EMBA Curriculum

Boston University’s Executive MBA program (EMBA) is consciously designed for mid- to senior-level managers with 10+ years of professional experience. At this level, your responsibilities span more than a task or function. You lead across the organization – just as the BU EMBA curriculum does. And you take advantage of a range of tools, approaches, and styles – just as the program faculty do every day.

Thus the Executive MBA curriculum focuses on general management: a cross-functional understanding of the interdependencies among organizations’ components. It offers you a strong global component through a concentrated international module and trip. And it creates a high-impact learning environment that engages you through strategic workouts, teaming, visioning exercises, simulations, role-playing, and other interactive learning techniques.

Accelerated, Comprehensive, Integrated

The curriculum is organized around five modules, which are in turn bracketed by four residential weeks. The third residential week takes place at an international location determined by the faculty and is integrated with Modules 4 and 5, focused on the global environment and venture creation .

Residence Week 1: Business as a System

Management Systems, Organizational Behavior
January, Year 1

Introduces two of the program’s major themes:

  • Management as a System, addressing the need to think systematically about business, and to integrate and leverage the functional components of a complex global organization
  • Team Learning, providing an intensive business simulation where you explore firsthand the value of team building and problem solving as they apply to learning and business

Module 1: Value Creation & Performance Measurement

Financial & Managerial Accounting, Marketing Management, Data Analysis, & Operations Management
February–June, Year 1

Builds an understanding of how organizations create and measure value, primarily through the interrelation of functional areas and the successful interaction of internal teams.

In this module you will:

  • Analyze the effectiveness of companies’ marketing strategies
  • Assess your own organization’s financial and operating performance
  • Gain a clearer understanding of the links among disciplines and quantitative decision-making processes

Residence Week 2: Playing by the Rules: Law and Ethics

Business Law, Ethics
June, Year 1

Focuses on learning legal rules affecting business. Students also learn a framework for making ethical decisions.  Students will explore the intersection between law and ethics  – behavior that might be legal but not ethical and the reverse – situations in which the legal option could be unethical.

Topics covered:

  • Contracts
  • Employment law
  • Intellectual property
  • Corporate governance
  • Ethical decision making

Module 2: The Competitive Environment

Economics, Finance, and Strategy
July–September, Year 1

Addresses the need for developing, implementing, and evaluating focused corporate objectives within a competitive business environment.

In this module you will learn about:

  • Project and enterprise valuation
  • Industry and competitive analysis
  • The strategic role of information technology
  • Financial analysis and decision-making
  • Risk assessment

Module 3: The Firm's Decisions

Finance, Corporate Strategy and Strategy of Technology
October–December, Year 1

Develops economic and managerial decision-making tools appropriate for application across the functional areas of the organization.

In this module you will explore :

  • Process operations
  • Decision-making in marketing, finance, strategy, and operations
  • Macroeconomic market structures such as competition, monopoly, and oligopoly

Module 4: The International Environment and Global Strategy

International Management and Strategy, and Global Finance
January–March, Year 2

You will gain perspective of the mix of social, political, economic, and institutional factors that mold the business environment in a range of developing and developed countries. The goal is to understand how these different dimensions affect strategy, policy, and the overall business environment. Through case studies, assignments, and lectures you will become immersed in the strategies companies use to deal with the challenges of globalization. Topics covered include:

  • Impact of historical factors on countries’ ideology and policy
  • Effect of foreign exchange movements
  • Role of joint ventures in managing strategic risks
  • Role of global institutions and non-governmental organizations

Residence Week 3: The Global Environment

International Field Seminar
Country Analysis, International Management and Business Development
March, Year 2

The International Field Seminar provides a first-hand opportunity for students to evaluate a specific country including the social, political, economic environment and to determine how that environment has shaped both strategy and management functions.

Lectures, presentations, and site visits with business and government officials will be augmented by team assignments that engage students with local businesses and organizations.

The EMBA Program intentionally selects destinations where the economy is emerging and business opportunity is abundant. During the past seventeen years, the EMBA Program’s International Seminar has included locations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. Recent destinations include:

  • 2014: Santiago, Chile and Lima, Peru
  • 2013: Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • 2012: Mumbai and New Delhi, India
  • 2011: Bangalore and New Delhi, India
  • 2010: Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam
  • 2009: Istanbul, Turkey and Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2008: Tokyo, Japan and Shanghai, China
  • 2007: Bangkok, Thailand and Singapore
  • 2006: Shanghai, China and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • 2005: Warsaw, Poland and Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2004: Santiago, Chile, and São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2003: Munich, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2002: Santiago, Chile
  • 2001: Madrid and Barcelona, Spain
  • 2000: Ireland

>>Blogging from the Capstone Trip: EMBA in Action

Module 5: New Venture Creation in a Global Economy

Entrepreneurship, Capstone Business Plan
March–May, Year 2

This module presents students with the opportunity to strengthen decision-making skills for both the domestic and global arenas while putting to work all the tools that have been previously acquired in the program. This module focuses on:

  • Entrepreneurship and the process of creating new ventures both from the perspective of a new start-up and as a critical function in a larger organization. From idea to business plan to execution, the entrepreneurial process will be analyzed and applied to the capstone business plan developed by each team

Residence Week 4: Leadership and Change

Leadership, Organizational Development, Conflict and Change, and Negotiations
June, Year 2

Focuses on you as a manager, and helps you develop a plan to grow as a leader. The session includes an in-depth discussion on leadership by CEOs from a number of organizations. You will:

  • Explore a variety of effective leadership styles
  • Use a range of self-assessment instruments and structured feedback exercises to elicit valuable input from coworkers and team members on your own management performance
  • Be challenged to examine personal and professional leadership plan

Team Learning

Group Development, Managing High Performance Teams, Peer Coaching, Process
January, Year 1–June, Year 2

The team learning curriculum runs throughout the entire 18 months of the EMBA Program. You will learn:

  • Working collaboratively at an advanced level
  • Strategies and tactics for leading high performance teams
  • Effective tools for peer coaching, team and self assessment

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