The IE Brown Curriculum

The IE Brown Executive MBA offers top executives and proven entrepreneurs an opportunity to expand their perspectives and inspire change in the global business landscape. This unique program is built on a curriculum which integrates the rich insights of the human sciences with core management studies allowing for the exploration of key business topics in new and innovative ways.

Pre-Program

Participant Centered Methodology

The objective of this workshop is to provide students with an introduction to Participant-centered Learning and the Case Method, with an special emphasis on the three main learning stages: Individual preparation, small group discussion and large group discussion.

Financial Accounting

Introduction to the course, Financial Accounting. This course will emphasize the understanding of how financial statements are created and how accounting decisions affect these statements.

Course Descriptions

Competitive & Corporate Strategy

This introductory course to the area of strategic management aims to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the internal and external factors that shape a firm’s ability to create value. Participants will be familiarized with tools to analyze industries, firm resources and competitive interactions, both on the individual business and the corporate level. Perhaps most importantly, the courses strive to instill a strategic mindset that will enable participants to go beyond a simple application of tools to derive a deep understanding of firm competitive behavior in order to enhance their own firm’s performance in any given situation. Corporate strategy extends the strategy logic to the corporate level. The main theories, models and tools within the field of strategy will be covered with a strong emphasis on their application to ambiguous real settings.

Corporate Innovation Process

This course considers the unique barriers to innovation that must be overcome within established firms as well as the techniques and best practices utilized by exemplar firms in executing successful innovation strategies. The business environment is evolving rapidly and established firms must innovate to survive and prosper. Executives note that corporate innovation is extremely or very important to their firm’s strategic growth. Challenges to innovation execution considered in this class include human capital alignment, organization of the innovation process, and encouragement of collaboration and risk taking within the enterprise.

Cost Control

A cost accounting system collects and classifies costs and assigns them to cost objects. The goal of a cost accounting system is to measure the cost of designing, developing, producing (or purchasing), selling, distributing, and servicing particular products or services. Cost allocation is at the heart of most accounting systems. Cost behavior -how the activities of an organization affect its costs- is also fundamental to cost accounting systems. The data provided by a cost accounting system is used for various purposes, which include product costing, planning and control, and decision making. This course mainly focuses on the first of these objectives -products costing. Students, as future managers, will utilize, at a minimum, the output of cost systems, which are the primary internal information systems in a firm. Students taking this course will gain an understanding of cost accounting systems, which includes a familiarization with: the goals of cost accounting systems; the fundamental features and design of cost accounting systems; and the various uses of the data provided by cost accounting decisions.

Cultivating Conditions for Innovation & Creativity

What insights can an artist bring to business? When we cultivate a discerning sensitivity to the contexts in which we operate, we are more likely to identify possibilities that others miss. A critical awareness fertilizes the imagination. A creative outlook can enrich how we see the world. These ideas that spring from the imagination can be refined into concrete outcomes. By fostering a keen understanding of how our own personal creative process works, we will explore how art provides strategies for the creation of value. We will examine these strategies as we discover ways in which creative processes facilitate innovation.

Entrepreneurial Management for Executives

This course provides a forum for the in-depth examination of mindsets, methods, and managerial activities that follow the entrepreneurial process from opportunity recognition to growing ventures. In particular the course will examine the role innovation plays in the creation of new value, and how leadership of the entrepreneurial dimensions of an enterprise is paramount to sustainable growth and competitiveness.

While the most tangible outcome of this course is an opportunity report document, we will examine entrepreneurship from a managerial perspective, covering a wide area of issues that emerge with starting and growing new ventures independent of context. This course is envisioned to give participants a well-rounded learning experience – one which will enable them to develop skills and apply tools vital in today’s business world regardless of individual career choices. The theories, frameworks and concepts will be explored in class and readings will serve as a backbone to a range of hands-on experiences through individual reflection, group and case discussions, coaching sessions, team-work, and opportunity presentations. By placing the learning experience at the nexus of theory and practice the course is designed to lead participants through the intricacies of the entrepreneurial process, both through the experiences of others’ (case studies) as well as your own experience (workshops, coaching sessions, development and presentation of an opportunity report).

Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Developing Regions

This course utilizes team-based experiential learning methods for the further development of skills in business opportunity creation. It builds upon the courses on entrepreneurial management and ethnographic research methods to investigate a business opportunity that participant teams create within, or stemming from, a developing region. The course leverages field work in a specific complex developing regional economy that serves as a proxy for such developing regions more broadly. Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to develop business opportunities in complex, developing regions and have a greater appreciation of the potential and challenges these regions represent.

Ethnographic Research Methods

This course develops basic skills in learning to use ethnographic research methods, the hallmark of anthropology and a crucial methodology for analyzing why people behave the way they do. Concentration is on the two key elements of ethnographic methodology: participant observation and interview techniques. Students apply these techniques in assigned course project work.

Financial Accounting

Financial accounting is about communicating information to all the stakeholders of the company and to the general public. Annual reports are “messages” written in a specific language and sent in certain point in time and space. Numbers and words have to be chosen, they are not mechanically produced through the application of routines.

This course will emphasize the understanding of how financial statements are created and how accounting decisions affect these statements. The course will teach the theory emphasizing the use of accounting as a tool for decision-making and problem solving.

Financial Management

The objective of this course is to help participants integrate the financial theory with the current business environment in which financial decisions take place. In this context, financial decisions can be broken down into two basic decisions: (1) how much to invest and what assets to invest in, and (2) how to raise the necessary cash. The course provides participants with a framework to answer how the firm should make the investment, or capital budgeting decisions, in order to increase shareholder value. Also, participants will discuss the management of the right side of the Balance Sheet, specifically Capital Structure, Shareholder Value Creation and Valuation.

Global Markets

This course investigates the institutions and regulations governing our global economy. Recent events have shown that traditional national regulations (or lack thereof) are no longer adequate yet international accords over aid, trade, labor standards and a host of other issues are fiercely and frequently contested by competing interests. The results of these debates, and the resulting economic systems and policies will determine winners and losers in the new global economy. Understanding the interaction between this political-economic-regulatory environment and individual firms and industries is key to determining both the possibilities for and constraints on global business in today's fast changing economy.

Globalization and the Arts

This course will exemplify the role of the humanities in high-level practical education. The humanities are understood here as way of understanding the human condition in its depth and variation. Humanistic understanding is essential to the negotiation of the globalized world and its challenges. How do the increased exchange, access, and flow of persons, products, and markets associated with globalization negotiate cultural, political, and social difference, particularity, and inequality? How do global systems negotiate between shared benefit and exploitation? Between cultural exchange and innovation on the one hand and the preservation of heritage on the others.

Influencing through Communications

This course is designed to make students more aware of the elements of effective communication (both verbal and non-verbal) to enhance their own communications and to more critically evaluate communications of others. During this practical course, students will learn elements of classical rhetorical theory and current perspectives on persuasion. The objective of this course is to teach students the elements of effective and persuasive communication to enable them to achieve concise, effective communication in all modes, especially presentations and public speaking.

Leading People, Teams, and Organizations

This course focuses on advancing students' understanding of how to lead and manage with the aim of increasing personal and organizational effectiveness. It is designed to address several fundamental aspects of managing and leading people. These include understanding and influencing group behavior and performance, working with and managing people on a one-on-one basis, and leading, motivating and aligning people behind a common vision or direction. This course places a particular emphasis on increasing students' self-awareness as leaders and their ability to address the challenges of leading change in organizations.

Managing Communities of Work

21st Century organizations are experiencing a growing prominence of the role of employees for the purposes of business differentiation and competitive advantage. This sets important challenges for managers, who have to influence their teams in order to elicit competencies such as collaboration, creativity or entrepreneurial drive, and put them in play in their daily activities. Managing people effectively along these lines, however, should involve a careful analysis of organizational dynamics, overcoming subjectivity and developing critical thinking about how to capitalize the best of people talent for boosting corporate performance. The development of such skills is the purpose of this subject. Participants will be provided with a set of analytical tools that will help them think strategically about how work can be organized and individuals and communities motivated (and de-motivated). Specifically, participants will explore ways in which better management of workplace communities can deliver competitive advantage.

Managerial Economics

The economic environment provides many of the critical parameters for companies doing business in an increasingly integrated world. Economic expansion or recession will change all business forecasts; market structure will affect profitability; fluctuating exchange rates will have an impact on costs, sales, risk perceptions and debt levels; and the state of the national budget or interest-rate decisions can color a company´s future. In particular, a global recession like the one suffered recently can transform consumption behavior and business strategies.

Managerial Economics provides participants with a framework to understand the main economic variables and dynamics that affect business activity. The second part of the course will focus on the macro-economy and the policies that governments follow, and how the interaction between free economic forces and policy affect the business cycle and company prospects.

Marketing Management

This course is designed to provide students with a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of marketing and marketing strategy making. The focus will be on getting to know the basic techniques of defining and segmenting a target market for goods or services, building a brand with a meaningful positioning, and then integrating product, price, promotion and distribution to offer a superior marketing mix leading to a long-term competitive advantage. Finally, students will be given an insight into consumer behavior and brand management, as well as understanding the role played by different marketing tools such as marketing research.

Natural Collections: Biodiversity, Industrialization, and Change

This course explores questions about biodiversity loss and maintenance. The appropriation, exploitation and introduction to different landscapes of various plant and animal products are linked in recent history to the intertwined projects of imperialism and the enlightenment. For these reasons, containing nature is also about products and markets. The relationship between human control over nature, natural resource decline, and entrepreneurial and public sector strategies to protect the environment are considered. The course questions the ways and circumstances in which biodiversity is valued and examines the role of various social organizations in managing the environment and its resources.

Operations and Supply Chain Management

The design and operating system of a company must be coherent with its strategy. To achieve this it is important to analyze and understand the design of products, services and work organization, the long and medium-term management of the capacity of both industrial companies and services, integrated chain supply management, MRP, total quality management and the management of technology and innovation. In this course participants will apply an operations strategy framework to assess the level of alignment between marketing and operations strategy. Together they will explore how decisions in operations strategy impact on creating and delivering a firm's competitive capabilities.

The Political Economy of Development

The goal of this unit is to introduce executives in the MBA Program to the politics economic & social development, with a focus on both long-run historical determinants of development and the more recent effects of globalization and neoliberal reforms on economic growth and inequality. To put these issues in context, the unit addresses debates about development in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Rise of China

This course examines the drivers of China’s emergence as a global power, and the consequences of that emergence for international business practitioners. Employing perspectives from comparative politics, international relations, and economics, the course explores the connections between China's domestic institutional transformation, its system of governance, and its increasingly powerful indigenous firms. To what extent have Chinese firms become innovative? How have they become innovative – indeed, how have they even basic growth at all – in a home environment dominated by persistent corruption and unfettered state power? The course examine specific strategies international business practitioners can employ to navigate the Chinese environment.

The Spirit of Entrepreneurship

Historians argue that capitalism, especially its main engine entrepreneurship, took hold and flourished in the West not because of the promise of wealth it contained, but because of the appeal of a distinctive ethical outlook—new ideas about the value of work, business, and the acquisition of wealth that constitute the “spirit of capitalism.” The objective of this module is to trace the development of this new ethical outlook animating capitalist entrepreneurship—the “spirit of entrepreneurship”—from its Reformist beginnings into our own day.

Society and Culture in the Age of Globalization

This course is designed to draw on analytical tools from sociology and anthropology to make sense of the rapidly changing nature of global society. In the past 3 decades the flows of commodities, ideas, people, norms and resources across international borders has accelerated exponentially. Driving these dynamics are not only market forces, but also social networks, cultural diffusions and institutional transformations. As a complement to the courses on political economy and global governance, this course focuses on the social structures, institutional forms, political processes and cultural practices that mediate the encounter of the global and the national.

Technology & Innovation Strategy

For first time ever in the history of humanity, individuals are ahead of institutions and corporations. Individuals can have a louder voice, can share worldwide their individual opinions and knowledge, and can take decisions of living and purchasing that were never imagined before. The age of individual consumers (in its widest definition) has arrived. And that is thanks to Technology (with capital T). Technology has become totally pervasive in business and personal life, affecting all industries and business models.

This course will help to analyze the application of technology in its wider sphere of social transformational drivers, and to apply that in your own sphere of influence:

  • Social & collaboration: The power of many and the capability of individuals in being empowered by technology
  • Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship: using lean and agile approaches as new ways to innovate
  • Digital Transformation: Technology being a huge catalyzer to help driving changes in society that some years ago were unthinkable
  • Speed of change that digital transformation is imprinting

Trends in Global Architecture and Urbanism Today

This course introduces students to current questions in global architecture. After a survey of the history and motivations behind the internationalization of architectural forms, we examine current debates about sustainable architecture and smart urban growth, global urban problems and potential solutions to mass housing, and the application of new technologies such as “smart materials” in architecture. Questions of local vs. global building traditions are considered. Students gain a new understanding of their built environment and will be able to ‘read’ and analyze buildings they encounter, engaging meaningfully with questions about formal, functional and material choices.

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