The Wake Forest MBA Curriculum

MBA Student

The Wake Forest MBA curriculum is designed to provide you with the ability to approach and analyze challenges from a wide range of perspectives in order to achieve holistic solutions. The cohort/team-based approach to the Wake Forest MBA means that all members of an entering class will graduate together at the conclusion of the program while learning supportively from each other throughout the program.

The Wake Forest MBA program’s lockstep curriculum emphasizes broad-based leadership and management skills that are both strategic and global, while integrating the spectrum of functional areas to deepen your knowledge across disciplines, including finance, operations, marketing, entrepreneurship, and information technology. To add to your skill set, you can choose electives to hone your interests and further define your career path.

Elective courses provide students opportunities to complement their well-rounded business acumen with additional depth, breadth, and application in subject areas of interest. These courses can round out a student’s skills, cultivate new areas of expertise, facilitate career advancement, and support efforts to pivot to a new role, company, or industry.

Optional concentrations are available in Business Analytics, Strategy and Leadership, Finance, Project Management, and Digital Marketing. Students may also choose to earn a general MBA by selecting a combination of elective courses best aligned with their interests and goals. Students have the flexibility to take elective courses offered in in-person, hybrid, and online formats.
Program Overview

Core MBA Courses (36 Credits)

The purpose of this course is to help you be an effective team member, but more importantly, to help each team quickly become a high-performing team; achieving results while supporting each other. In this course, we will focus on skills that we believe will help you work effectively on teams as you grow in your education and career.

Total Credits: 1.5

Students will explore the purpose of business in order to reclaim the ways in which business is a noble pursuit that creates value and combats major problems in society through cases and targeted readings in ethics. This foundational understanding of purpose will also help to derive a view of business ethics that is at once practical, intuitive, and theoretically integrated, thus easily applied to real-world scenarios.

Total Credits: 1.5

Financial Management examines the conceptual and practical issues involved in contemporary financial management. Primary emphasis is placed on the development of analytical tools needed by financial managers seeking to maximize shareholder value. Topics covered include financial statement analysis, working capital management, risk measurement, valuation, capital structure, cost of capital, capital budgeting, dividend policy, and financing alternatives.

Additional topics frequently covered in this course include the use of derivative securities; international financial management; mergers, acquisitions, and corporate restructuring; and the instruments and operation of the money and capital markets.

Total Credits: 3

Information is a critical organizational resource. This course provides frameworks for evaluating a firm’s portfolio of information technology investments and alternatives, for identifying future opportunities for business transformation, and for managing information technology resources within the organization. Topics include the use of information systems (IS) for competitive advantage, the role and organization of the IS function in the firm, options for sourcing IS, the management of IS projects, and recent technological advances.

Total Credits: 3

Organizational behavior focuses on the understanding of employee behaviors and attitudes that ultimately contribute to organizational success or failure. The study of organizational behavior attempts to identify critical organizational factors that influence workers, the processes by which these factors exert their influence, and ways of applying this knowledge within organizations. The course is based on principles of scientific inquiry and knowledge from the behavioral sciences.

All managers have traditionally been held accountable for influencing their employees’ levels of job satisfaction, absenteeism, turnover, and performance. The focus here is on understanding current managerial approaches, models, and methods for influencing these critical outcomes. The course covers individual, group, and organizational influences on organizational effectiveness.

Total Credits: 3

The ability to use and manage information, both financial and nonfinancial, is becoming the key to success in today’s business environment. As accounting is the language of business, it is imperative that managers understand accounting systems and accounting information. This course focuses on how financial information is prepared for external users (financial accounting), how to interpret the information provided in externally oriented financial reports, and how managers can use this information in their decision-making processes. The accounting cycle, financial reports, and the impact of accounting alternatives on reported financial information are the main focus of this course.

Total Credits: 3

This course is an introduction to data analysis, probability, and statistical methods for improving managerial decision-making. Analytics topics covered include data management, descriptive analytics, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, regression analysis, modeling uncertainty, and decision analysis. The course emphasizes applications of analytics to the functional areas of business and how to conduct analyses, interpret results, and effectively communicate the results.

Total Credits: 3

This course is a continuation of MGT 7025 to more advanced modeling. Topics include descriptive and predictive data mining, Monte Carlo, and discrete event simulation and optimization. The course emphasizes applications of these to the functional areas of business and how to conduct analyses, interpret results, and effectively communicate the results.

Total Credits: 1.5

The second half of the core accounting course sequence focuses on the generation, maintenance, and interpretation of the internally generated financial information (management accounting) that is necessary for effective managerial decision-making. Course topics include cost behavior, relevant costing, cost information systems, capital budgeting, and resource allocation.

Total Credits: 1.5

The course examines the fundamental components of the strategic management discipline. Strategy process, content, and context will be explored utilizing texts, historical and contemporary case studies, and the seminal academic and current practitioner literatures. The topics comprise the integrative core of strategic management and establish an interdisciplinary framework that connects to other courses in the curriculum. Subjects and concepts include strategy formulation, industry and competitive analysis, and competitive advantage.

Total Credits: 1.5

A survey of legal subjects that managers frequently encounter in their careers and with which every manager should be conversant, including: property, contract, tort, corporate governance, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and government regulation. In addition, the student will learn the sources of American law, how the legal system works, particularly in a litigation context, and will garner an appreciation for the limits and logic of the law.

Total Credits: 1.5

This course uses the tools and concepts of microeconomics to analyze decision problems within a business firm. Topics include the goal of the firm, capital budgeting, consumer demand, the empirical estimation of demand, production and costs, pricing, and profit maximization under various industry structures. These fundamentals provide a better understanding of the microeconomic environments faced by managers in making strategic business decisions.

Total Credits: 3

As the economic world becomes increasingly interdependent, strategic management can no longer be considered primarily in a domestic setting. As firms increase their global involvement, managing across countries and cultures places an increasing burden on managerial capabilities.

The Global Strategic Management course has been designed to acquaint students with managing strategies and organizations in a global context. The course exposes students to concepts and frameworks for strategy formulation, industry and competitor analysis, impact of public policy on strategic management, organizational configurations and contexts, cross-cultural/comparative management, transitional management, and strategic control.

Total Credits: 3

Marketing Management is structured around the central business goal of maximizing enterprise value. As a discipline, marketing contributes to enterprise value by delivering customer value profitably. All topics addressed in the course demonstrate how firms deliver customer value in both consumer and business-to-business marketplaces.

Emphasis is placed on the managerial activities of strategic planning, market and competitive analyses, customer behavior evaluation, value assessment, market segmentation, targeting, positioning, and marketing mix design. Instruction features case discussions, lectures, team exercises, a student project and presentation, and a computer simulation game.

Total Credits: 3

The competitive environment is fiercer than ever, resources are tighter, customers are more discriminating, and the pressure to do more with less is intensifying. Additionally, recent marketplace trends such as rapidly evolving product and process technology, unbridled globalization of markets, shortening product life cycles, increasingly pervasive impact of information technology, and the urgency to deliver ever-increasing customer value are often creating a seemingly insurmountable challenge for businesses to survive.

Now, more than ever, firms must continually reassess their competitive operations strategies to maintain their competitiveness in the global marketplace. This course is about using operations to compete and win a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. The course will focus on the management of various transformation processes that organizations use to change inputs, such as labor, capital, and raw materials, into both products and services. Issues to be discussed range from the strategic to the tactical.

Total Credits: 3

Concentrations or Electives (9 Credits)

Choose one of the following optional concentrations. Or you can customize your degree plan by selecting any of the online Master of Business Administration courses from across the concentration areas.

Business Analytics Concentration

A concentration in Business Analytics puts the working professional student in a position to develop the strengths needed to serve as a data translator inside of their organization while also being prepared to collaborate effectively with the Analytics professionals across the enterprise. These courses, by design, are offered online and asynchronously.

As online and connected processes generate increasingly large volumes of data, i.e., “Big Data”, it is important for businesses to understand how to handle these data. Managing data requires a fundamental understanding of database systems, so this course is designed to give an understanding of contemporary technologies used for storing and manipulating Big Data. The course covers concepts related to database design and usage, discusses new approaches to transforming large volumes of data, such as MapReduce, and highlights best practices for manipulating large sets of data.

Total Credits: 3

This course is an introduction to the software packages and coding languages for data management and analytics. Topics include importing data, data manipulation, data cleansing, data transformation, creating new variables, and basic data analysis.

Total Credits: 3

To be a successful analytics practitioner who can drive impact within an organization, you must be able to effectively communicate with all levels of management. Business professionals who understand descriptive modeling and data visualization can communicate complex analyses in simple, powerful graphs. In this online course, you will learn the principles of effective data visualization as well as approaches to developing a compelling narrative.

Total Credits: 3

Finance Concentration

Managers at every level in every organization benefit from understanding the financial health and performance of their business. A concentration in Finance develops the knowledge, skills, and abilities to address complex financial decisions, manage risk, analyze investments, and maximize shareholder value.

This course is intended to strengthen your knowledge in finance and provide you with practical skills for implementing financial models in a spreadsheet. The topics covered will include general financial analysis, financial statement projections, valuation, capital budgeting, and sensitivity analysis. While the specific tool used in this class is Microsoft Excel, the techniques can be generalized and applied to various implementation tools.

Total Credits: 3

This case-based class focuses on value creation by utilizing financial architecture to enhance the corporate strategy of firms. Advanced valuation techniques (option pricing, adjusted present values, discounting equity, capital cash flows) are used to evaluate leveraged buyouts, leveraged recapitalizations, initial public offerings, restructurings, and real options embedded in investment decisions. Financing growth, the use of private equity, securitization, syndication, and risk management also are covered.

Total Credits: 3

Students gain exposure and experience with asset management and portfolio construction primarily using equity securities. Topics include asset valuation and selection, constraint setting and asset allocation, optimal portfolio choice/construction, asset pricing models, risk management, and performance evaluation. Fundamental and technical analysis are covered with an emphasis on fundamental analysis. Students obtain asset management experience by serving as portfolio managers charged with actively managing a portfolio and outperforming the respective benchmark.

Total Credits: 3

Strategy and Leadership Concentration

A common goal for Wake MBA students is to accelerate their careers and move into positions of greater responsibility, scope and leadership. The Strategy & Leadership concentration cultivates management skills by further developing strategic decision making, negotiation, and change leadership for those with an eye on the C-suite.

In this course, you will learn how world-class influencers think: the questions they ask and the purpose behind those questions; the information they gather and the assumptions they make; and the influencing and negotiating principles and concepts they use.

Total Credits: 3

Leadership has a history spanning that of human existence. As long as there have been two or more people, it is highly likely that at least one of them had influence over the other. Throughout this history, thought leaders have wrestled with the question of who should lead and how these individuals should do so. As the issues facing leaders change, so do the principal leadership questions of the day.

Total Credits: 3

This course has as its focus the nature of hypercompetition in industries and the strategies that firms deploy in response. Organizations have proven to be reasonably skilled at analyzing competitive challenges and developing strategies to address these challenges. Unfortunately, the implementation and execution of their strategies have proven to be the downfall for many organizations and the managers that lead them.

This course is designed to go beyond helping you to understand the nature of competition and competitive strategy to also develop specific knowledge and skills necessary for implementing and executing strategy in modern organizations.

Total Credits: 3

Digital Marketing Concentration

With the increasing reliance on digital platforms and technology, businesses across every industry are seeking professionals who possess the skills and knowledge to navigate the complexities of the online marketplace. A Digital Marketing concentration equips MBA students with the tools to leverage digital channels effectively, analyze consumer data, and develop targeted marketing strategies making them invaluable assets to their organizations

Students complete 9 credit hours from the 12 hours listed below

Robust knowledge of research methods is fundamental to the Digital Marketing discipline. This course teaches professionals how to use research techniques to deeply understand and focus on the needs and interests of the consumer in integrated campaigns. (3 credits)

Given the dynamic nature of the marketplace and rapidly shifting consumer interests and behaviors, it is critical to have a deep understanding of the digital tools that can be employed to track such shifts and to communicate with consumers in impactful ways. (3 credits)

This course covers best practices for gathering, interpreting, and presenting compelling digital data to inspire positive action. Focusing on various digital channels such as websites, mobile applications, social media, and other digital mediums, this course equips you with a foundation of how digital analytics supports strategic planning in each of these digital channels. (3 credits)

This course covers fundamental principles and best practices of digital marketing strategies (e.g., positioning, pricing, etc.) and tactics (e.g., market research-derived segmentation and targeting, packaging, channel management, etc.). An emphasis is placed on marketing frameworks and concepts (e.g., marketing communications, brand management, marketing analytics, etc.). Cross-cultural awareness in digital marketing (e.g., the role of ethnicity and other demographic variables) will also be examined. (3 credits)

Project Management Concentration

In today’s fast-paced and complex business environment, project management skills are highly sought after and transcend industry boundaries. A Project Management concentration equips MBA students with the knowledge and tools to plan, execute, and monitor projects efficiently, fostering a strategic mindset and leadership abilities that enhance your ability to drive results and deliver value in any professional setting.

Students complete Project Management Essentials and then 6 credit hours from among the remaining 9 credit hours of course options.

This course introduces the foundational concepts of Agile, which is an iterative approach to project management (PM). Agile is contrasted with other PM methodologies. An introductory consideration of Scrum is provided, including Scrum events and artifacts, the anatomy of a sprint, the roles of Scrum Master and Scrum team members, as well as release planning. (3 credits)

The work of a leader is to manage change. This course emphasizes gaining the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to successfully undertake change efforts. It explores the leadership principles, styles, frameworks, and skills required to guide, motivate, and direct teams. In this course, participants will develop the ability to prepare, support, and assist individuals, teams, and organizations in their pursuit of organizational change. Attention is given to stakeholder management and strategic partnering. (3 credits)

The course pursues an in-depth exploration of the different phases of a project from Initiation to Closure. Project Setup focuses on the introduction of a robust project organization and the qualities of an effective project manager. Project Planning reviews methods for defining project activities and establishing a budget and scheduling projects under certainty (CPM) and uncertainty (PERT). Techniques for identifying and analyzing project-related risks and selecting the right project approach (Waterfall versus Agile/Scrum), are considered. Project Execution focuses on tools for supporting, monitoring and controlling projects, with a focus on successful implementation. Students leave with a set of best practices for effective project management throughout the project management life cycle. (3 credits)

This course introduces the foundational concepts of project management. The project management life cycle, as defined in the Project Management Body of Knowledge, is introduced, as are several project management knowledge areas such as risk, scope, schedule, quality, monitoring, and communication, among others. Distinctions between project, program, and portfolio management are explored. Achieving literacy in Microsoft Project software is a goal of the course, as well. (3 credits)