The twelve (12) courses that compose the MBA for Professionals program follow a sequence that explores foundational and functional knowledge and moves into synthesis and integration of that knowledge. Each student completes nine (9) core courses and can choose three (3) elective courses. The following descriptions provide greater insight into the content of each course. 

Core Courses

GSMPR 621 LEAD: Leadership Effectiveness and Development (4 Credits) 

LEAD embraces the necessity for self-discovery and personal development to become a leader in modern organizations. LEAD is designed to allow students to frame their future success in terms of their emotional, social, and cultural intelligences. LEAD explores essential competencies for managing and leading people. These include: assessing the student’s personal balance sheet against his or her strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; techniques for leading, managing, and influencing group and individual behavior and performance; coaching and mentoring others; inspiring others to embrace organizational vision and mission; communicating effectively both orally and in writing; and negotiating to secure a mandate and the resources to pursue it.

GSMPR 622 Data Analysis, Modeling and Decision Making (4 Credits)

Taking real world examples from finance, accounting, marketing, production, and human resource management, we will use statistical tools and methods to improve decision making in uncertain environments. Students learn to transform data into managerial insight and actionable information by applying statistical processes and models. Course concepts will be implemented and supported by spreadsheets, statistical software, and direct application to a team project.

GSMPR 623 Accounting for Managers (4 Credits)

This course introduces basic financial and managerial accounting tools that are useful to managers. It is designed for the graduate student with no prior exposure to accounting. Students will learn to: (1) record, report and interpret basic transactions and events through the accounting equation and integrated financial statements, as well as prepare basic financial statements, (2) read and interpret audited financial statements, (3) apply analytical tools using managerial accounting data and understand how and when these tools may be used, including estimating and analyzing Cost-Volume-Profit relationships and operational leverage, preparing financial forecasts and identifying relevant cost-benefit information in decision-making scenarios, and to (4) appreciate the role of the financial and managerial accounting systems as planning and control tools.

GSMPR 624 Managing Organizations: Individuals, Teams and Human Resources (4 Credits)

This course focuses on individuals and teams in organizations, related HR management processes, organizational design, change processes and the broader global context in which organizations operate. It emphasizes how to diagnose and analyze individual and group behavior from different perspectives (using strategic, political and cultural lenses) and various levels (micro, meso and macro) of the organization. The goal of the course is to enhance your knowledge of management concepts and theories so that you can increase organizational effectiveness in terms of better managing yourself, other individuals, and teams, understand the impact of organizational design, power and authority, improve decision-making, manage change processes and the potentially conflicting demands of various stakeholders of the organization. The outcome of this course is to identify leading management practices and appropriate courses of managerial action in a legally compliant and ethical manner. This graduate-level management course should make you a more effective manager independently of your employment sector (private, public and non-profit). Selected cases, instructional vignettes and interactive class exercises are used to apply management concepts to real-world applications. You will learn from your own pre-class readings, lectures, discussions, cases, vignettes, application exercises and your interactions with a diverse group of peers.

GSMPR 625 Creating and Implementing Market-Driven Strategies (4 Credits)

This course explores key issues in strategic marketing and the formulation of market driven strategies. Through lectures, readings and case studies students, students learn to design and implement a process of creating relationships with customers that maximize their satisfaction, whether in profit-making, not-for-profit, or governmental environments. Students participate in simulation exercises requiring them to apply concepts discussed in the course. The course emphasizes learning by doing and requires substantial work in teams.

GSMPR 626 Finance and Economics for Managers (4 Credits)

The course helps students acquire problem-solving skills in finance and economics. Students learn to assess the economic role of government and apply macroeconomics to management decisions; to perform present value analysis of present and future cash flows to assess the profitability of investment decisions; apply microeconomic analysis to business models and connect business models to financial models and the creation of value; to identify and treat various types of risk; and to apply financial and economic analysis to investment decisions.

GSMPR 627 Operations and Information Management (4 Credits)

Starting with a framework for aligning business, organization, and technology strategy, we will analyze internal performance by applying a process-oriented lens. Students will be able to articulate key issues and details of implementation lifecycles for business and enterprise applications, e-business, customer relationship and knowledge management initiatives, and to build a case for a business process improvement. Each student will participate in a team project to redesign processes and systems in an organization. 

GSMPR 631 Strategic Management (4 Credits)

Addressing the question of why some organizations succeed while others fail, the course explores effective cooperation across functions, competitive strategy across organizations, and strategy formation across time. Students learn to create and evaluate business strategies that deal with uncertainty to improve organizational performance, to analyze competitive dynamics so as to sequence initiatives, including investment acquisition and investment decisions, and to manage delegation from strategy to execution. We will apply models and insights from course material to case studies about competitive strategy, resource allocation, market leadership, organizational design, and entrepreneurship/new product development.

GSMPR 632 IMAP (Integrative Management Project) Capstone Course (4 Credits)

To exercise the integrative and scalable skills of innovation and leadership, the IMAP course seeks to provide a learning platform for you to strengthen and apply an integrated understanding of management theory and practice within organizations by completing an integrative project. You will integrate multiple management disciplines including strategy, marketing, finance, accounting, process management, technology, human resources and organizational behavior. The completed project must demonstrate the application and understanding of MBA level content in written format while displaying professionalism in communication and persuasion of executive audiences.


Elective Courses

This list comprises a sample of elective courses on occasional rotation. Please note that not all courses are available each semester.

GSMPR 628 Global Management & Innovation (4 Credits)

The course exposes student to the high velocity, high complexity world of managing globally. Students learn through targeted case studies, review of empirical research and theoretical frameworks, and a capstone assignment to integrate key learning on global management and innovation. Learning objectives include: understanding the motivations and alternative mechanisms for entering and conducting business across borders; incorporating multiple levels (e.g., firm, institutional, national) into global management decisions; building skills in selecting partners, negotiating, developing networks, and designing alliances; using technology and organizational innovation to accelerate global business; and applying critical and creative thinking skills to practical and theoretical problems of global strategy, structure, cultures, and performance.

GSMPR 629 Politics and Public Policy for Managers (4 Credits)

Governance is the set of processes, customs, policies, laws and institutions affecting the way an organization is directed, administered, or controlled. Legal and regulatory governance provides a foundation for establishing stakeholder confidence and exercising fiduciary responsibility in businesses and not-for-profit organizations. This course improves student ability to enhance performance and create value through governance and leadership. Learning objectives include: understanding how historical economic, political, and cultural trends impact relationships, structures, and performance across the business, government, and not-for-profit sectors; evaluating and selecting among alternative institutional and operational arrangements in managing business, government, and not-for-profit organizations; assessing the dimensions of governance and leadership in managing ethics, risk and performance.  (Previous title: Creating Value through Governance) 

GSMPR 630-X Data-Driven People Management (4 Credits)

Analytical decision-making is an increasingly critical skill for organizational and managerial success. In this course, you learn commonly used methods of data analysis and how to make data-driven people decisions within the context of contemporary organizational management. You will also learn the key human resource (HR) processes, such as selection, training and development, engagement, and retention, being the context the data are drawn from and your data-driven decisions benefit. In the information era, we are surrounded by a wealth of data that vary significantly in terms of quality. To make the most informed people decisions, it is essential for leaders to be equipped with effective skills that allow them to discern good from bad data, to choose the right data analytical approaches for the right talent management situation, to be familiar with the general data analytical processes, to appropriately interpret the results of data analyses, and to present the results in ways that tell a convincing and powerful story. Using real-life datasets, you will have the opportunities to practice analytical decision-making skills in solving meaningful problems that arise in personnel management settings, such as how to evaluate the effectiveness of a training program or how to assess the state of employee engagement and its implications for employee retention.

GSMPR 630-X Sustainability, Social Responsibility, & Ethics (4 Credits)

Introduce students to theory, principles and incorporating practice of corporate ethics, social responsibility and sustainability as internal dimensions of business, government and not-for-profit entities.  Provide students with information and tools in order to consider, evaluate, incorporate and measure ethics, social responsibility and sustainability in internal working life (beyond academia), thus helping to ensure continued viability, organizational longevity, social license to operate, legitimacy, profitability and sustainable futures for private, public and not-for-profit entities.  Course utilizes in-class exercises, examples, lectures and practice towards meeting these objectives.

GSMPR 640 Decision Making (4 Credits)

This course teaches students techniques for successful decision-making in individual and multi-person choice scenarios. The course introduces students to key ideas in normative and descriptive decision theory; then, it teaches students how to apply those concepts to difficult choices in their workplace. Students will study how to model the basic contours of individual and interdependent choice scenarios, to identify data relevant to choice problems, to avoid biases that often mire good decisions, to select useful heuristics that leverage regularities in the choice environment, to craft successful offers in negotiations, to commit credibly to those offers, to discern when to accept or reject negotiation offers, and to contemplate how and whether to design choice architectures in the workplace that shape their colleagues’ decisions. While exploring these topics, students will complete verbal and written assignments that allow them to reflect upon the applicability of central concepts and tools to their current job tasks and workplace.

GSM 6017: Valuation  (4 credits) 

Valuation is the central issue of finance. This course focuses on developing analytical skills appropriate for valuation. Key outcomes include the ability to apply free cash flow analysis, financial ratio analysis, real option analysis, cost of capital estimation, and pro forma analysis to make and assess long term financial decisions.

GSM 6020: Time Series Modeling (4 credits)

Data over time present unique challenges and opportunities for the data scientist. Just the specification of time is complicated owing to time zones and daylight savings time and models of data over time must confront trends and patterns that need be understood and exploited. The first part of the course examines forecasting and time series as data science problems. We continue to non-quantitative data over time and combining data over time across multiple, potentially quite different, units. Throughout, we will emphasize forecasting and the evaluation of forecasts with a balance of quantitative and visual tools.

GSM 6206: Financial Statement Analysis (4 credits)

In this practical, hands-on course, students will learn how to read the financial statements as the story of a business or non-profit organization. You will become adept at assessing financial and organizational prospects, risks, and capacities, learn to use the Toulmin model to make strong arguments, and see how to evaluate those arguments through comparative data analysis, within and across industries and sectors. The course begins by focusing on using the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement to analyze the future profit potential of a publicly traded company. Once students have mastered that skill the class will transition into several modules focused on identifying the industry of a firm based on its financial statements, approaches to entrepreneurial financial statement analysis, how to gauge impact using non-profit financial statement analysis, and modern approaches to company valuation through financial statement forecasting. 

GSM 6223: Enterprise Data Management (4 credits)

Database management is the foundation of any information system and plays a crucial role in the operations of all organizations in the business, government, and not-for-profit sectors. This course introduces the fundamentals of modern database concepts and database development skills. Students learn to: analyze an enterprise’s data management requirements and integrate data management across functional areas; analyze the requirements of data management and design a conceptual database model using entity relationship modeling, relational design, and normalization; use the Structured Query Language (SQL), the current relational database standard, to implement the conceptual database model into a state-of-the art database management system such as MySQL or Microsoft Access; and use SQL to retrieve data to support business operations and decision making.

GSM 6228 Entrepreneurial Thinking (4 credits)

The objective of the course is to understand how expert entrepreneurs think through opportunities and strategies as they create sustainable for-profit or not-for-profit organizations in an environment of uncertainty. The course will involve working sessions with entrepreneurs in the community, and involve sessions in Portland in addition to Salem class time. Areas of focus: business model design, venture finance, marketing in new organizations, and direct selling.

GSM 6231: Strategic Marketing in Private & Public NFP Organizations  (4 credits)

Identifies and examines processes for assessing, establishing and maintaining value-creating relationships among suppliers, providers and consumers of not-for-profit organizations. Places particular emphasis on building productive exchange relationships with donors and clients.

GSM 6249: Project Management (4 credits)

More and more work in organizations is done through projects. Managers are often part of project team or expect to lead one. This course views complex projects in organizations from a managerial perspective. The course covers the nine key components of project management as identified by the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) such as project integration, project scope management, project time and cost management, quality management,  human resource considerations, communication, risk management and procurement management. It focuses on the tasks and challenges of project management with special emphasis on proper planning, especially in the early phases of a new initiative.  While the course covers the basic of waterfall-based project management, a portion of the course is devoted to agile project management methodologies. The goal of the course is to increase your ability to initiate and manage project more efficiently and effectively in organizations.

GSM 6258: International Finance (4 credits)

Examines fixed and floating exchange rates and monetary unions. Develops: 1) an understanding of the strategic and tactical foreign exchange exposure of exporters, importers and international corporations; and 2) techniques for hedging foreign exchange exposure with financial derivatives. Course involves intensive computer gaming of international economic scenarios, including international trade and international financial flows.

GSM 6260: Research for Marketing Decisions (4 credits)

Designed to help students become wise "consumers" or users of marketing research. Defines marketing research as a set of techniques and principles for systematically collecting, recording, analyzing, and interpreting data that can aid decision makers who are involved in the marketing of goods, services, and ideas. Emphasizes techniques that provide information which reduces uncertainty in the decision making process and shifts the basis for decision making from intuitive information gathering to systematic and objective investigation.

GSM 6281: Developing New Ventures (4 credits)

Formerly called "New Ventures to Launch" is focused on the early stages of developing entrepreneurial thinking and action to bridge the gap between "plan" and "plunge". The goal is to let you take an early stage idea and work through the initial steps of turning it into a venture in a way that is systematic, low-cost, and constructed around the expectation that the idea will change many times during the process. The process is designed to elicit the feedback from the marketplace which provides the foundation for such changes or pivots. We'll discuss and practice the process of taking action on a new idea, and how to utilize available people and low-cost resources to build upon experiential efforts to "course correct."

GSM 6283: Corporate Finance (4 credits)

Students in corporate finance course will learn how to plan, implement, and evaluate financing, investing, and dividend payout strategies in domestic and multinational corporations. The course is set within an applied analytical framework. Integrating corporate governance, financial and strategic, and regulatory dimensions, course focuses on applying finance concepts, analytical tool, and valuation models to analyze specific situations. Students evaluate corporate finance decisions utilizing case method. The course topics include advanced capital budgeting, equity, debt, and hybrid financing, risk and cost of capital, capital structure and dividend policies, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, ethics, and government regulation of domestic and global corporate entities.

Willamette University

MBA for Professionals

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.

Back to Top