Fundamentals of Leadership (3 units)
In Fundamentals of Leadership, we will identify the challenges of leadership in the second decade of the 21st Century. We will explore habitual responses to many modern challenges and identify why they often do not work (John Kotter, a leading scholar on Change suggests that around 75% of change initiatives fail). We will explore other responses and use the classroom to help us to understand the role of culture, systems, authority and leadership in people-based change. Positioned at the beginning of the MBA, Fundamentals of Leadership encourages you to think about the nature of what you will study over the whole Program. It also encourages you to explore and develop personal skills central to leadership. By exploring self-awareness, and developing a personal leadership philosophy students will be well placed to broaden their understanding of other individuals and social groups at work.
Marketing Management (3 units)
Marketing lies at the core of all business. Whatever the character or size of your entity, its profit can come from only one place; the marketplace. All businesses are dependent on the income they earn from their customers, clients or buyers. In most larger businesses, it is marketing managers who are primarily responsible for keeping their company close to its customers. In any case, all those who have a direct responsibility for identifying, reaching and satisfying customers are engaged in marketing and everybody in a business needs to understand its marketplace activities. This course offers a complete introduction to professional marketing thought and action. The course explains the nature and purpose of marketing, followed by the fundamentals of each of the most important marketing tasks. It analyses the business need for customer orientation, the evaluation of markets and the targeting of market opportunities. There is assessment of buyer behaviour and the role of market information. In addition, the course explains how to integrate product and service decisions with those on pricing, distribution and promotion – and why this is necessary.
Accounting for Managers (3 units)
Participants in this course will develop the essential ability of all managers, to use complex accounting information as a platform for decision-making. As the course unfolds, participants will build an increasingly sophisticated level of understanding of the language of accounting and its key concepts. In addition, the course develops skills in interpreting earnings statements, balance sheets, and cash flow reports. This ability to analyse financial statements will enable participants to deal more effectively with strategic options for their businesses or business units. Strong foundations in financial analysis and development of crucial basic accounting skills will also enable participants to develop a management accounting focus. From this second phase of the course, students will take away highly relevant skills in areas such as budgeting, product and service costing and short-run decision making. Such skills, ability and knowledge will enable participants to more effectively identify profitable opportunities and to contribute significantly to better management within their own organisations.
Systems Thinking for Management (3 units)
Many of today’s complex challenges cannot be tackled with the narrowly-focused, unconnected thinking of the past. Managers must make decisions and take action in complex environments in which finance, economics, markets, people and nature are interconnected and interdependent. In addition, this messy interconnectedness blurs the boundaries between organisations, communities and fields of expertise, nothing is neat and tidy. This course will introduce you to the world of systems and systems thinking. We will consider the merits of looking at wholes, rather than unconnected parts, and we will explore ways in which managers can make use of the nature of systems, even in complex, unpredictable environments, to influence outcomes in a more profound way than can be achieved with linear or mechanistic thinking.
Negotiation Skills (3 units)
The purpose of this course is threefold. The first is to explore the major concepts and theories of negotiation, as well as the dynamics of interpersonal and intergroup conflict and its resolution. This will involve studying the structural (eg parties, positions, interests) and process (cognitive, interactional) dynamics that are required for a sound critical understanding. The second objective is to develop practical skills applicable to a broad range of contexts. This involves direct training in identifying crucial elements of negotiation situations and implementing appropriate resolution strategies. The third objective is to develop teamwork skills by working within and through group exercises.
Managerial Finance (3 units)
This course introduces you to the world of modern finance, especially to the financial operations of businesses. It covers the concepts of time value of money, asset valuation, risk and return paradigm, capital budgeting, financing, and payout decisions, and derivatives. Upon completion, students will be able to value bonds and stocks, estimate asset returns according to their risk characteristics, choose projects that maximize shareholder’s wealth using a wide range of analytical tools. They will also develop a good understanding of how firms finance their capital expenditure on their investment and the levels of dividends and other payouts for their shareholders. Finally, students will gain a basic understanding of derivatives such as options and futures and apply them for sound risk management practices.
Economics for Management (3 units)
This course provides an introduction to economic thinking and its relevance and application to managing organisations. The first part of the course deals with microeconomic issues such as consumer choice and the structure of markets, including perfect competition, monopoly and oligopoly, and the competitive regulatory environment. The second part deals with macroeconomics such as the determinants of the aggregate level of output and employment, and elements in the determination of macroeconomic policy including interest rates, inflation and foreign trade and capital flows. The focus of the course is on fundamental tenets of economics in relation to current issues and their implications for managers and competitive organisations.
Managing Contemporary Organisations (3 units)
This course exposes students to some key influences and perspectives on the management of organisations. Its focus is primarily on human issues that affect and are dealt with by managers day-to-day. The course is an extension of “Fundamentals of Leadership” and provides the background and theoretical framework for more advanced studies in business management. Some of the topics addressed may, at first, seem somewhat theoretical or even ‘philosophical’ in nature, but the whole course is designed to provide students with the foundation for practical action in the field. The ability to analyse and to think clearly and independently about these issues will be the basis of effective action. Managing Contemporary Organisations begins by examining the nature of ‘organisation’ as an ‘open system’. We then look at the management challenge in relation to various facets of the organisation – learning, motivation, politics, performance, ethics, culture, innovation, decision-making, structure and change. Throughout the course, there is an emphasis on thinking about and asking important questions, rather than fixing on ‘right’ answers.
Managing in a Global Context (3 units)
This course will prepare you for a leadership role in the globalised world. It provides an overview of the diversity and complexity of the global environment and how that environment affects local, national and international organisations. It introduces core theories and frameworks that guide systematic thinking about aspects of economic, institutional, and cultural diversity across and similarity between countries that matter in the context of managing a contemporary organisation. It will help you to develop a managerial global mindset and acquire skills to leverage this diversity and similarity for value creation in the organisational context. You will learn to identify challenges and opportunities brought about by globalisation, generate insights necessary to manage them successfully, and build skills needed to become a successful leader in the global environment.
Strategic Management (3 units)
Strategic management is concerned with the long-term direction, scope and performance of an organization. As such it draws on other disciplines (e.g. marketing, finance, economics, organisational behaviour) already covered in the MBA. Whether the overall ‘strategy’ of an organization emerges from the interplay of functional departments or is a ‘grand plan’ devised by one group, its implementation takes place at the functional/process level where goals, plans and actions need to align with other departments as part of a coherent orientation. Hence all managers need to understand how their roles and functions are part of the overall strategy of the organization.
Research for Decision Makers (3 units)
This course is designed to develop skills in designing, conducting and evaluating action research in the context of management practice. Action research is a methodology commonly used by management practitioners to affect change. It is an iterative, cyclical, collaborative approach to identifying, critically and reflectively analysing, evaluating and synthesising data in relation to a given problem or question. Practitioners are simultaneously learners, researchers and agents for change. This approach is particularly useful when dealing with complex and complicated systems as it allows practitioners to respond to the emerging and changing needs as the situation changes with each iteration of the process. Students will consider leading theories in this field, the relationship between action research and other common business research methodologies and the relationship between action research and complexity and systems theories.
Social Enterprise Project (6 units)
The purpose of this course is:
- To place the cumulative learning from MBA core courses in the context of social enterprise and explore the practical applications and ramifications.
- To apply the systemic action research approach to a social enterprise field research project.
This research project will be planned and undertaken collaboratively and reported on and evaluated individually. It will draw on all the knowledge, insights and capabilities developed in the previous courses of the Adelaide MBA. Each project group will have an academic supervisor who will ensure all the individuals in that group contribute to designing, generating and evaluating a Social Enterprise Acton research project. All projects must be designed to conceive, establish, refine or grow a social enterprise which will operate commercially while addressing a social problem or opportunity. The emphasis will be on systems awareness and identifying enduring, holistic solutions, rather than short-term fixes. Students will be required to investigate, analyse and synthesise complex concepts and theories and to argue propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions with reference to relevant theory. That is to apply the learning gained from previous courses in the MBA.