Innovator Article

Introducing Our New UC Davis MBA Curriculum

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We are strengthening our internationally ranked UC Davis MBA program by launching a new, innovative curriculum this fall that further integrates globalization, responsible business ethics and sustainability.The goal: to better prepare students with the real-world practice, analytical and technical skills, and leadership training they need to succeed.

The School’s new curriculum is anchored by IMPACT—a new, two-part capstone course: Students will sharpen their writing, speaking and critical-thinking abilities and then put those collective business skills and knowledge to work on 20-week team projects for client companies ranging from multinational Fortune 500 firms to ultra-fast-paced Silicon Valley start-ups.

Leadership and career accelerator

Launching in tandem with the new curriculum is an enhanced, two-year leadership and career development training program. It emphasizes self-evaluation to improve students’ leadership skills and help them chart a career path for immediate post-MBA success and long-term achievement.

The corporate offices of multinational Fortune 500 firms and the ultra-fast-paced environments at Silicon Valley start-ups will become classrooms for our Full-Time MBA students. IMPACT will unleash teams of talented UC Davis MBA students to tackle challenging business issues and develop innovative solutions for leading companies in the Sacramento–San Francisco Bay Area corridor.–James Stevens, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs

Agilent Technologies, said adding the retooled operations course to the core curriculum responds to corporate recruiters’ emphasis on candidates with exposure to manufacturing and global operations management.

“In the annual surveys of employers, they were telling us, ‘We love your students for many reasons, but these are a couple things we’d like to see more of,’” Scaramastro said.

The financial crisis, which caused much soul-searching in business schools worldwide, didn’t prompt the GSM’s initiative, but lessons learned from the near meltdown did help to shape the new curriculum, task force members said.

“We have a new dean and a new building, and it was time to look at our course model,” Barber said. “This sort of assessment is important to do even if you’re getting things right.”

Kelly began the MBA program in the fall of 2008, just as the global financial crisis unfolded. “After two years of absorbing that, by the time the task force first met—and I expect it was true for everyone around the table—it was impossible to say where the influence of the crisis began and left off,” he said.

Roll Out Begins This Fall

The new additions to the core curriculum, Articulation and Critical Thinking and Managing for Operational Excellence courses, will debut this fall. The two-quarter Integrated Management Project course will premiere in fall 2012.

We’re building a bold business future for our students by developing one of the most innovative business school curricula in the world. The enhancements reflect emerging trends in the business world and, at the same time, demonstrate our entrepreneurial drive to stay ahead of the curve in business education. –Dean Steven C. Currall

“There is an enormous amount of work involved in setting this up,” said task force member Hemant Bhargava, associate dean and professor of management and computerscience. “We’ll be strengthening our current relationships and building new bridges with companies that can offer compelling projects for our students. We are fortunate that we have more than a year’s lead time.”

A new director will manage the projects, and a faculty member will oversee them, explained Bhargava. “We are all looking forward to getting this off the ground.”

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