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Academic Themes

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.


Theme One: Innovation

Leaders know the value of innovation and creativity in devising new models for the role of business in society. This first theme you will study in the Bentley MBA supports the other three. That is, to be 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.

The Innovation theme explores the following topics:

  • Psychology of Innovation: Look at decision‐making from various disciplinary perspectives to understand how humans process information and generate creative ideas, how groups and individuals make decisions, and how one can foster creativity
  • Enhancing Creativity: Examine theories of creativity for individuals and groups, and the conditions for starting and supporting creative environments
  • Design for Business: Review the lifecycle of design, including how to define design goals, generate ideas, and assess those alternatives
  • Exploring, Executing, Exploiting and Renewing Innovation: Integrate knowledge from the preceding three modules into the broader context of industry, organization and competition; emphasis is on the relationship between innovation and strategy, and the management of innovation

Theme Two: Value

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.

Specifically, you will:

  • Reflect on what value means and appreciate how meanings vary among different parties
  • Understand how organizations derive value, and can align processes and resources to help build it
  • Learn about different ways to generate value; for example, through new product development or merger and acquisition
  • Develop measurement tools and analytical skills to help apply and assess concepts and models related to understanding, deriving and generating value

Theme Three: Environments

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.

You will go beyond the boundaries of the firm to examine:

  • Social Contexts: How culture is formed within organizations, countries and the world. For example, a manager needs to understand the differences in working with employees in an Indianapolis office vs. one in Mumbai
  • Economic Environment: The importance of market structure and how to gauge the stability of the overall macroeconomic environment. The market structures prevalent in an industry have different effects on the likelihood of innovation and adoption of new technologies
  • Technology, Communication and Networks: The radical impact of technology and networks on organizations. Topics include outsourcing, off-shoring, and the many ways that new technologies allow firms to organize work

Theme Four: Leadership

Discover your leadership style and track your personal development through the program. Learn how to communicate credibly with different groups to earn their trust. 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. Faculty members and leadership experts serve as guides in understanding your preferred leadership styles, skills and capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. Regular reflection on your experiences in the program will benchmark your development as ethical and strategic leader.

The Leadership theme also challenges you to examine the technical aspects of decision-making, including processing information, making decisions, and communicating those decisions. Emphasis is placed on understanding agency theory and the dynamics of considering asymmetrical information, IT and strategy, and creating an effective control environment. You will confront the challenges involved in making decisions amid uncertainty, communicating those decisions, and managing crises and stakeholder engagement.