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Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

MBA The Exeter Executive (Higher Apprenticeship)

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMBA The Exeter Executive (Higher Apprenticeship) Programme codePAB2SBESBE03
Study mode(s)Distance Learning
Part Time
Academic year2023/4
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

Applied in nature, the Senior Leader Apprenticeship sets your leadership role and your organisation as the context for learning. It equips you with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to contribute innovative solutions to the challenges facing modern day businesses. Built around the latest thinking and techniques from a wide range of management disciplines, the programme provides a solid grounding in core business disciplines and revolves around significant, work-based projects that draw from across the programme and enable you to create professional impact back in your organisation.

Integrative in its design and delivery, this Senior Leader Apprenticeship programme degree is for professionals with senior management responsibility for direction and vision, providing a clear sense of purpose and driving strategic intent to deliver long term organisational success. In line with CMI Senior Leader guidelines it is applicable to leaders from all sectors - the private, public or third sector - and all sizes of organisations. It will typically take two years to complete and draws upon professional practice, academic knowledge and organisational context as an integral source of learning. This award forms the core of an apprenticeship that has been designed to provide access to development opportunities for as wide a range of senior managers and leaders as possible.

Using principles of problem-based and inquiry-led learning you are supported to demonstrate leadership effectiveness using skills such as critical thinking, negotiation, innovation and creativity which are then applied to work issues. You develop well-rounded leadership skills by looking holistically across the business functions applying new knowledge to deepen your understanding.

The first 120 credits are closely aligned to the curriculum of the national apprenticeship programme: Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship. The remaining 60 credits complete the MBA programme. The programme combines the academic rigour of Exeter’s long tradition of teaching excellence with the achievement of industry-recognised professional qualifications. All modules are delivered in a blended learning format with work-based learning elements embedded throughout each stage of the programme.

In addition to the formal assessment methods listed above, you will create a portfolio of evidence from across your programme which will demonstrate how learning has been applied, evidencing improved skills and behaviours. It is this portfolio which demonstrates the knowledge, skills and behaviours that you have acquired against the SLA standard and supports application for professional recognition on achievement of the senior leader apprenticeship.

End-Point Assessment must be conducted by an independent assessor, for the purposes of this SLDA that is the CMI who are approved for this apprenticeship. This EPA will fully test that the apprentice meets all the requirements of the SLA standard.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The programme has been designed to ensure all aspects of the Senior Leader Apprenticeship standard are met. Our degree has been designed to fulfil employer expectations and includes employer involvement right from the start of the degree. We will achieve this via a range of delivery models including day release, distance learning, online learning and integrated assessment in partnership with the apprentice’s employer.

Our design is premised on the assumption that the most authentic and powerful pedagogy is one that focuses on the identification, analysis and resolution of immediate problems in the learners’ world, therefore this programme links learning directly to the working manager. We believe that this philosophy directly fits with the requirements laid down by the Senior Leader Apprenticeship standard, serving both apprentice and employer.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  • deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level;
  • continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level.

And holders will have:

• the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations;
  • the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

4. Programme Structure

The Exeter Executive MBA programme is a 24-month part-time programme of study at RQF Level 7. It comprises a single stage.  

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual review of this programme. Details of the modules currently offered may be obtained from the University website.

Stage 1

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BEMM114DA Leading People and Organisations 30Yes
BEMM116DA Strategy and Innovation 30Yes
BEMM117DA Strategic Business Proposal 20Yes
BEMM182DA Applied Leadership Skills and Behaviours 10Yes
BEMM181DA Leading High-Performing Organisations 30Yes

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BEMM257DA Digital Transformation 30No
BEMM259DA The Influential Leader 30No
BEMM260DA Environmental Economics 30No
BEMM261DA Sustainable Finance 30No
BEMM262DA Research Project 30No
BEMM263DA Corporate Storytelling 30No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Critically evaluate organisational systems, processes and structures.
2. Evaluate competitive strategies and approaches to effective decision making. Determine the usefulness of data to implement and manage change
3. Analyse changing customer demands and consumers trends to align strategy with the external political, environmental, social and technological implications.
4. Evaluate the impact of disruptive technologies (mechanisms that challenge traditional business methods and practices). Identify drivers of change and new ways of working across infrastructure, processes, people and culture.
5. Critically analyse complexity in relation to organisational development. Take a systems perspective in the analysis and design of strategies, policies and procedures
6. Appraise ethical and values-based leadership within regulatory environments. Determine the legal, HR and compliance requirements of effective governance structures
7. Critically engage with a variety of concepts tools and models in determining appropriate decision-making processes.
8. Evaluate financial and non- financial information in the preparation of strategic proposals.

Learning and Teaching activities (in/out of class)
As previously outlined, teaching is centred on problem-based and inquiry-led learning. There are three main components to the teaching and assessment methods:

1. Masterclasses
These 'live’ sessions either in person or virtual and contain three elements:
• Peer-led enquiry groups
• Module specific seminars
• Academic study skills

2. Online learning platform
All modules are delivered in a blended format; masterclasses are supported by significant online resources. You will have the benefit of both a module lead (subject specialist) and an academic mentor with whom you can develop your study skills, critical thinking, application of new knowledge, evaluate own progress and plan own development.

3. E-Portfolio
This portfolio is built up over the course of the programme and is submitted at the end. It contains evidence of your engagement with learning and includes reflections upon the development of improved skill and behaviour.

Learning is enhanced through a teaching/ learning philosophy which partners with the employer to apply academic knowledge to professional practice through a blended delivery.

There will be a range of regular formative assessment which seeks to build your skills and confidence whilst keeping you engaged with the programme. Summative assessment will include, but is not limited to: presentations, portfolios, reflective essays, position papers, business improvement projects, proposals, problem-based essays, book and article reviews, visual images, videos, infographics, academic essays, reports and peer assessment. Where elements of the integrated modules have not been completed or passed successfully, you will be asked to complete a modified assignment tailored to specifically measure the relevant ILOs.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

9. Influence and persuade to gain support from key stakeholders.
10. Undertake research that critically analyses, evaluates and integrates complex information.
11. Initiates and leads change in the organisation, creating a receptive environment for innovation and creativity.
12. Use evidence-based proposals to drive continuous improvement and innovation.
13. Manage partnerships, conflicts, people and resources effectively. Can design a relevant measure of impact to analyse own actions.
14. Act, where needed, as a sponsor, championing projects and transformation of services across organisational boundaries.
15. Challenge strategies and operations in terms of ethics, responsibility, sustainability and business continuity.
16. Formulate Corporate Social Responsibility initiates that deliver robust Governance structures.
17. Evaluate financial data in order to set accurate budgets. Draw upon own analysis to challenge financial assumptions.
18. Allocate resources and prepare operational plans. Appraise procurement decisions and supply chain management.

As above.

As above.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

19. Evidences professionalism by reflecting on own performance, demonstrates professional standards in relation behaviour and ongoing development. Advocates the use of good practice within and outside the organisation
20. Create an inclusive and resilient organisational culture, encouraging diversity and difference
21. Give and receive effective feedback at all levels, building confidence and developing trust that enables people to take risks.
22. Lead and develop people by enabling an open and high-performance work environment by setting goals and accountabilities for teams and individuals.
23. Leads and influence others building constructive working relationships across diverse teams and cultures.
24. Ensure workforce skills are utilised, balancing people and technical skills and encouraging continual development.
25. Build collaborative relationships by managing complex relationships across multiple and diverse stakeholders. Builds trust and rapport, with ability to positively challenge. Leads beyond area of control/authority, and able to influence, negotiate and use advocacy skills to build reputation and effective collaborations
26. Leads by example by having high levels of self-awareness, emotional and social intelligence, empathy and compassion, and able to identify mental well-being in others. Works collaboratively enabling empowerment and delegation. Acts with humility and authenticity, is credible, confident and resilient.
27. Exercises judgement by taking personal accountability aligned to clear values. Demonstrates flexibility and willingness to challenge when making decisions and solving problems. Instils confidence demonstrating honesty, integrity, openness, and trust.

As above.

As above.

7. Programme Regulations

Programme-Specific Award Information

This Exeter Executive MBA programme contains a 10-credit Pass/Fail only portfolio module, BEMMXXXDA Applied Leadership Skills and Behaviours. This module counts into the overall credit requirement (180 credits) for the award; since it has no mark, the Portfolio module is not used in the award mean calculation, meaning that classification is based on 170 credits in total.


Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

You will be allocated an academic mentor whose role it is to support you in your professional development. There will be work based quarterly meetings, known as tripartite reviews, between the employer, the apprentice and the academic mentor. At each of these meetings your progression and personal development is discussed, reviewed and recorded in the E-Portfolio.  

You will also benefit from advice and support from your workplace mentor whose role extends to providing you with opportunities to identify projects, evidence and ongoing professional development.  

The academic mentor will provide details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties related to be a student of the university. They can liaise with the module leads and programme director on your behalf and will provide you with advice and support for the duration of the programme. 

 It is University policy that all Colleges should have in place a system of academic and personal tutors, for degree apprenticeships this role is undertaken by the Academic Mentor assigned to each student. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.  


9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(Quality Review Framework.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy (ESE)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

MBA The Exeter Executive (Higher Apprenticeship)

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits


ECTS credits


22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date Date of last revision