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MSc by Research – Business Transformation

A 'Master's by Research' programme designed specifically for those wanting to transform their family business.
Designed for

People associated with a family owned business with the aim of leading the business in the future into new opportunity areas.

By undertaking a research degree, rather than a standard taught Master's, you will be conducting an in-depth analysis of your business to support its successful transformation to become a market leader or market creator in the modern business environment. In addition you will get hands-on consultancy experience working with our renowned SME support team with local businesses of all types (manufacturing, service, finance, catering and hospitality, business services)

Family businesses represent the most common and enduring business model in the world. However, the once dynamic business founded by a previous generation now likely operates in a very different business environment, with new markets, new types of customers, and many more competitors. These business have often become mature and stagnant.

This Master's programme will enable you to take your business to the next level, with improved operations, new business models, into new markets, and with new products.

We will provide you with
  • A deeper understanding of business transformation, entrepreneurship and innovation, plus the skills and confidence to put this into practice.
  • Core taught modules to support your learning, and short projects with UK SMEs which will enable you to experience a variety of business environments.
  • Throughout the programme you will be supported by business leaders and successful entrepreneurs.
How is the progamme structured?

Over an 18 month period of study, you will complete four taught modules and complete four Innovation Projects with UK SME's. Alongside this you will be undertaking your own major research project, by creating and developing your business ideas so that by the end of the programme you will be in a position to drive your new idea forward in your family business, or even start your own.

Learning style

The taught component of the course is a mixture of traditional lectured material, syndicate/group work, large scale delivery, practical work, online learning and forum activities. Module leaders are experts in their fields and are supported by external speakers working in organisations at the forefront of their fields.

The projects with UK SMEs (in a broad range of sectors) are with the WMG SME Team. One of the leading Small Business Assistance teams in the country with experts in IT, Electronics, Materials, Processes and Business Strategy.

Follow he link for for further information and case studies:

Each taught module will usually last one week

Core modules
Business Model Generation Management of Change 
Sales and Sales Management  
Elective modules

You should choose one additional module from the list below.

Creating Business Excellence
Digital Marketing Software and Techniques Financial Analysis and Control Systems
Your research project

The research area for your project will usually be proposed by you, in collaboration with your business, early on in the programme. The project should be devoted to transforming your family business, and creating and developing your innovative business idea in a rigorous manner so that you are ready to implement it by the time you complete the programme.

Your thesis is the basis for the assessment of your academic award of a Master’s in Business Transformation by Research. We expect about one year full time effort on this project, and about six months effort on the taught and practical components.

Innovation projects

You are required to complete four Innovation Projects, working with our SME Support Team and UK SMEs. These projects will involve working with small businesses on projects designed to help the business grow.

Innovation projects will enable you to apply your knowledge and skills in a practical way, helping to transform existing businesses in specific areas that they have identified, and working with an experienced mentor.

Look at some case studies at:

Case Study autins_group.png Lightwave

Student Success:

We have had a whole range of successes with students creating new opportunities and divisions for their family businesses into areas such as:

Industrial/work Clothing into retail fashion clothing

Airlines into Loyality schemes

Construction into Fortified Rice

Contact and discuss with Professor Bal some possible opportunities for Your Family Business

Contact us

If you have questions about the programme, please contact Professor Jay Bal – Course Leader: +44 (0)24 7652 4290

Start Date:
October or February each year

18 months, full time

Tuition Fees
For the academic year 2022/23 tuition fees are:
Overseas fees: £26,470 per annum
Home fees: £4,557 (tbc) per annum
NB This is an 18 month programme. Students will be required to pay 50% of the tuition fees for the academic year 2023/24.


Entry Requirements
Bachelor 2:1 (Hons) or equivalent

Overseas applicants may be required to satisfy the University requirements for English language ability, as described here.

Application Deadline
Students may apply at any point in the year to commence study in October or February each year.