Students experience more than 20 different courses throughout their time in the IE Brown Executive MBA. The curriculum is highly dynamic, changing and improving with each cohort. Our MBA curriculum is triple certified by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS.  A sample of current courses follow.

Course Descriptions

Competitive & Corporate Strategy

This introductory course to the area of strategic management aims to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the internal and external factors that shape a firm’s ability to create value. Participants will be familiarized with tools to analyze industries, firm resources and competitive interactions, both on the individual business and the corporate level. Perhaps most importantly, the courses strive to instill a strategic mindset that will enable participants to go beyond a simple application of tools to derive a deep understanding of firm competitive behavior in order to enhance their own firm’s performance in any given situation. Corporate strategy extends the strategy logic to the corporate level. The main theories, models and tools within the field of strategy will be covered with a strong emphasis on their application to ambiguous real settings.

Cost Control

A cost accounting system collects and classifies costs and assigns them to cost objects. The goal of a cost accounting system is to measure the cost of designing, developing, producing (or purchasing), selling, distributing, and servicing particular products or services. Cost allocation is at the heart of most accounting systems. Cost behavior -how the activities of an organization affect its costs- is also fundamental to cost accounting systems. The data provided by a cost accounting system is used for various purposes, which include product costing, planning and control, and decision making. This course mainly focuses on the first of these objectives -products costing. Students, as future managers, will utilize, at a minimum, the output of cost systems, which are the primary internal information systems in a firm. Students taking this course will gain an understanding of cost accounting systems, which includes a familiarization with: the goals of cost accounting systems; the fundamental features and design of cost accounting systems; and the various uses of the data provided by cost accounting decisions.

Entrepreneurial Management for Executives

This course provides a forum for the in-depth examination of mindsets, methods, and managerial activities that follow the entrepreneurial process from opportunity recognition to growing ventures. In particular the course will examine the role innovation plays in the creation of new value, and how leadership of the entrepreneurial dimensions of an enterprise is paramount to sustainable growth and competitiveness.

While the most tangible outcome of this course is an opportunity report document, we will examine entrepreneurship from a managerial perspective, covering a wide area of issues that emerge with starting and growing new ventures independent of context. This course is envisioned to give participants a well-rounded learning experience – one which will enable them to develop skills and apply tools vital in today’s business world regardless of individual career choices. The theories, frameworks and concepts will be explored in class and readings will serve as a backbone to a range of hands-on experiences through individual reflection, group and case discussions, coaching sessions, team-work, and opportunity presentations. By placing the learning experience at the nexus of theory and practice the course is designed to lead participants through the intricacies of the entrepreneurial process, both through the experiences of others’ (case studies) as well as your own experience (workshops, coaching sessions, development and presentation of an opportunity report).

Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Developing Regions

This course utilizes team-based experiential learning methods for the further development of skills in business opportunity creation. It builds upon the courses on entrepreneurial management and ethnographic research methods to investigate a business opportunity that participant teams create within, or stemming from, a developing region. The course leverages field work in a specific complex developing regional economy that serves as a proxy for such developing regions more broadly. Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to develop business opportunities in complex, developing regions and have a greater appreciation of the potential and challenges these regions represent.

Ethnographic Research Methods

This course develops basic skills in learning to use ethnographic research methods, the hallmark of anthropology and a crucial methodology for analyzing why people behave the way they do. Concentration is on the two key elements of ethnographic methodology: participant observation and interview techniques. Students apply these techniques in assigned course project work.

Financial Accounting

Financial accounting is about communicating information to all the stakeholders of the company and to the general public. Annual reports are “messages” written in a specific language and sent in certain point in time and space. Numbers and words have to be chosen, they are not mechanically produced through the application of routines.

This course will emphasize the understanding of how financial statements are created and how accounting decisions affect these statements. The course will teach the theory emphasizing the use of accounting as a tool for decision-making and problem solving.

Financial Management

The objective of this course is to help participants integrate the financial theory with the current business environment in which financial decisions take place. In this context, financial decisions can be broken down into two basic decisions: (1) how much to invest and what assets to invest in, and (2) how to raise the necessary cash. The course provides participants with a framework to answer how the firm should make the investment, or capital budgeting decisions, in order to increase shareholder value. Also, participants will discuss the management of the right side of the Balance Sheet, specifically Capital Structure, Shareholder Value Creation and Valuation.

Globalization and the Arts

In this course the humanities are used as way of understanding the human condition in its depth and variation. Humanistic understanding is essential to the negotiation of the globalized world and its challenges. How do the increased exchange, access, and flow of persons, products, and markets associated with globalization negotiate cultural, political, and social difference, particularity, and inequality? How do global systems negotiate between shared benefit and exploitation? Between cultural exchange and innovation on the one hand and the preservation of heritage on the other?

Global Markets

This course investigates the institutions and regulations governing our global economy. Recent events have shown that traditional national regulations (or lack thereof) are no longer adequate yet international accords over aid, trade, labor standards and a host of other issues are fiercely and frequently contested by competing interests. The results of these debates, and the resulting economic systems and policies will determine winners and losers in the new global economy. Understanding the interaction between this political-economic-regulatory environment and individual firms and industries is key to determining both the possibilities for and constraints on global business in today’s fast changing economy.

Global Trends Seminar Series

This seminar aims to foster awareness and discussion on trending issues that have an impact on managerial work. The Series will concentrate on two highly imbricated fields: Global Leadership Awareness and Technology Trends. Students will be exposed to insights and discussion from speakers that will share their ideas about the state of the art of geopolitics, emerging AI developments and social implications of the integration of technology in the world of work. The seminars will take place either during the residential periods in Madrid and Providence or via webinars during the online periods.

Imprint of Time, Space and Place in our Bodies: Understanding Health Disparities

Health is a fundamental human right regardless of where one is born or the social conditions one is born into. Yet, efforts to pursue health equity for all remain unrealized. Large health disparities remain for the most vulnerable populations and communities, even for diseases and conditions that are entirely preventable and for which we have successfully developed low-cost, evidence-based strategies. In this course, we interrogate health disparity conundrums. We explore social determinants of health through experiential learning. We highlight pathologies of power driven by historical, political, and economic forces through discussion and debate, and using case-based learning. We examine opportunities for achieving health equity, guided by a social justice approach and utilizing a capabilities paradigm. We define ethical challenges in tackling health disparities due to power differentials across countries, communities, and, populations.

Leading People, Teams, and Organizations

This course focuses on advancing students’ understanding of how to lead and manage with the aim of increasing personal and organizational effectiveness. It is designed to address several fundamental aspects of managing and leading people. These include understanding and influencing group behavior and performance, working with and managing people on a one-on-one basis, and leading, motivating and aligning people behind a common vision or direction. This course places a particular emphasis on increasing students’ self-awareness as leaders and their ability to address the challenges of leading change in organizations.

Managing Communities of Work

21st Century organizations are experiencing a growing prominence of the role of employees for the purposes of business differentiation and competitive advantage. This sets important challenges for managers, who have to influence their teams in order to elicit competencies such as collaboration, creativity or entrepreneurial drive, and put them in play in their daily activities. Managing people effectively along these lines, however, should involve a careful analysis of organizational dynamics, overcoming subjectivity and developing critical thinking about how to capitalize the best of people talent for boosting corporate performance. The development of such skills is the purpose of this subject. Participants will be provided with a set of analytical tools that will help them think strategically about how work can be organized and individuals and communities motivated (and de-motivated). Specifically, participants will explore ways in which better management of workplace communities can deliver competitive advantage.

Managerial Economics

The economic environment provides many of the critical parameters for companies doing business in an increasingly integrated world. Economic expansion or recession will change all business forecasts; market structure will affect profitability; fluctuating exchange rates will have an impact on costs, sales, risk perceptions and debt levels; and the state of the national budget or interest-rate decisions can color a company´s future. In particular, a global recession like the one suffered recently can transform consumption behavior and business strategies.

Managerial Economics provides participants with a framework to understand the main economic variables and dynamics that affect business activity. The second part of the course will focus on the macro-economy and the policies that governments follow, and how the interaction between free economic forces and policy affect the business cycle and company prospects.

Marketing Management

This course is designed to provide students with a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of marketing and marketing strategy making. The focus will be on getting to know the basic techniques of defining and segmenting a target market for goods or services, building a brand with a meaningful positioning, and then integrating product, price, promotion and distribution to offer a superior marketing mix leading to a long-term competitive advantage. Finally, students will be given an insight into consumer behavior and brand management, as well as understanding the role played by different marketing tools such as marketing research.

Natural Collections: Perspectives on Science, Art and Nature

The course is designed for students to reflect on the impact of industrialization and globalization on biodiversity, and the roles of industry and commerce in supporting initiatives and programs to mitigate negative impact.  At a time of global concern about climate change and limited resources, we need to reflect on corporate responsibility and corporate engagement with civil society. Discussions will focus on the role of innovation in business to ensure a sustainable world. Drawing on examples from around the world, we will consider specific interventions to redress threats of biodiversity loss, and the roles of different social and political actors at multilateral, national and NGO levels in resource management.

Operations and Supply Chain Management

The design and operating system of a company must be coherent with its strategy. To achieve this it is important to analyze and understand the design of products, services and work organization, the long and medium-term management of the capacity of both industrial companies and services, integrated chain supply management, MRP, total quality management and the management of technology and innovation. In this course participants will apply an operations strategy framework to assess the level of alignment between marketing and operations strategy. Together they will explore how decisions in operations strategy impact on creating and delivering a firm’s competitive capabilities.

The Rise of China

This course examines the drivers of China’s emergence as a global power, and the consequences of that emergence for international business practitioners. Employing perspectives from comparative politics, international relations, and economics, the course explores the connections between China’s domestic institutional transformation, its system of governance, and its increasingly powerful indigenous firms. To what extent have Chinese firms become innovative? How have they become innovative – indeed, how have they even basic growth at all – in a home environment dominated by persistent corruption and unfettered state power? The course examine specific strategies international business practitioners can employ to navigate the Chinese environment.

Shared History of Slavery and Capitalism

This course imparts specific content knowledge of the history of the Atlantic slave trade and the plantation regimes of the Americas and the relationship of slavery to capitalism’s development in the West. The course conveys key principles of historical reasoning and argumentation: the reliance upon evidence to support interpretation; the appreciation of contingency and the specificity of time and place; skepticism towards claims of the universality of experience and the inevitability of outcomes. In unraveling the paradoxical relationship of free markets to un-free people, the course considers questions about commodities and liberties that remain urgent in today’s global economy.

Society and Culture in the Age of Globalization

In the past three decades the flows of commodities, ideas, people, norms and resources across international borders has accelerated exponentially. Driving these dynamics are not only market forces, but also social networks, cultural diffusions, and institutional transformations. This course draws on analytical tools from the social sciences to make sense of the rapidly changing nature of global society that can help you unpack and analyze the complex interactions that drive globalization and the resulting societal transformations.

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship

Historians argue that capitalism, especially its main engine entrepreneurship, took hold and flourished in the West not because of the promise of wealth it contained, but because of the appeal of a distinctive ethical outlook—new ideas about the value of work, business, and the acquisition of wealth that constitute the “spirit of capitalism.” The objective of this module is to trace the development of this new ethical outlook animating capitalist entrepreneurship—the “spirit of entrepreneurship”—from its Reformist beginnings into our own day.

Strategy at the Intersection of Business and Society

This course builds on the principles of strategic management to build an understanding of the impact of society on firm strategy and to learn to shape, accordingly, superior business strategies. The course addresses: stakeholder strategy (creating shared value); issue management (how social movements impact firm strategy); links between social performance and financial performance; communicating corporate strategy in line with social expectations in a social media era; and staying competitive in a global and digital era.

Technology & Innovation Strategy

For first time ever in the history of humanity, individuals are ahead of institutions and corporations. Individuals can have a louder voice, can share worldwide their individual opinions and knowledge, and can take decisions of living and purchasing that were never imagined before. The age of individual consumers (in its widest definition) has arrived. And that is thanks to Technology (with capital T). Technology has become totally pervasive in business and personal life, affecting all industries and business models.

This course will help to analyze the application of technology in its wider sphere of social transformational drivers, and to apply that in your own sphere of influence:

  • Social & collaboration: The power of many and the capability of individuals in being empowered by technology
  • Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship: using lean and agile approaches as new ways to innovate
  • Digital Transformation: Technology being a huge catalyzer to help driving changes in society that some years ago were unthinkable
  • Speed of change that digital transformation is imprinting
Trends in Global Architecture and Urbanism Today

This course introduces students to current questions in global architecture. After a survey of the history and motivations behind the internationalization of architectural forms, we examine current debates about sustainable architecture and smart urban growth, global urban problems and potential solutions to mass housing, and the application of new technologies such as “smart materials” in architecture. Questions of local vs. global building traditions are considered. Students gain a new understanding of their built environment and will be able to ‘read’ and analyze buildings they encounter, engaging meaningfully with questions about formal, functional and material choices.

Key Reflection Project

The Key Reflection Project (KRP) is a culminating academic project where students integrate and apply the knowledge acquired during the Program in order to examine an idea or solve a challenging problem that is within their area of influence or personal interest. The project should mirror the spirit and learning objectives of the program, which are based on the awareness of social complexities and critical analysis of business issues.

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