11 Common MBA Courses (And How They Can Help You Achieve Your Goals)

11 Common MBA Courses (And How They Can Help You Achieve Your Goals)

Students studying MBA

If you’re a professional looking to advance your career in the business world, then you have likely contemplated obtaining an MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree – and rightfully so. After all, research indicates that Canadian MBA graduates earn significantly more money (sometimes up to 75% more) and have better job prospects than their counterparts without MBA degrees.

However, while it’s common knowledge that graduating from an MBA program can help professionals to climb the corporate ladder, many professionals lack a clear sense of what MBA coursework really entails. This is a significant problem because it’s nearly impossible to evaluate whether pursuing an MBA is for you – and which programs are worth your time and money – without knowing what kinds of courses you can expect to take as an MBA candidate. Further, many professionals believe they do not have the time to earn an MBA because they are not aware of the online options for MBA courses that have become well established in recent years.

Luckily, it isn’t too difficult to bridge this information gap. We’ve researched 11 of the core courses that nearly all MBA programs, whether traditional or online, offer. These courses are the basis for everything MBA candidates learn in their degree programs. They just may serve as the foundation for your next major career upgrade – and all of them have something to offer you. To learn more about MBA program courses, just read on! 

1. Accounting

Accounting has long been plagued by public misperception. Some believe that it is a dull discipline. Fortunately, this idea is a total misconception.  In reality, accounting is a crucial – and often fascinating! – an aspect of the business world.

Accounting has been called the “language of business.” Fittingly, there are many types of accounting, including financial accounting, management accounting, auditing, cost accounting, tax accounting, governmental accounting, forensic accounting, fiduciary accounting, AIS (accounting information systems), project accounting, and social responsibility accounting. A general MBA-level accounting course may cover the principles of many, if not all, of these branches of accounting; it may also focus on financial accounting (also called financial reporting) and management accounting (also called managerial accounting) in particular.

An Accounting course can provide you with valuable insight into how to manage and control costs associated with a business and allow you to better understand the monetary needs of your company and industry. Further, profit is the driving force that moves businesses forward each day; without accounting, it would be impossible for a business to have accurate information about its earnings and expenditures – and, thus, what all of the business’s other departments should be doing in order to increase profits.

2. Applied Statistics

Applied Statistics is another course that many MBA students can expect to take. You may have taken a statistics course in secondary school, but this isn’t your younger brother’s statistics class. An Applied Statistics MBA course will give you a basis in the discipline of statistics, including statistical theory, methods, and computation, but it will also go further and give you important tools to help you succeed in business.

Having a good understanding of statistics is only becoming more important as the business world grows, globalizes, and automates.  Business professionals have access to so much valuable data today, but businesses still need intelligent, qualified people to make use of it. Taking an Applied Statistics course will help you to hone your critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills, to understand and adeptly analyze data, and to understand the vast, exciting world of data science.

In an MBA program, Applied Statistics courses may explore topics like consumer behavior, decision-making in business, supply chain management, and business analytics, among others.

3. Business Communication

If you want to advance your career, learning how to write and speak well is absolutely crucial. Every professional has seen it many times: the person who has the best ideas or works the hardest may be passed over for a sale, job, promotion, or honor in favor of the person who is most persuasive and articulate. Fortunately, you too can become the most compelling speaker and writer in the room.

Business Communication is all about learning the best practices for writing and speaking in a business context, so while your high school debate skills may come in handy, you will be focused specifically on professional skills. This course will help you with everything from marketing and brand management to customer relations and community engagement to employee morale and interpersonal communication in a business setting. Just about everything you do as a professional can be improved by gaining oral and written communication skills.

A Business Communication course may cover any or all of the following topics (among others): preparing for job interviews; developing and writing business proposals; creating brand-building content; designing memos and other documents that are effective and easy to read; establishing a strong personal narrative to help you in your professional life; ensuring the clarity of your written work; communicating with colleagues and employees in a productive manner; promoting effective team communication; giving the best possible presentations; writing materials (such as handouts and slides) to be used in business presentations; and developing valuable oratory skills and confidence in public speaking.

4. Business Ethics

Business Ethics is a very important aspect of the business world. The discipline first began attracting significant attention in the 1980s and 1990s, and it’s only getting more mainstream and prominent with time. Any professional would be served well by learning more about business ethics, so they can make the best possible choices for themselves, their business and their employees going forward.

The business world revolves around money, but it is also an evolving ecosystem involving many people, from managers to employees to wholesale manufacturers to customers and beyond. In today’s global, interconnected world, unethical business practices can have ramifications for millions of people all over the world and for many years to come. It may also have more direct, but still very significant, repercussions, including bad press or a toxic work environment. 

An MBA course on business ethics will likely focus largely on real-world applications of business ethics principles. As such, a Business Ethics course will give you a framework for handling the types of issues and dilemmas that arise in your professional life now – or may arise in your future as a higher-level executive or supervisor. A Business Ethics MBA course will help you to identify all the parties involved in a business decision and what their interests may be.

An MBA course on this subject will also allow you to explore the application of different ethical schools of thought to professional problems. These schools of thought may include egoism, utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and care ethics. To succeed in a Business Ethics MBA course, you will need to understand the basic principles associated with each theory and how each theory may apply to the difficult decisions of the business world and the workplace. This course will require a lot of consideration and reflection, and you will come out of it a more thoughtful and prepared professional.

5. Business Law

You may not be seeking a law degree, but as a high-level business professional, you will certainly need to know something about the law. Just as it is crucial to know how to comport yourself and your business ethically, it is also key to keep your business and your professional behavior in good standing from a legal standpoint. And just as with business ethics, business law can be more complicated than it may seem.

While following the law is not as subjective in nature as evaluating the ethical implications of a business decision, business law is not always straightforward. The laws and regulations governing business establishment, dealings, and transactions are often changing, and are sometimes subject to interpretation. Having an understanding of business law will help you to protect yourself, your employees, your colleagues, and your business.

An MBA course of this nature will give you a strong foundation in the basics of legal principles pertaining to business. You can expect to gain general knowledge of the Canadian legal system and of the common legal issues that a business manager or executive might encounter. You may also begin to learn about laws norms governing international trade and commerce.

6. Finance

Virtually all MBA candidates will take at least one course related to Finance. That is because the discipline is central to the work of most executives and other high-level business professionals. You may even view Finance as the partner of Accounting, as much of the course material is related and complementary.

A basic MBA Finance course will give you the tools you need to understand and analyze corporate financial reports and other accounting reports; never again will you be intimidated by your company’s financial reports! You will learn about how companies turn a profit, including all about investments and properly leveraging capital to create value. You will also learn about risk and return, capital structure, capital budgeting, discounted cash flow valuation, and other common financial analysis techniques.

In summary, an MBA Finance course will assist you in better understanding how your company runs and how it can run better. It will endow you with skills and knowledge that you will take with you throughout your career.

7. Managerial Economics

As an MBA candidate, you will want to learn all you can about managerial economics. Managerial economics is, essentially, the study of how managers allocate limited resources to most efficiently achieve institutional and managerial goals. In an MBA-level Managerial Economics course, you will discover the importance of economic principles to effective managers’ decision-making and problem-solving.

Specifically, in an MBA Managerial Economics class, you will learn about how to increase efficiency and profit by making the best possible use of your employees, budget, and all the tools at your disposal. You can expect to learn about regression analysis, short-run and long-run costs, economies of scale, the idea of perfect competition, and many other economic concepts as they relate to managerial responsibilities.

Whether you are a current manager or a future manager, this course will help you to gain insight into not only practical applications of economic theory, but also best practices for professionals in decision-making roles.

8. Management

Similarly, whether you already manage a large team of employees or are just getting started in the business world, taking a Management course will give you invaluable tools that will serve you throughout your career. Many MBA programs offer a variety of Management courses, so some MBA candidates have the opportunity to choose the course that best suits their goals or to take multiple courses on this subject.

Some of the most commonly offered Management courses include Management and Leadership Skills, Strategic Management, and Global Management. Some of these courses may also be paired with Operations courses, such as Supply Chain Management. 

9. Entrepreneurship

As a business-minded professional seeking to better yourself and your career, you likely have some entrepreneurial spirit in you. An Entrepreneurship course will help to cultivate that spirit – and use it to start or maintain your very own business venture.

An MBA-level Entrepreneurship course will likely include lessons about the risks and rewards of seeking venture capital, other potential sources of investment capital, risk and ambiguity evaluation, and innovation in business, among other aspects of the entrepreneurial experience.

Even if you are not interested in being your own boss or establishing a new venture at this time, an MBA Entrepreneurship course has a lot to offer you. Entrepreneurship is all about creating professional connections, thinking outside the box, identifying risks, and anticipating customers’ needs in order to maximize profit – couldn't your career use some of that?

10. Marketing

A Marketing course is a must for most MBA candidates – and a course on the subject will likely have something to interest each of them. That is because, today more than ever, there are innumerable ways to market your business, your goods and/or services, and even yourself.

This may sound a bit overwhelming, but you shouldn’t be nervous. An MBA Marketing course will give you all the background knowledge and skills you will need to dive right into marketing and make a splash. For instance, you can expect to learn all about the four Ps: product strategy, pricing, promotion, and placement. You will gain insight into the different strategies behind business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing and different marketing strategies employed in different industries. You will also learn some principles of consumer psychology, price-setting methods, brand management, and more.

Having a basic understanding of marketing principles will make you a more effective business leader, even if you do not plan on working on brand management or advertising directly. It will help you to improve your planning and implementation skills, network effectively with other business professionals, build relationships with your clients and customers (as well as your potential clients and customers), and understand what your buyers want.

11. Operations

Last but not least, there is a good chance that you will take an Operations course as an MBA candidate. If you work (or aspire to work) in an industry involving product creation, manufacturing, and/or distribution, then this course will be absolutely essential to your development as a knowledgeable, effective supervisor.

In an MBA Operations course, you will learn about some of the decisions faced by operations managers, as well as different ways to approach operations processes. You will become well versed in techniques for handling inventory management, distribution, quality control management, and even product design issues. You will also gain exposure to some of the automation solutions and programs commonly used by operations managers. Taking an Operations course will assist you in developing strong problem-solving and creative thinking skills, as well as management skills. 

In conclusion

These 11 courses are among the most essential classes you can expect to take as an MBA candidate. Each of these courses has something to offer you and your career. Which courses spark your interest? Which courses would empower you to excel in your industry? Which courses will best serve to help you achieve your long-term goals? These questions are all worth considering, and the answers should be kept in mind as you take the next steps toward obtaining your MBA.

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