CIPFA Commercial Mini MBA

A qualification designed to help you develop commercial acumen and skills in your work as a professional or manager in the public sector.

About the programme

Many public sector professionals now work or are likely to be working in a more commercial environment. Sometimes you will be in a 'hybrid' organisation such as a trust, arm's-length company or joint venture. Even if you work inside a public sector body you may be working in a much more commercial culture. 

The common thread is the need for a commercial approach to planning, designing and delivering services while retaining your public sector ethos.

What will I learn?

This programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to think commercially so you can plan and act more flexibly:

  • faster identify and exploit more commercial opportunities
  • change your own and your colleagues’ attitudes toward opportunities and risk and become more 'risk savvy'
  • know what is possible, legally, financially, politically and from a managerial standpoint.

For you personally, it is a chance to develop or consolidate a critically important and scarce skill-set for the public sector. 

For your organisation, their investment will be repaid as you use what you gain on the programme to improve your organisation’s commercial strategies and operations.

Who is the course aimed at?

The programme is aimed at professionals looking to develop a more commercial mind-set. 


Workshop one, two days: Strategies for commercialism 

  • The competitive landscape and the analysis and planning needed including business and commercial strategy, organisational development, IT, legal and governance issues.
  • Governance and structures – what are the various types of corporate structures that are politically and legally possible, roles of directors and board members and how to establish them.
  • Business, commercial, risk and asset strategies – what are the strategic options and how to identify ones that are useful and communicate them to the right people.
  • Analysing the current organisation and its cultural preparedness for a commercial approach, developing a change management strategy.

Action research session one, half-day

  • The first action research session will focus on planning for a commercial approach.

Workshop two, one day: Finance for commercialism

  • The basics of commercial finance and how it helps decision makers and managers.
  • Jargon-busting cash flow, profit, cost behaviour, competitive pricing and value.
  • Business case preparation, due diligence guide, legal powers, state aid, taxation, managing cash, profit and investment.
  • Constraints on freedom of action in public sector organisations.

Workshop three, one day: Marketing a commercial service

  • Focus on the customer and the 'value proposition' – balancing what they want and what you can deliver commercially.
  • Service innovation, identifying new products and services.
  • Creating and nurturing enduring relationships with stakeholders, effective communications, contracting and negotiating.

Workshop four, one day: Operationalising a commercial approach

  • Overview of possible commercial approaches to serving the market and the implications for the organisation’s strategic aims, its customers and staff.
  • Process management essentials, service improvement and optimisation, focusing on the right things and monitoring the right indicators.
  • Project management essentials.

Action research session two, half-day

  • The second action research session will focus on implementation of a commercial approach.

CIPFA membership

On successful completion of the programme, you will be awarded one year’s free CIPFA Affiliate membership, giving you access to a wealth of resources and use of the ‘CIPFA Affil’ designation.

To find out more, visit:

When and where?

The programme is offered both in-house and at locations across the UK – click ‘Search course calendar’ above.

For more information about running it at your location, please contact the training team on T: 020 7543 5600 or E:

If no dates are currently scheduled, please contact to discuss future dates or having the course delivered in-house.


£2,200 +VAT per delegate (open course only).

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