Core courses London business school

The courses in the first year of the MBA develop your core knowledge and skills. You will gain a thorough grounding in business and general management and start connecting ideas from your different areas of study.

Click on the course titles below for more information.

Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

London Business School was one of the first top business schools to introduce ethics to the core curriculum.

This course helps prepare you to recognise and manage ethical issues as they arise, and to formulate your own standards of integrity and professionalism. 

The course will:

  • Develop your understanding of the ethical responsibilities subsumed in becoming a professional manager
  • Make you more knowledgeable and comfortable with the central concepts, frameworks and theories of business ethics
  • Provide you with experience in applying these tools to a select number of the ethical issues that managers face in business
  • Improve individual and group skills in identifying and analysing these ethical issues
  • Develop your skills in articulating (in groups, in class and in writing) the reasons for the best resolution of the ethical conflict/dilemma, and the action plan for its effective implementation
  • Provide an opportunity to reflect on and critically examine the values and assumptions brought to business decisions, both by yourself and by others

Corporate Finance

The objective of the Corporate Finance core course is to develop a framework for corporate financial decision-making and provide a solid grounding in the principles and practice of financial management.

The course breaks down into three main sections:

  • Project Appraisal: This concerns the way in which investment projects are analysed, the impact of risk, tax and inflation, the term structure of interest rates, the cost of capital and target rates of return.
  • Capital Markets: This covers the operation of the capital markets, its efficiency, the role of intermediaries, sources of finance, the borrowing decision, company valuation and optimal portfolio allocation.
  • Capital Structure: This addresses the issue of the optimal capital structure of firms, mergers and acquisitions and the market for corporate control, market efficiency, the principle of capital structure, gearing and the basics of hedging and international finance.

Data Analytics for Management

Understanding the uncertainty behind business decisions, with the support of data and other quantitative information, can be crucial for sound decision making in order to clarify available options, develop insights and support analyses.

This course will increase your understanding of topics such as corporate risk, market research and forecastingl; concepts that you will encounter later in the MBA Programme. The emphasis throughout the course is on concepts and reasoning, rather than technical detail. You will acquire, or reacquire, basic data analysis skills, but more importantly you will become a more informed and critical user of business statistical analyses. You will become more confident in asking tough questions on the quantitative work done by market researchers, consultants and financial analysts.

Topics covered include:

  • Descriptive statistics and probability distributions, such as normal and binomial
  • Analysis of sample data, including estimation, confidence intervals and hypothesis testing
  • Detecting relationships in data and building regression models
  • Covariance, correlation and statistics of portfolio analysis

Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Discovering Entrepreneurial Opportunities (DEO) is a ground breaking core course that equips you with the skills, tools, and mindsets to enable you to discover opportunities upon which entrepreneurial ventures may be built, whether as start-ups or in established firms.

The course builds your real-world business sense, and develops your presentation skills and your ability to persuasively articulate a point of view about a business problem that needs to be resolved. It will give you an opportunity to prepare and deliver a short presentation to the class, drawing on what has been discovered in your team’s project work to date. Additionally, you will gain numerous opportunities to challenge and debate the merits and limitations of different points of view held by fellow students and the instructor about what decisions should be made – and why – in the cases being discussed.

It will become clear as the course unfolds that discovery and decision making skills are fundamental capabilities for any manager who seeks to ‘do things differently’ in his or her organisation. Indeed, most new consultants and most MBA graduates find themselves, in their first position post-MBA, dropped into a setting where there are performance problems they are asked to resolve. Resolving them inevitably requires discovering customer, user, and/or business needs and discovering a suitable way forward to satisfy those needs. Thus, the discovery focus of this course should serve students having career interests of all kinds, not just those who plan to start new ventures. It should be noted, however, that recent data indicate that 80+ percent of graduates from top-tier MBA programmes find themselves involved in one way or another with entrepreneurial ventures within ten years of graduation. Thus, this course provides preparation for your eventual entry into the entrepreneurial world – and perhaps increase your tolerance for ambiguity, a helpful personal attribute for every entrepreneur.


Financial Accounting

The purpose of the financial accounting course is to furnish students with a basic understanding of the financial reporting process, and in particular how financial statements are put together. Although the course principally concentrates on the production of financial statements, the aim is not to turn participants into practising accountants; the philosophy is rather to provide an appreciation of the production process that is sufficiently detailed to give students the ability to successfully analyse a relatively complex set of financial statements. This ability is essential for elective courses that deal with the analysis and interpretation of company financial statements in various contexts. Additionally, the ability to extract relevant information from accounting data for the purpose of decision making is an important skill that will be used in a number of other courses.


Understanding the International Macroeconomy

The purpose of this course is to familiarise you with the workings of the global economy. We focus in particular on growth, trade, business cycles and monetary and fiscal policy, stressing the role that each of these elements plays in determining the financial health of corporations and nations.

By the end of the course you should understand what determines the long run performance of an economy; the role of trade in influencing national wealth and corporate performance; the determinants of exchange rates and inflation; why business cycles occur and the principles and motivation underlying government economic policy.

Topics will include:

  • Data and definitions
  • How does the economy grow?
  • Technological progress
  • Labour market, skills and unemployment
  • Trade
  • Fiscal policy
  • Money and inflation
  • Exchange rates
  • Business cycles
  • Monetary policy

Global Leadership Assessment for Managers (GLAM)

London Business School’s MBA is about developing people with the knowledge, skills and attributes to become global business leaders. This course helps you bridge the gap which most people have between your understanding of new countries and cultures and your ability to lead others in culturally sensitive ways. It will help you make a positive impact wherever you go.

Objectives:

  • To identify key interpersonal and teamwork skills needed in successful global business management (for example finding your own way to be assertive in a culturally sensitive way)
  • To share feedback on your own and others’ interpersonal and teamwork skills
  • To observe and practise selected interpersonal skills necessary for cross-cultural leadership and teamwork
  • To understand the skills that underlie management and leadership effectiveness in the global business environment
  • To consider the need to adapt skills for different contexts
  • To develop personal and team action plans for the next year
  • To assess learning using a follow-up survey for cross-cultural team and interpersonal skills

IT for Business Value

Firms that effectively exploit IT out-perform others. IT can play a major role in opening new distribution channels, streamlining supply chains and providing efficient electronic markets. But many firms do not understand IT and do not manage it well.

This course aims to:

  • Enhance your confidence in choosing the right technology for meeting business needs
  • Examine issues involved in managing the implementation of business systems

It covers managerial application and also helps you develop your understanding of the underlying technologies and the frameworks needed to successfully manage these. 


Global Leadership Development Programme (GLDP)

The GLDP core course is designed to increase the competitive advantage of London Business School MBA graduates in the marketplace. The emphasis is on ‘doing’ rather than simply ‘knowing’, and the format of the sessions aims to help you to improve your performance and individual impact through practical exercises. Training is delivered by professional external training companies who are specialists in their field and whose clients include blue-chip and international organisations as well as many of our graduate recruiters.

As part of the course you are able to choose which particular skill areas you need to focus on and choose relevant courses accordingly. Throughout GLAM and UGM, as well as other core courses and through interaction with your classmates and study group, you will be able to identify specific skill sets which you feel you could develop further.

You have free choice from the portfolio on offer and can choose which courses you would like to do. You have to do a minimum of two days of courses – this can be a mixture of full day and half day courses.

Courses will be offered in the following areas:

  • Accent and Voice Coaching (half day course)
  • Advanced Business Writing
  • Advanced Information Management Skills
  • Dealing with Stress
  • Influencing and Persuading
  • Listening and Observing
  • Managing Meetings
  • Mind Mapping and Memory
  • Personal Impact (half day course)
  • Public Speaking
  • Speed Reading (half day course)
  • Successful Negotiation
  • The Art of Communication
  • The Spoken English Company (online programme)
  • Winning Competitive Presentations

 


Language Learning

We believe that studying a foreign language not only provides a learner with the ability to facilitate communication, but also enhances awareness of the cultural diversity which enriches contacts between countries. Managers who are in a position to speak to their clients and business counterparts in their own language enjoy better social relationships with them. They are also able to gain unique insights both into the foreign country in question and into the way in which its companies do business.

This programme has been designed to bring students to the exit requirement level in the following international business languages: Arabic, Cantonese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

Language Exit Requirement (LER)

Each student must complete the programme with competence at level 2 in one of the following international business languages: Arabic, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish or Turkish.

Reaching competence in one of the international business languages up to level 2 by graduation is compulsory.

There are two routes to achieve the Language Exit Requirement:

  • Students can join a level 1 class and then continue into a level 2 class, where they will be assessed through the class and be awarded level 2 if the course is successfully completed.
  • Through a diagnostic test. This test is for those with knowledge of one of the international business languages or those who take private tuition and then take the test to be certified at level 1 or 2. Students who achieve level 1 in the test are also eligible to join a level 2 class or study independently. Those who achieve level 2 are awarded the LER.

In addition, many students who have already met the LER upon entry use the Language Learning programme to increase their proficiency in a further language and/or learn a completely new language for their own personal interest.

The Language Learning programme is provided by the Modern Language Centre at King’s College London. King’s College is one of the largest colleges of the University of London. It has enjoyed an outstanding reputation in modern languages education since its establishment in 1829.


Management Accounting

Building on the technical foundations of Financial Analysis, this course concentrates on the use of accounting for decision and control in the firm. 

The first part of the course seeks to develop the foundation of management accounting, namely understanding costs and costing and becoming proficient in cost analysis for decision-making.

The second part tackles accounting for control. It is intended to deepen your understanding of the processes, possibilities and limitations of management accounting, including budgetary control, divisional performance measurement and management planning and control systems.


Managerial Economics

This course teaches you how to apply economic reasoning, with a primary focus on the needs of managers.

The course is divided into two parts. In the first part we cover traditional topics in microeconomics. We start by explaining how markets work and how the price mechanism allocates resources. We then review the profit drivers of the firm distinguishing revenue and cost drivers.

The second part of the course studies the interactions among market players with an emphasis on firms’ strategies. Here, strategy is defined as being involved in decisions which affect your firm’s performance not only directly but also by influencing the behaviour of others. We will cover applications to pricing rivalry, barriers to entry, auctions and vertical integration.

Course outline:

  • Understanding market forces
  • The meaning of competition
  • Pricing and profits
  • Market power – good or evil?
  • Playing games I – competition versus cooperation
  • Playing games II – entry and exit
  • Firms versus markets – make or buy?
  • Auctions and market design
  • Economics of information

Managing Organisational Behaviour

Leading individuals and groups effectively is the key to managerial excellence. Yet, it could be your most difficult challenge as a manager.

This course is designed to help you meet this challengeand does so in three ways:

  • First it provides you with a framework for managing individual and group performance
  • Second, it helps you understand and acquire critical leadership skills required to shape and manage the behaviour of people in organisations
  • Third, through an intensive field project (the Organisation Audit) it will give you the opportunity to explore first hand the relevance and usefulness of the concepts and management practices discussed in class.

The course is designed to:

  • Help you understand and manage individual and interpersonal behaviour in organisations
  • Help you manage groups for high performance, by providing you with conceptual knowledge experiential exercises on group dynamics and team building (along with practical insights into your skills as a team player and your impact on others)
  • Help you understand the challenges of leading and changing organisations

To accomplish these objectives, the course will include the following elements:

  • Exposure to essential theories and concepts for analysing managerial problems
  • Individual and group analysis of cases and experiential exercises
  • Exchange of ideas and experiences in the classroom
  • Intensive field-based project work in groups

Marketing

We all know what marketing involves. Or do we? This course looks at the main principles and constructs that create sound marketing strategies, and looks at the different challenges associated with implementing a marketing strategy.

The course covers:

  • What marketing is – and more importantly, what it is not
  • Consumer research and consumer behaviour
  • Market segmentation and targeting
  • B2B marketing
  • Positioning strategy
  • The demand chain
  • Value pricing
  • Market space
  • Marketing planning
  • Global marketing

The course climaxes with the ‘Marketing Strategy’ simulation where you become members of a fully functioning organisation and compete against each other in an extremely tough and highly realistic marketing simulation.


Operations Management

Businesses have to deliver if they are to survive. This course aims to:

  • Develop an awareness of the main operational issues that arise in all business
  • Show how effective management of operations is a major factor in business success
  • Introduce you to key operations management approaches, including:
        – Operations strategy
        – Process analysis
        – Use of data and managerial opinion

This is a practical subject and involves cases, exercises and a plant visit.


Strategy

This core course deals with the craft of strategy; that is, how to identify and choose a superior competitive position, how to analyse a strategic situation, and finally how to create the organisational context to make the chosen strategy work.

Objectives:

  • To explore conceptual frameworks and models which will assist you in analysing competitive situations and strategic dilemmas, and will provide you with an insight into strategic management
  • To help you acquire practical experience in dealing with strategic issue.

To achieve this we start with an analysis of the external competitive environment, looking at industry structure and value chain dynamics and assess how a firm can select the best position within this environment. 

The course will the move to focus on an analysis of firm resources and capabilities, look at the firm’s resource system, and examine the challenge of coordinating the pieces of the puzzle that underpin corporate success.

Tying these insights together, a two-session simulation gives you a hands-on feel of what strategy making is about, and helps you think through the implications of your decisions.

Afte this, the couse turns to implementation, and the way in which the organisation enables you to put strategy into action. The course concludes with a session on the challenges of strategic management in a time of rapid technological change.


Understanding General Management (UGM)

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