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MBA in Shipping and Logistics

The leading online Master of Business Administration for the maritime industry from Middlesex University and Lloyd's Maritime Academy

Starts: 18th September 2017 | Application deadline: 18th August 2017

Over 24 months you will study:


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The MBA begins with an induction module so that you rapidly familiarise yourself with the learning management system and the learning resources available. The module includes essential exercises to assist in introducing you to the subject, the faculty and your fellow MBA students. This also serves as a re-introduction to the world of academic study and prepares those that have been away from university courses for some time by setting
out the standards expected for study at MBA level

  • Introductions to faculty and resources
  • Instructions for use of online learning management system
  • Networking with fellow MBA students

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Shipping Business Environment & International Trade

The first module will develop your advanced understanding of the context in which the maritime world operates. It will lay the foundation for the
programme and will focus on:

  • The economics of the maritime industry, the characteristics of demand and supply and their interaction in the various maritime markets;
  • The strategic environment of maritime policy and administration;
  • The key principles of maritime law
  • Development of international trade and maritime economics
    • The global economy and international trade
    • Demand and supply of shipping services
    • The shipping markets
    • The economic issues for the industry
  • Maritime policy & administration
    • Preliminary Issues: Maritime ‘policy’; The key players;
    • International Maritime Organisation, and the European Safety Agency
    • International maritime regulation
    • Social partnerships and international maritime relationships
    • Maritime administration
    • Insurance and economic risk
    • Marine accident investigation and regulation enforcement
  • Maritime and international trade law
  • The nature of maritime law
  • Why English law?
  • The structure of maritime litigation
  • The matrix of contracts in international trade
  • Bills of loading contracts
  • International carriage regimes
  • Charter party contracts

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Business Strategy

This module equips students with a detailed understanding of the key developments in, and thinking derived from, the study of strategy. The
contents of the module will:

  • Explore models and theories of strategy and their application by practicing managers in today’s world;
  • Inform students of the key developments in, and thinking derived from, the study of strategy;
  • Critically appraise where and when such models are useful and how to utilise them;
  • Provide fascinating and relevant examples and exercises that illustrate these concepts with the intent of building students capability in strategic thinking and practice.
  • What is strategy? An appreciation of strategy
  • Making a start. Purpose, goals and where to start in a messy process
  • External analysis:
    • PESTEL and future thinking
    • Industry lifecycle, competitiveness and profitability
    • Scenario planning
  • Strategic Business Unit Strategy: the market/customer perspective
  • Internal audit: resources and capabilities
  • Generic competitive strategies and value chain analysis
  • Organisational culture:
    • Influence on strategy formulation and implementation
    • Managing strategic change
  • Making strategy happen: measuring performance
  • International strategy

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Executive Leadership

Focusing upon the critical issue of people and their performance in the particular context of the maritime industry, the module will:

  • Illustrate how the processes of contemporary human resource management support organisational performance;
  • Explore the key elements of the HR cycle resourcing, managing performance, developing and rewarding;
  • Identify areas of overlap between management and leadership and to investigate competences and behaviours associated with management and leadership;
  • Develop leadership behaviours that will enable students to manage performance as well as lead change to improve overall organisational performance
  • Strategic HR management
    • HR strategy and organisational strategy
    • Changing role of HR
    • Organisational & international culture and diversity
    • The maritime industry context
  • The HR cycle and HR planning
    • Recruitment & selection
    • Motivation, performance and performance management (KPIs & Balanced Scorecard)
    • Training & development
    • Reward and the psychological contract
    • The current and future maritime industry context; ILO, ISM, ISPS etc.
  • Management and leadership
    • Evolution of perspectives on management and leadership
    • Management/leadership styles
    • Key areas of difference
    • Managing teams
    • Relevance to and implications for the maritime industry, remote and
  • Leadership and change
    • The change process
    • Obstacles to change
    • Politics and influence
    • Managing structural change
    • Leading change
    • Relevance to and implications for the maritime industry.
  • Leadership development
    • The ‘war for talent’
    • The learning process
    • Emotional intelligence
    • Reflection and the development process
    • Coaching and mentoring

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Advanced International Marketing

Exploring marketing and communication strategies in the context of shipping /logistics organisations, this module will:

  • Equip students with the skills to analyse current marketing strategies and apply appropriate techniques based on insights gained;
  • Develop students’ ability to identify critical actions that enhance profitability;
  • Help you create a communications strategy and plan, a marketing strategy and plan, and to outline the business case for such plans.
  • The local and international marketing environment
  • Marketing management, strategies and plans
  • Research, analysis and interpretation
  • Target markets, segments and customers
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Brands, branding and marketing communication and campaigns
  • Innovation: new product, service and market development
  • Delivering customer value
  • Managing and measuring marketing performance

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Finance & Risk Management

This highly topical module looks at the critical issues of finance and risk. Designed to build and enhance the knowledge of students in the financing of ships and the management of the major risks in shipping. In particular this section will:

  • Evaluate the various finance methods available for shipping companies
  • Critically assess the techniques of investment appraisal under risky and uncertain situations in the shipping industry
  • Explore the traditional and emerging methods of risk management and derivatives instruments in shipping
  • Overview of the four shipping markets: freight, sale and purchase, newbuilding and demolition
  • Ship finance and investment
  • Investment appraisal and capital budgeting
  • Investment feasibility and project valuation
  • Capital structure and the cost of capital
  • Sources of funding for financing shipping projects
  • Funding using bank loans; bank syndication; credit policy and analysis for bank loans
  • Funding using equity; funding through issuance of bonds; high yield bonds in shipping
  • Business risks in shipping operations: risk management theory; financial risk for shipping companies; freight rate derivatives and risk management; traditional methods for managing shipping risk
  • Managing freight rate risk using physical contracts; freight rate risk management using paper contracts
  • The use of financial derivatives in shipping

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Optimising Business Performance

The final taught module will focus upon the development of shipping within the logistics supply chain. It will build student skills in projects mastery, research and development (R&D) and innovation within the context of shipping logistics. The objective is to provide awareness, knowledge and insight into the organisations need for constant attention to technical, cultural, social and environmental change in the global Shipping & Logistics sectors. In particular this module will:

  • Explore the role of research and development in the advance of historic, contemporary and future operations and technologies;
  • Define and delineate the key principles of maritime logistics;
  • Evaluate the need for innovation in the constant management of change;
  • Integrate and apply the principles of project mastery in attaining and sustaining operational and technical leadership in the maritime supply chain.
  • The economic and technical challenge - shipping in the supply chain
  • The political and environmental domain - sustainable logistics
  • The technical development of modern shipping in the supply chain
  • Supply and demand led R&D - the economies of scale in shipping logistics
  • Testing & modifying R&D - designing the supply chain and its facilities
  • Pure & applied paths to innovation - speed, volume, distance, value, security, inventory in the supply chain
  • Cultural approaches to innovation in a mature service industry - applying the principles of supply chain management
  • Surveying the innovative seascape - information and automation in the supply chain
  • The S-curve in innovation - shipping and just-in-time distribution operations
  • The project portfolio and life-cycle - inventory management principles
  • The project - ideas from incubation to delivery - delivering quality in logistics
  • Project mastery, leadership and teamwork in innovation - achieving the lean supply chain in intermodal networks
  • Project planning and allocating resources in the management of change - delivering sustainable distribution
  • Project completion, closure and reflective practice - maintaining quality in logistics

NOTE: You will have an option to choose between an Applied Project or a Business Transformation Project supported by an additional module. *The additional module will be subject to demand.

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Information Management: Option 1 elective module

Knowledge and understanding of information technologies and systems used in organisations to manage information and decision making, are critical to work place success. This module provides you with the knowledge and skills to effectively navigate the information technology and systems minefield.

  • ERP, CRM, e-Procurement, business intelligence and e-Business systems; their functionalities and roles in organisational decision making
  • Information as an asset
  • Challenges faced by organisations and CIOs due to ‘big data’ – data centres, mobile technologies, cloud computing, social media technologies
  • Information requirements of managers and the sources within the organisation
  • Information storage and protecting digital information
  • Information quality
  • Competing with analytics and business intelligence
  • An enterprise vision for information management

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Management Perspectives: Option 1 elective module

One of the central features of modern management is that theories and practices continue to evolve and this creates new understandings of the management task. This module deals primarily with values and the contextual subjectivity of management practices. Issues such as ethics, social responsibility, managing with diversity, and managing across cultures are therefore the prime areas of the module. This module is designed to provide students with the critical tools and mindset to analyse and identify responses to such challenges, regardless of their nature or of the imperatives and fashions that drive them.

  • Management contexts and fundamentals: management knowledge; defining organisations; understanding work and leadership; managing diversity; managing in for-profit and not-for-profit organisations; managing co-operative workers; public service cultures; managing voluntary organisations; managing within organisational networks; knowledge workers and the management of professionals
  • Ethics, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and governance: defining business ethics, stakeholder management and CSR; ethical theories and their application to ethical issues in business; managing individual and organisational values; comparative governance
  • Cross cultural perspectives: working and managing across cultures, international strategies and knowledge transfer; cultural differences in key management behaviours such as decision making, negotiation and leading; how to manage using a culturally intelligent approach.

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Research Methods: Option 1 compulsory module

This module provides students with a means of further developing their skills in research. It presents the key elements and issues of research design, of processes of collecting evidence and analysing this, and of drawing conclusions. The module also introduces some of the key controversies of management research, so that the participant not only comes to understand the processes and problems of producing research outcomes, but also
becomes a more sophisticated consumer of these in their various forms of dissemination.

Success in producing the key output of this module, the project proposal, is a requirement for commencing the final Business Transformation Project.

  • Types of organisational research – exploratory, investigative, case based etc.
  • Kinds of knowledge – issues relating to the qualitative-quantitative distinction
  • Implications for research of positivism, realism, critical management and other perspectives on management
  • Participatory and action research
  • The logic and organisational pragmatics of selecting an organisational research topic
  • Research designs
  • Sources and methods of collecting information: surveys, databases, observational data
  • Analysing information, including statistical methods, discourse analysis, cognitive mapping
  • Summarising research and drawing conclusions

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Business Transformation Project: Option 1 compulsory module

A challenging high level strategic dissertation of 10,000 words, with your sponsor company or with a focus of your choice if you are self-funding.

This is one of the most exciting parts of the course for many students as you apply your learning to your particular interests. The Project is all about the transition from theory to real-life execution.Under the guidance of senior members of the Middlesex University Business School, participants will analyse key contemporary Shipping & Logistics related business challenges and be expected to develop innovative and effective solutions.

The project will incorporate many of the management lessons learnt during the course with key real life challenges and lay a thorough foundation for your future career progression. Although final submission of the Project is at the end of the course, throughout your study of each module you will undertake preparatory work to ensure that the Project is integrated into your learning.

Whilst there is no set syllabus, the applied Business Transformation Project is your opportunity to study and research a specific organisation area or topic in-depth. The main focus of this is as a piece of ‘action research’ where the organisation or industry could directly benefit from your planned intervention using appropriate methods of research and change management.

Tuition is tailored to your specific needs as agreed with the academic supervisor on the basis of your proposal. You will be expected to be familiar with the theory and empirical research in your chosen area of study, and to demonstrate your ability to review and apply the concepts and techniques critically.

You will also be expected to demonstrate proficiency in the selection and application of the appropriate methods to investigate and progress the business transformation.
Investigation may involve case study analysis, comparative study relative to sector norms, and / or questionnaire or interview-based study.

The research may take one of several forms, for example:

  • An investigation of a management or organisational practice, strongly supported by reference to the relevant theory and concepts
  • The research and design of a solution of a practical managerial or organisational problem, where practical recommendations arise out of the mix of theory and data collection
  • A project for a host / client organisation
  • A work-based issue within the individual’s own place of employment

By becoming an expert in your chosen dissertation topic, you will have also enhanced your future career path. With a carefully chosen and thoroughly researched project, the specialist insight gained becomes the catalyst for your next step after completing the MBA and a solid basis for your career advancement.

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Applied Project: Option 2 compulsory module

This module provides students with the means of further developing and integrating the skills and knowledge acquired on the MBA through application to a specific organisational issue or problem. It enables students to demonstrate proficiency in relation to scoping the issue(s)/problems, consideration of appropriate literature, collection and analysis of data, assessing the financial implications, including any cost/benefit analysis for justifying specific recommendations and consideration of implementation issues.

This 15,000 word MBA project provides the student with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills gained on the MBA at an advanced level. To prepare the student to undertake the project, the following research method topics are addressed:

  • Project profiling
  • Business writing and presentations
  • Reviewing the literature
  • Developing interviewing and observation skills
  • Using quantitative data collection and analysis techniques
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Developing business plans
  • Doing consulting projects

The project can take several forms such as:

  • Project for a host/client organisation
  • The solution to a practical managerial or organisational problem, where practical recommendations arise out of a mix of theory and data collection
  • A work-based issue within the student’s own place of employment
  • An empirical investigation of a management or organisational practice, strongly supported by the relevant theory and concepts