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The Bentley MBA CURRICULUM

Created through a unique collaboration between faculty and professionals in business and the arts and sciences, the 11-month Bentley MBA curriculum engages you in four 10-week themes.

Innovation Theme (12 credits)*

Leaders know the value of innovation and creativity in devising new models for the role of business in society. This theme serves as the foundation for the rest of the program as innovative leaders must understand the environments in which they operate, the ways that innovation may or may not lead to value, and the role of their decisions in building an organization where creativity can thrive.

INN601 Psychology of Innovation

This course combines readings and exercises from economics, psychology, sociology, and biology to examine the related areas of creative thinking, problem-solving and decision‐making. Based on this examination, students will learn how to enhance their performance in each of these activities with an ultimate goal of fostering innovation. Students will explore their own thought processes, decision styles, and biases in the context of business idea generation, problem analysis and creative solutions. Students will also explore creative and decision processes at the group and organizational level through discussions, simulations and corporate immersion projects. Finally, we will examine cultural variables and their influence on creativity and decision-making.

INN602 Enhancing Creativity

This class will focus on the nature of creativity and the creative process, and how creativity can be applied to business situations and environments. We will discuss several definitions and theories of creativity, and apply these theories to enhance your own creativity. Several techniques will help you to recognize and remove barriers to creative thinking. We will apply these techniques to develop creative approaches to address issues identified in other facets of the MBA program. While the main focus of this class is individual creativity, we will also discuss team and organizational creativity. Once you understand how individual creativity is developed, you’ll be better able to create the conditions required for organizational creativity.

INN603 Design for Business

This course will explore the lifecycle of design: define, research, ideate, prototype, select and implement. The course will draw on a wealth of reference disciplines, including engineering, ICT, psychology, economics, sociology and art. Using business issues as context, students will participate in all aspects of design, including the creation of prototypes to illustrate ideas and potential solutions.

INN604 Sustaining Innovation

While creativity and design are important aspects of any kind of innovation, from a business perspective it is also important to understand how the structure and functioning of organizations facilitates or impedes the ability to innovate as well as understand the importance of strategy and strategic planning for setting the direction for innovative efforts in line with market conditions and organizational resources. From an organizational perspective a crucial issue is to consider how knowledge is shared (and protected). We will focus on the themes of innovation, knowledge and organizational networking, and will use a strategic management lens to analyze firm innovation by first examining the building blocks of firm strategy, before looking more specifically at how innovation activities can shape overall strategy.

Value Theme (12 credits)*

This theme delivers a richer understanding of value as a concept and its impact on business. While value is at the heart of every business strategy and activity, its meaning is complex and subjective. Understanding the different interpretations and assessments of value is a prerequisite for any comprehensive business decision.

VAL601 The Value Environment

This course is concerned with the understanding of value(s) and what value means to different parties. Students will be introduced to the stakeholder approach to management. Students will engage in the process of identifying stakeholders. Value to each of the major stakeholders is discussed and assessed. Stakeholders include investors, employees, customers, communities, regulators and business intermediaries. Through readings, cases, projects and presentations, students will learn to appreciate (1) the risks involved in decision making and how decisions affect the various stakeholders in a company, (2) the need to balance values of all stakeholders, (3) the importance of internal and external environmental factors in influencing value understanding and generation, and (4) identifying, understanding and adapting to changes in stakeholder values.

VAL602 Deriving Value

This module is concerned with deriving value from corporate resources such as human capital, the supply chain and financial capital in delivering value to the firm’s various stakeholders. In addition, the module will highlight the importance of information-sharing, communication and risk management to the allocation of such resources. Students will be able appreciate the interplay between various resources available to the firm, and how such interdependencies affect value for the firm’s stakeholders. Students will also appreciate the trade-offs and constraints that managers must face. Students will appreciate the interdependencies between decisions pertaining to the above mentioned resources and thereby learn to consider the pros and cons of such decisions

VAL603 Generating Value

This module is concerned with creating value through new product development, pricing, investment, and mergers and acquisitions. Building on the topics covered in the Innovation module, students will learn frameworks and skills for making strategic decisions with regard to development and launching of new products, pricing, investment, and mergers and acquisitions. Through readings, cases, projects and presentations, students will learn to appreciate the risks involved in decision making and how decisions affect the various stakeholders in a company.

Environment Theme (12 credits)*

Organizations and managers cannot operate in a silo. Leaders must consider the wider setting of the firm, community, country and world when making decisions. The Environments theme emphasizes these different levels of context, starting from within the organization and extending to a global scale.

ENV601 Social Context

In this module, students will examine the social context of decision-making environments. Failing to grasp the importance of cultures and institutions can lead to potentially disastrous errors in judgment for a firm. The subject of culture will be viewed through many different lenses. Some examples of these include discussions of local and national, organizational and transnational cultures. Understanding cultural aspects of an environment will then give insight into the institutional and political setting. Students will learn how to analyze the institutional players and stakeholders that affect the decision making environment. This will be done on a local, national and global level. Knowledge of the cultural, political and institutional factors makes it possible to understand the legal, regulatory and economic environment on a much deeper level.

ENV602 Law, Regul & Econ Environment

A country’s laws and other ‘rules of the game’ play a large role in whether a market economy will function smoothly and efficiently. Understanding these rules and how they affect a business from its inception to continued operation and successful strategy is a key ingredient to financial viability. This course examines economic and legal dimensions in the business environment. We view national regulatory policies in the context of the growing global marketplace, leading to questions of industry structure and its interaction with firm strategy and chances for profitability. We will also examine the ethical implications of many business strategies. The course investigates areas such as contracts, sales, e-commerce, intellectual property, negligence, product liability, employment law, securities law, competition law, privacy law and their interplay with business. We also discuss how a legal system determines the incentives those engaged in business face and thus their behavior in society

ENV603 Technology, Commun & Networks

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) create tremendous potential for growth, development and change. However, the type of change that occurs can be unanticipated. Likewise, ICTs allow for a greater frequency of communication and knowledge sharing—but this does not automatically translate into better communication and information, or better decision making. Thus, technology might be necessary for development and change, but it is by no means sufficient. This course explores the social, historical and economic aspects of technological innovation, focusing on their implications for firms, industries and geographic areas. The course also explores the effect of ICTs on networks and relationships, examining how organizations try to leverage the benefits of technology, while avoiding the pitfalls that can impede progress.

ENV604 Analyzing Complexity & Change

This course asks you to navigate the complex terrain of rapid human or environmental change. We focus on periods of rapid change brought on by natural and human-engineered crises—hurricanes, floods and wars, but also deregulation, market volatility and technological innovation—that reveal underlying weaknesses and strengths in organizations, expose their unexamined assumptions and create opportunities as well as risks. The course presents you with ‘live cases’—scenarios of rapid change at the global, national and local levels. We ask you to engage with multiple, contradictory voices, conflicting interests and incomplete, imperfect data that approximate decision-making in real time. As we consider what it means to confront rapid and disruptive change—including risk assessment, unexamined assumptions and stakeholder responses—we will revisit topics from other modules to understand the roles played by history, culture, networks, legal orders and market structures.

Leadership Theme (12 credits)

Communicating credibly with different groups to earn their trust is an essential leadership skill. Initial study of this theme explores the nature of leadership, the extent to which it can be taught, the role of emotional intelligence in leadership success, and the range of challenges posed by a leadership role.

LDR601 Leadership Fundamentals

This course is designed to deepen each participant’s working knowledge of key mechanisms through which leadership is enacted and to develop participant insight regarding her/his own leadership beliefs and tendencies. Core leadership concepts will be introduced via a variety of both academic and popular business media. In addition, participants will have completed several self-assessments prior to the course, and analyses of these assessments will occur throughout. Class discussion will be based on the assigned course material and draw heavily upon participants’ experience in the field.

LDR602 Thinking About Thinking

This module focuses on developing one’s ability to understand the ways in which we make sense of our experiences. We will examine what influences our perceptions and how those perceptions influence our thinking. Our ability to understand how we make meaning and how we make sense of our experiences has an impact on our communication skills, intercultural skills and critical-thinking skills—the very skills at the core of good leadership. In the studio, we will look at the lenses we use to frame our perceptions, such as our cultural identities; the role of emotion in decision-making; and the role of the unconscious. After learning how to develop an awareness of what goes into our thought processes, we will focus on how to use that information for more effective communication and decision-making, particularly in challenging situations.

LDR603 Leadership Ethics

History is replete with leaders who have failed ethically, making morally bad decisions and allowing unethical cultures to fester in their organizations. In this course we consider how some of these failures might be avoided. We first focus on ethics and its implications for leaders. Are there some objective, universal moral truths—or is all ethics relative to culture? What can leaders learn from Aristotle, Confucius, Lao-Tzu and Mill? Are leaders permitted to break the moral rules that apply to the ‘rest of us’? In the second part of the course, we examine how leaders influence their followers—through reason and emotion—and evaluate this influence from a moral point of view to compare ‘transformational’ and ‘charismatic’ leadership styles. Finally, we identify the sources of ethical failure in leadership and consider how they might be avoided before concluding with a consideration of the importance of creating and sustaining an ethical organizational culture.

LDR604 Global Strategy

This course focuses on how firms create and sustain competitive advantage in a highly competitive, networked economy. We examine models of competition in global markets, emphasizing strategy formulation at the corporate and business levels and strategy implementation at all firm levels. We cover the macro-global environment, ethics, risk management and host- and home-country government regulation. Through industry- and firm-level analysis, we emphasize how firms create a sustainable competitive advantage through products, services and processes. We also address emerging topics in strategy in an attempt to understand how networks and technologies interrelate with global strategy. The course is designed to bring to class both theoretical and empirical evidence for global strategy. However, students’ experience and ‘war stories’ in this context are more than welcome.