An MBA subjects list tells you a lot about an MBA program — and whether it is for you. The best MBA programs publish an MBA subjects list on the Internet that provides applicants with a clear outline of the program structure.
Whatever is on the MBA subjects list should give you a good idea if the courses match up to your executive training needs. Don't expect every MBA subjects list to be the same. Different business schools — even the best business schools in the world —offer a variety of approaches to executive education. But when you are seeking one of the top degrees in business, you expect a syllabus that goes beyond clichés and catchphrases.
What an MBA subjects list tells you
If you are considering enrolling in a Master Business Administration program, an MBA subjects list will give you a fix on the orientation of the leadership and management courses being offered. You need to ask yourself first where you see yourself going and then check how the list of subjects aligns with your aspirations.
Need to focus on personal development?
Some of the best MBA programs focus on personal development, leadership skills and general management rather than functional expertise. This broad approach will prepare most talented business managers with leadership potential to take on greater responsibilities in their organizations.
Aiming for a career in finance?
If you are aiming for a career in the financial sector you may want to seek an MBA that stresses accounting and finance training. Some business schools offer financial courses separately from their MBA programs, although these stand-alone courses are sometimes for senior executives or MBA graduates.
What to expect on an MBA subjects list
Because programs differ, there is nothing typical about an MBA subjects list, although there are some common features. One top-ranked business school screens MBA program participants to probe their industry and managerial background and offers a one-week ‘immersion course' prior to the start of the program. By finding out about the experience of candidates, the school can customize its curriculum.
It also offers an MBA subjects list that includes areas such as:
- Business fundamentals, covering the building blocks of corporate management and organizational context in five components
- International business development consulting projects for corporate clients and NGOs
- A ‘discovery expedition' to explore political and cultural obstacles to improving social, economic and business conditions in a foreign region
- ‘Navigating the future' by assessing major global trends and their likely consequences for market evolution, business models and stakeholder interests
- Executive leadership skills — dealing with leadership challenges and dilemmas
- Individual learning agendas that include leadership coaching, focusing on personal development goals and career strategies
Changing with the times
Don't expect this year's MBA subjects list to be the same as last year's. The business world is becoming increasingly complex. Rapid developments in markets and technologies mean that the demands on executive education are constantly in flux.
Top international business schools team up with companies to constantly update their executive leadership courses. That is particularly the case when it comes to MBA programs grooming the next generation of business leaders. What it is relevant in business management training today may be irrelevant tomorrow.
Who's staying up to date?
Executive education rankings published regularly by independent business publications such as Forbes and the Financial Times can give you a good idea of the business schools that are staying on top of developments. An MBA world ranking will give you the context you need to better evaluate an MBA subjects list.
What kind of executive education are you after? How about IMD's: