The Carson College of Business online MBA consists of 36 credits for those with a bachelor’s degree in business. We offer up to 16 credit hours of foundational coursework, which you may need to take, to ensure you have all of the tools necessary to be successful in the program.

During the program, you will take seven 3-credit core courses and three additional courses from your concentration or a pool of electives. You can opt for the general track or choose from four concentrations — marketing, finance, international business, or hospitality business management — to focus your education on the subject matter that best fits your career objectives. The online MBA experience closes with three capstone courses for an additional six credits. All coursework is entirely online and may be completed in as few as 22-29 months.

Note: Each concentration is also offered as a nine-credit graduate certificate.

Learning Outcomes

Real learning occurs through doing — applying your newfound skills and perspective. With the WSU Carson College of Business online MBA curriculum, by the time you graduate, you can expect to be able to:

Conduct business analysis and formulate an actionable business strategy that is grounded in theory and practice from multiple business disciplines.

Identify relevant data sources, use analytical tools and techniques, and conduct data-driven analyses to identify significant business problems, identify a solution, and justify action.

Apply leadership theory to analyze business situations and develop theory-based recommendations.

Identify and evaluate the ethical, global, and societal implications of doing business as an organization.

Course Descriptions:

Foundation Courses

Introduction to Financial and Managerial Accounting (Acctg 550) – 3 credits
The main objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the role of accounting in business organizations. The specific objectives for each student are to acquire: (1) a basic understanding of accounting concepts, financial reporting, and financial statement analysis, and (2) an awareness of the relevance and use of accounting information for managerial decision-making.
Data Analysis for Managers (BA 500) – 2 credits
This course covers two types of statistics: descriptive and inferential. Descriptive statistics are numerical ways to describe a data set. For example:

  • Measures of central location (e.g., mean) and measures of dispersion (e.g., variance, standard deviation)
  • Associative methods for comparing variables (correlation)

Inferential statistics provide the information that allows you to make statements about a population based on sample data from that population. They allow you to take a simple random sample and make a “good” estimate of underlying population characteristics. Two common methods for inferential statistics are confidence intervals and hypothesis testing.

This course is your guide as you study the material, which serves as a primer required for all students aiming to join the online MBA program but who have not yet taken a statistics course.

Foundations in Marketing (BA 501) – 2 credits
The BA 501 course is designed to provide students with a broad overview of the principles of marketing, from both a theoretical and managerial perspective. As an introductory-level course, its aim is to raise your awareness and understanding of the terminology, concepts, strategies, and techniques that are part of the world of marketing. The course relies upon textbook readings, video-based exercises, mini simulations, and online discussions, as well as other supplemental materials and discussions that are timely and relevant to the course’s coverage of content.
Foundations in Operations Management (BA 502) – 2 credits

Operations Management is the process by which an organization converts inputs (e.g., labor, material, knowledge, equipment) into outputs (goods and services). This course studies the concepts and techniques, such as Total Quality Management (TQM), Just In Time (JIT), forecasting, inventory theory, and supply chain management, that make the conversion process more efficient and profitable.

As recent experience has shown in global markets, significant competitive advantages accrue to those firms capable of producing quality goods and services efficiently. For this reason the careful design and management of the production process is of fundamental importance for the long‐term success and survival of a corporation.

Foundations of Business Law (BA 503) – 2 credits

Law is of paramount importance in society. In relation to function, law can provide a framework of predictability, certainty, continuity, and stability.

Generally, businesses wish to operate with confidence and predictability per the legal and regulatory framework. This legal and regulatory framework consists of Constitutional Law, Statutory Law and Common Law. This legal and regulatory environment pervades over the business environment.

Among other topics, this course covers the foundational role of law, understanding compliance, business legal terminology, business law, and legal analysis.

Foundations in Finance (BA 504) – 2 credits
To engage in business, the financial managers of a corporation are responsible for capital budgeting decisions as well as financing decisions. The purpose of this course is to expose you to the first concept — budgeting. This course covers concepts such as risk and return relationship, cost of capital, capital budgeting, corporate governance, and stock/bond valuation.
Managerial Economics (Econs 555) – 3 credits

The main objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of economic analysis of business practice. The specific objectives for each student are to acquire:

(1) an understanding of the supply and demand model and marginal analysis, and

(2) an understanding of how these economic tools are used to enhance business decision-making.

Core Courses: Strategic Leadership

Strategy Formation and Organizational Design (Mgmt 590) – 3 credits
Briefly stated, strategic management is about deciding where you want to go, finding the best way to get there, and ensuring that you stay on track. Originally a military discipline dating back to antiquity (see, for example, the newly popular classic Sun Tzu on The Art of War), it has evolved over the years to become the keystone course in many MBA programs. As such, it asks you to integrate learning from other courses (marketing, finance, operations, etc.) to analyze how a business can achieve a sustainable competitive advantage — the “Holy Grail” of management. (Think, for a moment, about how difficult this is to achieve: How many companies can you identify that have been in business “forever” while consistently earning above-average profits — the definition of sustainable competitive advantage?)
Managerial Leadership and Productivity (Mgmt 593) – 3 credits

MGMT 593 is focused on understanding and managing organizational behavior. It is designed specifically for students who are, or intend to become, professional managers. In terms of your development, the course has the dual purpose of helping you become a more analytical and effective (1) manager and (2) team leader. It is designed to give you insight into your own attitudes, beliefs, and management philosophy, while providing you with analytical tools that will help you diagnose, understand, and develop solutions to management problems. It is also intended to provide skill development in important areas such as leadership, performance enhancement, teamwork, communication, and giving feedback.

The approach to learning will balance cognitive understanding of behavioral science concepts (provided by readings, lectures, and audiovisuals) with application through discussion of readings, cases, and our own experiences, and skill development through experiential exercises. You will be exposed to many different views, concepts, and experiences concerning organizational behavior. Exposure to these varying, often conflicting, and sometimes even paradoxical views can lead to a much better understanding of the management experience. MGTOP 593 can improve your ability to "read" organizations and make sense of what's happening in them. Ultimately, you should better understand the forces that influence the behavior of people in organizations, including your own.

Core Courses: Functional Business Tools

Administrative Control (Acctg 533) – 3 credits

Decision-making is an art. To be a successful decision-maker, you want to be able to anticipate and evaluate your alternatives, weighing the benefits and detriments of every option. Accounting 533 features assignments and discussions that can give you the skills to use accounting measurements to make sound, productive decisions.

This course integrates fundamental topics in managerial accounting with strategic analysis to show you how organizations use accounting information to make business decisions, design control systems, and evaluate the impact on various stakeholder groups.

The coursework will also explore issues of measurement and causality. Accounting is a measurement process. In order for measures to be meaningful, you need to know what to measure, how to measure, and what the consequences of the measure will be. You get to examine both the computations of accounting data and how the resulting information is used in a decision context. The course will focus on information used for internal decision-making purposes to prepare you to use, rather than produce, financial information.

Problems in Financial Management (Fin 526) – 3 credits
In FIN 526, you can learn to apply finance theory and principles to the analysis of important business problems. Many of the activities of the firm can only be accomplished through the support of the finance function. Other activities have important implications for the firm’s cash flow. As a manager, it’s vital that you understand how to use finance tools and concepts to enhance your decision-making ability and to see how your activities will be viewed at the firm level. Since FIN 526 is the only required finance course in the Online MBA program, we will review foundational concepts and quickly move on to high-level applications. Accordingly, you would be best prepared coming in with a solid understanding of accounting and quantitative methods.
Information Systems Management (Mis 580) – 3 credits

As a general manager, it’s so important that you understand the primary tenets of information systems (IS). It’s sometimes asked why general managers need to learn about IS when organizations typically have a designated IS/IT department. It’s true that most IS/IT departments are made up of skilled individuals who, more and more, also have strong business backgrounds. However, it is still very important for you to have a strong knowledge of IS-related issues so you can make informed IS/IT decisions that lead to positive outcomes on an organizational level.

Don’t expect this to be a technical course (although there will be some level of hands-on software training). Look at MIS 580 as your introduction to the dynamics of information systems and the challenges associated with integrating such systems into the modern business enterprise. Particular emphasis will be placed on the strategic importance of IT in an organization’s operations. Other topics will include the design and development of enterprise systems, as well as the challenges that come along with their implementation. The course will also cover emerging topics in the field and organizational strategy for approaching the adoption of new technology before concluding on a topic that is a key concern for virtually all organizations—security.

Marketing Management and Administrative Policy (Mktg 506) – 3 credits
MKTG 506 is designed to give you the tools to develop an action-oriented marketing plan. This course can prepare you to use the Marketing Analysis for Revenue Enhancement (MARE) model and apply systematic guidelines to develop a marketing strategy. Further, coursework is intended to teach you to modify the model as needed, since no single model works in all situations. MKTG 506 focuses on marketing analysis and planning for new market entry, but the concepts you learn can be used for any type of marketing strategy.
Business Analytics: Transforming Data into Decisions (BA 514) – 3 credits

Gain the tools and fundamental conceptual knowledge to understand the emerging role of business analytics in organizations. BA 514 is designed to prepare you to apply analytics specifically within the Excel environment. In this course, you can learn to communicate with analytic professionals to effectively use and interpret models and their outcomes to make better business decisions.

BA 514 explains business analytics through clear, complete, and student-friendly instruction and delivery. Learn to recognize and formulate models, determine appropriate tools and techniques, and draw intelligent business conclusions. Explore the four-step decision-making process, learning to conduct each step using a variety of analytical tools and techniques. This is an application/case-oriented course developed to teach you key decision-making concepts using data sets that focus on analyzing business concepts in a data-driven fashion.

Concentration Courses

Concentration courses will vary in subject matter and credit hours.

Capstone Project and Final Presentation

The Capstone (Business Planning) courses begin in the third semester of your program. Capstone A and Capstone B directly prepare you for your final program deliverable—a full business plan.

Your business plan will demonstrate your ability to synthesize the information from all your MBA classes and identify how you will use this information to become a more successful manager, business owner, or business executive.

Below is a summary of each portion of the Capstone.

Business Administration (BA 579 — 2 credits) — Capstone A
This class takes you through the process of choosing a new product idea, testing the new product for commercial potential through a feasibility study, changing course as necessary to discover the correct business model, and making a final decision about whether or not to move toward commercialization. Critical to this class is your commitment to be creative, take risks, experience failure, and try again until you finally "get it right." You will be asked to use information from previous classes, your previous personal and professional experience, and data you discover during the course.
Business Administration (BA 579 — 2 credits) — Capstone B
Capstone B has you prepare a business plan based on the information you gathered from your feasibility study. This is the plan of how you will actually introduce your product into the market and how you will successfully operate the business. The feasibility study from Capstone A will be used to support the decisions, plans, and forecasts presented in the business plan. In addition, you will finalize the presentation of your business plan.
Business Administration (BA 702 — 2 credits) — Master’s Special Problems, Directed Study, and/or Examination

During the final of the three capstone courses, you will submit your oral and written business plan to the faculty committee. The faculty committee will act as investors and you will present your plan as if you were asking for funding to start your new business. You will be given the opportunity to practice your presentation multiple times so that it is professional and engaging. You want the faculty committee to be impressed enough that they would actually personally invest in your idea.

The business plan will best prepare you for MBA-level duties within your organization and possibly provide for additional opportunities after graduation. Previous students have used their plan within their companies, while others have used it to start their own businesses. As you can see, students find this rigor very rewarding and feedback throughout the process is always garnered.

Please note, curriculum is subject to change.

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