MBA subjects: What are the most market-relevant MBA subjects?

MBA subjects aren't all equally relevant to the competitive market in which organizations expect MBAs to hit the ground running. The best business schools in the world design MBA subjects logically and complementarily to meet real-world needs. Here are some insights into the most market-relevant MBA subjects.

Business fundamentals: the building blocks among your MBA subjects
You come to your MBA courses with an undergraduate degree under your belt and possibly – indeed, it's even better – a few years' experience in a business management career. You already have a notion of business basics, yet fundamental MBA subjects solidify your knowledge, laying the groundwork of your MBA degree. The best schools for MBA will put a focus on tying these theoretical foundations to market needs. Some of the most important MBA subjects covering business fundamentals are:

General management: Introductory MBA subjects provide a broad overview of the business manager's roles and responsibilities, and give MBAs practice devising strategies.

Finance courses: Good financial decision-making is critical to creating value for an organization. You therefore need solid finance business training. This includes concepts like understanding markets, budgeting, accounting, analytical techniques, asset management training, and mergers and acquisitions training.

Marketing courses: MBAs need to know how to build and maintain customer value. MBA subjects in marketing cover concepts and skills including ethics, customer behavior, marketing strategy planning, and marketing communications.

Operations management: Good operations management is particularly necessary to a company's long-term competitiveness. In this MBA subject, you may learn the fundamentals of service operations, manufacturing and production.

MBA subjects to build technical competence
Business is a team sport and a business manager needs to be a highly-effective team player. A refined set of MBA subjects should help you build the technical management skills necessary, such as:

Business analysis courses: A leading executive rapidly and astutely assesses the state of business, develops an appropriate response and leads their team in effecting that response. This MBA subject should help you hone your analytical and critical thinking skills through examination of case studies and real-world experiences.

Business development: In a business management career, being able to identify opportunities is critical to growing business and staying competitive. MBA subjects cover business development skills including how to develop ideas, get your team on board, ensure stakeholder engagement and implement strategies to leverage opportunities.

MBA subjects focused on leadership development
Of all your MBA subjects, leadership skills development, done right, will have the most long-term impact on your business management career. Of course, leadership skills are an underlying theme in all your MBA subjects, but the best schools for MBA provide intense, focused leadership skills training. MBA subjects for leadership development include:

Self-awareness and personal leadership: A starting point for growing your leadership skills is a personal leadership assessment. MBA subjects should help you, as well as the particular role you play in leadership situations. This gives you the basis to be a more self-aware and responsive leader.

Leadership coaching and leadership exercises: In leadership MBA subjects, these techniques help you become keenly tuned in to your own leadership skills. You practice and perfect your own leadership style under expert guidance, in a safe environment. Group leadership exercises also help you better understand human nature and group dynamics in general, so you can position yourself more strongly.

Global leadership development: Top MBA degree programs are designed to make global leaders. Global leadership entails considering angles including the ethical, cultural and political. To ensure your full ability to lead in diverse global situations, good MBA degree programs may use international consultancy projects or other hands-on MBA subjects.


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With MBA subjects for today's market, IMD is one of the world's best schools for MBA: