MBA Programs

Electrifying Electives, Part 3: MBA courses that will rev up your b-school experience

July 5 2011 By The MBA Exchange
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Top business schools set the bar high — and keep raising it — by offering innovative, engaging and truly exciting electives courses that augment their core classes. We’ve been poring through their curricula to highlight — in a series of blogs — some of the most “electrifying” of these electives.

London Business School

New Creative Ventures

Led by lecturer John Bates you’ll explore how entrepreneurs identify and analyze the commercial feasibility of creative ideas, turn them into products and services, and take these to market. Consider “value creation” and how it applies to creative businesses — coping with demand uncertainty and inherent substantial upfront fixed costs. Examine how “creative process” is affected by technological change, explore how and why the culture of creativity matters. In exploring a wide range of issues surrounding creative ventures you’ll also consider management issues and gain insight into opportunities in sectors from design to film and TV, from fashion and advertising to music and computer games, and in publishing and the performing arts. Future entrepreneurs, if this doesn’t get your imagination soaring, nothing will.

Service Management Field Project in Greece

Talk about going into the “eye of the hurricane.” Greece on the brink offinancialinsolvencycontinues to be in the headlines, making this block-week course timely.Taught by operations and service management guru Professor Nikos Tsikriktsis, you’ll engage in real-life projects for Greek firms in the service sector. Rather than studying operations management you will engage in an actual consulting assignment and, depending on the problems and situations you encounter, you’ll draw upon variety of skill sets. In a word, “Opa!”

Going to Market: Managing the Channel and Sales Force

Theories and plans are great, but business ideas are proven only if and when the marketplace says, “Sold!”Once the value proposition is established, then the go-to-market approach — when and how — critically determines a company’s sales success. With lecturer Anja Lambrecht you’ll examine how a well-designed and executed go-to-market strategycan becomea major source of differentiation. What does it take to make the critical decisions that define this strategy? The answer requires an in-depth understanding of your customers’ needs and then placing a premium on getting it right the first time. Learn the fundamentals on how to successfully design, manage and evaluate a company’s channel and sales force management strategy and tactics, then study the interaction of thosepolicies with variables such as branding, pricing, product characteristics and product lifecycle. That’s a lot of stars to be in alignment, but when they are, watch out world.

University of Texas McCombs

Innovation and Knowledge Management

“Innovation happens only when knowledge is shared.” Research suggests that most large, complex, information-technology intense attempts at knowledge management fail. Professor Reuben McDaniel reveals why this is true and provides options for enabling better knowledge management. You’ll analyze strategies to encourage knowledge sharing and examine why smart people with good intentions often fail to use strategies that work. Better to learn and masterthese valuable lessons now in the classroom than later in the marketplace.

Business Intelligence with Data Mining

How does asmart company know what prospective customers want before eventhose prospects knowwhat they want? With Professor Maytal Saar-Tsechansky, you’ll examine how innovative marketers constantly search for new ways to find and use data. We all know that online retail powerhouse Amazon provides suggestions for new purchases based on a consumer’s transaction history, and airlines use customer data to increase loyalty through discounts or merchandise. Moving beyond suchtransactional data and conventional applications, this course will reveal newer applications of data mining that allow other disciplines to benefit from systematic data analysis. Go for the gold!

UNC Kenan Flagler

Power, Politics, and Leadership

It’s a jungle out there, people. What are the various ways that power isused within business organizations today? Here you’ll examine advanced leadership issues related to managing your manager, managerial sabotage and succession, changing difficult subordinates, gaining promotions, navigating through office politics, and ensuring a successful career and life. Using live, complex cases you’ll develop key principles of leadership. Bottom line:you’ll learn how to think and act like the CEO that you intend to become decades from now. It’s good to be king or queen.

UVA Darden

Leadership & Diversity Through Literature

Here you’ll study diversity and leadership while expanding your literary knowledge. Condensed readings from classics will introduce you to culturally diverse protagonists ranging from Mahatma Gandhi to Virginia Woolf — icons who confronted leadership challenges much like those encountered today and whose writings continue to influence assumptions about how to manage people. See the world through stories and realize the significance of stories to understand yourself and others. This elective will challenge you to examine classic stories in new ways with greater relevance than you ever imagined. Watch out, Oprah’s Book Club!

Establishing Yourself at Work

Here’s your “how-to” guide for navigating in the real world. In this elective you’ll develop career management skills that help you become a more effective leader in your summer internship or upon graduation. Through examination of films, TV and movie clips this class will raise issues that inspire interactive conversation focused on individual students in the class. Explore critical phenomena about “joining up” such as establishing credibility, learning organizational language and norms, aligning with work groups and teams, managing upward and dealing with difficult personalities. After this course you may well find yourself fitting in and gaining influence more quickly — and even outperforming your competition. Beingthe “new guy” at work doesn’t have to be so stressful.

Markets in Human Hope

Yes, it sounds kind of “out there” but also very engaging. In this elective you’ll explore the feasibility of constructing financial markets for firms in the social sector as well as capital markets in countries and regions where they don’t currently exist. Examine the role of financial systems and entrepreneurship in economic development and social transformation. Explore constraints on financial markets and on entrepreneurship in the social sector. You’ll be introduced to new financial instruments and innovative entrepreneurial initiatives through an historical survey, and be presented with economic development as the design of new financial instruments and “the fabrication of new markets in human hope.” Want to make a real difference in the world after b-school?Start here.

The Spirit of the New Workplace

What are the possibilities of human organization? In this course you’ll assess yourown core values, assumptions, beliefs and expectations about work. The intention here is to “spark a lifelong quest for learning” about who you are, and how you can best perform and lead others to success in an ever-changing business climate. You’ll discover what “work” can be at both the individual and organizational levels. Through group discussions, movement exercises, journaling and free writing — even guided meditation and individual reflection — you’ll “discover what is true for you and move forward with that knowledge.” Even better than a Magic 8-Ball, we promise.

So, are you feeling the energy of these courses? Watch for our upcoming post with even more “Electrifying Electives” from other top-tier MBAprograms!