or emerging issues in your workplace, or industry sector. Upon completion of the Master’s degree programme, this work-based management project will be put forward as a showcase project, and will be defended as part of your End Point Assessment (EPA) plan.

Following this programme, you could look for further development opportunities within your own organisation and present yourself to take on more senior, strategic. You will have expanded your professional network and will be able to learn about new opportunities in your sector and beyond through these connections. There may be opportunities to take your newly acquired skills and volunteer or join a board of a not-for-profit to support your local community. You may also like to teach at local colleges and universities, or attend conferences to give papers on their professional practice.

All programme fees (tuition) are paid via the employer’s contributions to the Apprenticeship Levy, drawn directly from their digital account.

Master apprentices will be required to cover the cost of travel for course study days, books and other learning materials.


Learning, teaching and assessment is heavily orientated towards work-based learning where knowledge gained in classes and through independent study is applied to your strategic role in the workplace.  This will provide you with rich opportunities for critical reflection and evaluation to further enhance your professional practice. 

The approach to learning and teaching is participative, which means that you will contribute to discussion and debate from your own experience and you will also learn from your lecturers/tutors and your senior leader peers. A blend of face-to-face and online activities will be used to meet the modules’ learning outcomes and to provide a bridge between university and work-based learning.  For example, core information may be provided via narrated PowerPoint presentations, webinars, suggested readings and learning activities, while learning at university will encompass classroom teaching, both independent and group work and formative peer-feedback to align theoretical and practical knowledge.

Importantly, face-to-face contact at the start of each module facilitates active learning and enhanced engagement in work-based learning as you value and accredit the knowledge and skills which have been learnt through your work.  This allows you to demonstrate knowledge, skills and behaviour development relevant to your work.  You will be challenged with alternative approaches to problem solving so that you can consider new ways of working. 

To build on your senior leadership skills, problem-solving will be a consistent feature of class-based and blended learning activity.  The use of workplace case studies and scenarios will test your understanding of collaborative leadership topics and elicit appropriate judgements, behaviours and actions.  This approach will also contribute to your knowledge and in-depth understanding of collaborative leadership and organisational transformation opportunities within your given sector.

All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020.

Independent Learning

Directed learning is a significant aspect of all your modules and it is an important process which enhances and supplements your learning.  You are encouraged to reflect on the face-to-face teaching and carry out structured activities to reinforce, consolidate and revise your learning. Self-directed learning is less structured and encourages autonomy and independent learning and can be enhanced by the use of the University’s virtual learning environment (i.e. Blackboard and Collaborate Ultra) and our e-library where you will have access to online journals and books.

Overall workload

Along with developing a learning portfolio and your work-based project, master apprentices will normally study one 20 credit modules at a time, with 30 hours of academic directed study per module.  These occasions will provide the opportunity for inter-professional learning and the building of social learning communities. 

Academic input

The team consists of highly qualified academics. They have a range of expertise and experience gained in industry and academia.

All our team members hold doctoral and teaching qualifications. They are research-active. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You can find out more about the current teaching on our Meet the Team webpage. You should note members of the teaching team might change.


There are two inter-related stages to your assessment.  One relates to the degree programme and the other to the CMI End Point Assessment (EPA).  One complements and builds upon the other.  Once you have achieved your degree we will help you to prepare for your Senior Leaders accreditation through the EPA.

Degree programme assessment

Six compulsory taught modules are delivered over 2 years; one module per trimester, plus the on-going work-based study must be completed. Assessment normally involves a linked presentation and report for each taught module - which are assessed by CCCU tutors.  This is accompanied with a short critical reflection on the work-based learning gleaned during each module as part of the Senior Leader’s personal development portfolio (PDP). This will be externally as part of the EPA process.   It is expected the Senior Leader will be able to clearly reflect upon examples of critical learning relating to: (a) skills development; (b) personal and interpersonal excellence, i.e. “leading and developing collaborative leadership”, and; (c) developing effectiveness behaviours. 

Year 1*:  two of three modules have a presentation and a report and the third module has one report.  Work will commence on the work based project.

Year 2:  two of three modules have a presentation and a report and the third module has one report.  The work based project will be submitted for assessment at the end of the year.

End Point Assessment

Once you have met your degree requirements, you will present your work in the form of the End Point Assessment (EPA) to gain your Senior Leaders Master’s Degree Apprenticeship.  This EPA will be undertaken by a panel that includes the employer, a University representative and a Chartered Institute of Management (CMI) qualified independent assessor. 

All of our course content is mapped to the Senior Leader and CMI Standards (See Appendix 1), which helps prepare you for your EPA.  Preparation for your EPA occurs from the outset. It is expected that Master Apprentices will be able to critically reflect on their learning from their work-based management project & showcase, as well as the taught modules as part of their PDP.  During Year 1 (trimester 1) induction you will learn how to create and build a “portfolio of evidence” as part of a personal development portfolio (PDP) for EPA.  This is an electronic repository for all of your academic and workplace learning, which in turn will be assessed as part of your EPA.

*You must achieve a pass mark of 50 and above in all Year 1 modules as a prerequisite, before progression to Year 2.
CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership and CMI Chartered Manager or Chartered Fellow.

Fact file

UCAS institution code

  • N/A


  • This is a 2 year taught work/study degree apprenticeship programme, with an additional 3-6 months set aside for completing a compulsory end point assessments (EPA). By design it is a part-time programme, which captures learning that takes place at work as well as in the classroom and online.


  • September and May

Entry requirements

  • You must currently be in, or being recruited to, full-time employment and the employer must commit to sponsoring you through the programme. Typical jobs may include senior team leaders, section leaders, executive directors, managers, heads of departments, operations directors, chief information officers, or anyone with senior leadership responsibilities.

    Individual employers will set the selection criteria for their Apprenticeships. From the University's perspective, MBA candidates must normally provide evidence of a good honours degree in any subject (i.e. normally a 2.2 honours degree or above), and at least 24 months relevant managerial or professional experience in a senior leaders context.

    Additionally, applicants who were educated overseas that are currently employed in the UK as senior leaders, and who qualify for the programme must demonstrate: a) entry qualifications equivalent to those above, and; b) normally score of 6.5 or above in IELTS or an equivalent score in an approved English Language test. These criteria will normally be aligned with the University's policy on IELTS or equivalent language tests.

    For employed staff we will require you to have Level 2 English and Maths by the end of the programme.

    Credit exemptions and recognition of prior learning at Level 7 will be considered in line with the University's policies concerning the above.



Contact The Enterprise & Engagement Team


Connect with us

Last edited: 05/05/2020 15:44:00