MSc in Strategic Leadership

The MSc in Strategic Leadership is designed for payroll and pension professionals who wish to add strategic value to their organisations.

Accredited by the Loughborough University the MSc in Strategic Leadership is taught by CIPP tutors who are payroll and/ or pensions professionals working within the industry and by lecturers of the Business and Economics School. Consequently, the language and learning examples used within the tutorials are focussed on payroll, pensions and/or reward and are relatable to students working within the sector.*

This programme can be completed through the traditional MSc route, as well as an apprenticeship route.  The content of the programme will be the same regardless of the route taken, with the benefit of allowing employers the opportunity to take advantage of the apprenticeship levy, removing potential cost barriers.

This is a level seven (level eight is the highest e.g. doctorate level) and so requires strategic thinking and expects independent learning, self-development and motivation outside the tutorials. Typically, this programme is aimed at people with experience of payroll and/or pensions as well as experience in management and who aspire to further develop to the most senior levels within an organisation.

The first phase of the programme focuses on the delivery of the taught modules

In the final year the main focus is on the delivery of the business project and preparation for the End Point Assessment.

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Key benefits

  • Increased confidence both day to day and in managerial situations
  • Challenges your understanding and how you do things to find operational efficiencies within your organisation
  • Develops your transferable skills, enhancing your career development opportunities
  • Can be funded through the apprenticeship levy

Year one

  • Recognise your natural leadership style
  • Foster more effective and ethical working relationships
  • Learn vital study skills in data collection, analysis and report writing
  • Plan for personal and career development over the course of the degree
  • Understanding the marketing environment, concepts and techniques
  • How to analyse marketing problems
  • Recognising trends in organisations and consumer behaviour
  • Application of marketing theory to gain advantage in your organisation’s competitive arena
  • Understand how a range of functional business areas contribute to successful organisational performance
  • Analysing and interpreting financial information for better decision making
  • How your role influences interaction with your team and organisational effectiveness
  • How to manage performance and get the most from your team
  • Analysing process effectiveness and strategic decision making
  • Analysing the role of information systems in a competitive environment
  • Creating a competitive advantage for the business through technology value generation
  • Managing IT risk and responding to legislation on data handling

Year two

  • A group business project demanding innovative and entrepreneurial creativity in a business situation
  • Effective application of design thinking concepts to a business problem
  • Utilising analytical tools to evaluate the commercial viability of potential business opportunities
  • Creating a robust proposal and presenting to relevant stakeholders to gain acceptance
  • How to analyse the market and identify opportunities for business
  • Identifying innovative strategic options
  • Planning for strategic change
  • Evaluating and managing risk
  • Managing stakeholder expectations
  • Implementing successful strategies in a disruptive environment
  • How to lead a strategic change in an organisation
  • Being resilient throughout turbulent times
  • How to build innovative, agile and collaborative cultures to gain buy-in for change
  • Managing conflict in times of change
  • Gain confidence in presenting with impact
  • How to recognise and implement a range of negotiation techniques to achieve successful outcomes
  • How to utilise your personal leadership style to inspire and influence a diversity of stakeholders in a variety of situations
  • Customer Loyalty and Relationship Marketing or Business in Global Marketplaces

Year three

  • This module has three days on campus but is mainly taken up with a business-relevant project. This project should address an area in your own business, implementing learning and research to create value for your organisation.


Non-apprenticeship route



Year one - £5,750

Year two - £5,750

Year three - £2,300


Apprenticeship route



Payment is taken in monthly instalments directly from your digital account.


  Prices are valid for the Autumn 2020 intake and subject to change in future years.

Frequently asked questions for current MSc students


Ben Hancock

I had been considering the masters for a number of years - I think four years before I eventually took the plunge - having been holding myself back due to various reasons, mainly because of the time commitment and how this would affect my work and family life. If I'm honest there was a confidence issue there too; I hadn't studied for ten years, and never dreamed of doing something at this level.

However I wanted a real challenge, something that would push me and help me to advance my career... and so finally decided that there would never be a "good time" to embark on a two and a half year degree - just get on with it! And with the course of study being so closely related to payroll, I already felt I had a head start with a number of years experience in the profession. Actually it turned out to be about so much more than payroll. It's leadership, people management, business, strategy, reward...

Like any major part of life, the studying bought with it highs and lows. Those moments when you're so deep in thought and that idea finally just clicks in your mind - or the frustration when you just don't get it (the accounting module in my case!). And the occasional sacrifice of your social life - but made worthwhile when you get that good grade in your last assignment.

In the end I have come away with so much more than a degree. I have learned how to plan; to lead; to question; how to really manage people (downwards and upwards); how to sell ideas and make them happen. Everything learned on the MSc can be applied in the real world. My confidence has really soared and I've made new friends (my study group are a great bunch of people - our weekend tutorials were a lot of fun!)

My dissertation was very much linked to my workplace. "Assessing the effect of a narrow-banded pay structure on staff engagement and motivation" looked at the perceived value of pay increases in terms of work engagement and conversely whether the lack of a pay rise demotivates employees.

Since completing the degree I have remained with my current employer but have been given a big new role with new responsibilities. I truly feel that the MSc has given me the tools I need to face this latest challenge, and will continue to do so as I go through my career.


View career progression options

To help you gain employer support we've created a business case to support you: 

MSc in Strategic Leadership business case for employers

*This is subject to target numbers being met, if target numbers are not met you will be provided the option to study the standard public course. 

Please be aware that this qualification is accredited, delivered and owned by the Loughborough University so any details provided will be sent onto the University to proceed with your enquiry and enrolment.