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Curriculum

Overview

Strategic thinking, leadership, and global business are fundamental to the Foster MBA core. Relative to other programs, the Foster MBA Program spends more time on strategy and global business in the core—both directly, in components on competitive strategy, global strategic management, and macroeconomics; and indirectly, in the choice of cases and projects.

The MBA curriculum helps students develop knowledge and skills through working with award-winning faculty, industry leaders brought into the classroom, and learning from one another in team-driven assignments. Students acquire new expertise in intimate classroom settings, and practice their talents through a wide range of experiential learning opportunities in Seattle and around the world.

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Courses Leadership development Teamwork

Preparing for year one

Starting in July, Foster MBA Career Management provides valuable career workshops and webinars. With guidance from an academic coach, students create a personal plan for achieving their goals through courses, experiential learning, and career development opportunities. In early September, the program begins with an academic and career orientation. Students then prepare for a rigorous curriculum through intensive Jump Start courses in statistics, finance, accounting and mathematics, and end the month with a three-day leadership development course.

Year one curriculum

The first year of the MBA program offers an integrated core of fundamental business concepts, skills, and tools. A team of top-notch faculty work closely together to develop and deliver modules of varying length for a solid foundation in the individual subjects—accounting, finance, marketing, operations management, and strategy—and an understanding of how they interrelate.

Year two curriculum

During the second year, students can customize the program to focus on their personal career objectives, without being bound to a single career track. Electives allow students to develop greater expertise in the areas directly related to their post-MBA degree career, while increasing their capacity to take on cross-functional assignments. In addition to elective coursework, students complete final core classes in ethics and macroeconomics.

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Courses

The University of Washington operates on the quarter system, providing students with a greater degree of academic customization by taking a variety of elective courses.

Click on the headers below to learn more about program requirements, year one curriculum, year two curriculum, and electives.

Over 20 months, Full-time MBA students take integrated core coursework during their first year and choose from a wide variety of electives in the second year. The program requirements are:

  • 46 credits of core courses
  • 44 credits of elective courses
  • 7 additional required degree activities:
    • Foster Professional Development sequence
    • Summer internship/project (or equivalent)
    • MBA core case competition
    • 2 international perspective activities*
    • 2 practical experience activities*

*Experiential Learning and international activities may include courses and projects with actual businesses.

MBA Year One Core
AUTUMN QUARTER
Course Title Topics Covered
Financial Reporting and Analysis Financial statement
Accounting concepts and methods
Institutional and regulatory influences
Measurement and reporting issues
Managerial Finance Investments, diversification, portfolio theory
Capital budgeting
Capital structure
Leadership Development Leadership skill development
Fostering individual and group effectiveness
Integrative leadership modeling
Building Effective Teams Insuring adherence to work rules
Establishing shared commitment to a compelling purpose
Building interpersonal trust
Marketing Strategy Market definition
Customer analysis
Competitive analysis
Marketing planning
Micro-Economics of Competition and Strategy Analyzing competitive dynamics
Economics of competition
Strategy analysis for various competitive circumstances
WINTER QUARTER
Course Title Topics Covered
Applied Strategy: Business Consulting Project Defining project scope
Customer relations
Project management
Presentation skills
Statistics for Business Decisions Statistical summaries of data
Forecasting models
Assessment of uncertainty
Inference and predictions
Methods of quality improvement
Leading Teams and Organizations Effective groups
Organization theory
Leadership in organizations
Human resource management
Delegation and empowerment
Implementing change
Competitive & Corporate Strategy Analyzing value creation
Strategic thinking and planning
Strategy implementation
Structure analysis of industries
SPRING QUARTER
Course Title Topics Covered
Information for Decision Making and Performance Evaluation Relevant costs for decision-making
Management accounting systems
Budgeting and performance evaluation
Operations and Supply Chain Management Productivity and competitiveness,
Capacity planning
Just-in-time production systems
Inventory management
Decision Support Models Quantitative modeling
Linear programming
Decision theory
Simulation

The second year of your MBA program is mostly designed by you, but there are two required core classes.

MBA Year Two Core
AUTUMN QUARTER
Course Title Topics Covered
Ethical Leadership & Decision Making Ethical aspects of conducting business
Ethical decision-making
Stakeholder management
Corporate social responsibility
Sustainability and corporate governance
WINTER QUARTER
Course Title Topics Covered
Analysis of Global Economic Conditions Interaction of goods, labor and asset markets
International trade
Growth of output, inflation, unemployment
Interest and exchange rates
Monetary and fiscal policies

Choose the electives that meet your personal interests, career goals and development needs. Students normally take three elective classes per quarter during their second year.

ACCOUNTING
Course Title Details
Introduction to Financial Statement Analysis 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or ACCTG 500
*Examining Corporate Fraud 2 credits
Prerequisite: BA 502 or ACCTG 500
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits
BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
Course Title Details
Cooperative Education in Business 1 credit
Open only to students who meet requirements of internship program.
Internship credit may not be applied to fulfill specific MBA degree requirements or to credits required for graduation.
Credit/No Credit grading only.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Course Title Details
Finding Your Voice 2 credits
Prerequisite: BA 501
*TED Talks 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Women at the Top 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits
BUSINESS ECONOMICS
Course Title Details
Competing in the Global Economy 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
International Finance 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Foster Research Partners 4 credits
Enrollment limited to Foster MBA students selected for the course (by application).
*Applied Global Macroeconomics 2 credits
Prerequisite: BECON 501
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits
ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Course Title Details
Foundations of Entrepreneurship 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Entrepreneurial Strategy 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MGMT 502
Innovation Strategy 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Entrepreneurial Decision Making 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Software Entrepreneurship 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Business Plan Practicum 2 credits
Maximum of 4 credits count toward MBA Electives.
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Credit/No Credit grading only.
Technology Commercialization 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Venture Capital Investment Competition 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Environmental Innovation Practicum 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Health Innovation Practicum 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Entrepreneurial Marketing 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Entrepreneurial Finance 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
*Angel Investing 4 credits (AUT), 2 credits (WIN & SPR)
Maximum of 8 credits count toward MBA Electives.
Enrollment limited to Foster MBA students selected for the course (by application).
*Biomedical Entrepreneurship 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Entrepreneurial Influence and the Pitch 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Grand Challenges for Entrepreneurs 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Influencer Marketing: Profiting from Social Media 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
*Entrepreneurial Law Clinic 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Maximum of 6 credits count toward MBA Electives.
*New Ventures Practicum 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Maximum of 6 credits count toward MBA Electives.
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits
FINANCE
Course Title Details
International Financial Management 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500, 501 or BECON 500, 501
Problems in Business Finance 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Problems in Corporate Planning & Financing 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Problems in Capital Investment Planning 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Financing Decisions, Payout Policy & Corporate Control 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Business Valuation and Investment Analysis
4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Entrepreneurial Finance 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Mergers and Acquisitions 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Investments 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Financial Futures & Options Markets 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Management of Financial Risk 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Alternative Investments: Hedge Funds & Private Equity 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
*Asian Capital Markets 2 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
*Behavioral Finance 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
*Data Analytics in Finance 4 credits
Prerequisite: None
*Financial Institutions: Fueling Growth, Managing Risk, and Avoiding the Next Financial Crisis 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
*Game Theory & Other Topics in Microeconomics 4 credits
Prerequisite: BECON 500
*International Business Compliance 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*International Finance 2 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
*Introduction to Real Estate Finance & Investment 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or FIN 502
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits
INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Course Title Details
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS
Course Title Details
Cases in Sustainability 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
International Study Tour 2 credits
Enrollment limited to students selected for the tour (by application).
*Applied Global Consulting in India 4 credits
Enrollment limited to students selected for the trip (by application).
*Global Business Forum 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Credit/No Credit grading only.
*Wicked Problems: Business in a World of 9B People 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Credit/No Credit grading only.
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits
MANAGEMENT
Course Title Details
Managing in a Global Environment 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Leadership & Coaching Practicum 2 credits
Enrollment limited to Full-time MBA students selected for Leadership Fellows Program.
Innovation Strategy 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Leading & Managing High-Performance Organizations 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Successful Negotiations 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Deal-Making in High Velocity Ventures 2 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MGMT 500
CEO & Board Governance 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Nonprofit Board Fellows Leadership Seminar 2 credits
Maximum of 4 credits count toward MBA Electives.
Enrollment limited to students selected for Board Fellows Program.
*Business Strategies in Emerging Markets 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Developing Strategies for Social Impact 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Globalization of Healthcare Services & the Biotech Industry 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Healthcare Technology 360 Due Diligence 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Innovation and Design Thinking 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Intersections of Law & Business 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Leading Across Cultures 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Managing a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Management Consulting: Structured Problem Solving and Critical Thinking 2 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Strategic Consulting Management 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
*Sustainable Product Design & Development 4 credits
Prerequisite: permission of MBA Program Office
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits
MARKETING
Course Title Details
Advanced Marketing Strategy 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Business-to-Business Marketing 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Pricing Strategies & Tactics 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Direct Marketing 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Consumer Marketing & Brand Management 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Strategic Product Management 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Entrepreneurial Marketing 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Advertising & Promotion Management 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Customer Insights 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Customer Analytics 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Analytics for Marketing Decisions 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Digital Marketing Analytics 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
International Marketing 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
*Consultative Selling 2 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
*Digital Strategies & Systems 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
*Go-to-Market Strategy 2 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
*Influencer Marketing: Profiting from Social Media 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
*Marketing of Innovations 2 credits
Prerequisite: BA 500 or MKTG 501
Analytics Consulting Lab 4 credits
Prerequisite: None
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits
OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT
Course Title Details
Project Management 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 502 or OPMGT 502
Supply Chain Management 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 502 or OPMGT 502
Business Analytics: Tools for Big Data 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 501 or QMETH 500
*International Supply Chain Management 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 502 or OPMGT 502
*Risk Management 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 502 or OPMGT 502
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits
QUANTITATIVE METHODS
Course Title Details
Modeling with Spreadsheets 4 credits
Prerequisite: BA 502 or QMETH 501
Independent Study 2 or 4 credits

*may differ from UW Course Offering Title

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Leadership development

Hard skills alone won’t make you effective in the complex sphere of modern business. Leadership, communication, presentation skills, networking, and teamwork will be critical to your career development. That’s why these skills are incorporated throughout the entire UW MBA Program.

During orientation and throughout the first year, you’ll be evaluated in a variety of professional skill areas. Communications faculty will assess your presentation and writing skills, and will work with you to develop a personal leadership skill development plan. Career coaches will give you feedback on mock interviews. You will receive ongoing training in leadership communication and conflict resolution. Your team will also receive guidance from a second-year MBA to help members reach optimal teamwork performance. As an individual and as a team member, you’ll have an opportunity to build your confidence through active participation in simulations and case competitions.
As a second-year MBA student, you will continue to hone your communication and leadership skills. Second-year students formally and informally mentor new students to enhance their team collaboration and continue to improve leadership communication skills—which are highly sought after by MBA recruiters.

If you need to fine-tune a given area in your second year, academic and career coaches work with you to tap the many resources of the Foster School of Business. Learn more about career coaches and MBA Career Management.

During the course of the program you’ll develop a professional skills portfolio. Your presentations, writing samples, work projects, and mock interview results will create a strong, cohesive record of your career potential. You will be prepared for confident interviews with tangible proof of your MBA performance.
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Teams

Immerse yourself in a collaborative learning environment

Collaboration is more than a buzzword in the Foster MBA Program. The ethic of interactive learning, teamwork, and peer support forms the foundation for every aspect of the Foster MBA experience. From the start of orientation, when you meet your first study team, to second-year team competitions, you will learn from your colleagues’ experiences, support one another’s job search, celebrate each other’s accomplishments, and develop professional relationships that last long after graduation.

Gain the skills to lead teams

Teamwork is an essential part of the workplace culture and many businesses make hiring and promotion decisions based on teamwork skills. In the Foster MBA Program, you’ll find out what it takes to become an adept team player by participating in and leading teams in an environment that mirrors the workplace. Learn to build teams that rise above personal differences and gain experience working with students in other functional disciplines to solve business problems. You’ll join forces with your MBA peers in:

  • Core and Elective Course Study Teams
  • Consulting Projects
  • Case and Dempsey Startup Competitions
  • Student Organizations and Clubs

Receive vital support from your study teams

Many MBA students say that one of the most rewarding aspects of the program is the camaraderie and professional relationships they develop with their MBA classmates. Team members tutor one another, collaborate on projects, refine each other’s work, and provide valuable contacts for career opportunities. During your first year in the program, you will also identify areas of growth and accomplishment through quarterly self and peer evaluations.

Core study teams are carefully selected to ensure a strong and diverse set of skills, experiences, and perspectives:

  • Required Leadership Development course — offers an opportunity to develop teamwork skills
  • Collaboration and Conflict Seminar — provides tools to promote success in teams and resolve issues that may arise
  • Leadership Fellows — second-year MBA students mentor first-year study teams to help them improve communication and working relationships
  • Case Competitions — develops team presentation, analysis and collaboration skills during required case competitions
You can take classes that focus on leadership and developing strong teamwork environments. Students also complete team projects in elective classes — in some cases, a significant portion of each student’s course grade hinges on the team project. Depending on the course, teams may be assigned by the course instructor or students may self-select their teams.