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Electrifying Electives, Part 4: More MBA courses that will beef up your b-school experience

July 11 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 the core classes. We’ve been poring through their curricula to highlight — in a series of blogs — some of the most “electrifying” of these electives offered.

Yale SOM

Strategy, Technology & War

Crossing boundaries between management, politics and economics, this course offers an integrated examination of technology and strategy in a fascinating, vital field: national security. Key concepts such as technology strategy, macro-organizational behavior and strategic posture are developed to describe the international strategic environment. “Analysis of the changing structure of defense in light of new dynamics, i.e., a second nuclear age, the spread of advanced technologies to China, India, militia groups, etc., network-centric and information warfare, private equity investment in defense and intelligence, and a shifting locus of innovation to lower-tier firms.” Forward, march!

Mathletics: Modeling Through Sports

When should a batter take a swing on a 3-0 count? What long-shot college hoops team is most likely to knock off a top seed in March Madness? In Mathletics, you’ll immerse yourself in solving sports issues like these via probability models, statistics, decision analysis and spreadsheets. The hidden agenda is to develop your modeling skills by capitalizing on your love of sports and, well, sports betting.Finally, an MBA course that could pay for itself. Enough said.

Competitive Strategy and the Internal Organization of the Firm

Ultimately, what makes or breaks any company is its people. Here, you’ll learn to think more strategically about an organization’s human resources and how to align a firm’s HR structure with its strategic choices in the product marketplace. You’ll explore topics including HR policies, compensation and incentives, and organizational structure, and discuss social and legal issues in managing people.

Listening to the Customer

Are you interested in strategy consulting, market research, and brand management careers? Here you’ll gain experience in understanding what data — qualitative and quantitative — about consumers and markets can help them make strategic marketing decisions. You’ll find how industry-leading companies get to the top — and stay there — by paying attention to those whose purchases and loyalty define success.

Dartmouth Tuck

Business & Ethics at the Base of the Pyramid

Sorry, no field trip to Egypt. This course is about the world’s economic “pyramid.” Through case-based discussion, with Professor Maggie Hanson you’ll explore how market-based ventures overcome challenges in contexts ranging from environmental conservation to health care delivery, social safety nets to humanitarian and disaster relief. You’ll discuss opportunities, challenges and dilemmas attendant with working in very low-income markets. This is a course that “may test traditional assumptions that MBA students make about how society intersects with markets, and raise questions not only of business aims, but also broader questions of risk and responsibility.”

Economics of the Credit Crisis

Straight from the headlines of the Wall Street Journal. Take this deep dive into the economics and financial aspects of the current credit crisis, with a focus on the subprime mortgage market, the practices of securitization and regulatory response. With Professor Bob Hansen, you’ll gain an appreciation for the way that economists examine a subject, “from our reliance on theory and principles to careful empirical analysis.”

Strategy in Turbulent Environments

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto! When change is the norm, as it has become in today’s business environments — driven by technology, demographics, innovation, financial shifts, governmental intervention, or unforeseen crises — strategies must be dynamic. Here you’ll engage in a group project and also explore strategies with Professor Alva Taylor, examining situations ranging from banks to biotech firms to nightclubs. Party on, Professor T!

Oxford Said

Leading Strategic Change

Today’s financial markets are troublesome to say the least; however, recessions have occurred every decade or so, historically. The difference this time is the speed of arrival of the problems and the depth and breadth of the crisis. “In this kind of world one does not just need to know about survival but also about the recovery and renewal of organizations as we move through and out of the recession. In these processes, leading strategic change is a key corporate task.” Led by Professor Andrew Pettigrew, internationally renowned for his research and writing on leading strategic change, you’ll study the leadership of change and the management of performance improvement with an emphasis on turnaround and renewal in turbulent times. With this kind of training, you’ll be ready for whatever the future has in store.

UC Berkeley

Opportunity Recognition: Technology and Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley

Whether you’re a tech-head, a finance wizard or a marketeer, here you’ll gain the core skills needed to identify opportunities that can lead to successful entrepreneurial high-tech ventures. This course closely examines the approaches “most likely to succeed” for entrepreneurial companies in light of markets and technologies, emphasizing creating and executing strategy where there is rapid technological change and limited resources. Watch out, Google and Facebook!

Power and Politics in Organizations

If you’re keen to examine “the art and science of influence in organizations” then this course is for you. Organizations are, after all, political entities and power and influence are how things get done. Here you’ll learn to diagnose the real distribution of power, identify strategies for building new sources of power, develop techniques for influencing others and understand the role of power in building cooperation and leading change. This course is guaranteed to pump…you…up!

The Future of IT

Here you’ll evaluate the strategic options and their consequences and view the IT industry through the eyes of a general manager or CEO of an IT firm. “Evaluate the role of regulatory, technological, economic and market forces in shaping the IT industry structure, value chain, business and operating models, competitive strategy and dynamics, and barriers to entry.” Techno-geeks, prepare to be transformed.