Management Courses

Both the MS in Management (36 credits) and the Master of Business Administration (45 credits) are rigorous programs built on a foundation of core business coursework. In their six core classes, students master essential analytical tools such as financial literacy, project management, and systems thinking, and also hone critical interpersonal skills such as clear communication, effective collaboration, and emotional intelligence.

Students in both the MSM and the MBA program go on to complete an additional 14 credits working with expert faculty-practitioners in their chosen concentration area. These concentration courses develop a student’s confidence and expertise in a career field, while also encouraging them to seek real-world applications for their theoretical knowledge. MSM students complete their studies with a 6-credit Capstone Project, while MBA students advance to a yearlong sequence of executive leadership seminars and an independent ‘masterwork.’

All of the required management classes and electives follow a blended model, with a mix of required face-to-face meetings supported by an online learning platform. In a 2009 review of research by the US Department of Education, blended learning models were found to be more effective than either wholly face-to-face or wholly online models. Learn more at "Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies."

Required Courses

Required Core Courses for all management degrees (16 credits):

  • MSM501 - Thriving in Teams and Organizations (3 credits)
  • MSM505 - Personal Leadership Development I, II, and III (3 credits)
  • MSM521 - Foundations of Systems Thinking (2 credit)
  • MSM522 - Foundations of Financial Decision-Making (2 credits)
  • MSM631 - Foundations of Systems Leadership (1 credit)
  • MSM602 - Foundations of Project Management (3 credits)
  • MSM635 - Clear Communications (2 credits)

In addition to the common required management courses above, the MSM and MBA degree have the following separate requirements:

MSM

  • MSM609 Capstone I: Planning (2 credits)
  • MSM699 Capstone II: Implementing (4 credits)

MBA

  • MBA640 Performance Management and Analytics Driven Decision-Making (3 credits)
  • MBA641 Ideation, Design Thinking and Strategy (3 credits)
  • MBA642 Applied Systems Leadership for Complex Problem-Solving (3 credits)
  • MBA650 Master Workshop I: Problem Definition/ Needs Assessment (1 credit)
  • MBA651 Master Workshop II: Research Phase (1 credit)
  • MBA652 Master Workshop III: Value Creation and Thought Leadership (4 credits)

Concentration Requirements (10 credits)

Project Management

  • Advanced Project Management (3 credits)
  • Project Cost and Schedule (2 credits)
  • Organizational Change Management (1 credit)
  • Project Governance and Oversight (2 credits)
  • Principles of Lean Management (1 credit)
  • Strategic Planning (1 credit)

Social Innovation

  • Foundations of Social Innovation (3 credits)
  • Triple Strength Impact (2 credits)
  • Start-up Garage (2 credits)
  • Social Innovation Field Course (2 credits)
  • Corporate Law and Ethics (1 credit)

Conscious Business

  • Advanced Business Concepts: Finance and Multi-Capitalism (3 credits)
  • Equality, Equity and Inclusion (2 credits)
  • Ecological Economics, Political Economy, Institutions and Markets (2 credits)
  • Operations and Production Systems (2 credits)
  • Corporate Law and Ethics (1 credits)

Sustainable Food Systems

  • Foundations of Food Systems (3 credits)
  • Start-up Garage (2 credits)
  • Operations and Production Systems (2 credits)
  • Corporate Law and Ethics (1 credits)
  • Equality, Equity and Inclusion (2 credits)

Mission Driven Organizations

  • Good to Great (1 credit)
  • Outcomes and Evaluation (2 credits)
  • Fundraising and Philanthropy (2 credits)
  • Triple Strength Impact (2 credits)
  • Marketing (2 credits)
  • Nonprofit Legal and Ethical (1 credit)

Collaborative Leadership

  • Facilitative Leadership (2 credits)
  • Organizational Change Management (1 credit)
  • Good to Great (1 credit)
  • Equality, Equity and Inclusion (2 credits)
  • Triple Strength Impact (2 credits)
  • Caring for the Human Organization (2 credits)

Electives (4 Credits)

Students are able to choose a total of 4 credits as electives from all management program concentrations.

Prerequisites

  • A completed BA or BS degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Basic Excel and Powerpoint skills (or equivalent knowledge in Google Apps).

Marlboro College does not recognize the GRE as an indicator of likely success in professional programs and does not require it. Decisions on admission will be based on your transcripts, letters of recommendation and personal essay. The application process and details are available online.

 

Weekend Residency Schedule

All required master's courses meet for one weekend "residency" a month, three to four times per trimester, for a total of 11 months a year, at our bucolic campus in Marlboro, Vermont. Many of our students commute from afar and choose to spend the entire class weekend in southern Vermont. Residency weekends may begin with an elective class on Friday followed by a social gathering, a community lunch on Saturday, and advising and community circle time Saturday afternoon.

The residency weekends are listed under our Academic Calendar.

Sample Study Plans

The degree chair works with each student to craft an individualized study plan reflective of the student's interests and needs. Contact admissions for a study plan based on your concentration interests.

 

MS in Management

Required Courses

MSM501 - Thriving in Teams and Organizations

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Winter
  • This is a required course

Rooted in theory, this course empowers individuals to act and interact in an organizational context with a focus on distributed and virtual teams. The course draws from research and theories in Organizational Behavior, Shared Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and Positive Psychology to shed light on such human dynamics as motivation, perception, decision-making, and conflict management. By the end of the course you will know what makes teams and organizations effective and sustainable and be able to thrive within the challenges facing teams and organizations. You will be able to understand how your personal predilections as a team member and organizational player impact your effectiveness and sense of purpose as an adaptive team leader in service to growing, changing and improving your organization.

MSM505.1 - Personal Leadership Development I

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Spring
  • This is a required course
  • Prerequisites: MSM501 Thriving in Teams and Organizations

This low-intensity, continuous, three-trimester course explores ideas and approaches for the development of personal leadership with positive psychology and emotional intelligence as its foundation. Well begin with personal sustainability and mastery of leadership competencies, and move into leadership within teams and larger organizations. In the context of reflecting and learning with peers and mentors, the course is organized around the creation of a self-directed personal leadership development plan. Students will be encouraged to seek mentoring from an individual in a sector, industry, or role they aspire to be part of.

This first course in the sequence focuses on self-assessment and self-awareness in the personal leadership domain, personal ecology and sustainability, and the emotional intelligence leadership competencies. The prerequisite for this course is People and Teams, taught in Winter. This three-trimester course sequence begins in Spring trimester each year, and must be taken in order.

MSM505.2 - Personal Leadership Development II

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Fall
  • This is a required course
  • Prerequisites: MSM505.1 Personal Leadership Development I

The second of the three Personal Leadership Development courses explores the realm of self-management, including restorative, contemplative, and productive self-management practices. It also addresses the emotional intelligence leadership domain of self-management and the related competencies of emotional self-control and transparency, hope and optimism, and adaptability and achievement.

MSM505.3 - Personal Leadership Development III

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Winter
  • This is a required course
  • Prerequisites: MSM505.2 Personal Leadership Development II

The third Personal Leadership Development course considers the emotional intelligence domain of social awareness and the related competencies of empathy and service to others, organizational awareness, and matching personal values to organizational strategies. It offers skill-building in coaching, listening, and communication techniques to use in challenging situations.

MSM521 - Foundations of Systems Thinking

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter
  • This is a required course

This course introduces the concepts and tools of systems thinking. Creating flourishing within organizations, businesses and the world requires paradigmatic shifts, and insights into how to effectively create change. Systems thinkers have shown that the effective levers of change are often counter-intuitive, or only become obvious when the mental model which structures them is revealed. This course will use a case study approach to develop competence and comfort with systems thinking analysis. Topics include: food systems, regenerative farming, ecological systems, political and educational systems, systems levers and economics.

MSM522 - Foundations of Financial Decision-Making

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall
  • This is a required course

In this class students will build fluency with financial statements and ratios in order to use financial data alongside considerations of mission to make important business or organizational decisions. Students will learn how to identify good metrics to measure the health and sustainability of an enterprise and will develop the ability to design good organizational dashboards. By the end of the class, students will be able to present a good or bad financial scenario to a board of directors and to staff with clarity and confidence.

MSM602 - Foundations of Project Management

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Fall
  • This is a required course

In this introductory course, students learn the application of standard project management processes. Based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®), key topics include project selection and scoping, risk analysis, schedule and budget management, development of work breakdown structures, project communication and team building. Students are asked to plan a real-world project and to initiate project control processes as part of the class homework.

MSM609 - Capstone I: Planning

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall, Winter, Spring
  • This is a required course

Students enroll in Capstone I: Planning in their penultimate trimester. The course offers guidance and support as students plan their response to the problem or opportunity they have identified. Each student completes a project proposal in his or her own website with the support of others in the class, course faculty and their Program Director. Deliverables for this phase include: completion of a comprehensive project proposal document and the first two pages of students' individual Capstone websites, and creation and delivery of an elevator pitch - a very brief statement that communicates their Capstone project.

Capstone involves both process and product. Students engage in the process of identifying a problem or opportunity, planning and carrying out a project, and reflecting on their learning. During the two-trimester process, students create products including a completed website, a project deliverable designed to solve the problem or address the opportunity, and an elevator pitch. There is a strong focus on ensuring an agile approach to planning and implementation and on clear, professional communication. Together process and product provide students with a deep learning experience during their last two trimesters at the Graduate School.

MSM631 - Foundations of Systems Leadership

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Winter
  • This is a required course

If we are to address the complex issues of our times - from climate change on a global scale to food security in a single community - we will need to cultivate new leadership skills in ourselves and others. In this introductory seminar, students will explore four integrated practices that contribute to a systems leadership approach, including basic systems mapping, collective impact, critical reflection, and appreciative inquiry. Through readings and nature-based exploration, we will also explore key frameworks to enable a flourishing ecosystem, including the triple-bottom-line model, the sustainability continuum and Joanna Macy's Great Turning.
This course is required in the first trimester of your management degree program. If you do not choose the class when you register, you will be automatically enrolled.

MSM635 - Clear Communications

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Spring
  • This is a required course

This course focuses on the knowledge and skills required to be a successful communicator in today's global business world. The course draws from research and theories in Collaborative Leadership, Conflict Transformation and Authentic Communication to support relationship and trust building, collaboration, self-awareness, group awareness and appreciation. By the end of the course you will understand different communication models and tools and how to use them effectively in our fast-paced digital world. You will also develop cross cultural awareness, sensitivity and mediation skills. You will be able to more effectively communicate to and engage with stakeholders, lead and facilitate valuable meetings and presentations, develop creative solutions to challenges and maintain healthy mentor relationships.

MSM699 - Capstone II: Implementing

  • 4 credits
  • Taught in Fall, Winter, Spring
  • This is a required course
  • Prerequisites: MSM609 Capstone I: Planning

Students enroll in Capstone II: Implementing in their final trimester and complete their Capstone project thereby completing a key degree requirement. Supported by an Advisor, students: create the deliverable planned in Capstone I; deliver a formal presentation of his/her project; participate in a conversation about what they have learned doing the Capstone and their course of study; and submit their completed Capstone website, which includes a written Project Summary and Retrospective on Learning. Students' Capstones are assessed on a pass/fail basis.

Capstone involves both process and product. Students engage in the process of identifying a problem or opportunity, planning and carrying out a project, and reflecting on their learning. During the two-trimester process, students create products including a completed website, a project deliverable designed to solve the problem or address the opportunity, and an elevator pitch. There is a strong focus on ensuring an agile approach to planning and implementation and on clear, professional communication. Together process and product provide students with a deep learning experience during their last two trimesters at the Graduate School.

Elective Courses

MDO602 - Fundraising and Philanthropy

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

This course assumes a basic level of understanding of fundraising methods and history, and covers the mechanics of various fundraising sources and techniques as well as the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of both fundraising and philanthropy. It assumes that giving, as well as encouraging others to give, will be an ongoing basis for sustaining the nonprofit sector, but will explore the implications of impending political, technological, generational and taxation changes. There will be practical instruction and discussion on foundation, corporate, major donor, direct mail, grassroots, social media, event, and planned gift fundraising, with serious investigation of the human factors that make these successful.

MDO604 - Outcomes and Evaluations

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter

This course explores the rationale and methods for setting and assessing measurable outcomes in mission-driven environments. Students will examine the benefits and challenges of establishing program, organizational, and community level outcomes and using metrics to determine "what is better as a result of our efforts?" They will come away with the tools and strategies to set, assess, and use the results of measurable outcomes. The course will use a three-pronged approach: didactic learning about the purpose and techniques of outcome measurement; applied learning, with student teams each working with an organization to develop outcomes and assessment strategies; and sharing and analyzing the experience, deepening students' ability to translate learning to practice.

MDO610 - Good to Great

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Spring

How can mission-driven organizations move from good to great? In this class we will start with Jim Collins classic work Good to Great for the Social Sectors and move from there to consider macro-level frameworks for highly-effective organizations. Topics will include organizational life cycles, becoming a learning organization, and promoting a culture of social innovation.

MDO611 - Nonprofit Law and Ethics

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Spring

This course will cover the basic laws, customs and ethical considerations governing nonprofit organizations. We will study board roles, responsibilities and liabilities; the tax code and associated responsibilities; relevant provisions of employment law; and issues of legal and fraud protection.

MSM605 - Corporate Law and Ethics

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Spring

This course will cover the basic laws, customs and ethical considerations governing corporations. We will study corporate forms, responsibilities and liabilities; the tax code and associated responsibilities; relevant provisions of employment law; and issues of legal and fraud protection.

MSM620 - Marketing

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter

Regardless of ones personal opinion of marketing, it represents a powerful force in todays world. Marketers help establish values, generate desires, and create cultures. Whether you are one of the many millions who gets excited about the latest batch of Super Bowl spots, an entrepreneur anxious to create a niche for your new product, or a sustainability-minded individual anxious to understand the role marketing can play in bringing your greatest hopes  or greatest fears  to life for the world, this course will help you understand and navigate the marketing force. Each participant will walk away with a working understanding of marketing in the new normal of todays rapidly changing media landscape. This working knowledge will be represented by the ability to develop a strategically sound and insightful marketing communications plan. However, we wont stop there. Together and individually we will reconsider marketing  perhaps even reinvent it  by exploring the question, What is the role of marketing in a sustainable world? Along the way, we will brush up on some skills essential to marketing, including: Escaping assumptions; Uncovering insights; Igniting creativity and innovation; Delivering powerful presentations.

MSM632 - Caring for the Human Organization

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

A caring human organization accepts responsibility for its sustainability impacts within the workforce, on the larger community, and on the environment. It strives to create alignment among a) organizational values, purpose, and strategy, b) the way its employees are engaged and managed, and c) the consequences of its operations for social, economic, and ecological sustainability. The emphasis in this course is on designing, measuring, and managing effective human organizational systems that motivate, engage and effectively deploy the workforce to deliver on the organization's strategy. In particular, we will explore how human resource management systems (e.g., staffing, rewards, performance appraisal, training), as well as organizational transformation strategies, can be used to support a flourishing and high performance mission-driven organization.

MSM633 - Equality, Equity and Inclusion

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

This course will explore, challenge, and acknowledge the role organizations play in participating in and being catalysts for addressing systemic inequality, equity and inclusion at both the organizational and societal levels. The work we will engage in provides an overview of key concepts, historical perspectives, practices, and systems level strategies for leading organizations which embody a commitment to diversity and social justice in their internal systems as well as their external practices, policies, and engagement with their communities. This introductory management course is predicated on the assumption that the performance of all organizations must be judged, not only in terms of their financial performance, but also by their accountability and commitment to equity and justice in how they engage in and embody their missions.

MSM634 - Ecological Economics, Political Economy, Institutions and Markets

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter

This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of economics with a view to sustainability and social balance. The main objective is to provide an understanding and critique of the conventional (neoclassical) economic and Ecological Economics paradigms, including heterodox views of economics. This course will examine the role and goals of markets and business within the context of institutions such as corporations, government at all levels, and global economics. It will include both literacy and broad deep analysis of the infrastructure of the economy including finance, money, capital and government. Broad goals of sustainability, accountability, and global economic and social justice will be integrated into discussions on the roles of businesses, consumers and citizens of the world.

MSM636 - Advanced Business Concepts: Finance and Multi-capitalism

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Spring

Optimizing value for all stakeholders requires capacity beyond the core traditional business tools for evaluating financial capital and business valuations. This course blends traditional finance with powerful multi-capitalism frameworks.

MSM637 - Operations and Production Systems

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

To cultivate in students an operations perspective and develop aptitude with operational methodologies designed to link organizational values with value production, through operations and operations management.

MSM638 - Facilitative Leadership

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Spring

Whether you are tasked with facilitating in service of a coalition meeting, team meeting, working group, committee, or cultivating a community, how you authentically step into that role will greatly impact the success of the group. In this course we will become a community of practice that will explore ideas and engage in activities designed to cultivate the awareness, presence, and skills for building vibrant environments that unleash groups collective intelligence and creativity.

MSM639 - Social Media for Social Change

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter

Social media has fundamentally changed the way that we communicate as a society, upending expectations about communication norms, behaviors and outcomes. The changing workforce is shifting communication norms as millennials become managers, and boomers exit the workforce. Mission-driven organizations are challenged to use social media in order to remain relevant to its existing stakeholders, Matter to new stakeholders, and move them to action. While some struggle to achieve this, others are succeeding wildly using social media. This course provides a framework for understanding the role that social media plays in societal communications, and how organizations can leverage social media to remain relevant, Matter deeply, and move stakeholders to action. Students will leave with a solid understanding of how to use social media to expand awareness, advocate, and raise funds for social change. This course will delve into the concepts and tools needed for social media success: being a networked nonprofit; changing demographics; network theory; a deep dive into using social media to successfully expand awareness, raise funds, advocate, and deepen loyalty; and a strategic approach to social communications that realizes organizational goals.

MSM640 - Foundations of Food Systems

  • 3 credits

This course introduces students to the large-scale systems structures and complex sub-systems which form the global food system and examines the cultural norms, economic behaviors and business operations which drive the system. The course will investigate and interrogate the inequities and unsustainable behaviors in the food system and provide powerful alternative frameworks from emerging thought leaders in sustainability, resilience, social justice and local-food movements. These emerging alternatives will also be critically and rigorously critiqued to evaluate their capacity to deliver sustainability, equity and scaled impact to the food system. By the end of the course, students will be fluent in the nature of the mainstream food system and the primary alternatives and will have produced a project using the Business Model Canvas that identifies innovation opportunities in an area of the food economy.

MSM999 - General Management Elective

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall, Winter, Spring

General Management program 2 credit elective class.

PRM603 - Advanced Project Management Concepts

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Spring
  • Prerequisites: MSM602 Foundations of Project Management

Advanced Project Management provides project management students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the project planning, in preparation for attaining certification from the Project Management Institute. Topics to be explored include agile project management, ethics and professionalism, and the conflicts project managers might face within organizations when needing to make decisions.

PRM604 - Project Governance and Oversight

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall
  • Prerequisites: MSM602 Foundations of Project Management

This course introduces the topics of enterprise project and program management, and project governance. We will address the role of the project sponsor as the project champion and how that role, combined with change control, impacts project success. Various means of project governance, such as the use of steering committees and change control boards, will be explored, as will the integration of projects to organizational strategic planning.

PRM608 - Organizational Change Management

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Spring

This seminar prepares participants to lead change in an organizational setting. Topics of study include: analyzing conditions that foster both acceptance and resistance to change; understanding the individual roles that participate in change; specific leadership strategies for managing and reinforcing change; and developing actionable change management plans, including development plans required to reinforce the change. Participants will develop a change management plan for use in an organizational setting of their choice
.

PRM610 - Principles of Lean Management

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Fall

Students will explore the concepts and principles associated with lean management approaches. We will analyze several models of lean management, including the "Toyota approach," Goldratt's Theory of Constraints and Critical Chain, as well as the Agile Manifesto. Through the studying of several lean implementations, students will develop an understanding of the relationship between lean management and agile management.

PRM611 - Project Cost and Schedule Management

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter
  • Prerequisites: MSM602 Foundations of Project Management

Project Cost/Schedule Management provides students an opportunity to enhance their ability to manage and control their project budgets and schedules, in preparation for attaining certification from the Project Management Institute. Topics to be explored include advanced monitoring techniques such as earned value tracking, critical path management and baseline variance tracking.

PRM612 - Strategic Planning

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Fall
  • Prerequisites: MSM602 Foundations of Project Management

Working in a team setting with a specific organization, students will experience the power of the project portfolio process by actually analyzing the strategic plan and developing a balanced project portfolio.

SIE610 - Foundations of Social Innovation

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Spring

This course introduces students to the concepts of social sector organizations, social entrepreneurship and social innovation. This course examines how individuals and organizations use entrepreneurial skills and approaches to develop innovative responses to social problems. In this course students will study organizations locally and around the globe who have created innovative solutions to social problems. By the end of this course students will be able to clearly articulate how social innovation impacts their professional life and values, as well as their ability to manage up and get the most out of their jobs.

SIE611 - Triple Strength Impacts

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

This course is designed to help students understand the concepts of collective impact and triple strength leadership. In this course students will study how leaders using collective impact develop comprehensive systems maps to understand complex interrelationships, create stakeholder mapping and engagement, identify leverage points for change, build relationships that develop into effective partnerships and create a method to publicly share the collective goals and a shared work plan. In the course we will study real-life situations and evaluate them from the perspective of all three sectors. By the end of the course students will be able to balance competing motives when looking at challenges, create a clear path to acquire transferable skills in their professional life, develop contextual intelligence, build integrated networks and feel confident meeting trisector opportunities.

SIE612 - Social Innovation Field Course

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter
  • Prerequisites: SIE610 Foundations of Social Innovation

Building on the work done in Foundations of Social Innovation, students in this field course will have the opportunity to connect their classroom learning to hands-on work in partnership with a social sector organization. At the conclusion of the field course students will present on their social innovation within the organization and their effectiveness at developing the solution. Through the field course, participants can expect to acquire an understanding of organizational context and issues related to specific social innovation opportunities and be better prepared to affect change as a team member and leader within their own organization. This course combines lectures, case studies, visiting practitioners and team projects focused on social innovation.

SIE614 - Startup Garage

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

This course is an intensive hands-on, project-based course, in which students will apply the concepts of design thinking, social innovation, finance, business and organizational skills to design and in teams test new business concepts that address real world needs. This course integrates methods from human-centered design, lean startup, and business model planning. The course focuses on developing entrepreneurial skills (using short lectures and in-class exercises) and then applying these skills to specific problems faced by those users identified by the teams. Teams will get out of the building and interact directly with users and advisers to develop a deep understanding of the challenges they face and to field test their proposed services, products, and business models.

Master in Business Administration

Required Courses

MBA640 - Performance Management and Analytics Driven Decision-Making

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Winter
  • This is a required course

One of the most fundamental activities of leaders is to make decisions.
Because decision making is a complex nexus of leadership skills, how
values are formed, named and inform decisions and how power and
information are shared, and information is interpreted and used, are major
parts of what defines a leader and organizational culture.
This course uses data, data inquiry and the role of data in internal
performance analysis and external sense-making and analysis to build
leadership decision-making capacity. Other courses develop the leadership
skills of cultivating organizational purpose and impact and personal
presence. These so-called soft-skills are also honed within the Marlboro
learning community. To unlock their full impact, this course focuses on the
analytic mind and the tools of analysis.
Data science is opening new doors into evaluating performance and impact,
while also allowing easier and lower-cost entry to data analysis for creating
new strategies and business models. Data analysis, even for small
organizations, can become the means for creating impact and for measuring
it. The course will also explore the change management challenge that
quality data, authentic measurement and transparency can create within
organizational culture.

This course is limited to students in the MBA program only.

MBA641 - Ideation, Design Thinking and Strategy

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Spring
  • This is a required course

What the world needs now are good ideas. Great ideas. Boundary-breaking, seemingly impossible innovations. You can offer such ideas and solutions to the world - by bringing the best of your imagination and your analytic skills to bear on problems, needs, and opportunities.

Analytic skills by themselves are not sufficient to drive creative problem solving, but neither are undisciplined brainstorming sessions and ideation. This course will provide hands-on experience with design thinking. A process that can be applied to any need or problem - business, product, service, social, or personal - it helps us to seek broad understanding, cultivate creative ideas, generate prototypes, and test and refine final solutions. Ideas and tools from other practices, such as Theory U, integrative thinking, and Wild Genius, will also inform the steps of this process.

This course is limited to students in the MBA program only.

MBA642 - Applied Systems Leadership for Complex Problem-Solving

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Fall
  • This is a required course

Our highest aspirations for our impact on the world often hinge on our capacity to navigate complex problems: organizationally, personally and socially. Systems leaders skillfully blend the intellectual tools necessary to understand complex systems with the personal capacity to hold the whole and nurture the collective ability to problem-solve in whatever environment they are operating in. This class is a synthesis of many Marlboro management disciplines: systems thinking, personal leadership, adaptive and collaborative leadership, outcomes and measurement, strategy, design thinking and stakeholder communication and engagement.

Complex problem-solving is a whole person and whole group endeavor, rooted in a clear-eyed view of reality, that moves people from confusion and contested views of roles, responsibilities and realities to alignment around purpose, impact and responsibility.

This course is limited to students in the MBA program only.

MBA650 - Master Workshop I: Problem Definition/Needs Assessment

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Fall, Winter, Spring
  • This is a required course

A year-long individual mentor-supported project designed to help each MBA student pivot towards the future leader they want to be, while demonstrating synthesis of the Marlboro curriculum, project management, and communication skills, personal knowledge management and purposeful value creation and thought leadership. Each trimester has a different focus and purpose. Students enter the Master Workshop process with three trimesters remaining in their MBA study plan.

The first phase is to identify a problem or opportunity of interest and work with the Master Workshop I and II Mentor and Cohort to develop a disciplined project plan and deliverables. Special attention is paid to how the project serves the students aspirations for her post-MBA future, allowing for a pivot and validation of the students readiness and capacity for this new work.

MBA651 - Master Workshop II: Research Phase

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Fall, Winter, Spring
  • This is a required course

A year-long individual mentor-supported project designed to help each MBA student pivot towards the future leader they want to be, while demonstrating synthesis of the Marlboro curriculum, project management, and communication skills, personal knowledge management and purposeful value creation and thought leadership. Each trimester has a different focus and purpose. Students enter the Master Workshop process with three trimesters remaining in their MBA study plan.

The research phase is a trimester-long, 1-credit, Mentor supported investigation of the problem or opportunity. The research phase is designed to illuminate the problem or opportunity and set-up the final phase of original work. In some cases this might involve field work, external mentorship and/or project work for an external client.

MBA652 - Master Workshop III: Value Creation and Thought Leadership

  • 4 credits
  • Taught in Fall, Winter, Spring
  • This is a required course

A year-long individual mentor-supported project designed to help each MBA student pivot towards the future leader they want to be, while demonstrating synthesis of the Marlboro curriculum, project management, and communication skills, personal knowledge management and purposeful value creation and thought leadership. Each trimester has a different focus and purpose. Students enter the Master Workshop process with three trimesters remaining in their MBA study plan.

The final phase is a time and capacity intensive trimester devoted principally to adding value and original thinking to the area identified in the project plan. This might be a business plan, an original piece of research or a series of deliverables for an external client. The student is supported by a one-on-one Mentor for MW III.

The power of this process to validate the students MBA experience and personal pivot comes from the original work and thought leadership and by the successful personal management of the complex process of executing the Master Workshops. The final product will include a planned list of deliverables appropriate to the project, a public presentation and interrogation of the project by a review team and a retrospective process in which the student reflects on the Marlboro MBA and Master Workshop experience.

MSM501 - Thriving in Teams and Organizations

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Winter
  • This is a required course

Rooted in theory, this course empowers individuals to act and interact in an organizational context with a focus on distributed and virtual teams. The course draws from research and theories in Organizational Behavior, Shared Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and Positive Psychology to shed light on such human dynamics as motivation, perception, decision-making, and conflict management. By the end of the course you will know what makes teams and organizations effective and sustainable and be able to thrive within the challenges facing teams and organizations. You will be able to understand how your personal predilections as a team member and organizational player impact your effectiveness and sense of purpose as an adaptive team leader in service to growing, changing and improving your organization.

MSM505.1 - Personal Leadership Development I

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Spring
  • This is a required course
  • Prerequisites: MSM501 Thriving in Teams and Organizations

This low-intensity, continuous, three-trimester course explores ideas and approaches for the development of personal leadership with positive psychology and emotional intelligence as its foundation. Well begin with personal sustainability and mastery of leadership competencies, and move into leadership within teams and larger organizations. In the context of reflecting and learning with peers and mentors, the course is organized around the creation of a self-directed personal leadership development plan. Students will be encouraged to seek mentoring from an individual in a sector, industry, or role they aspire to be part of.

This first course in the sequence focuses on self-assessment and self-awareness in the personal leadership domain, personal ecology and sustainability, and the emotional intelligence leadership competencies. The prerequisite for this course is People and Teams, taught in Winter. This three-trimester course sequence begins in Spring trimester each year, and must be taken in order.

MSM505.2 - Personal Leadership Development II

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Fall
  • This is a required course
  • Prerequisites: MSM505.1 Personal Leadership Development I

The second of the three Personal Leadership Development courses explores the realm of self-management, including restorative, contemplative, and productive self-management practices. It also addresses the emotional intelligence leadership domain of self-management and the related competencies of emotional self-control and transparency, hope and optimism, and adaptability and achievement.

MSM505.3 - Personal Leadership Development III

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Winter
  • This is a required course
  • Prerequisites: MSM505.2 Personal Leadership Development II

The third Personal Leadership Development course considers the emotional intelligence domain of social awareness and the related competencies of empathy and service to others, organizational awareness, and matching personal values to organizational strategies. It offers skill-building in coaching, listening, and communication techniques to use in challenging situations.

MSM521 - Foundations of Systems Thinking

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter
  • This is a required course

This course introduces the concepts and tools of systems thinking. Creating flourishing within organizations, businesses and the world requires paradigmatic shifts, and insights into how to effectively create change. Systems thinkers have shown that the effective levers of change are often counter-intuitive, or only become obvious when the mental model which structures them is revealed. This course will use a case study approach to develop competence and comfort with systems thinking analysis. Topics include: food systems, regenerative farming, ecological systems, political and educational systems, systems levers and economics.

MSM522 - Foundations of Financial Decision-Making

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall
  • This is a required course

In this class students will build fluency with financial statements and ratios in order to use financial data alongside considerations of mission to make important business or organizational decisions. Students will learn how to identify good metrics to measure the health and sustainability of an enterprise and will develop the ability to design good organizational dashboards. By the end of the class, students will be able to present a good or bad financial scenario to a board of directors and to staff with clarity and confidence.

MSM602 - Foundations of Project Management

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Fall
  • This is a required course

In this introductory course, students learn the application of standard project management processes. Based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®), key topics include project selection and scoping, risk analysis, schedule and budget management, development of work breakdown structures, project communication and team building. Students are asked to plan a real-world project and to initiate project control processes as part of the class homework.

MSM631 - Foundations of Systems Leadership

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Winter
  • This is a required course

If we are to address the complex issues of our times - from climate change on a global scale to food security in a single community - we will need to cultivate new leadership skills in ourselves and others. In this introductory seminar, students will explore four integrated practices that contribute to a systems leadership approach, including basic systems mapping, collective impact, critical reflection, and appreciative inquiry. Through readings and nature-based exploration, we will also explore key frameworks to enable a flourishing ecosystem, including the triple-bottom-line model, the sustainability continuum and Joanna Macy's Great Turning.
This course is required in the first trimester of your management degree program. If you do not choose the class when you register, you will be automatically enrolled.

MSM635 - Clear Communications

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Spring
  • This is a required course

This course focuses on the knowledge and skills required to be a successful communicator in today's global business world. The course draws from research and theories in Collaborative Leadership, Conflict Transformation and Authentic Communication to support relationship and trust building, collaboration, self-awareness, group awareness and appreciation. By the end of the course you will understand different communication models and tools and how to use them effectively in our fast-paced digital world. You will also develop cross cultural awareness, sensitivity and mediation skills. You will be able to more effectively communicate to and engage with stakeholders, lead and facilitate valuable meetings and presentations, develop creative solutions to challenges and maintain healthy mentor relationships.

Elective Courses

MDO602 - Fundraising and Philanthropy

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

This course assumes a basic level of understanding of fundraising methods and history, and covers the mechanics of various fundraising sources and techniques as well as the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of both fundraising and philanthropy. It assumes that giving, as well as encouraging others to give, will be an ongoing basis for sustaining the nonprofit sector, but will explore the implications of impending political, technological, generational and taxation changes. There will be practical instruction and discussion on foundation, corporate, major donor, direct mail, grassroots, social media, event, and planned gift fundraising, with serious investigation of the human factors that make these successful.

MDO604 - Outcomes and Evaluations

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter

This course explores the rationale and methods for setting and assessing measurable outcomes in mission-driven environments. Students will examine the benefits and challenges of establishing program, organizational, and community level outcomes and using metrics to determine "what is better as a result of our efforts?" They will come away with the tools and strategies to set, assess, and use the results of measurable outcomes. The course will use a three-pronged approach: didactic learning about the purpose and techniques of outcome measurement; applied learning, with student teams each working with an organization to develop outcomes and assessment strategies; and sharing and analyzing the experience, deepening students' ability to translate learning to practice.

MDO610 - Good to Great

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Spring

How can mission-driven organizations move from good to great? In this class we will start with Jim Collins classic work Good to Great for the Social Sectors and move from there to consider macro-level frameworks for highly-effective organizations. Topics will include organizational life cycles, becoming a learning organization, and promoting a culture of social innovation.

MDO611 - Nonprofit Law and Ethics

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Spring

This course will cover the basic laws, customs and ethical considerations governing nonprofit organizations. We will study board roles, responsibilities and liabilities; the tax code and associated responsibilities; relevant provisions of employment law; and issues of legal and fraud protection.

MSM605 - Corporate Law and Ethics

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Spring

This course will cover the basic laws, customs and ethical considerations governing corporations. We will study corporate forms, responsibilities and liabilities; the tax code and associated responsibilities; relevant provisions of employment law; and issues of legal and fraud protection.

MSM620 - Marketing

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter

Regardless of ones personal opinion of marketing, it represents a powerful force in todays world. Marketers help establish values, generate desires, and create cultures. Whether you are one of the many millions who gets excited about the latest batch of Super Bowl spots, an entrepreneur anxious to create a niche for your new product, or a sustainability-minded individual anxious to understand the role marketing can play in bringing your greatest hopes  or greatest fears  to life for the world, this course will help you understand and navigate the marketing force. Each participant will walk away with a working understanding of marketing in the new normal of todays rapidly changing media landscape. This working knowledge will be represented by the ability to develop a strategically sound and insightful marketing communications plan. However, we wont stop there. Together and individually we will reconsider marketing  perhaps even reinvent it  by exploring the question, What is the role of marketing in a sustainable world? Along the way, we will brush up on some skills essential to marketing, including: Escaping assumptions; Uncovering insights; Igniting creativity and innovation; Delivering powerful presentations.

MSM632 - Caring for the Human Organization

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

A caring human organization accepts responsibility for its sustainability impacts within the workforce, on the larger community, and on the environment. It strives to create alignment among a) organizational values, purpose, and strategy, b) the way its employees are engaged and managed, and c) the consequences of its operations for social, economic, and ecological sustainability. The emphasis in this course is on designing, measuring, and managing effective human organizational systems that motivate, engage and effectively deploy the workforce to deliver on the organization's strategy. In particular, we will explore how human resource management systems (e.g., staffing, rewards, performance appraisal, training), as well as organizational transformation strategies, can be used to support a flourishing and high performance mission-driven organization.

MSM633 - Equality, Equity and Inclusion

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

This course will explore, challenge, and acknowledge the role organizations play in participating in and being catalysts for addressing systemic inequality, equity and inclusion at both the organizational and societal levels. The work we will engage in provides an overview of key concepts, historical perspectives, practices, and systems level strategies for leading organizations which embody a commitment to diversity and social justice in their internal systems as well as their external practices, policies, and engagement with their communities. This introductory management course is predicated on the assumption that the performance of all organizations must be judged, not only in terms of their financial performance, but also by their accountability and commitment to equity and justice in how they engage in and embody their missions.

MSM634 - Ecological Economics, Political Economy, Institutions and Markets

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter

This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of economics with a view to sustainability and social balance. The main objective is to provide an understanding and critique of the conventional (neoclassical) economic and Ecological Economics paradigms, including heterodox views of economics. This course will examine the role and goals of markets and business within the context of institutions such as corporations, government at all levels, and global economics. It will include both literacy and broad deep analysis of the infrastructure of the economy including finance, money, capital and government. Broad goals of sustainability, accountability, and global economic and social justice will be integrated into discussions on the roles of businesses, consumers and citizens of the world.

MSM636 - Advanced Business Concepts: Finance and Multi-capitalism

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Spring

Optimizing value for all stakeholders requires capacity beyond the core traditional business tools for evaluating financial capital and business valuations. This course blends traditional finance with powerful multi-capitalism frameworks.

MSM637 - Operations and Production Systems

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

To cultivate in students an operations perspective and develop aptitude with operational methodologies designed to link organizational values with value production, through operations and operations management.

MSM638 - Facilitative Leadership

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Spring

Whether you are tasked with facilitating in service of a coalition meeting, team meeting, working group, committee, or cultivating a community, how you authentically step into that role will greatly impact the success of the group. In this course we will become a community of practice that will explore ideas and engage in activities designed to cultivate the awareness, presence, and skills for building vibrant environments that unleash groups collective intelligence and creativity.

MSM639 - Social Media for Social Change

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter

Social media has fundamentally changed the way that we communicate as a society, upending expectations about communication norms, behaviors and outcomes. The changing workforce is shifting communication norms as millennials become managers, and boomers exit the workforce. Mission-driven organizations are challenged to use social media in order to remain relevant to its existing stakeholders, Matter to new stakeholders, and move them to action. While some struggle to achieve this, others are succeeding wildly using social media. This course provides a framework for understanding the role that social media plays in societal communications, and how organizations can leverage social media to remain relevant, Matter deeply, and move stakeholders to action. Students will leave with a solid understanding of how to use social media to expand awareness, advocate, and raise funds for social change. This course will delve into the concepts and tools needed for social media success: being a networked nonprofit; changing demographics; network theory; a deep dive into using social media to successfully expand awareness, raise funds, advocate, and deepen loyalty; and a strategic approach to social communications that realizes organizational goals.

MSM640 - Foundations of Food Systems

  • 3 credits

This course introduces students to the large-scale systems structures and complex sub-systems which form the global food system and examines the cultural norms, economic behaviors and business operations which drive the system. The course will investigate and interrogate the inequities and unsustainable behaviors in the food system and provide powerful alternative frameworks from emerging thought leaders in sustainability, resilience, social justice and local-food movements. These emerging alternatives will also be critically and rigorously critiqued to evaluate their capacity to deliver sustainability, equity and scaled impact to the food system. By the end of the course, students will be fluent in the nature of the mainstream food system and the primary alternatives and will have produced a project using the Business Model Canvas that identifies innovation opportunities in an area of the food economy.

MSM999 - General Management Elective

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall, Winter, Spring

General Management program 2 credit elective class.

PRM603 - Advanced Project Management Concepts

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Spring
  • Prerequisites: MSM602 Foundations of Project Management

Advanced Project Management provides project management students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the project planning, in preparation for attaining certification from the Project Management Institute. Topics to be explored include agile project management, ethics and professionalism, and the conflicts project managers might face within organizations when needing to make decisions.

PRM604 - Project Governance and Oversight

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall
  • Prerequisites: MSM602 Foundations of Project Management

This course introduces the topics of enterprise project and program management, and project governance. We will address the role of the project sponsor as the project champion and how that role, combined with change control, impacts project success. Various means of project governance, such as the use of steering committees and change control boards, will be explored, as will the integration of projects to organizational strategic planning.

PRM608 - Organizational Change Management

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Spring

This seminar prepares participants to lead change in an organizational setting. Topics of study include: analyzing conditions that foster both acceptance and resistance to change; understanding the individual roles that participate in change; specific leadership strategies for managing and reinforcing change; and developing actionable change management plans, including development plans required to reinforce the change. Participants will develop a change management plan for use in an organizational setting of their choice
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PRM610 - Principles of Lean Management

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Fall

Students will explore the concepts and principles associated with lean management approaches. We will analyze several models of lean management, including the "Toyota approach," Goldratt's Theory of Constraints and Critical Chain, as well as the Agile Manifesto. Through the studying of several lean implementations, students will develop an understanding of the relationship between lean management and agile management.

PRM611 - Project Cost and Schedule Management

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter
  • Prerequisites: MSM602 Foundations of Project Management

Project Cost/Schedule Management provides students an opportunity to enhance their ability to manage and control their project budgets and schedules, in preparation for attaining certification from the Project Management Institute. Topics to be explored include advanced monitoring techniques such as earned value tracking, critical path management and baseline variance tracking.

PRM612 - Strategic Planning

  • 1 credit
  • Taught in Fall
  • Prerequisites: MSM602 Foundations of Project Management

Working in a team setting with a specific organization, students will experience the power of the project portfolio process by actually analyzing the strategic plan and developing a balanced project portfolio.

SIE610 - Foundations of Social Innovation

  • 3 credits
  • Taught in Spring

This course introduces students to the concepts of social sector organizations, social entrepreneurship and social innovation. This course examines how individuals and organizations use entrepreneurial skills and approaches to develop innovative responses to social problems. In this course students will study organizations locally and around the globe who have created innovative solutions to social problems. By the end of this course students will be able to clearly articulate how social innovation impacts their professional life and values, as well as their ability to manage up and get the most out of their jobs.

SIE611 - Triple Strength Impacts

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

This course is designed to help students understand the concepts of collective impact and triple strength leadership. In this course students will study how leaders using collective impact develop comprehensive systems maps to understand complex interrelationships, create stakeholder mapping and engagement, identify leverage points for change, build relationships that develop into effective partnerships and create a method to publicly share the collective goals and a shared work plan. In the course we will study real-life situations and evaluate them from the perspective of all three sectors. By the end of the course students will be able to balance competing motives when looking at challenges, create a clear path to acquire transferable skills in their professional life, develop contextual intelligence, build integrated networks and feel confident meeting trisector opportunities.

SIE612 - Social Innovation Field Course

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter
  • Prerequisites: SIE610 Foundations of Social Innovation

Building on the work done in Foundations of Social Innovation, students in this field course will have the opportunity to connect their classroom learning to hands-on work in partnership with a social sector organization. At the conclusion of the field course students will present on their social innovation within the organization and their effectiveness at developing the solution. Through the field course, participants can expect to acquire an understanding of organizational context and issues related to specific social innovation opportunities and be better prepared to affect change as a team member and leader within their own organization. This course combines lectures, case studies, visiting practitioners and team projects focused on social innovation.

SIE614 - Startup Garage

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall

This course is an intensive hands-on, project-based course, in which students will apply the concepts of design thinking, social innovation, finance, business and organizational skills to design and in teams test new business concepts that address real world needs. This course integrates methods from human-centered design, lean startup, and business model planning. The course focuses on developing entrepreneurial skills (using short lectures and in-class exercises) and then applying these skills to specific problems faced by those users identified by the teams. Teams will get out of the building and interact directly with users and advisers to develop a deep understanding of the challenges they face and to field test their proposed services, products, and business models.