Over the course of the 2022–2023 academic year, Tuck offered over 100 MBA elective courses—from Generative AI and the Future of Work to Post-Pandemic International Development.
Responding to a rapidly changing business environment, Tuck continuously evolves its MBA curriculum to address emerging trends and topics, while still maintaining the integrity of its foundational core and its time-honored elective courses.
During the 2022–2023 academic year, Tuck offered 105 elective courses, including 24 new electives.
Despite our small size, our ability to cover a broad range of topics is second to none, says Joe Hall, Senior Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning at Tuck and the David T. McLaughlin D'54, T'55 Clinical Professor.
Whether core or elective, we are constantly updating and reinventing our courses, taking timeless concepts and setting them in a new timely context. The breadth of our elective offerings is really kind of amazing.
In fall 2022, Tuck announced the addition of two new course types designed to facilitate deeper explorations of timely topics: sprints and practicums. Sprint courses explore timely, emergent, or topical subjects that are not currently covered in the Tuck curriculum, or offer deeper dives into a focused area that expands on material covered at a higher level in an existing course. A notable example is Generative AI and the Future of Work, taught by Professor Alva Taylor, faculty director of the Center for Digital Strategies, which offers a condensed yet comprehensive view into the emerging and future impact of AI on business practices..
Despite our small size, our ability to cover a broad range of topics is second to none. Whether core or elective, we are constantly updating and reinventing our courses, taking timeless concepts and setting them in a new timely context.
—Joe Hall, Senior Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning
Tuck practicums are experiential courses emphasizing the application and expansion of knowledge acquired from other Tuck courses through hands-on, live project work with real organizations or assets. A recent example is the Early-Stage Venture Capital Workshop Practicum taught by Jim Feuille, adjunct professor and faculty adviser for the Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital. The goal of the practicum is to engage students in a hands-on, team-oriented deep dive of real-world early stage venture capital (VC) dealmaking.
Sprints and practicums provide more flexibility. For our faculty, there’s a lower barrier to bring something new to the classroom, promoting innovation within the curriculum, says Hall.
Sprint courses allow us to quickly stand up a course on a topic, making it easier for us to be innovative and responsive.
At the same time, foundational courses, such as Global Economics for Managers and Strategy in Emerging Markets, undergo continuous rejuvenation, with updated cases and expert speakers bringing a new perspective to the ever-relevant subject matter.
We’re also innovating within cases, says Hall, pointing to a case study involving SpaceX in an operations course.
Visitors, new cases, and new contexts—these are just a few of the ways we are continually updating our courses.
This balance of timeless, foundational coursework and timely, innovative topics signals Tuck’s commitment to preparing its students for the ever-evolving world of business.
Here are the new courses Tuck added to its roster over the 2022–2023 academic calendar. (And be on the lookout for upcoming MBA electives in the 2023–2024 academic year.)
The sprint course Wicked Problems: Health, Wealth, And Sustainability, taught by Professors Ron Adner, Matt Garcia, Douglas Irwin, and Lindsey Leininger, explores a series of “wicked problems” and how to design creative and credible solutions.
During this five-week- mini elective, students discuss the core elements of brand strategy. They pay special attention to the role of brands and brand managers in the new competitive and social context. Core learnings will focus on how brand strategy can be defined, crafted, developed, and managed in ways that create value for today’s consumers and firms. While the main focus of the course is strategic, students also discuss how brand strategy speaks to execution.
This course is designed for students who plan to work in firms that market directly to consumers or who plan to work in companies that offer support to these firms. It explores the challenges faced by marketers, business managers, strategic planners, and consultants in managing existing and new products in contexts ranging from consumer-packaged goods and consumer technologies to pharmaceuticals and sports. The primary goal of this course is to provide a greater appreciation for how and why consumers purchase the goods and services that they do.
New products and services are vital to companies’ success. In fact, creativity and innovation are the key drivers of market success and shareholder value for most of today’s leading companies. Indeed, a culture of creativity, innovation, and design is commonly recognized as the only sustainable competitive advantage. To win (and hopefully dominate) markets, companies must often create entire new markets and move beyond a product’s functional capabilities to connect with customers on an emotional and relational basis. However, innovation is risky and most new products fail. This course teaches a process for identifying market opportunities, creating new product/service ideas, and turning those ideas into valuable new products and services. We focus on the tools and techniques for analyzing market opportunities, creative thinking for generating new ideas, and then designing, testing, and launching new products and services. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches are covered.
The global food system consists of a multitude of players connected through local and global networks. The ability of these networks to feed the planet are under threat from a variety of challenges. The population of the planet will likely reach 10 billion by 2050, an increase of almost 30% from current numbers. Agriculture contributes at least 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) annually at a time when the catastrophic impacts of climate change are starting to be realized in agricultural production. Drought, water scarcity, and war in key growing areas are exacerbating the problems at hand. These are enormous challenges that require innovative management practices, new technologies, and visionary public policies. This course will provide insight into the challenges faced by the food system globally and argue the merits of some potential solutions. Students are exposed to the language, concepts, and tools industry players use to deal with these issues.
This practicum allows Tuck students to deeply understand the intersection of diversity, entrepreneurship, and company growth. This practicum partners with Tuck’s Executive Education’s (TEE) 40-year-old program for diverse entrepreneurs. Students are matched with a diverse entrepreneur from TEE to work on a discrete business challenge or opportunity (group work). They participate in weekly class discussions to understand the complexity, complications, and hurdles specific to being a diverse entrepreneur. They work on building understanding and empathy for people with different backgrounds, needs, experiences, and approaches, particularly as they relate to conducting business.
The goal of the Early Stage Venture Capital Workshop Practicum is to engage students in an in-depth, hands-on, team-oriented exploration of real-world early stage venture capital (VC) deal making, first by giving students an intensive grounding in the core elements of early stage venture capital—venture capital fund portfolio construction, deal sourcing, deal screening and selection, due diligence, valuation of early stage companies, convertible notes, capitalization tables, term sheets, the elements of an investment memorandum and negotiations with entrepreneurs—then by engaging students in a series of “deal workshops” whereby students will work on analyzing and conducting “due diligence” on nine “live” venture capital deals, three at a time, meeting with the founders or CEOs of companies that are then active in the marketplace raising Seed, Series A and Series B rounds of venture capital to hear their pitches and ask due diligence questions, and selecting three of those deals (one per set of three) to recommend to their “partnership”, consisting of practicing venture capitalists from around the US, by writing a full investment memorandum for each of the three deals and presenting and defending the investment thesis for the deal in a meeting with the venture capital partners.
This practicum was developed to ‘formalize’ academic work around Tuck’s ESG Fund (TESGF). This is a co-curricular activity that provides students with a hands-on experience in managing and executing real world ESG-oriented investments, by exposing students to incorporating non-financial factors related to ESG into investment analysis. Student Directors of the fund are responsible for developing the Fund’s investment thesis, evaluating investment opportunities, presenting proposals to committee, executing investments, and actively managing the fund’s existing portfolio.
A firm’s financial statements are often the only source of information available to outside stakeholders. This course teaches you how to understand and use financial statements to learn about a firm, its current operations, its value drivers, and expected future performance. We will develop the following competencies: understanding a firm’s underlying economics and its value drivers, understanding the accounting nuances used to summarize a firm’s transactions, projecting a firm’s future performance in the form of well-articulated pro-forma financial statements, and estimating firm value. This course will enhance your overall financial literacy by integrating much of the material covered at Tuck, particularly in accounting, finance, economics and strategy.
This minicourse focuses on the finance aspects of the clean energy economy. The course examines renewable energy generation—as mass electrification using cleaner generation sources is necessary to sustain our energy-dependent lives and economies—as well as energy efficiency. In each case, and throughout the course, finance will be analyzed as a barrier to, or enabler of, greater adoption of clean energy.
This course is about health analytics in action. With epidemiology as our key tour guide, we will introduce and apply timeless scientific concepts to timely case studies. Examples include the commercialization of patient data; the unintended consequences of tying physician payments to statistical algorithms; and the promise and perils of digital disease detection. Students will be provided with a series of practical data diligence tools speaking to descriptive, predictive, and evaluative applications of health analytics. By the end of the course students will be able to recognize and apply key frameworks critical for wise, data-driven leadership across the health sector. (previously a full-term course; now a minicourse)
The Small Buyouts Private Equity Practicum (“PEP”) is intended to engage Tuck students in a hands-on learning experience to apply what they have learned in other Tuck classes as well as from their pre-Tuck careers and internships developing their private markets investment fluency, pattern recognition and judgement applied in the real-world context of actual small and middle market buyout acquisitions. The overarching practical learning objective of the class is to enhance the students’ effectiveness in the private investment industry, whether that involvement comes through becoming an investor, becoming a manager of a private institutionally owned business, or as one of the many other participants (consultants, bankers, etc.) in the industry, through relevant, actionable, “real-world” experiential learning.
This minicourse examines how China has grown into the second largest economy in the world, and the challenges and opportunities along the way. It delineates the complexity of contemporary China with respect to economic, technological, political, environmental, and social issues and how it influences corporations in a wide range of industries. Based on in-depth discussions of empirical studies and business cases, it aims to provide students with analytical frameworks to navigate in the China business environment and address the challenges and threats.
Behavioral scientists, including the professor of this course, have identified a set of decision traps that managers sometimes fall into. In this micro-course, students apply what they know about these decision biases to a specific industry: personnel evaluation and decision-making for NBA teams, which are multi-billion-dollar organizations. This micro-course builds on the introduction to these concepts in Managing People and Analytics. Discussions are informed by an ongoing research project that the professor conducts with executives in four NBA organizations.
There has never been an economic system so revered and reviled as capitalism. But what is “capitalism” and is it really a “system”? Can it be reformed, or should it be scrapped? This sprint class acquaints students with the debate over capitalism, its meaning, its virtues and vices, and its future. To address these issues from different perspectives, the instructors include an economist, a political theorist, and a public policy expert.
The use and capabilities of generative artificial intelligence (G-AI) has dramatically increased recently. G-AI is being used in business processes ranging from call center responses and creating ad copy to generating business plans and strategic analysis. In these three classes, students examine the foundations of the technology and its use, strengths and weaknesses of G-AI, and expectations for how the digital tool will shape future business practices.
The science fiction writer William Gibson famously noted that “the future is already here, it is just not very evenly distributed.” Capabilities around horizon scanning are a key component of the toolkit of a wise, decisive leader. Properly deployed, they allow an organization to be more agile and adaptable, creating significant sources of competitive advantage. The blend of case-based discussion and experiential activities in this sprint course will help students to build these capabilities.
International Climate Negotiations at COP27 provides Tuck students a front-row seat to this year’s climate negotiations in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Although COPs were intended to be national government treaty venues, they now also serve as the international meeting space of subnational governments, companies and investors, civil society, and media. COP27 will focus international cooperation on the rapid implementation of the Paris Agreement through mitigation and adaptation actions, climate and carbon financing, recognition of loss and damage, and holding countries accountable via the global stocktake and private entities via the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCA). Its location at the crossroads of the Middle East and Africa provides a platform for centering climate change in the broader context of sustainable development and the diverging priorities of developing and developed economies.
Sanctions imposed by G7 countries due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine have created unparalleled challenges for management of international companies who must navigate constantly changing requirements, not only from legal and financial regulations, but due to public pressure and retaliatory actions by countries being sanctioned. This microcourse examines how international economic sanctions, such as against Russia by the US, the EU and the G7, affect business decisions and the risks which companies face in trying to comply with sanctions, the failure to do which can result in criminal prosecutions and hefty civil fines plus reputation damage.
In three classes, this course examines how technology enabled the direct-to-consumer video industry, how technology leads to a better understanding of the consumer, and finally how technology is enabling consumer communities. The three classes should create a robust dialogue about how consumer groups or communities are built, how important they are, and how can one measure actions that might impact them.
Mentoring has been connected to many different organizational and personal outcomes, including satisfaction, retention, salary, and advancement. While mentoring is often discussed and frequently suggested, there is not enough attention given to this critical topic. Mentoring, Sponsorship and Other Developmental Relationships (SP002) is a sprint course dedicated to learning from research, popular practice and personal experiences on mentoring. In this course, there is a commitment to understanding how accessing mentoring can strengthen a powerful competence that is beneficial for creating developmental relationships connected to both career enhancement and personal well‐being.
This course introduces students to some of the social, cultural, and ethical issues raised by money and market exchange, filling gaps left by economic analysis. We consider theories of where money comes from, why it works, and what benefits and concerns it raises. We consider the role of self-interest in economic exchange and arguments for altruism, gifting, and self-sacrifice as competing or complementary approaches. We examine the relation between money and happiness, and philosophical perspectives on what constitutes “the good life.” Students gain a nuanced appreciation for the social complexities of monetary economies, the ways money can shape worldviews and influence decision making, and how to navigate monetary spaces conceptually and ethically.
This sprint examines two main issues: 1.) how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected developing countries and what they need to do to return to higher growth, with special emphasis on food insecurity and highly indebted countries’ loans from China and 2.) what impact the war in Ukraine has had on development.
This course looks at the following main issues: a) how developing countries were affected by the pandemic socially and economically, b) what steps have been and need to be taken internationally to put countries back on track economically and financially, and c) what challenges developing countries face post pandemic involving high debt and food insecurity, as amplified by the war in Ukraine.
With the Biden Administration imposing export controls on China, and with China test-firing missiles in the waters around Taiwan after a visit by Nancy Pelosi, many commentators have said that US-China relations have reached their lowest point in decades. As China and the United States increasingly decouple their economies, and as the Chinese government grows more controlling of the economy, business leaders face a growing challenge of navigating an increasingly complex political landscape. This Tuck micro-course seeks to empower students to understand the past, present, and future of US-China relations—economic, technological, political, and military—as the two countries enter a more competitive era.
Solving wicked problems requires aligning actions across institutions and non-institutional actors with conflicting incentives and competing values. Ecosystem strategy provides a powerful, integrative approach for approaching the alignment challenge and crafting solutions. The three sessions in the sprint will explore challenges in three different contexts. The common thread is the need to manage interdependence in dynamic settings.