The Most Interesting New MBA Courses At B-Schools This Year

MIT Sloan School of Management

New Course: Sports Strategy and Analytics

Instructors: Ben Shields, Senior Lecturer, and Ray Reagans, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Management and Professor of Organization Studies

Sports Strategy and Analytics, a spring semester 2020 course at MIT Sloan, “explores how leaders and organizations use data and analytics to gain a competitive edge in the multibillion-dollar global sports industry. Sports organizations are engaged in two ongoing competitions. First and most obviously are the games themselves. Teams and athletes adopt a variety of strategies and push the limits of human performance to beat their opponents. Second is the business competition. Sports organizations compete for the hearts and minds of fans (and corresponding revenue) in a marketplace of seemingly endless entertainment options. To win on- and off-the-field, sports organizations increasingly embrace data and analytics to inform strategies and decision making.

“The structure of this course is organized around these two distinct, yet related competitions. Our goal is that students leave the course with frameworks, best practices, and skills to consistently apply data and analytics in their roles as managers. Given its focus on sports, all students will be in a better position to pursue a career in sports immediately upon graduation or over the long-term. However, you don’t need to have sports on your career roadmap to gain value from this course. Organizations across industries seek to gain a competitive edge. Critically, the principles and skills related to data-driven decision making students work on in this class are applicable to virtually any organization and context.”

Northwestern Kellogg School of Management

New Course: The Science and Strategy of Bias Reduction

Instructor: Nicole Stephens 

“Biased decision-making can prevent organizations from fully leveraging the talents of employees from diverse backgrounds. This course provides the tools to understand how bias can shape decision-making in organizations, as well as individual-level and organizational-level strategies to reduce its pernicious impact. At an individual level, students will learn psychological principles that determine whether a bias training program will be effective. They will also learn how to confront bias in interpersonal interactions. At an organizational level, students will learn how to create more effective and fair processes for recruiting, hiring, promotion, and providing mentoring and feedback to employees from diverse backgrounds. Finally, students will learn cutting edge scientific research methods (e.g., how to design and conduct a field experiment), that are critical for evaluating the effectiveness of their organization’s strategy to reduce bias.”

New Course: Startup Branding 

Instructors: Neal Roese and Jeff Cantalupo

“There is a big difference between managing an existing brand and launching a new brand. In Startup Branding, you will learn how to turn ideas into brands, with a specific focus on the importance of early branding decisions in new ventures and brand design execution with limited resources. The course is structured around a multi-week assignment in which student teams will design a new brand for a new venture. Course coverage includes brand strategy, brand design, the brand experience, launching the brand, and leading the brand. The course format is a blend of lecture, exercise, cross-team collaboration and ideation sessions, and guest speakers.”

Columbia Business School

New Course: Residential Real Estate: Dirt, Debt, and Derivatives

Instructor: Brian Lancaster

“The focus of this course is the $27 trillion U.S. housing market, the largest real estate market in the world, a topic of ongoing interest but with particular resonance this year as the President and Presidential candidates debate how to privatize the GSEs and address the acute current lack of housing affordability that has resulted in decreased home ownership, greater renting, record homelessness, and a massive backlog in manufactured housing as first time home buyers are shut out of the traditional stick built market. The course’s objective is to teach the student how to develop, value, finance, and invest in residential real estate and residential real estate debt securities and derivatives as well as to understand how the U.S. residential financing system works.”

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