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Certificates, Concurrent Degrees, and Specializations

While Foster MBA students do not choose a formal concentration, the program does offer several optional certificates, programs, specializations, and concurrent degrees you can pursue as electives. Explore interests within the Michael G. Foster School of Business or forge unique career paths at other schools in the University of Washington. Whether this means pursuing a concurrent degree in law and business, collaborating with researchers on a new technology, or taking your career to an international level, you can customize your MBA in many ways. Click on the headlines below to learn more.

Develop your own course

Working with a faculty member or a company, you can develop an independent study course to explore a specific area and earn credit toward your degree. Many students complete finance, strategy or marketing projects for local and international firms. Learn more about developing your own non-MBA course.

Focus your degree with courses outside the School of Business

Pursue an individual career path by taking up to four 4-credit courses (16 credits) relevant to your MBA goals at other schools and colleges within the University of Washington. For example, students have augmented their MBA studies with courses in international studies, public affairs, real estate and public health to name a few.

Enhance your MBA studies with a specialized certificate. Certificate programs provide an opportunity to focus your learning goals beyond the classroom. Contact the respective certificate program office for more information on the application process and certificate requirements.

Michael G. Foster School of Business Certificates

Integrated into the Foster School curriculum, these certificates allow students to deepen their knowledge in specific areas:

University of Washington Certificates

The following programs are not part of the Foster School curriculum. Contact the respective certificate program office for more information on the application process and certificate requirements.

If your long-term interests span several academic disciplines, a multiple degree or concurrent degree program may be the right choice for you. To be eligible, students must apply to and be accepted by both programs. Although estimated time frames for degree completion are provided below, the UW MBA Program Office suggests that students will have a more enjoyable experience if they extend their studies beyond these minimums.

MBA/JD Program Four-year program
MBA/MHA Program Three-year program
MBA/MPAcc Program – Auditing and Assurance Three-year program
MBA/MPAcc Program- Taxation Three-year program
MBA/MAIS (International Studies) Three-year program
MBA/MAIS (Japan Studies) Three-year program
MBA/MAIS (Korean Studies) Three-year program

Specialize your degree with UW courses You can pursue an individual career path by taking courses at other schools and colleges at the University of Washington or by arranging a custom concurrent degree. To be eligible, students must apply to and be accepted by both degree programs.

Other UW Schools and Colleges

ESG Leadership Specialization

“Being true to our purpose to Better Humanity Through Business, the Foster School is 100% committed to developing the next generation of leaders who are adept at considering all aspects of ESG in the decision-making process. The health of our planet depends on it.” – Frank Hodge, Dean, Foster School of Business

As part of an active conversation about the myriad problems generated by a narrowly conceived prioritization of short term maximization of shareholder value, in 2019, 181 Fortune 500 CEOs signed on to the Business Roundtable Statement of Purpose that broadens the set of stakeholders served by for-profit organizations beyond shareholders to customers, partners, employees, and communities impacted by their operations. To ensure that leaders manage to this purpose, metrics have been elaborated, using a framework of ESG – Environmental, Social, and Governance related outcomes – relevant to the focus of the firm.

The Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Leadership Specialization is a 12-credit hour specialization for students enrolled in Foster’s Full-Time and Evening MBA Programs. The purpose of the specialization is to 1) help the Foster School live its purpose statement by encouraging students to consider issues critical to the business world through their coursework, and 2) allow students to signal to potential employers their acumen and commitment to ESG principles.

To earn this specialization, current students must complete the required core course Ethical Leadership plus 12 credits of electives or experiences earned across a set of courses approved by faculty as addressing “environmental” or “social” content domains. While courses are offered on a rotating basis, see below for a sample of approved courses

  • Climate Change and Capital Markets (FIN 579)
  • Sustainable Design of Global Supply Chains (OPMGMT 540)
  • Nonprofit Board Fellows Leadership Seminar (MGMT 555)
  • Creative Destruction Lab (ENTRE 579)
  • Study Tour to Costa Rica (IBUS 570)
  • Race, Culture, and Business Immersion program (ACCTG 579)
  • Developing Strategies for Social Impact (MGMT 579)
  • The Power of Access: Impact Lending to Underserved Communities (FIN 579)
  • Cases in Sustainability (IBUS 545)
  • Global Business Forum: Global Food Systems (IBUS 579)
  • Virtual Global Consulting project with Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (IBUS 579)
  • Corporate DEI (MGMT 579)
  • Intro to ESG Issues in Business (MGMT 579)

With the input of our current students and alumni, the Foster faculty have designed the specialization to develop ESG leadership skills critical to the success of today’s business leaders. While students currently have some exposure to ESG in core and elective courses, this specialization will allow them to further their focus in this area.

Marketing Analytics Specialization
The field of marketing analytics is witnessing worldwide growth. Demand for knowledgable managers with ability to use big data analysis to make effective decisions is growing rapidly. McKinsey & Company forecast a shortage of 1.5 million such managers in the United States alone and PwC suggests that firms will therefore need to compete fiercely for individuals with strong analytics skills and business knowledge. Foster’s Seattle Connection makes Foster particularly well suited to address these needs as the Seattle metro area is home to several major companies that use the most innovative practices in business analytics such as Amazon, Microsoft, Expedia, and Starbucks.

To prepare students for these opportunities, the Marketing Analytics Specialization trains students how to use cutting edge analytics to better direct a wide variety of marketing decisions. The specialization in Marketing Analytics consists of four courses: Customer Analytics (MKTG 562), Analytics for Marketing Decisions (MKTG 564), Digital Marketing Analytics (MKTG 566) and Strategic Pricing (MKTG 515). To complete the specialization, students are encouraged to complete at least three of the four courses:

  • Customer Analytics (MKTG 562) introduces statistical modeling and coding techniques that help individuals manage the customer relationship from acquisition to development to retention. Special attention is directed to models that help firms appropriately value customers and target them with the right offer at the right time.
  • Analytics for Marketing Decisions (MKTG 564) identifies analytic models that can be applied to real, large-scale databases to improve and automate firm-level marketing decisions. In particular, analytics are used to improve decisions around product design, pricing, promotion/advertising, and digital and mobile channel management.
  • Digital Marketing Analytics (MKTG 566) covers search and display advertising, email marketing, attribution models, social media strategies, and two-sided platforms. The course takes a quantitative and data-driven approach for analyzing and improving digital marketing strategies.
  • Strategic Pricing (MKTG 515) blends marketing strategy, micro-economic theory, and data analytics to formulate actionable pricing strategies. The course combines cases and data analytics assignments to teach students how to design and execute pricing decisions and co-ordinate these decisions with other marketing decisions.

Note that while these non-certificate courses are designed to be taken in sequence, they can also be taken as standalone courses (i.e., they are not required as prerequisites for each other).

A common theme throughout the specialization is the use of real data and the implementation of models using the free programming language R. R is quickly becoming the standard in this space and provides an adept user with a very large set of existing code and packages to be used in the quest to extract insights from marketing data. A key benefit of learning to use R is that students can take the models they learned in the specialization to their careers without the need to buy costly software.

Visit the Marketing and International Business department page to learn more about the Marketing Analytics Specialization.

Product Marketing Specialization
Every day, product marketing managers bring new ideas across industries to consumer markets, driving economies and delivering innovation to the masses. Our product marketing specialization focuses on bridging the gap between internal product management and external customer experience. Effective product marketing managers guide the delivery of the product to market and use the full strategic and tactical marketing mix to encourage consumer adoption and retention.

To best prepare individuals for roles as product marketing managers, Foster’s Product Marketing Specialization features four related courses: Consumer Marketing and Brand Strategy (MKTG 552), Strategic Product Management (MKTG 554), Advertising and Promotions (MKTG 556) and Consumer Insights (MKTG 560). To complete the specialization, students are encouraged to complete at least three of the following four courses:

  • Consumer Marketing and Brand Strategy (MKTG 552) focuses on the customer experience and how to design a brand that will resonate with the customer and drive adoption and loyalty.
  • Strategic Product Management (MKTG 554) establishes the relationship between product management and product marketing. This course bridges the gap between product design and product delivery with particular attention to the pricing and channel decisions facing a product marketing managers.
  • Advertising and Promotions (MKTG 556) delves into the final element of the marketing mix (promotion) that product marketers must manage to effectively communicate the value of the product to consumers and manage the consumer life cycle.
  • Consumer Insights (MKTG 560) is focused on the methodologies that can be used to reveal customer needs, drives and preferences. This will include attention to both exploratory and experimental research techniques.

Together, these courses will help future product marketing managers bring the customer’s voice into the company to guide product and brand strategy and to effectively deliver on that strategy. Note that while these non-certificate courses are designed to be taken in sequence, they can also be taken as standalone courses (i.e., they are not required as prerequisites for each other).

Visit the Marketing and International Business department page to learn more about the Product Marketing Specialization.