Management Curriculum

Both the Master of Science in Management in Organizational Leadership (36 credits) and the Master of Business Administration in Organizational Leadership (45 credits) are rigorous programs that combine core coursework with a self-designed specialization and culminate with a real-world capstone project.

Core Courses

Students begin their journey at Marlboro by completing our Core Leadership Curriculum. In these foundational courses, students learn essential analytical tools such as financial management, project management, and systems thinking, and hone critical interpersonal skills such as clear communication, effective collaboration, and emotional intelligence.

Core Leadership Curriculum

All graduate students in the Organizational Leadership program complete the Marlboro Core Leadership Curriculum:

  • 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)

Specialization

Building from the Core Leadership Curriculum, each student works with a faculty advisor to design a plan for specialization that may include classes, literature reviews, field courses, professional experience and the Capstone Project.  Self-designed specializations maintain high standards while allowing students the flexibility they need to clarify and execute their leadership vision.

Areas of Specialization

Building up from the core curriculum, students work with their advisor to define an area of specialization that leverages their strengths, interests and career goals. Students may specialize by skillset or sector.

Examples of skillset specializations:
  • Agile project management

  • Facilitation

  • Shared leadership

  • Design thinking

  • Social impact

Examples of sector specializations:
  • Nonprofit

  • Social Enterprise

  • Business

  • Community-based organizations

  • Tri-sector

The journey towards specialization includes a literature review of foundation texts, field courses, elective coursework in relevant subjects, and the capstone project. Some students may also incorporate professional work experience or prior learning into their specialization portfolio.

ELECTIVES

Elective courses enable students to specialize their degree, round out their skillsets, and pursue areas of strong professional interest. Students typically have 8 elective credits. Popular electives include:

  • Marketing

  • Outcomes & Evaluation

  • Caring for the Human Organization

  • Equity, Equality and Inclusion

  • Facilitative Leadership

  • Triple-Strenth Impact

  • Nonprofit Law & Ethics

CAPSTONE

During the final year of the program, all management students enter the powerful three-part Capstone sequence. In “Pivot” they assess their current situation and work with mentors to design a pivot that could bring them closer to their dream job or professional realization. In “Plan” and “Launch” phases, students first map then execute a Capstone project that will advance their professional goals and demonstrate their core and specialized leadership competencies.

EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP SEMINARS (MBA ONLY)

MBA students engage in three highly-interactive advanced seminars designed to synthesize earlier learning and draw students up to the next level of creativity, initiative and leadership capacity.

  • 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)

MS in Management

Required Courses

GPS950 - Capstone: Pivot

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

Pivot is the first part of the year-long individual mentor-supported Capstone process and is designed to help each student pivot towards the leader they want to be. This is done while demonstrating synthesis of the Marlboro curriculum, project management and communication skills, personal knowledge management, purposeful value creation and thought leadership. Students begin the Capstone process via Pivot with three trimesters remaining in their study plan. Designed as a preparatory class for the Capstone planning phase, Pivot reflects on the student's personal leadership journey and helps students identify a problem or opportunity of interest to the student. In Pivot, students begin the process of identifying and connecting with mentors and their peer cohort to lay the foundation for a project plan which will be finalized during the next semester. Special attention is paid in this class to how the Capstone project serves the student's aspirations for their post-Marlboro future, allowing for a pivot and validation of the student's readiness and capacity for this new work.

GPS960 - Capstone: Plan

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

Students enroll in Plan in their penultimate trimester to develop a plan for launching their Capstone project, a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students and is required to complete their Masters degree. Capstone is an advisor-supported and student-led process designed for Masters students to apply and test their knowledge and skills with a real-life client to pivot towards the leader they want to be in their field after graduation. Through this process, students demonstrate synthesis of the Marlboro curriculum, project management, communication skills, personal knowledge management, purposeful value creation and thought leadership.

Plan offers guidance and support as students plan their response to the problem or opportunity they have identified. Components of this design phase include: research, testing/piloting, evaluation and reflection, project planning, pitching, selecting a project advisor, and securing approval for their launch project. Building on the work completed in Pivot, this course will equip students to plan for their project by incorporating the skills and knowledge gained throughout their experience at Marlboro.

GPS970 - Capstone: Launch

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

Students enroll in "Capstone III: Launch" in their final trimester and complete their Capstone project, a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students and is required to complete their Masters degree. Capstone is an advisor-supported and student-led process designed for Masters students to apply and test their knowledge and skills with a real-life client to pivot towards the leader they want to be in their field after graduation. Through this process, students demonstrate synthesis of the Marlboro curriculum, project management, communication skills, personal knowledge management, purposeful value creation and thought leadership.

Supported directly by a Capstone Advisor, students: create original work by developing the project deliverable(s) planned in Capstone II; document the process of creating the original work and implementing their project; deliver a formal presentation of their project to the Marlboro community and engage in a group critique directly following presentations; participate in a defense dialogue that emphasizes key leanings and academic rigor of the Capstone project and overall graduate school experience; and prepare and submit a final Capstone Archive, comprised of a series of completed pages, supportive media files and copies of project deliverables. MBA students completing Capstone must fulfill an additional requirement to conduct a public workshop that tests, showcases or applies their original work in the final trimester.

Capstone involves both process and product. In addition to creating strong original work in their field of study, students engage in the process of identifying a problem or opportunity, planning and carrying out a project, and reflecting on their learning. The power of this process is to validate the students academic experience through original work, thought leadership and by the successful personal management of the complex process of executing the Capstone project. Capstones are assessed on a pass/fail basis.

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, Spring
  • 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

Description: 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

Description: 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 Fall, 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

Description: 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.

MSM615 - Foundations of Social Innovation

  • 3 credits

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.

MSM620 - Marketing

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter

Regardless of one's personal opinion of marketing, it represents a powerful force in today's 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 today's 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 won't 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.

MSM623 - Literature Review: History and Theory

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall, Winter, Spring

A strong base knowledge of the history and theory of your chosen specialization field is crucial for understanding the evolution of professional communities of practice and their contemporary norms and methods. In this course, students will read the foundational works for their chosen field of specialization, and work with a faculty advisor to develop an annotated bibliography for further study.

The course is designed as a two-credit course and is designed to precede the Field Course. With the permission of the Chair, the course may be taken as a three-credit class.

MSM624 - Social Innovation Field Course

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Spring

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.

MSM632 - Caring for the Human Organization

  • 2 credits

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

Description: 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

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 - Facilitating Shared 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.

MSM641 - Literature Review: Advanced Topics

  • 2 credits
  • Prerequisites: MSM624 Social Innovation Field Course

This course offers students a chance to pursue an advanced review and study of the thought leadership in their field. It also allows students a chance to pivot to stretch into new areas of research following the Field Course, as one possible outcome of the Field Course is a pivot in specialization.

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, Spring

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 Fall, Winter
  • Prerequisites: SIE610 Foundations of Social Innovation

This course offers a customized field experience in action inquiry for social innovation. Most broadly, social innovation can be understood as a co-creative process that disrupts and reimagines the world. How can we refashion our current rules, roles, beliefs, and relationship patterns in order to address our grand social-environmental challenges and to open up new possibilities for human flourishing? The course will be devoted to an action inquiry project of your choosing. You may customize this project to your particular interests and goals. The project can be small or large, subtle or bold. It can take place in any context you like in a way that fits your personality and strengths. There are only two ground rules: the project must reflect a social innovation theme; and you must engage inquiry partners in the organization, network, or field that you choose to work with. With your inquiry partners, you will co-design a series of experiments to move your social innovation goal forward.

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

GPS950 - Capstone: Pivot

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

Pivot is the first part of the year-long individual mentor-supported Capstone process and is designed to help each student pivot towards the leader they want to be. This is done while demonstrating synthesis of the Marlboro curriculum, project management and communication skills, personal knowledge management, purposeful value creation and thought leadership. Students begin the Capstone process via Pivot with three trimesters remaining in their study plan. Designed as a preparatory class for the Capstone planning phase, Pivot reflects on the student's personal leadership journey and helps students identify a problem or opportunity of interest to the student. In Pivot, students begin the process of identifying and connecting with mentors and their peer cohort to lay the foundation for a project plan which will be finalized during the next semester. Special attention is paid in this class to how the Capstone project serves the student's aspirations for their post-Marlboro future, allowing for a pivot and validation of the student's readiness and capacity for this new work.

GPS960 - Capstone: Plan

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

Students enroll in Plan in their penultimate trimester to develop a plan for launching their Capstone project, a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students and is required to complete their Masters degree. Capstone is an advisor-supported and student-led process designed for Masters students to apply and test their knowledge and skills with a real-life client to pivot towards the leader they want to be in their field after graduation. Through this process, students demonstrate synthesis of the Marlboro curriculum, project management, communication skills, personal knowledge management, purposeful value creation and thought leadership.

Plan offers guidance and support as students plan their response to the problem or opportunity they have identified. Components of this design phase include: research, testing/piloting, evaluation and reflection, project planning, pitching, selecting a project advisor, and securing approval for their launch project. Building on the work completed in Pivot, this course will equip students to plan for their project by incorporating the skills and knowledge gained throughout their experience at Marlboro.

GPS970 - Capstone: Launch

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

Students enroll in "Capstone III: Launch" in their final trimester and complete their Capstone project, a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students and is required to complete their Masters degree. Capstone is an advisor-supported and student-led process designed for Masters students to apply and test their knowledge and skills with a real-life client to pivot towards the leader they want to be in their field after graduation. Through this process, students demonstrate synthesis of the Marlboro curriculum, project management, communication skills, personal knowledge management, purposeful value creation and thought leadership.

Supported directly by a Capstone Advisor, students: create original work by developing the project deliverable(s) planned in Capstone II; document the process of creating the original work and implementing their project; deliver a formal presentation of their project to the Marlboro community and engage in a group critique directly following presentations; participate in a defense dialogue that emphasizes key leanings and academic rigor of the Capstone project and overall graduate school experience; and prepare and submit a final Capstone Archive, comprised of a series of completed pages, supportive media files and copies of project deliverables. MBA students completing Capstone must fulfill an additional requirement to conduct a public workshop that tests, showcases or applies their original work in the final trimester.

Capstone involves both process and product. In addition to creating strong original work in their field of study, students engage in the process of identifying a problem or opportunity, planning and carrying out a project, and reflecting on their learning. The power of this process is to validate the students academic experience through original work, thought leadership and by the successful personal management of the complex process of executing the Capstone project. Capstones are assessed on a pass/fail basis.

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.

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, Spring
  • 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

Description: 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

Description: 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 Fall, 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

Description: 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.

MSM615 - Foundations of Social Innovation

  • 3 credits

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.

MSM620 - Marketing

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Winter

Regardless of one's personal opinion of marketing, it represents a powerful force in today's 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 today's 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 won't 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.

MSM623 - Literature Review: History and Theory

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Fall, Winter, Spring

A strong base knowledge of the history and theory of your chosen specialization field is crucial for understanding the evolution of professional communities of practice and their contemporary norms and methods. In this course, students will read the foundational works for their chosen field of specialization, and work with a faculty advisor to develop an annotated bibliography for further study.

The course is designed as a two-credit course and is designed to precede the Field Course. With the permission of the Chair, the course may be taken as a three-credit class.

MSM624 - Social Innovation Field Course

  • 2 credits
  • Taught in Spring

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.

MSM632 - Caring for the Human Organization

  • 2 credits

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

Description: 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.

MSM637 - Operations and Production Systems

  • 2 credits

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 - Facilitating Shared 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.

MSM641 - Literature Review: Advanced Topics

  • 2 credits
  • Prerequisites: MSM624 Social Innovation Field Course

This course offers students a chance to pursue an advanced review and study of the thought leadership in their field. It also allows students a chance to pivot to stretch into new areas of research following the Field Course, as one possible outcome of the Field Course is a pivot in specialization.

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.

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, Spring

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.

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.

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.