MBA written on wooden blocks in front of a keyboard

In this section: Ideal MBA Candidate | Pathways | Timetable | Projects | Professional Development

Traditional business models will fail in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Organisations lack the agility to respond to fast moving externalities and vast majority of leaders lack the confidence to harness purpose-driven change.

UC’s MBA* has been refreshed to tackle these challenges. It focuses on a key set of problem questions:

  1. What value is the organisation delivering to its stakeholders? Internally to its employees? Externally, to its customers and shareholders?
  2. How does my organisation (do I) innovate (product or services) for growth?
  3. What is the purpose and impact of my organisation in the new economy where technological change, sustainability and societal contribution matter?

Consequently, the primary focus of the UC MBA is to work collaboratively with industry partners to produce well-rounded leaders capable of creating and growing international organisations through innovation, digital transformation, data-led strategy making and responsible societal engagement.

The programme will also incorporate learning experiences in Māori economies to better understand the aspirations of Māori communities, and emphasising the Māori proverb that it is the people that are the most important thing in the world, ‘he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata’. Such focus also helps ensure the programme’s commitment to the UN sustainable development goal (SDG) 11 around the building of sustainable communities and cities.

MBA participants will be immersed in experiences with New Zealand’s indigenous people – the Māori community – where the importance of ‘place-based knowledge’ intertwined with Māori business culture will be experienced. This experience is important for our MBA participants to ensure they are aware of their own identity and its influence in engaging with any other person or community.

Graduates of the program will:

  1. Future orient organisations
  2. Drive digital transformation
  3. Innovate to enhance customer value
  4. Engage meaningfully in society
  5. Deal with complex global environments

Professional Benefits

Gaining a UC MBA will provide significant long-term benefits. Through the demanding programme participants will: 

  • develop leadership capabilities to motivate teams and drive performance,
  • enhance strategic perspectives by working on real industry challenges,
  • gain a more holistic outlook of how local businesses thrive in global markets,
  • expand professional networks.

*This new programme is subject to Te Pōkai Tara | Universities New Zealand CUAP approval, due December 2019.

Ideal MBA Candidate

Our MBA programme is ideal for experienced professionals who are ready to take the next step in this important transitional stage of their professional and personal lives. MBA candidates are typically middle to senior level professionals from organisations of any size or sector. Professionals looking to scale their entrepreneurship ventures will also benefit from the programme.


Depending on your existing level of education and experience you can either enter the MBA straight away or you can enter through the PGDipBA pathway.**

Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDipBA)
The Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration offers a pathway to the MBA if you do not have a Bachelor’s degree but have significant work experience.

The diploma with eight core courses can be completed in 10 months full-time, or over four years part-time. Studying full-time, you will complete your PGDipBA between February and November. If you would like to study part-time, you can develop a personalised timetable in consultation with the Postgraduate Student Advisor.

As a PGDipBA candidate you will attend the same lectures as MBA candidates, which means you will follow the same term structure, study in the same manner and complete the same assignments. The difference between the MBA and PGDipBA is that diploma candidates do not complete any elective courses or the MBA Consulting project. Having satisfied all requirements for the Postgraduate Diploma with a B average or above you can apply to transfer to the MBA.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)
In addition to the course requirements for the postgraduate diploma, by completing a further Consulting Project and elective courses worth 15 credit points, you can graduate with the full MBA. The MBA gives you the flexibility and the freedom to tailor your project. The MBA takes 15 months to complete full-time or up to five years part-time.

If you choose to study full-time, you will complete 8 core courses in your first year. Your elective and MBA Project can then be completed over the summer period during the first term of your second year, which is approximately 12 weeks (once your project is approved). At any stage during the MBA, you can apply to defer completion or change to part-time study.

Should you choose to study part-time, you have five years to complete your MBA. You will develop a personalised timetable in consultation with the Postgraduate Student Advisor. Part-time candidates can expect to complete their project in 24 weeks (once the project is approved). 

**In consultation, a personal course of study that differs from that outlined above can be completed, subject to the approval of the Dean of Business.

Note: Successful completion of the PG Certificate in Strategic Leadership provides an advanced standing of 30 credit points into the PG Diploma/MBA. The credit is applied towards MBAM 610 Agile and Innovative Leadership and MBAM 603 Innovation driven Customer Value; or, towards the elective subject to approval by the Dean of Business.


All lectures run Tuesday to Thursday, 5:00 pm to 8.15 pm, with the exception of block courses, which run from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Friday and Saturday. Block courses may also fall outside of normal term dates. 

MBA Consulting Project

As the capstone, the UC MBA Consulting project typically addresses issues of strategic importance and results in the production of a written strategy document. Sponsor organisations derive value from engaging with MBA participants, who are mentored by faculty, bring fresh perspectives to the challenge, engage with relevant internal and external stakeholders to tackle the problem at hand and where possible and with support from the organisation look to implement a set of recommendations. This ensures real impact is generated for the organisation while MBA participants benefit from learning application.

Past projects completed by students include:

  • A strategy to address seasonal fluctuations in consumer demand
  • Strategies to effectively develop and deliver new services to construction projects
  • A strategy to increase purchase order policy engagement and compliance
  • A strategy for how high-performance directors can be retained within the New Zealand high-performance sport system
  • A strategy to address ways of introducing and adapting a goal setting process into a local Pacific community group
  • A strategy to address the efficiency and effectiveness of international transport operations
  • A strategy to best utilise information systems technology to provide a competitive advantage, increase productivity, retain high-quality staff and support the achievement of its business strategic objectives
  • A strategy to deliver organisational stability and agility to meet the needs of the community that it serves
  • A strategy to assess which social investment models are the best fit for New Zealand how to integrate them
  • A strategy for the most effective implementation of knowledge-driven product development
  • A strategy for UC to increase international student enrolments from the Philippines
  • A strategy to increase acquisition of start-up business customers in the New Zealand cloud computing market
  • A strategy to optimise bitumen supply model in order to achieve sustainable continuity of supply
  • Development of business model and market entry strategy
  • A positioning strategy for University of Canterbury MBA programmes
  • A strategic evaluation of transport optimisation approaches for Christchurch

Professional Development

From 2020, an enhanced program of professional development will be put in place for MBA students. These sessions include finance workshops, media training, governance, cross-cultural business negotiations, conflict management, individual career coaching, case competitions, career planning and much more. These activities will enrich the learning experience of students while providing vital networking opportunities through the MBA Thought Leadership series which runs every quarter.

Employment preparation

To get you prepares for the workforce, these workshops cover key practical skills to help get you into employment post-study. Workshops cover interview skills, CV preparation, how to sell yourself to employers and will also introduce you to recruitment firms.

Personal Development

Personal development workshops aim to help you get the most out of your career. Workshops include goal setting, team dynamics, professionalism, consulting, stress management, wellness and workplace diversity.