Since their establishment in the early 20th Century, Master of Business Administration degrees have been the dominant educational qualification in the business sector. The uptake is immensely varied. Businesspeople with very little experience sit shoulder to shoulder with highly experienced executives at business schools around the globe. In addition, there is an increasing amount of good quality MBA education being offered by top universities online. This move into the online world has only gained pace during the recent pandemic.
What, then, do students actually learn during an MBA course? The answer is not simple, and it certainly isn’t the same for everybody. Almost all MBA courses offer the opportunity to specialize, and each university or business school offers different specialist modules to choose from. As the MBA qualification is at the master’s level, a high degree of individual freedom is given to students to choose their own specialization. However, there are a few key modules that almost all schools offer as part of their MBA courses. This is a quick guide to these core modules.
This module teaches students about the core marketing theory necessary to learn if any success in business is to be achieved. It also invites students to learn about and build upon the latest contemporary marketing techniques. Marketing is a constantly developing field. Developments in marketing usually exist in parallels with changes in demographics, social changes, political change, and technological upheaval. In recent years, a great deal of emphasis has been placed upon contemporary internet-based marketing. Search Engine Optimization, influencer marketing, and other kinds of marketing that are noticeably divergent from traditional techniques are now seen as incredibly important.
Marketing modules at the best MBA schools also focus on advanced methods of market research and data analysis. Because of the vast datasets being produced by consumers and businesses operating in an ever more networked market, marketing strategies now consider the analysis of so-called ‘Big Data’. Of course, big datasets can only be truly harvested and analyzed using powerful software. Nevertheless, they offer an unprecedented potential for insights into consumer and business trends that can be used to influence how a company markets itself and its products.
Strategic management modules focus on honing the ability of students to think of the big picture when developing and carrying out a business plan. Strategic thinking is complex and involves the interrogation of a great many factors. Strategic management involves developing strategic aims, managing the tactics used to achieve these aims, and assessing successes and failures during this process. Good strategic management sets out the road ahead for a company and allows executive staff to develop ways of guiding the company down this road in an informed and financially sound way.
Business schools typically include strategic management as a core module because it is incredibly important in almost every executive role or entrepreneurial endeavor. The strategic management process usually involves 5 stages:
• Assessing an organization’s current direction.
• Identifying internal and external strengths and weaknesses.
• Formulating action plans based on the analysis of data and feedback.
• Executing action plans
• Evaluating successes and failures
Students will be required to examine some of the many theories that govern the execution of strategic management. The modern discipline of strategic management was born in the 1950s and 1960s, but it has changed almost beyond recognition thanks to the introduction of plenty of innovative and competing theories.
Accounting is, at its very core, about balancing the books. Ensuring that the correct balance is found between expenditure and income is the basic role of any accountant. It isn’t just a simple balancing act, however. Plenty of complex accounting tasks need to be completed shrewdly and accurately for a business to flourish. Although accountancy is a specialist role usually carried out by chartered accountants, it is essential for business leaders to have a good working knowledge of in the field.
Accounting knowledge and business leadership go together. Many accountants develop their careers by studying for an MBA. Accountants have been proven as competent business leaders on many occasions. Most good business schools offer accounting as a core module because of how essential number crunching is within almost any realm of business.
Organizational behavior is the academic study of how people interact within groups. It is immensely important in business. A good knowledge of organizational behavior theory is used by business leaders to enact structural changes that make their businesses run more efficiently. Topics within the field of organizational behavior that have a particular impact on business leadership and administration are centered around personality, mass psychology, leadership and power dynamics.
Entrepreneurial Innovation And Change
Entrepreneurs need to employ both linear and lateral thinking in their work. This means that they have to think logically and creatively to fill gaps in the market. MBA courses offer courses to help students balance these two ways of thinking when developing an entrepreneurial business plan. Courses often focus on the development of different methods of ideation and the use of creative, out-of-the-box thinking to develop products and services.
Entrepreneurship is a risky business, no matter what field it is in. MBA courses on entrepreneurial innovation and change help to prepare future business leaders for the disruption of their market while avoiding unnecessary risks.
Negotiation And Conflict Management
MBA courses often contain modules related to negotiation and conflict management. The reason for this is simple: every business leader will encounter conflict in the course of their careers. Furthermore, the successful negotiation of these conflicts can often decide the success or failure of an enterprise.
Conflicts within businesses cost a huge amount of money and often have long-term adverse effects on the ability of a company to operate. Although there is a cadre of professional business conflict mediators available to high-paying clients, most start-up companies need to rely upon the conflict mediation skills of their internal leaders to resolve issues.