Curriculum
MBA@Simmons

The MBA curriculum consists of 48 credit hours, broken into 14 core business courses, two elective courses, and two in-person immersion courses.

Prior to beginning the MBA program, students complete Foundations of Business, a non-credit, self-paced orientation course. This course is designed to prepare students for success in the MBA program and covers topics such as analyzing and discussing cases, Excel spreadsheet modeling, communication skills, and business terminology. 

The program can be completed in as few as 24 months by taking two courses per term.

Course Sequence

Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Term 4

Term 5

Term 6

Term 7

Term 8

Course Descriptions

Financial Reporting & Analysis

MBAO 420 | 3 credits | Term 1

This is an introductory course in financial reporting that focuses on the vocabulary and fundamental concepts of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This course is the basis for other required and elective accounting courses as well as a foundation for other business courses. Managers must appreciate the assumptions and complexities that underlie accounting information so they can make smart, ethical business decisions and communicate financial information to others. As the intricacies of financial reporting increase, managers who develop financial statement literacy will find themselves in possession of an increasingly valuable business tool. Financial accounting information is not only used as a basis for management to make decisions, it is also used by others outside an organization, such as lenders, investors, and regulatory agencies.

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Leading Individuals and Groups

MBAO 455 | 3 credits | Term 1

This course focuses on the functions, roles, and responsibilities of the manager in an organizational context. Emphasis is placed on:

  • understanding the organizational culture and on developing skills needed for the manager in middle- and senior-level management positions;
  • transitioning from supervisory positions to middle management and from middle management to senior management;
  • managing relationships with subordinates, peers, and supervisors;
  • managing change and conflict;
  • leading a group; and
  • valuing and managing a diverse workforce

The course also explores the more intangible gender issues that may confront leaders in higher-level management positions and examines the increasingly strategic need to identify and negotiate both formal and informal sources of support for implementing decisions within the organization.

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Quantitative Analysis

MBAO 415 | 3 credits | Term 2

This course is designed to provide students with a foundation in quantitative analysis techniques widely used in organizations in both for-profit and nonprofit settings. Topics include an introduction to statistics, managing data, analyzing data using descriptive statistics, chi-square test, correlation, t‐test, analysis of variance, and linear regression. The focus is on creating, interpreting, and reporting results. The course is taught from an applied perspective and includes a software-use component to provide hands-on experience with conducting statistical analysis using spreadsheets and statistical software. Students will be able to apply the skills and theories discussed in a variety of disciplines.

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Strategic Thinking & Analytical Decision Making

MBAO 427 | 3 credits | Term 2

This course equips students with the tools, techniques, and frameworks to think creatively, critically, analytically, and strategically to make managerial decisions that lead their firms toward value creation under conditions of competition and complexity. These skills help students recognize and categorize decision problems, represent the essential structure of the decision situation, discover multiple solutions creatively, and analyze solutions using tools based on decision theory. Managing uncertainty, turbulence, complexity, intense competition, and opportunities for innovation are all hallmarks of analytical decision making. Students learn about the important aspects of being a strategic manager, including moving with a goal or goals in mind, integrating information across functional areas and organizations, collecting and using data, and being cognizant and engaged with the past and the future, the big picture and the operational.

Prerequisite: MBAO 420

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Economic Analysis for Managers

MBAO 411 | 3 credits | Term 3

This course covers the major topics of microeconomic theory and how they apply to managerial decision making and problem solving. Students learn to practice economic thinking, explore how the market economy works, develop an understanding of economics in context with the business environment, and identify situations when markets can fail. Students will also practice using an economic framework and the behaviors created by economic forces to analyze markets, business strategy, poor business performance, and other management issues. This course gives students conceptual and analytical tools that support other higher-level courses.

Prerequisite: MBAO 415

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Managerial Accounting

MBAO 421 | 3 credits | Term 3

This is an introductory course in cost management and control. Managerial accounting is concerned with helping managers generate, interpret, and utilize financial and other information to make business decisions. These decisions include planning and control, budgeting, resource allocation, cost measurement, pricing, and performance evaluation. While financial accounting is externally oriented and governed by fundamental concepts of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), managerial accounting is internally oriented and very context driven.

Prerequisite: MBAO 420

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Marketing Management

MBAO 425 | 3 credits | Term 4

Marketing is essential to organizations of all kinds. Whether they are B2B, B2C, for-profit, or nonprofit — and whether they sell tangible products, services, experiences, people, or ideas — organizations lean on strong marketing to achieve their missions. When done well, marketing simultaneously delivers value to firms, their consumers, and society at large. Marketing is focused on understanding an organizations’ customers and their needs, creating products or services that meet those needs, and delivering them to customers in a way that engages them and keeps them coming back for more.

Prerequisite: MBAO 411, MBAO 415, MBAO 420

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Technology & Operations Management

MBAO 430 | 3 credits | Term 4

Operations Management is a multi-dimensional area that draws on the skills and knowledge of a variety of management disciplines, including accounting, finance, organizational behavior, and marketing to answer the question “how” for a firm. How will the product be manufactured or delivered? Where? By whom? What level of service is offered? How is performance measured? Operations management is both an art and a science, marrying quantitative and analytical skills with cognitive problem solving and human relations capabilities. It encompasses the process whereby goods and services are created and delivered, associated systems and tools, and the people who carry out the process. At the most basic level, the operations function is turning inputs (resources in the form of materials, people, or even knowledge) into outputs (a finished good or delivered service). Since operational functions use the bulk of a firm's resources, efficiency is a key concern for operations managers, as well as measurement, control, and quality. This course draws upon previous coursework in a variety of disciplines and applies those skills and theories to operations management decisions.

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Finance

MBAO 435 | 3 credits | Term 5

Finance provides students with a set of analytical tools to help them make financial decisions and better understand an organizations interactions with financial markets. Topics include return and risk relationships in the capital markets, time value of money and capital budgeting techniques, capital structure and cost of capital, leasing, mergers and acquisitions, duration, asset allocation, and options and futures pricing. This course provides a rigorous treatment of key financial concepts and analytical approaches, and builds an appreciation of financial theory and models in business.

Prerequisite: MBAO 411, MBAO 415, MBAO 420

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Negotiation and Conflict Management

MBAO 470 | 3 credits | Term 5

Understanding negotiation theory and the practice of negotiation and conflict management is critical for today’s leaders. Regardless of one’s level within an organization, all employees are frequently operating in a situation where their responsibility exceeds their authority. Employees need to negotiate with a range of internal and external stakeholders in order to get their job done. Negotiation is key to building alliances among different stakeholders and constituencies to realize any agenda for change. This course provides skills to recognize the multiple opportunities there are to negotiate at work and to see the connections between taking advantage of these opportunities and career success. Students enhance their skills at creating value in negotiations and garnering their share of that value through theoretical and experiential learning.

The course is designed to address the impact of gender, power, and culture on negotiations and to help students practice skills they need to take more control in negotiations, have constructive conversations, structure the process in ways that suit the task and their preferred style, and enlist others to work with them. The course teaches students to understand the differences between online and face-to-face negotiations and learn when and where each is most appropriate.

Prerequisite: MBAO 455

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Business, Government, and the Global Economy

MBAO 412 | 3 credits | Term 6

This course explores macroeconomics, money and banking, and international trade and finance in applied settings, including businesses and countries. The course begins by reviewing monetary and fiscal policy and their impact on economic performance and continues with coverage of basic international economic concepts. The concepts discussed include:

  • GDP components, their real world referents, and their relationship to key macroeconomic variables;
  • the theory of comparative advantage from trade;
  • balance of payments categories, their referents, and their relationship to key macroeconomic variables; and
  • exchange rates and their determinants in international trade and finance

The second part of the course examines how business leaders use basic international economic concepts and familiarity with foreign countries and regions to help their decision making. In the final section of the course, students consolidate their grasp of international and macroeconomic analysis by developing a regional growth forecast and examining its impact on a particular corporation.

Prerequisite: MBAO 411 

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Leading Organizational Change

MBAO 465 | 3 credits | Term 7

Organizational change may be required for a number of reasons including innovation in technology, work processes, or organizational structures; internal politics; changes in the markets for products and services an organization provides; the changing workforce; the changing regulatory environment in which the organization operates; or the changing expectations of various stakeholders. While the necessity for change may seem obvious, the vast majority of organizational change efforts fail, and this course teaches students how to implement change successfully.

Prerequisite: MBAO 455

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Strategic Management Capstone

MBAO 440 | 3 credits | Term 8

Strategic management is a dynamic and growing field demanding rigor, flexibility and creativity of its members. This course is designed to provide a training ground to learn and practice strategic decision making and managerial implementation. They operate in all organizations, including for-profit, nonprofit, government, cooperative, B-Corp, and other types of organizations.

This course is designed to accompany, educate, and support students to encounter and practice strategic thinking and collaboration using an experiential approach. Students will use and hone critical thinking skills to include synthesis and analysis and consider uncertainty, turbulence, complexity, intense competition, and opportunities for innovation. Data will be collected and used to apply all the knowledge acquired throughout the MBA course of study.

Prerequisites: MBAO 421, MBAO 425, MBAO 430, MBAO 455, MBAO 465
Corequisites: MBAO 412, MBAO 470

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Financial Strategies

MBAO 442 | 3 credits | Term 8

This capstone course prepares students for any professional career by focusing on issues relevant to all organizations: principled leadership, governance, past financial performance, and future expected financial goals. Students practice leadership and financial analysis and share their recommendations through written analysis, dialogues, and presentations. Critical thinking skills are used for the choice and justification of the assumptions underlying all forecasts; most forecasting is completed with prepared spreadsheet models that students will be allowed to augment and improve.

Prerequisites: MBAO 421, MBAO 425, MBAO 430, MBAO 455, MBAO 465
Corequisites: MBAO 412, MBAO 470

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