Widener

Online MBA Curriculum

The Foundation of Leaders

At Widener University, academics, leadership, and service come first. Students are challenged to connect curricula to societal issues and to take responsibility for their role in today’s global society through hands-on learning, service projects, and advanced career preparation.

Our online MBA curriculum consists of 33 credit hours, 24 of which are from core courses, and the remaining nine credits are earned through elective courses. Students are also required to complete five non-credit hour professional development courses taught by seasoned career development professionals. You will learn how to outline your personal career plan, build your professional network using social media sites, approach potential misconduct, and enhance your ethical decision-making skills. The courses take 1-3 hours to complete and include video presentations, writing or discussion activities, readings and are completed over each two week semester breaks. Courses cover topics such as ethics, advanced interviewing, career planning, negotiation, and leadership.

Widener’s online MBA program offers up to 5 foundation courses that must be met prior to beginning the online MBA program or select courses. Graduates with an undergraduate business background from a U.S. institution may be able to waive the foundation requirements based on previous academic study. If you hold an undergraduate degree from a non-business background, see below for a list of foundation course requirements. Foundation courses are self-paced allowing students to take two at a time.

Inspire your inner leader with our comprehensive general business administration track or choose a concentration in Business Process Innovation or Health Care Management.

The MBA Curriculum at a Glance

Foundations**

This course provides students with a basic understanding of the tools of algebra and calculus. The course also introduces students to the concepts and methodology of statistical analysis that enables them to make decisions using quantitative tools.

This course is designed for graduate students with little or no prior experience in accounting. The course familiarizes students with the fundamentals of external financial reporting for business enterprises and not-for-profit entities. The financial accounting segment of the course focuses on the preparation, analysis, and limitations of financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The conceptual framework that serves as the basis on which financial reporting standards are developed is also discussed. A brief overview of international financial reporting standards (IFRS) is also provided. The managerial accounting segment of the course covers such internal reporting issues as break-even analysis, capital budgeting, cost behavior patterns, and cost allocation. The legal component of the course addresses the formation of different types of business entities (e.g., corporation and partnership) and the regulatory role that the SEC, PCAOB, and Sarbanes-Oxley play in financial reporting.

This course provides students with the foundations of management. It covers the functions, roles, and skills of management; basic concepts in organizational behavior and dynamics; and an introduction to strategic management. The theories, models, and issues addressed serve as the building blocks of knowledge that students will need and use in more advanced courses in the core MBA program.

The primary objective of this course is to expose students to a broad foundational survey of the finance discipline. This broad 24 exposure enables participants to improve communication with finance professionals, contribute to financial decisions, and better understand financial statements. The course covers topics in the area of financial institutions, investments, and business finance. It is expected that at the end of the course, students will have received an integrated perspective of how business and individuals are affected by markets and institutions and how markets and institutions can be used to achieve the goals of individuals and businesses.

Directed toward students with little or no preparation in economics, this course focuses primarily on principles of micro and macro-economic analysis as applied to management decision making in both the private and public sectors. This course is devoted to examining the operations of output (product) and input (resource) markets as they relate to the demand and supply decisions by households and businesses, and to trade with other countries and based on analyzing the determinants of an economy’s levels of output, income, employment, and prices. In addition, the overall economic impacts of government fiscal and monetary policies are studied. Topics include demand elasticities and revenue strategies, production and cost functions, price-output decision making in different types of market structures, input pricing and usage in various factor markets, and determinants of international trade, domestic income and product accounts, basic consumption and investment theories, fiscal and monetary policies for economic stabilization, inflation-unemployment tradeoff controversies, federal government budget deficits and debt management issues, and the macroeconomic impact of international trade.

Core Curriculum

This course provides students with the knowledge, techniques, and skills needed to become effective leaders of organizations, groups, and people. Effective leaders acquire the credibility to lead by positioning their organizations/units for desired results and success in the marketplace. They influence external and internal stakeholders by engaging in a range of leadership styles and techniques that are appropriate for the situation. They build and manage effective teams, and deploy a variety of interpersonal and ethical skills to inspire and motivate people into following them. Students in this course will understand and appreciate how leadership is exercised at the strategic, organizational, group, and individual levels. Students will develop strategic positioning, team building, ethical, and interpersonal skills. Students will recognize their own leadership style and how a wide range of styles can make them more effective leaders. Foundation: BUS 551 or equivalent.

The Information Age has had profound implications on the structure, management, and strategies of the modern organization. Students will examine these transformations with particular emphasis on information systems (IS) as an enabler and driver of corporate strategy, electronic business, and inter-organizational information systems, business intelligence, and knowledge management. In addition, because data is at the core of effective business decision making, students will also focus on data from its collection and consolidation through analysis and modeling, with particular emphasis on decision theory and data mining techniques. Ensuring data validity, reliability, security, and privacy are emphasized. The course requires students have Excel 2010 (or lower) and a working knowledge of spreadsheets. Foundation: BUS 518 or equivalent.

Managerial economic concepts and methods are used for developing business strategies and making business decisions. Students will examine how to increase profit while valuing the objectives of multiple stakeholders. Students will apply economic theory and use economic tools to make decisions that enhance business sustainability. Students will be encouraged to use creative ideas for problem-solving. Students will learn how to utilize concepts such as marginal analysis, demand estimation, forecasting, barriers to entry, pricing strategies, risk analysis, and dynamic versus allocative efficiency to make managerial decisions. Foundations: BUS 518 or equivalent and BUS 538 or equivalent.

This course presents marketing from the perspective of an individual manager or firm in the design and implementation of the marketing mix, target market selection, environmental assessment, and information management. Students will learn how to seek, gauge, and respond to customer preferences, to champion continuous value creation strategies, and pursue customer-driven excellence. Learning is enhanced through the use of a marketing simulation. Foundations: BUS 538 or equivalent.

This course provides an in-depth understanding of business transactions, the elements of corporate financial statements, and the use of financial statements to evaluate company and management performance through the use of financial metrics including the balanced scorecard and horizontal and vertical analysis. Student will evaluate management performance based on the examination of asset utilization, growth, profitability, cash flow, and financial health. Student will gain an understanding of the limitations of financial metrics. Students will examine accounting-related ethical issues as well as the impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on management’s responsibility for internal control over financial reporting. Students will utilize cost-volume-profit in analyses. Students will examine the goal of sustainable development, the current trend of expanding traditional external financial reporting to include sustainability and social reporting, and the sustainability reporting framework and standards developed by the Global Reporting Initiative. Foundation: BUS 528 or equivalent.

The objective of this course is to give students an understanding of the role of finance in the overall management of a firm. The course will focus on the following concepts: financial planning and forecasting; short-term and long-term financing decision; valuation of assets and projects under certainty and uncertainty conditions; cost of financial capital and its application to capital budgeting; and business valuation issues including approaches to the execution of mergers, acquisition, and exit strategies. Students will examine the behavioral theories of corporate finance and the impact of managerial biases on capital budgeting and capital structure decisions. The ability to collect, analyze and present financial information is crucial for the success of a venture. Therefore, student will devote time to building quantitative, analytical, and financial decision making skills. Foundations: BUS 568 or equivalent and BUS 645.

This course will provide students with knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to develop and improve processes and systems needed for their organizations to succeed in a highly competitive environment. Students will learn how to create agile organizations that are capable of rapidly identifying customer needs and developing processes that facilitate the development of products and services demanded by customers. A key part of this course is understanding and measuring processes, so that they can be improved so that they consistently meet customer requirements. To achieve this, students will use process analysis and measurement techniques developed from a variety of disciplines including quality improvement, management science, and managerial accounting. These include: Process and Work Redesign, LEAN, Six Sigma, ISO9000, and PDCA. Students will learn how to apply tools such as control charts, Pareto charts, affinity & fishbone diagrams, XY charts and force field analysis. Students will study the supply chain to examine how organizations can deliver what customers want, when they want it, and at a competitive price. Capabilities of enterprise resource planning systems are covered as a process governance mechanism. Finally, students will use benchmarking as a tool to not only measure and compare performance but also demonstrate how that leads to improved results. Foundations: BUS 538 or equivalent and BUS 615.

This capstone course focuses on the most vital task of a manager – managing the organization for superior results. This task involves setting the organization on the right strategic path, creating a set of appropriate measures and guidance systems, developing an integrated set of functional strategies that work together to give the firm a competitive advantage, and finding new ways to generate greater value through innovation, new market creation, and globalization. To manage for results, managers have to play the role of integrator, innovator, and global strategist. In this course, students learn how to do all three.

As integrators, managers ensure that various parts of the firm work together in harmony. They make sure that actions in one part of the company do not counteract those in another part, that production and marketing choices are aligned, and that new products launched by the firm complement the old.

As innovators, managers find new ways to generate revenue for the firm. They go beyond existing competition to develop new market spaces and find new ways to create value for the customer.

As global strategists, managers identify and leverage opportunities that emerge in the global economy. They use arbitrage, adaptation, and aggregation strategies to tap into global markets and profit from international operations.

This course helps students develop skills to reconfigure organizational functions and integrate cross-functional decisions for competitive advantage. Students learn to develop value curves that will take the firm into new and less competitive market spaces. They become proficient at developing global strategy. To do all this, students draw upon and integrate the knowledge that they acquired in previous MBA courses.

Professional Development Coursework

This workshop introduces the concepts of personal and career leadership and helps students identify skills, interests and motivated abilities and what they still need to learn to advance their career. Specific attention is spent on understanding their strategic network and sphere of influence, while developing an action plan for career growth.

This workshop provides an opportunity for students to learn ethical systems and discuss ethical practices, through an overview of the history of ethics and application to today’s workplace. Case discussions and exercises encompassing values based decision enhance the learning experience.

In this workshop, students review the ever-changing job market and what to expect when moving through increasingly complex job interviews. Students write questions they’ll likely be asked based upon their experiences, and build an action plan for negotiating their next job offer.

Whether buying a car or clarifying team roles on a project, negotiation is an integral part of our work and personal lives. In this workshop, students assess their own negotiation skills, identify best practice techniques and through case exercises, review real-world applications.

As students’ progress through their graduate business program, this workshop provides realistic next steps for moving forward with their career, either with current or prospective employers, developing their “elevator speech” and preparing for executive level interaction with an increased sense of personal brand.

General Electives*

Businesses whose managers have superior interpersonal skills have significantly higher profits and lower turnover than those without such skills. In fact, people management skills are three times more powerful in influencing financial success than market share, capital intensity, size, and industry return on sales combined. Yet, industry leaders say that business graduates are lacking in management and interpersonal skills. Managers are still struggling with questions like “How do I motivate my people to commit to a new idea?”, “How do I communicate with poor performers without creating a defensive reaction?”, and “How do I negotiate for resources in a hostile environment?” This course takes a hands-on “learning by doing” approach to provide students with the people management skills needed in a dynamic work environment. Interactive exercises, role-plays, simulations, and video-based cases are used to build personal, interpersonal, and group skills. Personalized feedback and a focus on behavioral change enables students to become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and to acquire skills in areas such as communication, motivation, conflict management, negotiation, teamwork, and leadership. Students also learn how to institutionalize the skill set by “hardwiring” it into the organizational system. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

Trends and uncertainties in the marketplace challenge organizations to implement strategies that ensure their survival and competitiveness. To accomplish this, companies must have the ability to manage change. This course introduces students to a variety of tools that are used in specific phases of the change process. Student teams use these tools to develop change management programs or effect successful change management projects within their organizations. Change has become a fact of life for institutions, individuals and societies. Globalization, technological innovations, demographic trends, and economic pressures have created adaptive challenges for nations and political entities, corporations and not-for-profits, managers, and workers. To survive and prosper in this constantly evolving environment, managers must be able to anticipate, respond, and adapt to external and internal changes. MGT 625 is designed to provide you with the knowledge, tools, and competencies to lead and manage change. You will acquire a deep understanding of the nature of change and how people and institutions react to it. You will apply different models and paradigms of change to create a toolkit for dealing with resistance and achieving buy-in from critical stakeholders. You will develop the skills of an effective change agent, with an ability to diagnose a change situation and use appropriate techniques and organizational levers to address its human, political, and systemic dimensions. In short, you will become a competent leader and manager of change. Prerequisite: BUS 605, or permission of the instructor.

Business Process Innovation Concentration

In an effort to become leaner and improve responsiveness to the customer in a volatile economic time, organizations of the 21st century are putting more emphasis on process-centric approaches and are viewing the key to success as lying in business process management (BPM). BPM is a discipline involving the practice of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of organizations by focusing on and automating business processes, thereby creating agile processes to consistently achieve competitive advantage. This course is an introduction and overview of BPM. The concepts, fundamentals, methods, and organizational impact of BPM are emphasized. The phases of BPM are examined, which include process strategy, process definition, process implementation, process controlling, and process transformation. The course covers the general methodologies and information technologies used in each of these phases for successful BPM initiatives. Case studies are used to help students gain a fundamental understanding of BPM and the surrounding issues in organizations.

The primary focus of this course is on the integration of business process knowledge and skills for creating a holistic understanding and application of process innovation strategy. Participants in the course acquire knowledge of strategic process innovation and critical thinking through intensive analysis of case studies, simulations of process innovation strategies, and discussions with industry practitioners on real-life situations. The balanced scorecard is introduced as a strategy tool, and processes are linked to each section of the scorecard. Prerequisite: BPI 600 or permission of the instructor.

The purpose of this course is to provide a thorough investigation into the emergent practices in information and knowledge management. Information technology has been and will continue to be an important catalyst of innovation in this field. Artificial intelligence, expert systems, and web-based technologies that support and transform the field of knowledge management are covered. The process of the discovery, capture, sharing, and application of knowledge and the related organizational learning are emphasized. Students gain experience designing executive information systems that support strategic decisions and designing support systems for knowledge-based decision makers throughout the organization. Because organizations are structuring their activities through globally dispersed teams, taking a process approach, and are even outsourcing selected processes, intra- and inter-organizational collaboration and decision support are also covered in this course. Extensive use of SAP and other technologies are incorporated.
Prerequisite: MIS 290 or equivalent, or instructor’s consent.

Health Care Management Concentration

Analysis of current arrangements for the financing, delivery, and organization of medical care services. Topics include health care costs and cost containment; ethics and values in health care; the supply, demand, and distribution of health care facilities and human resources; competition and regulation; quality of care; health insurance (both public and private); health care politics; and the role of government.

Community health management had, until recently, received little attention from providers and payers of care. But that has changed. It is now recognized that a population-based approach to health care is very effective at containing costs, improving outcomes, and increasing access to care. In this era of managed care, providers must be able to care for enrolled populations in a cost-effective manner. They must assess health needs, understand care-seeking behavior, and influence utilization. Providers must also design community health interventions that impact enrolled populations where they live and work, not just where they show up for care. Finally, both insurers and employers are interested in applying population-health approaches to the workplace – to improve employee health and well-being, reduce health care costs, and enhance worker productivity. This course provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to manage community health. Students use principles of epidemiology, demography, and medical sociology to assess community health needs and to identify factors that influence health behavior and health service utilization. Principles of community organizing, social marketing, media advocacy, and behavior modification are used to design community and workplace health interventions. Students also discuss the problems of vulnerable populations and ethical dilemmas in public health.
Prerequisite: HCM 601, or permission of instructor.