MBA Curriculum: What to Expect

Businesspeople examining statistics on a computer in an office.

In an increasingly modernized economy, a college degree has become an asset that helps demonstrate an employee’s capacity and drive to potential employers. Moreover, specializations can highlight an individual’s skills that can be applied to a variety of different job environments.

In the world of business, honing these skill sets through a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree carries the potential to expand an individual’s job opportunities, as it allows them to pursue roles that list a master’s as a prerequisite. It also can lead to a lucrative profession. According to PayScale, the median annual salary of individuals with an MBA is around $91,000.

For individuals looking to pursue a high-level business career, earning an MBA can serve as a valuable stepping stone. It’s important to understand how an MBA curriculum can help you gain expertise in various business-related topics.

What Is an MBA?

Many executives and entrepreneurs hold MBAs because the skills and education they gained empowered them to move forward in their careers. An MBA can come in a variety of forms, with different concentrations and specializations offered by different programs.

By teaching the skills it takes to help a business to function, an MBA program may open up a wider set of professional prospects to graduates. Armed with academic experience, MBA graduates embrace both a theoretical and practical understanding of business by analyzing a variety of real-world scenarios.

What Skills Does an MBA Develop?

Earning an MBA can help graduates to develop critical thinking, leadership, analytical, and decision-making abilities.

1. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking involves the analysis of a given situation and, in turn, forming a judgment. In business, critical thinking is required daily. As new problems and opportunities present themselves, successful business professionals utilize critical thinking to put their organization ahead of the curve.

2. Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are essential for success in business. While reasoning and other competencies may enable an individual to tackle difficult challenges, it is leadership that often determines the success of the operation as a whole. Successful leaders demonstrate both a comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand as well as a willingness to communicate and assign responsibility to others efficiently. Through theoretical approaches, empirical research, and real-world case examples, students learn about the leadership skills necessary to succeed in the business world.

3. Analytical Skills

Analytical skills involve the breakdown of large problems into smaller subsets. Analytical mastery is required in the business for a number of reasons. Through recognition of patterns, successful business people can stay ahead of the competition and react efficiently to changing market trends. Market research and data are meaningless if there are no competent professionals to draw significant conclusions and produce appropriate strategies.

4. Decision-Making

Decision-making is an integral part of every businessperson’s responsibilities. To successfully make decisions, individuals must be able to synthesize all available background information to reach decisions that will optimize outcomes. These are the skills and techniques that successful businesses employ as they encounter uncertainty. By learning these skills, online MBA students may be better equipped to gain confidence in their own decision-making abilities and recognize what information is necessary to make informed choices.

Online MBA Courses

The Ohio University Online MBA curriculum features a number of core courses, as well as nine different concentrations: finance, health care, executive management, business analytics, operations and supply chain management, accounting, project management, strategic selling and sales leadership, and business venturing and entrepreneurship. The Online MBA courses offered at Ohio University include:

  • Operations Management: This core course enables students to examine the intricacies involved in ensuring operational efficiency within a business. It dives into the strategic management of elements like quality control, supply chain management, and inventory problems using decision-making tools, problem-solving techniques, and case analysis.
  • Strategic Marketing: This application-oriented core course focuses on the crucial elements behind effective planning for marketing strategies. These elements include situation analysis, competitive analysis, distribution and supply chain management, and integrated marketing communications. It also highlights trends in analytical tools utilized within strategic marketing strategies.
  • Predictive Analytics: This business analytics concentration course drills down into how statistical and machine learning techniques can be utilized to project the future based on patterns pulled from historic data sets. The hands-on course also covers concepts pertaining to building, testing, and applying quantitative models within different business settings.
  • Investments: This finance concentration course provides an overview of investment performance and portfolio management. It also discusses how concepts like market efficiency, equity valuation, behavioral issues, and portfolio theory can apply to investment strategy.
  • Ethics in Leadership: This executive management concentration course presents ethical decision-making concepts that help students develop the essential tools to deftly handle ethical dilemmas. It also discusses the challenges of applying ethical decision-making and examines the application of organizational business ethics based on real-world situations.

MBA Topics

A typical MBA curriculum spans many key aspects of business operations to give students a well-rounded education. Fundamental business aspects include those involving accounting, finance, marketing, and human resources. All of these MBA topics offer unique perspectives and can contribute to career success.

Data Analytics

According to a 2021 poll generated by Statista, the data analytics market will reach over $68 billion by 2025. This projected growth in data analytics, coupled with increasing business globalization and digital transformation, point to a business landscape where leveraging the power of data analytics will be essential to achieving success, because leaders will need the most accurate, detailed, and timely information to make effective decisions.

MBA data analysis courses explore how to examine data using commonly used software, how to manage the data, and how to interpret the results to the greatest effect. Students may apply the skills and knowledge gained in this course to deliver real-world results, such as reviewing historical data to identify new business prospects or opportunities to reduce costs, or using current data to forecast upcoming issues and create operational efficiencies.

Human Resource Management

An MBA program helps students gain skills that are likely to help them take on leadership and senior business positions. A significant aspect of these roles involves managing an organization’s most important asset: its employees. MBA coursework is structured to ensure graduates have exposure to the processes and standard practices used in behavioral management and to motivate employees. This can include methods to ensure employee alignment with the overall culture, mission, and success strategy of a business.

Another facet of MBA-focused human resources training covers how leaders manage change in an organization and generate buy-in from employees. This is important in a global business landscape that is marked by constant market and economic fluctuations.

Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is critical to an organization’s success and is fundamental to many business operations. Courses on this topic cover effective practices that contribute to efficient production and prevent product shortages or oversupply, promote enhanced customer satisfaction through proper product availability, and create financial stability through consistent organizational performance.

Supply chain management courses in an MBA curriculum may touch on other business departments and operations as well. For instance, strategic marketing relies heavily on supply chain management data that relates to product demand, customer feedback, and service delivery and management. Another area that is influenced by supply chain management is an organizational risk. Unplanned operational events relating to logistics, outsourcing, natural disasters, or other unforeseen challenges would all require an immediate response by the management of the supply chain.

Accounting and Finance

Depending on a student’s career path, an MBA can be used to further develop expertise in the areas of accounting and finance, or to simply provide foundational knowledge of these numbers-based subject areas. A general introduction to finance typically includes a study of essential financial reporting principles and accounting concepts. The coursework is designed to enable participants to understand and directly contribute to these core functions within a business setting.

An MBA student may choose to delve deeper into accounting or finance by choosing a finance concentration. This focus can include course options that cover portfolio management and investing, as well as concepts relating to financial markets and institutions. An accounting concentration may also include advanced accounting principles such as taxation, auditing, and managerial accounting.

Strategic Leadership

A strategic leadership course is more likely to be taken near the end of an MBA program, as the primary assignment asks students to formulate a business strategy at an executive level, using what they’ve learned in their previous coursework. At this stage in an MBA program, students will have been exposed to a breadth of business knowledge required to take on this challenge.

Through this process, they will apply and practice their skills in strategic thinking. Ultimately this will enable them to demonstrate the ability to interpret complex data and make confident decisions and to critically assess the big picture and challenge what’s currently in place to solve business issues.

The Current Ohio University Online MBA Curriculum

Ohio University’s MBA curriculum includes core courses and specialized courses for each concentration.

Core Courses

MBA 6320 Descriptive Analytics – 3 Credits

MBA 6340 Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management – 3 Credits

MBA 6315 Accounting for Executives – 3 Credits

MBA 6335 Managerial Finance – 3 Credits

MBA 6350 Strategic Marketing – 3 Credits

MBA 6360 Strategic Use of Information Systems – 3 Credits

MBA 6370 Operations Management – 3 Credits

MBA 6380 Strategy – 3 Credits

MBA 6912 Applied Business Experience (CAPSIM) – 2 Credits

Finance Concentration Courses

MBA 6345 Financial Markets and Institutions – 3 Credits

MBA 6355 Investments – 3 Credits

MBA 6365 Advanced Corporate Finance – 3 Credits

Health Care Concentration Courses

HLTH 6010 Introduction to the U.S. Health Care Delivery System – 3 Credits

HLTH 6210 Health Care Finance – 3 Credits

HLTH 6280 Health Law – 3 Credits

Executive Management Concentration Courses

MBA 6560 Analytics for Executives – 3 Credits

MBA 6425 Leadership and Change Management – 3 Credits

MBA 6525 Ethics in Leadership – 3 Credits

Business Analytics Concentration Courses

MBA 6390 Predictive Analytics – 3 Credits

MBA 6395 Business Intelligence – 3 Credits

MBA 6325 Prescriptive Analytics – 3 Credits

Operations and Supply Chain Management Concentration

MGT 5021 Management of Lean Six Sigma Programs – 3 Credits

MGT 5023 Supply Chain Risk Management – 3 Credits

MGT 5025 Project Management – 3 Credits

Accounting Concentration

ACCT 5010 Intermediate Accounting Concepts – 3 Credits

ACCT 5020 Advanced Accounting Concepts I – 3 Credits

ACCT 5030 Advanced Accounting Concepts II – 3 Credits

Project Management Concentration

PM 6100 Project Management I – 3 Credits

PM 6200 Project Management II – 3 Credits

PM 6500 Change and Risk Management – 3 Credits

Strategic Selling and Sales Leadership Concentration

MBA 6300 Building and Developing Customer Relationships – 3 Credits

MBA 6400 Sales Leadership – 3 Credits

MBA 6500 Sales Analytics – 3 Credits

Business Venturing and Entrepreneurship Concentration

MGT 5070 Managing Innovation and Corporate Entrepreneurship – 3 Credits

MGT 5071 Ideation, Concept Development, and Business Models – 3 Credits

MGT 5072 New Venture Creation – 3 Credits

Build a Bright Future

Regardless of the courses or specialization you choose, an MBA curriculum can provide you with an excellent set of business-applicable skills. Through coursework that addresses the most pressing aspects of business, students will learn to forge their own paths and create their own opportunities within this rapidly changing economy.

If pursuing an MBA sounds right for you, Ohio University offers an MBA degree program that is 100% online, with no GMAT required. Learn how we can help you get ready to pursue your goals.

Recommended Readings

MBA Programs: What Is Business Process Management?

A Tale of Two Advanced Degrees: Master’s in Finance vs. MBA

Webinar: Ohio University College of Business Application Process


Fortune, “Corporate America Still Loves MBAs Just Look at the Salaries Grads Are Getting”

Investopedia, Master of Business Administration (MBA)

PayScale, Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree

Statista, Big Data Analytics Market Revenue Worldwide in 2019 and 2025

U.S. News & World Report, “What an MBA Degree Is and What You Need to Know”