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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.

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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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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. Learn more about the UW 2018-2019 Academic Calendar.

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:

  • 5 core courses
  • 1 leadership development course
  • 11 elective courses
  • 2 international perspective activities*
  • 3 practical experience activities*

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

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

During the first year of your MBA program you will take three intensive core courses (BA 500, 501 and 502), each of which contains several modules of varying lengths in the core topics listed below. In addition, you will take up to eight credits of electives during your spring quarter.

MBA Year One Core
Course Title Details
Autumn Quarter (BA 500) – 16 credits
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 (BA 501) – 14 Credits
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 (BA 502) – 8 Credits
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

The second year of your MBA program is mostly designed by you. There are two required core classes (BECON 501 and MGMT 504), and you choose the rest of your coursework in the form of electives that meet your personal interests, career goals and development needs. Students must complete a total of 11 4-credit elective courses during the program, which can be taken at any point during the first or second year. A normal load in the second year is three elective classes per quarter.

MBA Year Two Core
Title Topics
Autumn Quarter
Ethical Leadership & Decision Making MGMT 504 (4 credits) Ethical aspects of conducting business
Ethical decision-making
Stakeholder management
Corporate social responsibility
Sustainability and corporate governance
Winter Quarter
Analysis of Global Economic Conditions BECON 501 (4 credits) Interaction of goods, labor and asset markets
International trade
Growth of output, inflation, unemployment
Interest and exchange rates
Monetary and fiscal policies

Listed below are the electives offered by the Full-time MBA program. Check the UW Course Catalog for complete course descriptions.

ACCTG 505 Intensive Analysis of Accounting Principles and Practices (18)
ACCTG 506 Intensive Analysis of Accounting Principles and Practices 1 (6)
ACCTG 507 Intensive Analysis of Accounting Principles and Practices 2 (6)
ACCTG 508 Intensive Analysis of Accounting Principles and Practices 3 (6)
ACCTG 510 Introduction to Financial Statement Analysis (4)
ACCTG 579 Strategy and Operations Through a CFO Lens (2)
ACCTG 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

Business Administration
BA 545 Global Business Forum (1)

Business Communications
BCMU 509 Finding Your Voice (2)
BCMU 579 Women at the Top (2)
BCMU 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

Business Economics
BECON 520 Financial Markets (4)
BECON 526 Competing in the Global Economy (4)
BECON 527 International Finance (4)
BECON 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

ENTRE 509 Foundations of Entrepreneurship (2)
ENTRE 510 Entrepreneurial Strategy (4)
ENTRE 530 Entrepreneurial Decision Making (4)
ENTRE 532 Software Entrepreneurship (4)
ENTRE 540 Business Plan Practicum (2)
ENTRE 541 Technology Commercialization (4)
ENTRE 542 Venture Capital Investment (2)
ENTRE 543 Environmental Innovation Practicum (2)
ENTRE 555/MKTG 555 Entrepreneurial Marketing (4)
ENTRE 557/FIN 557 Entrepreneurial Finance (4)
ENTRE 579 Angel Investing (2)
ENTRE 579 Biomedical Entrepreneurship (4)
ENTRE 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

FIN 528 International Financial Management (4)
FIN 552 Problems in Corporate Planning and Financing (4)
FIN 553 Problems in Capital Investment Planning (4)
FIN 555 Financing Decisions, Payout Policy and Corporate Control (4)
FIN 557/ENTRE 557 Entrepreneurial Finance (4)
FIN 558 Acquisitions and Alliances (4)
FIN 560 Investments (4)
FIN 561 Financial Futures and Options Markets (4)
FIN 562 Management of Financial Risk (4)
FIN 579 Asian Capital Markets (2)
FIN 566/579 Alternative Investments: Hedge Funds and Private Equity (4)
FIN 579 Introduction to Real Estate Finance & Investment (4)
FIN 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

Information Systems
IS 579 Web 2.0 & The New Economy (4)
IS 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

International Business
IBUS 545 Cases in Sustainability (4)
IBUS 570 International Study Tour (2)
IBUS 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

MGMT 509 Managing in a Global Environment (2)
MGMT 511 Leadership and Coaching Practicum (2)
MGMT 545 Leading and Managing High-Performance Organizations (4)
MGMT 547 Successful Negotiations (2)
MGMT 548 Deal-Making in High Velocity Ventures (2)
MGMT 579 CEO and Board Governance (4)
MGMT 579 Intersections of Law and Business (4)
MGMT 579 Designing for Demand (4)
MGMT 579 Inclusive Business Models that Address Global Poverty (2)
MGMT 579 Transforming Leadership & Strategic Thinking (4)
MGMT 579 Management Consulting: Innovation and Knowledge Management (4)
MGMT 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

MKTG 505 Advanced Marketing Strategy (4)
MKTG 510 New Product Development (4)
MKTG 511 Business-to-Business Marketing (4)
MKTG 512 Consumer Marketing and Brand Management (4)
MKTG 515 Pricing Strategies & Tactics (4)
MKTG 540 Advertising and Promotion Management (4)
MKTG 550 Managing Customer Relationships through Direct Marketing (4)
MKTG 555/ENTRE 555 Entrepreneurial Marketing (4)
MKTG 560 Research for Marketing Decisions (4)
MKTG 565 Data-driven Marketing (4)
MKTG 575 Marketing High-Technology Products & Services (4)
MKTG 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

Operations Management
OPMGT 550 Project Management (4)
OPMGT 579 Supply Chain Management (4)
OPMGT 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

Quantitative Methods
QMETH 551 Modeling with Spreadsheets (4)
QMETH 600 Independent Study or Research (1-8)

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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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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

Core and elective course study teams are the heart of the UW MBA experience. Each quarter, you’ll collaborate with a small group of students from diverse regions, professional backgrounds, and cultures. 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. 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.

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.