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MBA Electives: Here's Your Guide!

Unique MBA electives are what make or break students' academic experience at b-school. Here's a guide to help you navigate!

By  Carlin Sack

Wed Jun 26 2013

Let’s face it, sometimes core finance classes are not the most intriguing for some MBAs. The elective courses are where the excitement is at! What makes electives so interesting is that each b-school has its own way of going about things and puts its own spin on the courses.
Here’s your guide to electives at several of the world’s top b-schools. Prospective MBAs, make sure you take a peek at this preview of what is to come for you!
Aston Business School
Aston gives students the opportunity to earn a specialist MBA by allowing them to choose their electives and to complete a special project in that area. For example, a student wanting to concentrate in marketing could take Marketing Strategy and International Marketing Management as their two electives. But don’t worry, candidates do not have to decide their specialty or electives until after completing their core modules.
CEIBS requires students to complete a total of 18 elective credits, which allows a very flexible curriculum during the second year of study. Students can opt for a general management MBA or a focus in finance or marketing by taking the respective elective courses. For a concentration in marketing, for example, students must complete 12 marketing electives, which must include Marketing Research and Consumer Behaviour or Managing Business Marketing & Branding.
ESADE Business School
ESADE MBA students are able to choose from 50 optional courses! With such a wide course offering, ESADE is successful in satisfying the diverse interests of its student body. Here are examples of ESADE’s elective courses, just to name a few: Branding, Strategic Sales Management, Integrated Marketing and Corporate Communications, Retail Innovation, Global  Sales & Sales Management Strategies, Cases in Marketing Management, Marketing Research, Strategic Relations and Key Account Management and Advanced Brand Management.
ESSEC Business School
At ESSEC, students enjoy a typically smaller class size in their elective courses. There is a large choice of elective courses that cove finance, marketing, strategy, new frontiers of business and entrepreneurship. One Global MBA student found her corporate finance elective course so memorable that she documented it with a blog post, which details how her professor made the class enjoyable (who knew that finance could be fun!)
Nanyang Business School
Four elective courses are required for Nanyang students (or students can take half-courses that total to four full courses). The half-course options allow students to dabble in many different areas, while taking full courses allow more in-depth experience in each subject. A few example elective courses are: Global Risk Analysis, Chinese Classics: Applications to Business and Marketing Practices, Market Dynamics, Financial Statement Analysis, Supply Chain and Logistics Management, Sustainable Business Operations and Emerging Markets Strategy.
SDA Bocconi School of Management
SDA Bocconi offers both concentration options and seminars that perfect students’ soft skills. SDA Bocconi suggests that if you are looking for an expertise in finance take offerings in “Finance and Financial Institutions” and “Private Equity, Entrepreneurship and Renewal” concentrations. For an expertise in marketing and innovation, take courses in “Innovation, Product Development, Execution” and “Customer Marketing and Social Media”concentrations. For an expertise in entrepreneurship, take classes in “Customer Marketing and Social Media” and “Private Equity, Entrepreneurship and Renewal” concentrations. The concentration modules allow for great mix-and-match combinations for students!