Henley Flexible Executive MBA - Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship

Course overview

Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is first and foremost a job with substantial training and the development of transferable skills. Apprentices must be in paid employment for the duration of this and will combine working with studying for a qualification, this allows them to apply the learning to current global and relevant company issues. Henley's Flexible Executive MBA has been approved as meeting the requirements of the Level 7 Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship. This Apprenticeship programme is for experienced managers looking to develop their leadership and management competencies.

This programme is available to:

  • Organisations wishing to send groups of employees on a closed cohort which may be contextualised specifically for your organisation
  • Organisations partnering with complementary organisations to form a cohort as a consortium
  • Individual employees on an open cohort

Whichever route you choose, individuals study and share experiences with like-minded professionals from a wide variety of managerial backgrounds and on an open cohort, business industries. The course has several aims for its programme members, including:

  • Developing strategic, holistic and integrated perspectives on business, organisations and management
  • Integrating theory and practice through an approach that combines academic rigour with practitioner relevance
  • Providing personal development opportunities to support the development of individuals’ management capability and capacity to work in and lead teams in different situations.

The Flexible Executive MBA is designed so that students apply their learning in the workplace, through work-based assignments. The programme therefore lends itself perfectly to the Apprenticeship degree, where the learner is required to combine real time work with study that is truly work-focussed and productive. This gives the Apprentice opportunities to develop, practise, and evidence knowledge, skills and behaviours to meet the SLMDA Standards within their normal working environment.


The CMI is the only chartered professional body in the UK that is dedicated to promoting the highest standards in management and leadership excellence. Over 130,000 managers use its services on a daily basis and CMI has constantly been at the forefront of all aspects of management training and thinking.

What’s included in this Apprenticeship, and how is this different to the Flexible Executive MBA (non-Apprenticeship route)?

On successful completion of the Henley Flexible Executive MBA (non apprenticeship route), learners will receive the following awards:

  • Henley Flexible Executive Master of Business Administration Degree
  • CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership
  • Chartered Manager status (via the exemption route, which involves completing a submission form. A fee of approximately £115 will also be required, as well as the associated membership fee.)

On successful completion of the Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA) MBA, learners will receive the following awards:

  • Henley Flexible Executive Master of Business Administration Degree
  • CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership
  • Chartered Manager status (This will be granted on successful completion of the End-Point Assessment (EPA))
  • Level 7 Apprenticeship Certificate

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Why Henley?

By working in long-term partnerships with our clients, we can help to maximise the value of Levy contributions. We aim to utilise the fund to meet our clients’ strategic objectives and achieve their ambitions for their employees and organisations.

At Henley we empower the individual learners to become great professionals and outstanding business leaders, who think with clarity and act with confidence and conviction. Working with their Apprenticeship Tutors they will be encouraged to utilise the new learning to benefit both the teams within which they work and the wider organisation. For many the Henley MBA proves to be a life-changing experience. An enriching experience that provides new outlooks that will shape their decisions throughout their life. Intense, rewarding, challenging, stimulating and relevant.

The alumni network

Individual learners will meet with others both on their cohort and likely those on other cohorts from previous years. Together they can form the most valuable network throughout their career. From day one, they join Henley’s alumni association, a group of over 80,000 spread across 150 countries. There are regional and international alumni groups and Special Interest Groups providing a priceless series of events, mentoring programmes, career advice, and industry contacts and information.

The environment

The Flexible Executive MBA programme is currently taught at our Greenlands campus on the banks of the River Thames in Oxfordshire within 30 acres of beautiful conservation parkland. We are less than an hour’s drive from Heathrow Airport, within easy reach of London and close to many major motorway links. It is perfect for quiet reflection as well as stimulating debate with other leading business minds and provides an ideal learning environment for busy executives: you have the space and surroundings required to stretch your mind and think away from the pressures of the office.*

Classes are delivered in board-room style seminar rooms to facilitate group work and discussion.

Resources include the Library that holds books, journals, market research reports, dissertations, working papers and company information. The modern new space provides the perfect place for study, including a 24-hour Quiet Study Space. Although these materials are also available online through the virtual learning environment.

Leisure facilities include a fully equipped and professionally staffed fitness centre, outdoor sporting facilities, on-site accommodation and restaurant.

*Greenlands may not exclusively be used for programme delivery. We have the flexibility to deliver the programme at a nationwide set of locations including your own offices if required.

Henley support

Organisational support

Each client is assigned an Account Director or Manager to support them with the on-boarding of new learners onto this Apprenticeship programme and will work together throughout the application and enrolment process.

Individual learner support

  • Personal development is woven into the fabric of the Henley MBA. We take a whole-person approach which acknowledges the complexity of balancing work, home, study and career. In addition to a high level of individual support while studying at Henley, services are available to assist your career ambitions, including coaching, networking, mentoring, and recruitment resources.
  • Apprenticeship Tutor Henley will assign an apprenticeship tutor to support the individual learner and their line manager through the apprenticeship journey. Tutors will communicate and meet regularly with the apprentice within their workplace or virtually to provide the learning support, and review and assess the evidence gathered for their evidence portfolios.

Employer support

Employers provide support to learners as part of the employers’ commitment to their employees. Organisations are contracted by the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to give a minimum of 20% off the job training time. Off-the job training is defined by the ESFA as: “training received by the apprentice, during the apprentice’s paid hours, for the purpose of achieving their apprenticeship” This 20% off the job training is not exclusive to class sessions although they do count. Some other examples may include:

  • Practical training: shadowing, mentoring and industry visits
  • Chairing or attending meetings (outside the learner’s normal job function)
  • Learning support and time spent writing assignments
  • Meeting with the Apprenticeship Tutor
  • Working on the evidence portfolio


Academic Staff

How we teach you

Our MBA programme has a particularly strong focus on themes of personal development, and preparing learners for positions of senior leadership, with a focus on the application of relevant theory in a real-world context. There is a real hands-on approach to learning, each Apprentice learner will work collaboratively with their fellow learners and classes are taught by international academic staff at the cutting edge of their disciplines.

Our MBA programmes combine the best in academic theory with practical, real life projects. This means that as well as having an outstanding learning experience, learners will be able to apply this immediately when they are back in the workplace.

At Henley, we recognise that you want to develop yourself to prepare for the challenges of business leadership, so within the programme there is a continuous element of personal development to support you throughout your journey.

Everything above is informed by Henley’s eminent reputation in teaching practising managers and in research excellence and application.

As part of the Apprenticeship programme, learners are expected to provide evidence of how they have incorporated the classroom and theoretical learning back into the workplace. This evidence of learning needs to be recorded and is used to help develop the learner’s evidence portfolio, which they will use as part of their End Point Assessment at the end of their Apprenticeship.

How to apply

How to nominate employees

Application process

For a learner to join any of Henley’s Apprenticeship Levy Degree programmes a three-way agreement needs to be put in place. This triangular agreement includes: Henley Business School, University of Reading, the employers and the employees (individual learners).

Once this is complete employers are asked to complete a cohort form which formally nominates selected employees and is an initial assessment on nominees’ eligibility. Once the Employer Framework Agreement is in place and nominations have been received, individual learners are sent the online link to apply.

Check Apprenticeship funding eligibility

Before individuals can apply employers need to check employees are eligible to receive funding.

  • First - Determine whether your business is a Levy payer.
  • Apprenticeship funding calculator The Education and Skills Funding Agency has created an apprenticeship funding calculator to help you understand the government’s reforms.
  • Use the calculator to estimate:
  • Whether your company will pay the apprenticeship levy
  • How much you will have available to spend on apprenticeships
  • How much the government will contribute towards the cost of training.
  • Second – Nominated individuals need to be eligible to receive apprenticeship funding
  • Their work contract must cover the 31 month duration of the programme
  • They must not be already undertaking another apprenticeship, or another DfE funded FE/HE programme, at the same time as the start of this programme.
  • They must spend at least 50% of your working hours in England over the duration of the apprenticeship
  • They must also have the right to work in England
  • If they already have a Master’s degree in Business Management, please talk to our Degree Apprenticeship team, as some previous Master’s degree programmes may mean they are ineligible for funding on this programme.
  • Maths and English qualifications at Level 2, or equivalent.

For individuals who are ineligible to be funded by your organisation’s Digital Account, the Henley Flexible Executive MBA (non-levy funded) or the Executive MBA – Global programmes are available.

Henley Flexible Executive MBA eligibility check

In addition, to be accepted on the MBA programme, nominees must have a minimum of 3 years management experience.

Applicants must either have a first degree from a British University or its equivalent and 3 years management experience or a minimum of 5 years management experience.

For further information on the individuals application to the programme please see our entry requirements.

Meet us

MBA 1-2-1 consultations

If you are unable to attend any of our current events please get in touch to arrange a 1-2-1 consultation with a member of the MBA recruitment team to discuss your MBA plans and answer your questions. We would be happy to meet you at the Henley Business School Greenlands campus in Henley-on-Thames or to speak with you via telephone or Skype. Please call +44 (0) 118 378 7593 to arrange a mutually convenient time.


  • Virtual Executive MBA Preview Day: 1 August 2020

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Contact us

For more information about Henley’s apprenticeship programmes please contact us by email at apprenticeships@henley.ac.uk or by phone on (0)1491 418733 .

Important Information

Programme Length:
31 months, part-time - including 4 months for the End Point Assessment (EPA)

September 2020 intake - £25,500*

*Companies nominating less than five individuals onto a cohort will need to supplement the Levy allowance. Please contact the team for more information on 01491 418733

Next open cohort intake start: 07 September 2020

Application Deadline: 26 June 2020

Please note to apply for this programme formal nomination forms must be completed by employers and the Employer Framework Agreement signed before application links will be sent.

September 2020 - Key Deadline dates:

  • Employer Nomination Forms to be signed and returned by 10 June 2020
  • If the Employer Framework Agreement between your organisation and the University of Reading has NOT already previously been signed it will need to be signed and returned by 10 June 2020
  • Individual applications to be received by 26 June 2020

NB: Applications for the September 2020 cohort will be open from 12 June 2020 - 26 June 2020

For further details please email: apprenticeships@henley.ac.uk

Previous intakes:

  • April 2020
  • March 2020
  • September 2019
  • June 2019
  • March 2019
  • January 2019
  • September 2018

Course modules

The module descriptions set out on this page are correct for modules being taught in the current academic year. Optional module listings are indicative and may be subject to change


Schedules for the Flexible Executive MBA - Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship

Stage 1

This module focuses on the key principles that underpin the delivery of goods and services by organisations. It takes a systems and processes approach, integrating elements of operations management, information systems management and project management. Whilst processes are viewed as key enablers of business strategy, the module emphasises the need to understand such processes in a systemic way. Key topics cover the design, implementation and on-going operation of goods and service delivery in a variety of organisational contexts. By the end of this module you will be expected to critically evaluate the applicability of the module concepts to specific organisational contexts.

This module covers the topics of financial accounting, management accounting, finance and microeconomics. It is designed for you to recognise that every aspect of your business has an impact on the bottom line. Organisations that do not effectively plan, control and monitor their finances are unlikely to achieve their operational targets and strategic business objectives. By the end of this module you will be in a position to analyse critically the relevance and appropriateness of financial techniques and economic issues within your organisation.

In this module you will develop an appreciation that people management is a key line manager activity and develop an awareness of the issues and practices that support and hinder the management and development of people and performance in organisations. You will consider the impact of context on managing people and performance, particularly in national, international and multinational contexts; public and private sectors; large, medium and small enterprises. By the end of this module you will be expected to demonstrate the ability to identify issues and dilemmas in your own workplace based on your understanding of the people and performance management, philosophies and approaches.

This module is a springboard into your successful and rewarding MBA journey. It comprises of two parallel streams that lay the foundations of your academic and personal development throughout the programme. A number of key study skills techniques will be introduced which will be important for your successful completion of the programme. It will introduce you to a number of themes around leadership and leadership skills that you will continue to develop throughout the whole MBA. It will also include an introduction to the Personal Development process, the second element of this module, which will continue throughout the MBA. The Personal Development process seeks to support and challenge you in all aspects of you growth whilst studying and is a catalyst for reflection on learning from all other modules and aspects of the MBA. The module aims to enable each student to: take control of their future direction, to pursue life and career goals, obtain maximum benefit for you and you organisations, reflect upon your own learning, performance and achievement and plan for personal, educational and career development.

Stage 2

This module will enable students to understand and apply the fundamental principles of the strategic thinking process and also to gain insight into the variety of issues and challenges faced by managers of firms. By the end of the module you will be able to demonstrate a high level of ability and skill in strategic thinking, strategic analysis, synthesis and decision-making. You will be able to analyse and understand an organisation and its external competitive environment, assess an organisation''s internal value-creating activities and processes, and identify and evaluate appropriate strategic options for an organisation, assessing impact on competitive position and future performance.

The Strategic Marketing module is designed to raise your awareness of marketing as both a strategic and tactical function, develop your understanding of strategic marketing and the relevance of key marketing concepts and the importance of ethically and socially responsible marketing strategies. This module will enable you to critically analyse theoretical explanations of marketing situations and assess their relevance, identify factors that drive and influence the development of market structures and the comparative differences across various business contexts and recognise the nature of relationships and partnerships that are vital to the creation of customer value.

The Reputation and Responsibility module will develop your knowledge and understanding of strategic reputation and responsibility management. You will engage in debate and discussion around issues of corporate responsibility, sustainability and governance and learn about key concepts of how relationships are built and stakeholder management. Students will be exposed to a range of tools for the analysis of perceptions related to reputation.

This module will provide insights into the variety of issues and challenges faced by managers of international firms in the global business environment. The aim is for programme members to develop an ability to understand the complexity of international markets and the capacity to successfully manage issues related to international business and strategy. A number of key frameworks will be introduced and applied in developing strategies for international expansion as well as strategies for managing complex operations across national, regional and global markets. The module also sheds light on the most recent developments in international business.

Stage 3

The module is designed to introduce students to key concepts, theories and models of leadership, change, culture and values, capabilities and approaches that bind these together. This module will prepare you to become a business leader so that you can make appropriate and effective use of different approaches in leadership and change. You will identify your development goals as change leaders and practice the core skills of leading change.

The Management Challenge is a major research-based project investigating a significant management or business problem/issue which leads to actionable recommendations. It requires you to develop and build on key elements of your learning throughout the Masters programme and apply it within a practical context. In developing the Management Challenge, you are required to undertake a critical and in-depth review of current thinking in your chosen topic area which forms the basis for an empirical investigation leading to conclusions and recommendations grounded in appropriate evidence. In order to do this effectively, you are expected to develop and apply a research design and techniques that are appropriate to the problem or issue. The aims of the Management Challenge are to build upon the knowledge you have gained during the Masters programme and the application of that knowledge to a specific management problem or issue, formulate logical, appropriate and actionable recommendations as a result of the investigation and communicate the findings in writing in a convincing and articulate manner.

Module convenors: Dr Ana Graça and Dr Lynn Thurloway

Elective options

A choice between the following:

Taught and online electives: for example, Corporate Finance, Brand Strategy, Managing International HRM, Corporate Responsibility, Sustainability, Digital Marketing


Thought out the MBA each module will be assessed. At the end of Stage 1 there is a written exam; for all other modules assessment is course work based.

SLMDA MBA Learners: Gateway and End Point Assessment

Once the Management Research Challenge is completed learners enter ‘Gateway’ and will then need to prepare for their Apprenticeship End Point Assessment. End Point Assessment (EPA) is the final assessment for an apprentice to ensure that they have met all SLMDA standards. EPA is separate to any qualifications or other assessment that the learner will have undertaken so far.

The EPA takes place via a 1-1 meeting with the Independent Apprenticeship Assessor. Each Apprentice’s Portfolio of Evidence and work-based project will be reviewed in advance of the EPA against specific criteria, which will be applied on a sampling basis. The evidence portfolio will be assessed in relation to whether the SLMDA standards have been sufficiently covered.

The EPA meeting will include a Professional Discussion based on the evidence portfolio, and the learner will ‘showcase’ (e.g. make a presentation) of the Work Based Project and participate in a Q&A session on this Work Based Project.

In order to complete the End Point Assessment, the Apprentice needs to meet the requirements of the gateway:

  • The Apprentice holds a Level 2 qualification in English and a Level 2 qualification in Maths (or an accepted equivalent)
  • The Employer and Provider are jointly in agreement that the Apprentice is competent in the role and ready for End Point Assessment
  • The Apprentice has been registered for a minimum of 12 months
  • The Apprentice has evidenced that they have successfully completed their Flexible Executive MBA Level 7 Degree
  • The Portfolio of Evidence and work-based project are complete. The Evidence Portfolio should demonstrate how learning has been applied in the workplace, and how knowledge, skills and behaviour have been developed, in line with meeting the SLMDA standards, The work-based project will be based on the Management Research Challenge project, which the Apprentice will have completed in Stage 3 of the MBA programme.

End Point Assessment

The EPA takes place via a 1-1 meeting with the Independent Apprenticeship Assessor. At least two hours per Apprentice is allowed for the Apprentice’s showcase and interview, professional discussion and grading.

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Entry requirements

Learners on our Henley MBA programmes typically have several years of management experience already. However on an individual learners applications they will need to demonstrate the following qualifications and management experience.


To complete an Apprenticeship programme, it is mandatory that individuals have obtained Level 2 (Grade C or above G.C.S.E or equivalent) qualifications in English and Maths. Employers will be asked to ensure that applicants can provide evidence of Level 2 before including them on a cohort form to start the University application process. The Government has provided a useful link for those who may have mislaid their certificates.

For the MBA a good first degree or the equivalent professional or international qualification is normally required plus a minimum of 3 years management experience; However we do welcome applications from candidates with exceptional management experience who may not meet all the formal criteria for admission. If nominated learners have a minimum of 5 years experience at a senior or strategic level with no degree, we would be happy to consider an application. Our Admission Panel reviews all non-standard applications for suitability.

Management experience

Programme members are expected to meet a minimum of three of the below:

  • An involvement in strategic planning and decision-making the objectives and effects of which are measured outside of standard operational activities
  • A responsibility for co-ordinating the work of others in a team whether internal or external to their working environment and whether corporate, project or event based.
  • A responsibility for meeting financial targets, managing or working with budgets the outcomes of which may be determined by the efforts of more than one person. Demonstrate how their specific input has shaped these outcomes.
  • A responsibility for developing and improving the performance of people, innovation, creative output, processes or technology whether for internal or external application.
  • A responsibility for managing specific projects or teams both within or external to the organisation. Clarify the size and nature of the tasks, and how they have managed or directed others.
  • A role that primarily achieves results through influencing others (internal or external stakeholders /customers) rather than through direct authority.
  • Experience of working internationally or of relevant multi-cultural exposure.

Examples of this will need to be demonstrated both in applicants CV's and personal statements which are part of the online application.

Fees & funding

Price: Spring 2020 intake - £25,500*

*Companies nominating less than five individuals onto a cohort will need to supplement the Government Master's Levy allowance .

Please contact the team for more information- +44 (0)1491 418733 or email apprenticeships@henley.ac.uk

Jan Hilderbrand

I started my MBA while living in London and I completed it when in San Francisco! By the time I graduated, I had completely changed direction. Once the MD of a creative agency, I am now a Consultant and Adviser.

Henley Flexible Executive MBA - Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship