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First Year Course List

Course offerings may vary from year to year.

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Overview of courses offered during the first year of the Penn State Smeal MBA Program.
Course Name Course Title Overview
BA 500 Marketing Management The objective of this course is to familiarize you with concepts in the domain of marketing, to acquaint you with the issues associated with marketing in 21st century markets, and to teach a structured business decision making process which will enable you to respond to the vast majority of problems and opportunities that you will face in the marketing profession.
BA 501 Managing People in Organizations You'll form an understanding of the management of behavior of people in organizations. You'll learn the tools that help you diagnose, understand, and develop solutions to management problems. We will draw upon both the academic and practitioner literature to understand many facets of organizations and of the thoughts, feelings, and actions of people who work in them. You'll have exposure to many of the concepts and skills that will help you become a more effective manager and organizational leader.
BA 502 Team Process & Performance This course will provide you with a greater understanding of team processes and performance, as well as other current issues that affect interpersonal dynamics and groups in the workplace. The course will be primarily based on "experiential learning" wherein you'll learn by engaging in and reflecting upon group simulations and activities. This learning follows careful reading of each week's topics, which serve as a conceptual foundation for the in-class experiences.
BA 504 Ethical Leadership The objective of the ethical leadership module is to raise your awareness of the key role YOU play (as a manager and leader) in creating and maintaining responsible business conduct in your work group and organization, and to enhance your ability to deal with the complexities of ethical decision making in today's dynamic business environment by clarifying your own values and giving you practice in applying them. Readings will provide an introduction to key concepts. Cases and exercises will help you apply these concepts to organizational life. Assignments will provide opportunities to reinforce application of the concepts and to conduct an introspective evaluation of your own work experience in light of learning in the course.
BA 510 Supply Chain Management This course will show how Supply Chain Management (SCM) deals with the efficient and effective creation and flow of goods, services, information and financial resources through a network of suppliers, transformation facilities, distribution sites, and customers. SCM spans many functional areas of business, however, you will focus key components of the Supply Chain Operating Reference (SCOR) model—plan, source, make, deliver, and return.
BA 511 Introduction to Financial Accounting You'll learn why financial accounting is a system for measuring and communicating the outcomes of business activities to parties outside the firm. The purposes of this course are to: 1)provide you with a basic understanding of the concepts and principles (i.e. the jargon) underlying financial accounting practices. 2)make you comfortable with financial data (in particular, opening a 10K or annual report) 3)enable you to have a conversation with your company's accountants 4)make you aware of the care that must be taken when using financial accounting data as a source of information for making decisions 5)provide you with the technical tools and references to analyze how a particular transaction affects a firm's financial statements.
BA 512 Risk Management and Decision Making This course teaches skills and tools for handling the common analytical problems that managers face when making decisions. The course will introduce you to the modern analysis of risk, provide you with a systematic framework for making decisions and develop your spreadsheet modeling skills.
BA 515 Business Statistics for Contemporary Decision Making The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to statistical concepts and methods including descriptive statistics, probability, statistical inference, hypothesis testing, ANOVA, Correlation analysis, Contingency Testing, and Simple and Multiple Regression. The approach to course material will be both numerical and applied in an attempt to provide a conceptual understanding of statistics. The data analysis will be supplemented using SPSS statistical software.
BA 517 Communication Skills for Leaders One of the most important skills you develop in business school is the ability to demonstrate the value of your experiences. This course provides you with targeted opportunities to develop this skill as you clearly, forcefully, and professionally represent ideas, opinions, and solutions. You'll participate in various oral, written, and graphic projects during the course. After completing this class, you'll have proficiency in representing your skills, expertise, and views to business partners (clients, colleagues, employers, and shareholders).
BA 521 Managerial Accounting Managerial accounting differs significantly from financial accounting. Managerial accounting, the design of internal accounting system for internal control and decision-making, is generally not regulated and managers have significant discretion over the design of these systems. In this course, you'll learn how to implement the most popular systems but, more importantly, you'll develop an economic framework for deciding what systems are most appropriate for a given set of circumstances.
BA 531 Introduction to Finance You'll be provided with the conceptual framework necessary to appreciate and understand the problems facing the financial manger in the real world today. Equipped with the background provided by outside reading, classroom lecture, and class discussion, you are asked to solve problems and analyze occasional case situations which are intended to provide the basic tools needed by the financial decision maker regardless of whether he or she is a proprietor, a bank loan officer, a corporate financial manager, a government budget specialist, etc.
BA 532 Global Business Environment You'll learn how to be an intelligent consumer of macroeconomic information, so that you can anticipate and understand changes in your business's operating environment. The course covers global economic issues on a broad basis, discussing topics such as economic integration, exchange rate fluctuations, and global economic growth. It will also cover current economic problems that countries face and analyze the forces that produced those problem with an eye toward possible solutions.
BA 533 Economics for Managers You'll develop the ability to apply fundamental economic concepts to a wide range of private decision making and public policy issues.
BA 535 Global Perspectives You will explore the dynamics of international business, globalization, and multinational enterprises (MNEs). After reviewing the primary features of the international business landscape, you will survey the business environments of the world's major regions and select countries. The course has five learning goals. The first is to obtain a basic familiarity with the major regions of the world and awareness of contemporary global issues. The second is to develop an understanding of how business environments differ throughout the world, and the political, historical, institutional, economic, geographic, and social reasons for these differences. The third objective is to understand how these differences among countries and regions affect MNEs and the decisions their managers make. The fourth goal is to strengthen written and oral communication skills. Finally, this course will provide the foundation for more focused international business studies in the global immersion experience.
BA 536 Global Immersion Global immersion will introduce you to the challenges of doing business in another economic environment. In the past, MBA students have visited such countries as Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Turkey, and Singapore. In each country, you'll visit both local and multinational businesses to understand how a business gets established and run in another country; you'll also meet with industry and government officials to get their perspectives on the economic policies of the country. Each immersion is coordinated by a faculty leader who plans to visit so as to appeal to a wide range of student interests.
BA 571 Strategy This course is about strategy and the creation of value. Implicitly or explicitly, every firm must define the scope of its business operations and how the firm will compete against rivals. Decisions about the scope of business constitute the firm’s corporate strategy; decisions about how to compete within chosen market segments reflect the firm’s business-level strategy. The course is also about top management and the total organization. As such, it is an integrative course emphasizing a “general management” or total organizational perspective as opposed to a functional viewpoint (accounting, finance, marketing, etc.). As a result of this course, you will be able to: identify and understand the strategies of different organizations, interpret the competitive environment facing any given organization and evaluate the likely effectiveness of an organization’s strategy for creating value and increasing competitiveness.