MBA Introductory Course CurriculumIIR BS Recommends
In Light of Employers and Startups
Innovative Visions and Expectations
Professor Vlad Genin
Professor Susan M. Jolley
Silicon Valley, California, U.S.A.
The Master of Business Administration program (MBA) was first offered in America by Harvard University over one hundred years ago, and is based on the works of management theorists such as Taylor, Maslow, Hertzberg, Gilbreth & Gilbreth, McGregor, and Hertzberg.
Since that time the MBA program, as a most effective one for preparation of business professionals, rolled out in the business schools of the United States and became a recognized, popular, and prestigious degree program in most countries of the world.
For many decades, until now, the MBA degree has traditionally offered its set of core courses for both companies and individual entrepreneurs in all business segments, such as marketing, management, operations, statistics, business law, business ethics, communication, accounting, finance, managerial economics and business strategy. While providing business professionals of large and small companies with the vital knowledge and skills necessary for sustainable business growth and achieving fruitful business results, the MBA program curriculum obviously should obtain inspiration from business practitioners, companies, and the most successful individual entrepreneurs. Such inspirations must be carefully studied and analyzed by universities and their MBA programs and the most topical and fruitful ideas be permanently incorporated into the MBA curriculum. As the result, the curricula will be enriched by the implementation of computerization, IT technologies (including social networking), elements of business intelligence, and, what is very important, the wealth of practical experiences gained from innovative and successful major companies and unique individual business achievers.
Each MBA program begins with an introductory course, which must set the stage for this two-year educational endeavor. Moreover, the MBA introductory course should demonstrate to students their expected final results of the entire graduate program. Most important is to show its difference (while comparing with its past versions) in terms of innovativeness, modernity, relevancy, and progressiveness compared with programs offered three-five years ago in the world of higher business education, first of all achieved by flagship-universities.
Today we prepare 18 – 36 year old MBA students (Generation “Z” and Generation “Y”) who were raised within new ecosystems and conditions, compared to 40 – 55 year old MBA students who graduated 10-20 years ago or more. For the new generation of students, schools and universities do their best to offer business intelligence (BI) – big data, and the most innovative and progressive business strategies in all vectors of a company’s/entrepreneur’s business livelihoods.
However, it is not a secret that the level of progressiveness of such offerings significantly vary depending on faculty and his or her curriculum quality. In those conditions, it is hard to overestimate the role of a MBA program’s introductory course, which must be a guiding star for each faculty and student. In particular, an introductory course must clearly present expected outcomes of the entire MBA program and set the stage for each individual course curriculum of the program, as an interrelating interacting element, accordingly.
Within the introductory course, students need to clearly see the scope of the final outcomes of their two-year MBA educational endeavor. Most importantly, they need to make sure that by completing their MBA degree program they will obtain gainful employment by meeting prospective employers’ expectations.
The MBA introductory course should provide a modern spirit of learning for Generation “Y” and Generation “Z” students who seek updated and “forward thinking” content. Its attractiveness to the newly enrolled and prospective students is critically important for students’ progression and success in becoming highly competitive job candidates in the global business world and, in particular, the Silicon Valley geographic location with its thirty-thousand companies, startups, or entrepreneurs’ small businesses.
Our analyses of the MBA introductory course curriculums developed by various California universities show that most of them, diplomatically saying, have so-called “room for growth” or require significant improvements. In many cases, in light of the year 2020+ business environment landscape and numerous innovative business methodologies and tools that are underway now, many MBA programs are lacking several important components that make them, to a certain degree, obsolete. The reason for that is obvious, they do not meet expectations of employers in several critical areas, such as change management, investment management, agile project management, reengineering, e.g. Lacking employers’ expectations in the introductory course may negatively affect the set of specialized courses, while not clearly showing to the MBA student the extremely important set of critical knowledge and in-depth skills that would fully satisfy today’s and tomorrow’s employers’ expectations, as well.
Based on meetings and discussions with the Silicon Valley employers, like Google, Hewlett Packard, Apple Computers, AT & T, Tesla and others, today’s and tomorrow’s job candidates must have strong knowledge and skills in:
- Business Intelligence
- Big Data
- Modern Critical Thinking applications to the field of business administration
- Principles and Tools of Leadership and Management of Innovations
- Artificial Intelligence and Managerial Applications
- Philosophy and Tools of Change Management
- Knowledge Management
- Agile Management
- Re-Engineering of corporations and small business
- Sustainable Growth Leadership and Management
- Computerized Business Management Models
- Global Business Ventures
- Global Outsourcing Models
- Investments Management
- Modern Accounting and Financial Management
- Latest and Upcoming Business Strategies
When building the MBA introductory course it is also important to bring important ethics and excellence into the curriculum. Specifically, students must understand how, for example, business intelligence (BI), collecting big data, and use of artificial intelligence (AI) has the power to change people’s lives and how business decisions are made. According to Satinder Dhiman “a knowledge-based, globally interconnected society requires more than workplace competence. It requires individuals whose lives demonstrate the value of integrity, diversity, compassion, and personal responsibility” (2008, pg. 7).
Considering the MBA Introductory Course as a locomotive of the entire MBA program, it is obvious that the content, modernism, depth and quality of such a course sets the stage for the subsequent MBA courses/disciplines. Presenting the MBA program as a big system, our analysis supports that introductory courses and all other specialized courses are interrelated, interconnected and interacting components. Because of their systemic interdependence, their quality impacts the whole system and first of all, its frontline – an introductory course. And vice versa, poor curriculum of the introductory course, as a “passport” of the MBA program, does not set the right stage for the subsequent specialized courses – components of the MBA program, as a whole system.
Therefore, in light of the modern American and global employers’ expectations, the following conclusions could be made:
- A modern MBA Introductory Course must include information on the essence, modernity, and novelty of all elements of future MBA candidate’s professional activities stated above.
- The MBA Introductory Course must show importance of all those elements for forming the job candidate’s systemic vision, readiness, and ability to work in the absolutely new job environments within the next 10 years (taking into consideration further re-tooling of MBAs due to the permanent progress in the business world).
- The MBA specialized courses’ curriculum must be based on the principles laid down by the introductory course.
- The MBA Introductory Course must be reviewed and updated every academic year (or even more often) and all MBA courses, as its elements, reviewed and an updated simultaneously.
Such principles of a systemic vision of the MBA Introductory course should mirror the whole system, as a set of interconnecting, interdepending and interacting elements (all MBA participating specialized courses) will significantly increase the assurance of the high quality and expected effectiveness of a MBA program, which would satisfy the modern employers’ expectations and lead new MBA graduates to gainful employment in his or her career choices.