The Berkeley MBA for Executives program curriculum consists of the traditional business core curriculum, field immersions, and electives. An overview of the curriculum follows:
The core curriculum is taught through 10 core courses and, like that of the full-time and evening and weekend programs, focuses on key business skills. The courses and class descriptions are listed below. Field Immersions are covered separately in the section below.
This course covers the accounting principles and methods (GAAP) used in preparing financial statements. It emphasizes the rationale for, and implications of, the fundamental accounting concepts. The course provides a foundation to critically analyze and interpret accounting data, and to use accounting data in various decision situations. The course requires no prior academic knowledge of accounting, and it is designed accordingly.
The objective of this course is to provide an understanding of the role of data and statistical analysis in managerial decision-making. We focus on the role of managers as both consumers and producers of information, illustrating how finding and/or developing the right data and applying appropriate statistical methods can help solve problems in business.
Business success or failure depends critically on the successful positioning of the firm and the management of its resources. The goal of this course is to learn to think systematically and strategically about achieving competitive advantage through the management of the firm's resources. We will analyze management decisions concerning decision-making under uncertainty, costs, pricing, and in strategic situations. We will use readings and cases along with class discussion to develop practical insights into managing for competitive advantage.
In this introductory course, students learn how to value assets given forecasts or projections of future cash flows. The course also concentrates on the risk characteristics of different asset classes. The first part of the course focuses on bonds and stocks. The second part of the course deals with measuring and pricing risk. The third part of the course introduces students to valuation. The final part of the course introduces students to derivative instruments. This course will combine the theoretical underpinnings of finance with real-world examples.
This course takes a scientific approach to leading people--drawing on research and theory from the social sciences. Here we will identify key leadership skills and to provide you opportunities to practice them.
The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the key principles, ideas, and decision frameworks of modern marketing management. In this course, you will learn the strategies and methods modern marketers use to create value for customers and develop long-term profitable relationships with them. Central themes of this course beyond customer value and marketing strategy will include an emphasis on how digital marketing is changing the face of marketing today, practical application of theory to highlight when it is useful and expose when it may be deficient, knowledge transfer between your areas of expertise and marketing to enhance learning in both areas, and exposure to recent marketing research that is advancing the discipline.
The objective of this one-unit course is to help students to become better leaders by strengthening their ability to lead others through trust-based relationships. In this course we introduce students to key concepts and techniques around building trust-based relationships, a key competence of a successful leader in any organization today. By the end of this course, students can expect to have comprehensive understanding of the concept of trust in a business setting, self-awareness of their own ability to build trust-based relationships with others and areas for improvement, and tangible techniques to help build trust-based relationships with others.
Operations Management is the systematic direction and control of the processes that transform inputs into finished goods or services. Operations is one of the primary functions of a firm. While marketing induces the demand for products and finance provides the capital, operations produces and delivers the products and services. This course provides an introduction to the concepts and analytic methods that are useful in understanding the management of a firm's operations. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the problems and issues confronting operations managers, and to provide students with language, concepts, insights, and tools to deal with these issues in order to gain competitive advantage through operations.
Competitive and Corporate Strategy is a course in management and organizational leadership. It is designed to acquaint the student with delineation of a business strategy by the firm, and the development and implementation of an execution plan that will lead to achievement of its strategic goals and objectives. The pursuit of these goals and objectives usually occurs within a competitive context, in which rival organizations often seek similar ends (e.g., market share, profits, control of scarce resources, etc.). Accordingly, the essential drama of the marketplace is how one firm attempts to "win" vis-à-vis its rivals-- that is, how it develops and implements a competitive strategy.
This is a course in introductory macroeconomics, with a strong emphasis on international applications. There are two objectives for this course. The first is to develop simple models of the goods and services, asset, capital, and labor markets which can be usefully applied to generate realistic predictions regarding the behavior of such macroeconomic variables as: output, employment, inflation, the current account, and interest and exchange rates. The second is to apply these models to understand and interpret current and historical macroeconomic developments, primarily in the industrialized OECD countries. Having both the theoretical framework and the empirical knowledge in place will enable you to frame a large number of managerial questions within a larger macroeconomic context, and allow you to navigate uncertainty with more precision and confidence.
See course description above in Term 2 section.
* Building Trust-Based Relationships spans the second and third terms but students receive credit for this course in Term 3.
In the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, 25% of your curriculum is experiential, delivered through five immersive learning opportunities that let you apply your growing skills across a variety of challenges and ecosystems:
Field immersions leverage our global ties and premier location to connect you with groundbreaking entrepreneurs, global leaders, and renowned innovators-as well as with the authentic leader in you.
Students will explore the vital link between leadership and communication. They will increase self-confidence when speaking, learn how to think fast and clear under pressure, use voice and body effectively, and learn to be deep and brief with their content. The course also focuses on giving, receiving, and applying feedback, as well as understanding one's leadership strengths and weaknesses.
This immersion focuses on design-centered thinking and development, as well as design-in-action: conversations with design firms. Our emphasis will be on going beyond the obvious questions and answers because insights that lead to breakthrough innovation are rarely obvious (until we discover them). Specifically, we'll talk about ways of collecting information to characterize a problem space, discovering meaning in the data that allows us to frame and re-frame problems, generating a range of solutions and then gathering feedback to assess those solutions. We'll apply those processes and tools to design and redesign solutions and business models.
This class builds on Confucius's notion: "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." There will be a lot of doing in our class sessions to further build upon learnings from Leadership Communications and Building Trust-Based Relationships, and to develop facility with a toolkit you can take back to work with you. We will complement the hands-on work with visits with design firms and corporate innovation leaders so that you can not only learn something of the mindset, skillset and toolset associated with innovation, but also how it is used in industry today.
The focus of this immersion is understanding core capabilities of entrepreneurs, engaging in deep conversations with founders and C-suite executives, and understanding the requirements, demands, benefits, and risks of working at a startup. The course will be split between classroom time, guest speakers, and visits to some of the most interesting, emerging companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Classroom time will be 100% case-based and will focus on entrepreneurial companies. The company visits will mainly be with founder-CEOs.
The international immersion explores how culture and geography affect core business disciplines and provides rich exposure to companies, organizations, and executives in the selected location. Prior classes have traveled (or will travel) to Shanghai, Brazil, and Singapore.
Industry immersions focus on a particular industry and geography and the associated business and culture. Classes have traveled to Washington, D.C. to learn how public policy affects business--and how business attempts to influence public policy.
Students may select from a variety of elective options, including anchor electives, independent study, dual-listed electives, full-time and evening & weekend electives, and courses at other UC Berkeley graduate schools.
The EMBA program has curated "Anchor Electives" based on the core capabilities and knowledge a leader needs to manage an enterprise, as well as student feedback. These anchor electives are taught by our top-ranked faculty.
A list of current and past anchor electives and professors, organized by program pillars, is available below. You can click on each course for a course description and information about the instructor. Please note that anchor electives and instructors may change from time to time depending on a number of factors.
Entrepreneurship & Innovation
This course teaches the approach entrepreneurs use to identify attractive opportunities and to design and build new ventures. The pedagogy in the course includes case studies, as well as in class visits from case protagonists and other speakers, and the development of a pitch for an entrepreneurial venture. One of the major objectives of this course is to model the work life of a variety of entrepreneurs so that you will have the chance to personally reflect on your desire to pursue an entrepreneurial career. Throughout the course, the cases and our discussions will have as their focal point the entrepreneur who, often when confronting significant uncertainty, must make and implement a set of complex decisions.
New Venture Finance
This is a course about how to successfully finance a high growth start-up venture. Since the Haas School is principally about professionally managed businesses, the course will focus on businesses that are not small by design (even if they start that way) but on those businesses that with key strategic decisions, smart financing and hard work mixed with little good luck can be expected to create profitable exits for founders, employees and investors. The course will examine a full range of financing options. The goal is to equip the student with the concepts, tools, risks and considerations for financing a business through its life stages. It can also be valuable for people who work or aspire to work at high growth start-ups to understand stock options, financing and exits.
This course examines in detail the Opportunity Recognition process as it is applied in Silicon Valley and in other innovative settings in the present day, with an emphasis on venture creation in new and established companies. The class is highly interactive and builds on 18 years as one of the Haas School’s core courses on Innovation. The course uses a blended approach that combines lectures, discussions, and case studies, together with several senior guest speakers. Most of the case studies used in this course are Berkeley Haas cases produced by Prof. Isaacs in which the case protagonist joins the class for discussion.
This course examines innovation strategies applied to emerging technologies. You will discuss successful and failed approaches for the commercialization of new technologies in both consumer and business settings using both contemporary and historical examples. Emphasis is placed on understanding the fundamental issues in commercialization of a broad range of technologies, including IT, energy, life sciences and consumer technology. The course is particularly suited for those who anticipate founding or leading a technology-based enterprise.
Financial Information Analysis
This course (i) provides you with a framework for business analysis and valuation using financial statement data; and (ii) shows you how to apply this framework to a variety of business decisions. The course assumes that you have a good working knowledge of accounting, finance, economics and business strategy. The focus is on integrating key concepts from each of these areas and applying them to financial decision-making. The course is taught through a combination of lectures and interactive cases. It requires some facility with Excel spreadsheets.
This course is designed from the perspective of a CFO or senior corporate manager. It covers techniques for valuing projects and companies, methods of financing projects and companies, financial management, capital structure and capital budgeting. The course is meant to provide a good understanding of the ways in which financing methods and techniques can affect firm value.
This course focuses on helping students become great leaders. The most effective leaders understand that their role is to set the context for others to do extraordinary work and maximize collective success. The overall objective of the course is to increase awareness about individual strengths and opportunities for improvement while gaining an understanding of the essential qualities to be an extraordinary leader. The course will include a 360 degree assessment component.
Negotiating is a commonplace life activity. The purpose of this course is to develop a general framework around negotiations so that you can be successful in achieving your goals in settings involving competition and cooperation. Negotiation is both an art and a science. Because all negotiations involve two or more interdependent parties, understanding human nature and the psychology of conflict are essential for success. By exploring these central issues, we will deepen our understanding of how individuals, groups, and organizations behave in potentially competitive situations. This course is designed to complement the technical and diagnostic skills learned in other courses in your MBA program.
The purpose of this course is NOT to make you into a Data Scientist. The purpose of this course is to teach you how to translate business questions into data questions, and give you some hands-on experience solving data problems using Python.
In this course you will learn to identify, evaluate, and capture business analytics opportunities that drive value. You will be exposed to business analytics techniques that are used in data empowered business strategy. You will be able to leverage data scientists and analytics experts to make your marketing strategy better, more robust, more reliable, more profitable. In order to be able to leverage these experts effectively, you need to speak the language of analytics: you’ll need to know how to ask your data science experts the right questions, how to give the analytics experts the information they need to do their best possible work.
Game theory is about what happens when decision makers (spouses, workers, managers, presidents) interact. In the past fifty years, game theory has gradually became a standard language in economics. The power of game theory is its generality and (mathematical) precision, and because game theory is rich and crisp, it is applicable to many business situations. As Robert Aumann (2005 Nobel Economics Laureate) said "... game theory is a sort of umbrella or `unified field' theory for the rational side of social science, where `social' is interpreted broadly, to include human as well as non-human players (computers, animals, plants)."
Global Strategy is a course in management. It is designed to acquaint the student with the delineation of business strategy and management by the firm that engages in cross-border transactions, and the development and implementation of a strategic plan that will allow the firm to achieve its cross-border goals and objectives.
Mergers & Acquisitions
The purpose of this course is to teach value creation in acquiring or selling a business. Most studies show that the majority of corporate acquisitions destroy the buyer's value. Sellers enjoy an immense advantage with competitive auctions and the term "winners curse "is usually very appropriate. Our mission is to offer experience-based curriculum in order to help students create shareholder value and avoid costly pitfalls in future acquisition initiatives. Similarly, we offer insight as to how to maximize value when selling businesses.
This one week course is designed to introduce the student to the world of operational and strategic turnarounds of troubled and underperforming businesses. The intent is to focus on the leadership practices that work in fixing flawed enterprises. Our scope of distress will range from rescuing businesses in the grasp of a death spiral to breathing fresh air into sound, but underperforming, enterprises in order to create value.
Many EMBA students craft their own independent study course(s), choosing to focus on a particular field or issue of interest. Many students also specifically seek out professors with stellar reputations in their field of research. This is an opportunity for students to receive guidance and mentorship from key faculty.
After completing your core curriculum during your first three terms, you may enroll in an Independent Study course for one or two units during Terms 4 or 5. The XMBA 293 course is your opportunity to do research in an area of interest to you, in which there are no existing courses. You must find a Haas faculty member willing to serve as your XMBA 293 supervisor, and together, devise a format. This might include a project, a paper, or a set of directed readings and an exam.
Begin by researching the faculty directory (http://facultybio.haas.berkeley.edu/faculty-photo) to identify potential supervisors. Then contact them to see if they are open to taking on an independent study. Once you have identified a willing professor, sort out the deliverables together, complete THIS paperwork, and submit it to the Program Office for approval and enrollment:
A 1 unit Independent Study should represent 45-60 hours of work, 2 units represent 90-120 hours of work over the semester.
Additional guidelines for Independent Study courses include:
Download a XMBA 293 enrollment form (Word Doc) or get one in the MBA for Executives Program Office.
The EMBA program may from time to time offer electives that are dual-listed with the EWMBA program, and a set number of seats are reserved for EMBA students. Those courses may be offered on the EMBA block schedule or the EWMBA schedule (weekly in the evenings, usually Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday).
Students may elect to enroll in certain Evening and Weekend or Full-Time MBA program electives, subject to course availability and space constraints. Students of those programs have a complex bidding system and are thus given priority. Course schedules can be found here.
Students may choose electives at other graduate schools, such as the Schools of Law, Information, Public Policy, or Engineering. These courses, however, are subject to the following constraints: the condensed EMBA schedule often conflicts with other schools' academic calendars; students of those graduate schools also receive priority enrollment; and many courses are off limits because they have prerequisites. Given the range of offerings at Haas, students will be asked to justify or explain their rationale for desiring to enroll in another graduate school program.
Graduation typically takes place in January following completion of coursework in December of the prior calendar year. The Program Office files on behalf of all graduating EMBA students an "Application for Candidacy for the Master's Degree" with the UC Berkeley Graduate Division office. Please make sure your mailing address is correct in CalCentral, as diplomas are mailed to students a few months following graduation.
The Program Office will provide additional information about the recognition ceremony and logistics closer to graduation date.
The following awards and honors are presented at the recognition ceremony: