Executive Master of Business Administration
What will I study?
The Executive MBA will integrate your understanding and practice of all aspects of successful business leadership and performance through 17, four-day modules, spread over 18 months.
The 18 subjects that make up the modules cover the essential areas of leadership, finance, accounting, economics, ethics, managing people, strategy and operations.
Each standard module also includes an executive skills workshop or seminar, while the special Industry Studies in Asia module includes company visits and guest talks.
For more information about our Executive MBA subjects, visit the Melbourne Business School website.
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
Organizations face many adaptive challenges to survive and thrive in a context of a complex and uncertain environment driven by forces such as globalization and technology. Managers maintain the status quo efficiently but leaders help individuals, teams, organizations, and societies to do adaptive work. Leadership has been defined as “the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done, and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to achieve shared objectives” (Yukl, 2006). Leadership is not a position but a process and it is often emergent and shared by individuals who choose to be leaders and have developed leadership capability. Leadership is particularly important in new organization structures that are flat, flexible, diverse, and global rather than hierarchical, stable, and homogenous. There is substantial evidence that leadership can be learned and this introductory subject is aimed at developing the capability to lead individuals and teams through intrapersonal (i.e., self-awareness and self-management) and interpersonal (i.e., social awareness and social skill) development. This subject is a two and a half day intensive that includes theoretical and conceptual content alongside solo and group exercises designed to prepare students for leadership experiences in the MBA program and their future careers.
Organizations face many adaptive challenges to survive and thrive in a context of a complex and uncertain environment driven by forces such as globalization and technology. Managers maintain the status quo efficiently but leaders help individuals, teams, organizations, and societies to do adaptive work. Leadership has been defined as “the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done, and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to achieve shared objectives” (Yukl, 2006). Leadership is not a position but a process and it is often emergent and shared by individuals who choose to be leaders and have developed leadership capability. Leadership is particularly important in new organization structures that are flat, flexible, diverse, and global rather than hierarchical, stable, and homogenous. There is substantial evidence that leadership can be learned and this introductory subject is aimed at developing the capability to lead individuals and teams through intrapersonal (i.e., self-awareness and self-management) and interpersonal (i.e., social awareness and social skill) development. This subject is a five day intensive that includes theoretical and conceptual content alongside solo and group exercises designed to prepare students for leadership experiences in the MBA program and their future careers.
Effective leadership provides direction, alignment and commitment for the collective. It is about courage, visibility and approachability. It is about learning to disappoint people a little less!
- Social Responsibility and Ethics6.25
Social Responsibility and Ethics
In this subject, students learn about the societal context in which business operates, together with the skills for reasoning about ethical problems that arise in this context. The course examines the various stakeholders of business and discusses the obligations of corporations to those stakeholders. It considers strategies for achieving corporate social responsibility goals – such as environmental sustainability and social outcomes ‐‐ taking into account both the ethical case and the business case for such strategies. The course also examines a range of alternative approaches to moral reasoning as well as the applications of those approaches to the complex and dynamic ethical problems that confront leaders of modern organizations, both in Australia and in other cultures.
- Financial Accounting12.5
Accounting is the “language of business,” and accounting information is the basis for performance measurement, business contracting, and most operating, investing, and financing decisions that managers make. Financial accounting information affects how individuals outside a company perceive that company, and by extension, the resources available to the company to accomplish its objectives. An understanding of and the ability to use financial accounting information will be essential to your success as a professional manager. This subject is designed to provide students with foundation knowledge about external financial reporting by for-profit entities. This foundation knowledge not only provides the basis for correctly interpreting and using accounting information provided internally to managers for managerial decision making, but also provides the basis for using financial statements for more externally-focused judgments and decisions (e.g., assessing a firm’s intrinsic value or to assess a firm’s strengths and weaknesses relative to competitors).
- Managing People12.5
This subject examines human behaviour at the individual, group and organisational levels. Theories, models and research will be discussed and applied through case studies, syndicate team assignments, experiential exercises and relfection on work experience. Each topic has been selected to help you better manage yourself, other people, groups and organisations.
- Data Analysis12.5
Contemporary business is awash in data. Modern business processes and activities usually involve multiple streams of data from areas as diverse as marketing activities, operational processes and financial activities. Therefore, managers are frequently confronted with how to harness these to understand their business better, so that they can make more informed decisions. This subject provides the fundamental quantitative skills necessary for an MBA student to extract information from data, through quantitative analysis, to make better managerial decisions. Students will be familiarized with the tools of quantitative analysis, develop the necessary skills for analytical thinking and a quantitative mind set in measuring performance. The fundamental quantitative skills from this subject provide a foundation to the advanced subjects within the MBA and provide students an analytical framework towards solving managerial problems later in their career.
The Marketing subject focuses on the challenges faced by organisations in managing demand, and how to address those challenges with optimal demand-side strategies. To be successful, organisations have to be able to recognise, create, grow, and protect market-based assets that influence demand. Brand equity, the installed base of customers, and support from channels (e.g., intermediaries such as retailers) constitute the most important market-based assets that help produce market outcomes such as sales growth, price premiums, market share, customer share, customer retention, customer referrals, and addressable markets.
In this subject, students will learn how (and which) marketing investments help develop market-based assets, how market-based assets translate into market outcomes, and how market outcomes in turn help in ensuring the long-term survival and success of organisations.
- Financial Management12.5
This is an introductory course of valuation and financial management. The course is designed for all MBA students with career interests in managing any organizations where cash flows matter. It is based on the principle that firms should be managed to increase the wealth of their shareholders, subject to the fulfilment of their contractual and legal obligations to other stakeholders. To this purpose, this subject will focus on the valuation of financial assets and selection of investment projects. It provides a good foundation for those who want to specialize in finance and choose many finance electives we offer in later terms. Furthermore, students will find that the principles learned here can be readily applied to their own personal financial planning and investments.
In fiercely competitive global and dynamic environments, companies face increasing pressures to exceed customer expectations along multiple performance measures, such as cost, quality, flexibility and innovativeness. To outperform their competitors, many firms make the mistake of mimicking their rivals, rather than focusing on developing the organizational capabilities that competitors will find difficult to match over the long term. And although operations are at the core of a firm’s value adding activities, few firms have sought to build a sustainable competitive advantage around these capabilities.
Operations deals with the design, management and continuous improvement of business processes. It aims at providing some of the core concepts in operations that are essential for leveraging a firm’s operational capabilities to achieve sustainable competitive advantage. This course provides a logical and rigorous approach to plan and control process structure and managerial levers to achieve desired business process performance.
- Global Business Economics12.5
Global Business Economics
Global Business Economics examines the broad environment in which firms operate and explains factors that affect the output growth, inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and exchange rates of a country in a globalized world. These economy-wide variables are beyond a firm’s control but critically influence the decision-making of any firm. The course presents a macroeconomic framework to illustrate the dynamic inter-connections among markets (e.g. those for financial assets, goods and services, labor, and money) and government policies. With the aid of country case studies and current policy research, the course aims to demonstrate that economics is not primarily a set of answers but a method of reasoning.
Having completed the course, a student should be able to read The Australian Financial Review or The Economist intelligently, and make informed judgements on questions of economic policy. The course seeks to demystify economics and to enable students to form their own opinions on economic issues. A related aim is to prepare future general managers to deal with professional economists, both those on their own staff and those in government. A student who completes this course should never again be intimidated by economists or economics.
The course will be aimed at students with little or no background in economics, though students who have completed some undergraduate courses in macroeconomics will benefit from the more practical nature of this course.
- Business Strategy12.5
Formulating, or contributing to the formulation of, the business strategy of the firm is one of the key roles of a General Manager or Chief Executive. It involves not only integrating and coordinating the activities of different functional areas, such as marketing, operations management, accounting, human resource management and finance, but also a conscious building and sustaining of the firm’s competitive advantage (s), and making critical choices as to which products, markets and segments the firm should compete in. As a result, the manager needs to have a clear understanding of the factors and forces which shape the success (or failure) of the firm and the industry. This subject provides an introduction to the frameworks and tools commonly used in developing and assessing business strategies. It is also intended to develop the student’s decision-making skills from the perspective of top management.
- Integrative Business Capstone12.5
Integrative Business Capstone
This subject is intended as an ‘integrative’ capstone course, and as such does not introduce to the students substantial new material; but rather, provides them with a vehicle for applying and integrating the knowledge and skills they have already acquired in the previous subjects within this degree. In particular, groups of students (or syndicates) will be asked to undertake an integrative exercise that simulates the management of a firm in preparation for their transition back into the workplace.
- Leading in Transformational Times12.5
Leading in Transformational Times
Over the last years, transformation has moved to the top of organisations' strategic agenda, therefore the ability to lead in transformational times has become the crucible of top managers. This course will connect strategy, organisation and leadership concepts with top management practices to provide students with frames to understand the complex and risky situations in which they have to act and effective tactics to deal with these challenging situations.
- Corporate Strategy12.5
Corporate Strategy refers to the overall strategy of a multi-business firm. It is different from business strategy. The individual businesses in the corporate “family” have the responsibility of determining how to achieve and sustain competitive advantage. Corporate Strategy refers to the task of the corporate “parent” and involves answering two distinct questions: 1) What businesses are we going to have in our portfolio? and 2) How is Corporate (i.e., the Corporate office) going to add value to the individual businesses? The first of these questions is normally straightforward and involves issues like scale and scope of the businesses we are in as well as the amount of diversification we wish to have. The second question is typically the more difficult. It involves not only capturing the synergies that exist among the businesses in the portfolio but also managing strategic risk. This course is designed to help managers understand strategy at the corporate level and equip them to formulate and execute Corporate Strategy.
- Mergers and Acquisitions12.5
Mergers and Acquisitions
Merger & acquisition activity is a mainstay of the growth characteristics of large firms. It has been a feature of business life for well over a century. Whilst there have been many merger ’waves’ over the years, this pathway to growth has constantly maintained its importance. This subject begins with an examination of the history of, and reasons for, merger and acquisition activity thereby providing a rationale for the study of the whole of the merger & acquisition process. This process extends from the decision to acquire through to the means of achieving successful post-merger integration.
The subject will concentrate on the four fundamental elements of M&A:
- Undertaking deals for the right reasons – strategy
- Ensuring the right price is paid – valuation
- Finding the right information on which to make the decision – due diligence
- Making the deal work after completion – post-merger integration
Studying these and other elements of M&A will utilise all the skills you have developed in the core subjects of your MBA.
- Brand Management12.5
Brand Management is a course designed to prepare the student for the challenges of building, protecting and strengthening a brand. The course examines branding from across a range of different industries and is relevant for those interested in managerial, entrepreneurial, not for profit and government sectors. This is a very applied elective and examines all the the key areas of brand management including brand research, brand building, brand strategy, brand positioning, brand extension and brand architecture. The course is case based and uses examples from across the major areas of branding including consumer goods, services, B2B, retail branding and luxury goods.
- Industry Studies in Asia12.5
Industry Studies in Asia
Industry Studies in Asia is a field study-based subject that allows students to apply the skills they have developed in the core subjects of the EMBA Program to organisational challenges. The business project activity enables students will obtain in-depth insights into designated industries in China and acquire skills in analysing industries and identifying associated business opportunities. The critical importance of developing insights into the cross-cultural issues of international business is central to the learning experience. The main deliverable in the subject is a detailed report describing a field study in the China
- Consumer Behaviour12.5
Current approaches to business emphasize the importance of adopting a consumer focus. At its essence, marketing—and business more broadly—is an attempt to influence consumer behaviour. This subject seeks to provide insights into consumer psychology as a basis for developing powerful consumer-influence tactics and marketing strategies.
While all of us are consumers, our intuitions about our own behaviour, as well as that of others, are often inaccurate. Understanding our consumers—or ourselves, as consumers—is no easy task. A solid understanding of cognitive and social psychology can offer insight beyond business acumen and help guide a plethora of business decisions.
In this course you will learn about fundamental theories and concepts in consumer psychology and about new research findings to enhance your understanding of how and why people choose, use, and evaluate goods and services the way they do.
- Financial Institutions12.5
This course is designed to prepare managers for the newly developing financial services industry, in particular the banking industry. The subject addresses three main issues related to the financial services industry. First, the conceptual issues underlying the financial services industry in order to help students develop a broad view of the management function in financial services. Second, a generic set of tools for managing return and the various kinds of risk facing managers in the financial services industry. Third, regulatory changes that have occurred due to the recent financial crisis. A key component of the subject is an online bank simulation game that will enhance insights in these three issues.
- Thinking like an Entrepreneur12.5
Thinking like an Entrepreneur
This unit provides real‐world, hands‐on learning about what it’s actually like to start a company or carry out an entrepreneurial project in an existing organisation. This is a practical unit, not a theoretical one, and is designed to give students the experience of how to work as a team and turn an idea into reality. Students will talk to prospective customers to see if anyone is really interested in the product or service they intend to develop. Based on the feedback gathered, students will rapidly iterate their ideas to produce a scalable, repeatable business model. The overall intent of the unit is to equip students with a set of skills that will be useful throughout their careers, whether they are working in startups or in existing organisations.
- Implementation of Strategy12.5
Implementation of Strategy
The course begins with a review of strategy to ensure that there is a shared understanding of the basic concepts and frameworks of strategy. After this foundation is established, the course is organized around two general questions: 1) Is the organization structured in a manner that will allow the implementation of strategy? and 2) Do the people in the organization want to implement the strategy? Structural issues are mainly driven by the way the various parts of the organization relate to each other and interact. The structure often yields results that are detrimental to the organization and impede the execution of the strategy. Similarly, the culture of an organization frequently fails to engage employees and inspire any commitment to realizing the organization’s strategy. The course will develop the ability to recognize barriers to successful implementation and provide concepts, tools, and frameworks that are necessary to frame and execute a sustainable competitive advantage.
Investments is designed to provide you with the tools of modern finance for devising and evaluating financial portfolios and to make better investment choices. To this end we discuss and develop valuation techniques of financial instruments and working knowledge of portfolio management, pricing and hedging with options on individual stocks and indexes, forwards and futures contracts, monetary policy and how the conduct of monetary policy affects investment performance, devising investment strategies exploiting market inefficiencies.
- Leadership and Change12.5
Leadership and Change
Leadership & Change explores the role of leaders and the process of leadership in impacting and influencing organisational performance. In today’s leaner and flatter organisations, leaders require much more than just the authority associated with their position to be effective. The aim of this course is to examine the theory and practice of how leaders and leadership make a difference, with the explicit goal of having students reflect on their own leadership challenges and capabilities. Three themes underpin the subject content, process and assessment: 1. personal reflection is the basis for growth, learning and development as a leader; 2. learning comes from experience, and experiential activities and insights from the “here and now”; and 3. leadership involves questioning premises and initiating new directions rather than just implementing pre-determined trajectories.
- Marketing Communications12.5
In this course we will explore what leading firms are doing in response to changes impacting on the discipline of marketing communications. To this end, we will consider the main concepts, tools & techniques of contemporary marketing communications. We will focus on the design & implementation of effective marketing communications campaigns. We will also consider the issues that arise in planning, implementing & controlling communications strategies across multiple media: print & broadcast advertising, PR, direct, online & other electronic channels.
- Marketing Research12.5
This subject will focus on how both qualitative and quantitative aspects of marketing research can help managers address substantive marketing problems including: market segmentation, targeting and positioning, estimating market potential, forecasting demand, developing advertising and pricing, and introducing new products. The subject uses a combination of lectures, case discussions, and exercises to develop a better understanding of the process of marketing research. An important aspect of the subject involves getting hands-on experience with marketing research problems through a field project. This project will require students to integrate everything that they have learned to conduct an actual research project from problem definition through a final report and presentation.
- Marketing Strategy12.5
This subject demonstrates to you the benefits of undertaking marketing actions within a strategic framework, and will show you how that can be achieved. Marketing Strategy enables us to refine our vision, check its fit with our target markets’ needs, focus our efforts on the most worthwhile opportunities, and see how best to realize those opportunities. There are three logical steps in this process: (1) Analysis, (2) Generating and Calibrating Strategic Options, and (3) Planning to realize chosen options. We will examine each of these in this subject.
This subject provides an overall direction for the marketing effort. It also links marketing to corporate strategy, and through it to other managerial functions in the organization.
- Product Management12.5
- understand the issues involved in developing product strategies, including related services marketing issues
- develop the analytical skills necessary when using market research and developing sound product related decisions
- gain a conceptual framework for organising thinking about product related problems
- understand the marketing or product manager's role in developing product strategies
- Risk Management12.5
This subject addresses what risk management is, why companies engage in risk management, and the tools available to manage risk. As part of this, the subject provides an introduction to basic derivative securities such as forward and futures contracts, options, interest rate and currency swaps, and credit derivatives. We deal with the issue of pricing derivative securities by simple arbitrage arguments, and develop a framework for analyzing and using financial derivatives in various applications. While the study of derivative securities is inherently quantitative, the subject also focuses on economic intuitions and interpretations behind derivative securities.
- Supply Chain Management12.5
Supply Chain Management
Emerging trends in globalization and renewed emphasis on operations as a source of competitive advantage have led to organisational changes that focus on inter-functional coordination, often spanning several firms in the supply chain. This course discusses recent developments in manufacturing-marketing-supply chain linkages and studies operational decisions that make such interfaces efficient and effective. It explores inter-functional dependencies, sources of conflicts, and on effective managerial decision making paradigm. The course principles are based on the premise that an organisation can become globally competitive when all elements that comprise its supply chain network are efficient and decision making is coordinated across the chain. The course will present in detail issues related to market-led operations, managing supply and distribution channels, and methodology.
- Business Law12.5
This subject is an introduction to core legal concepts and current legal issues that impact on Australian business. Accordingly, it will provide a basic understanding of the underlying legal basis of many commercial issues which are faced in various facets of business life, ranging from how business enterprises commence and end. It also draws on key legislation and court cases as a means to illustrate the interaction between business and law. The subject also provides a general outline of legal methodology and legal reasoning.
- Corporate Finance12.5
- comprehend the framework for the understanding of the principles underlying most of the important financial and investment decisions made by enterprises;
- be able to address with confidence the financial functions of management.
Negotiation is the art and science of securing agreements between two or more interdependent parties. The purpose of this course is to understand the theory and processes of negotiation as it is practiced in a variety of settings. The course is designed to be relevant to the broad spectrum of negotiation problems that are faced by the manager and professional, often in a global context.
A basic premise of the course is that while a manager needs analytical skills to discover optimal solutions to problems, a broad array of negotiation skills is needed in order for these solutions to be accepted and implemented. The course will give you the opportunity to develop these skills experientially and to understand negotiation in useful analytical frameworks.