School News

Check Out the Top 10 Most Popular Courses of Full-Time MBA Students at Michigan Ross This Year

By Hannah Shapiro

The top 10 list of most bid-on courses by Full-Time MBA students at the Ross School of Business this year shows that students favor a broad array of interdisciplinary subjects, ranging from environmental policy to the psychology of startup teams and big-data analytics. 

The Michigan Ross Full-Time MBA curriculum takes students through a series of core courses in the first year, including the signature MAP (Multidisciplinary Action Projects) course. In their second year, students are able to choose electives that meet their academic and career goals and interests. 

Electives, such as the ones below, illustrate the strength of Michigan Ross, which has 10 graduate business specialties ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report.

Below learn about the 10 most popular courses (in alphabetical order) at Michigan Ross that Full-Time MBA students have shown interest in this academic year, and the courses that other MBA students will want to add to their schedules in the future. 

Advanced Big Data Analytics (TO 628) 

This popular course led by Professor Sanjeev Kumar teaches students how to apply machine learning algorithms to various big-data sources in a business context. By the end of this course, students gain a better understanding of processes, methodologies, and tools used to transform the large amount of business data available into useful information and support business decision making by applying ML algorithms. 

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Behavioral Economics and Behavioral Operations Management (TO 635)

Behavioral economics combines lessons from psychology and economics to study how people process information and make decisions as employees, managers, and consumers. This course led by Professor Stephen Leider takes behavioral operations management and applies those insights to managing business operations. 

This course is devoted to understanding the nature, causes, and implication of people’s decisions, by considering how managers and policy makers can intervene to improve decision making and outcomes and how markets are organized around exploiting or remedying deviations from rational decision making. At the end of the course, students should understand the decision making process more thoroughly and be in a position to become a better manager.

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Big Data Management Tools & Techniques (TO 640)

Taught by Professor Lennart Baardman, this course teaches the basic tools in acquisition, management, and visualization of large data sets. Students learn how to store, manage, and query databases via SQL; how to quickly construct insightful visualizations of multi-attribute data using Tableau; and how to use the Python programming language to manage data as well as connect to APIs (application programming interfaces) to efficiently acquire public data. 

Through lectures and action-based learning in the popular lab sections, students leave the course being able to efficiently construct large data sets that source underlying data from multiple sources, and form initial hypotheses based on visualization. 

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Business of Biology (BA 518)

The objective of this interdisciplinary graduate course is to explore the intersections between science, technology, commerce, and social policy as they come together to advance or retract progress toward more personalized health care.

Through a variety of multidisciplinary faculty, speakers, panelists, and hands-on research experience, Professor David Canter provides a framework to enhance the understanding of the complex scientific and socioeconomic trends, opportunities and challenges that are taking place in the rapidly evolving fields of personalized medicine, molecular diagnostics, and targeted therapeutics. 

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Business Leadership in Changing Times (MO 611)

This course taught by Professor Mike Barger is often called the “CEO’s course,” and it has long been a favorite MBA action-based learning course at Michigan Ross. Students are challenged to navigate complex leadership crises that executives from some of the world's most recognizable companies have faced, right in front of those very execs. 

During simulated press conferences, students reenact crises by role-playing members of different stakeholder groups while the executives are watching. Among the executives slated to participate this year: David Brandon, chairman, Dominos; Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer, Bank of America; Derek Kerr, CFO, American Airlines; Kofi Brice, CFO, General Mills; Jen Hollingsworth, COO, Lionsgate Pictures; and Ram Krishnan, global chief commercial officer, PepsiCo.

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Energy Markets and Energy Politics (BE 527) 

This timely course gives students a solid grasp of the environmental and social impacts of the institutions that govern energy use, so that students can play a more effective role in shaping future policy or business decisions. 

The course begins with basic scientific facts regarding the major issues facing energy sources and markets and then advances to study an overview of the role of government in influencing energy decisions. The course is led by Professor Tom Lyon — who holds a joint appointment in the Ross School of Business and the School for Environment and Sustainability, and who serves as faculty director of the Erb Institute.  

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Marketing Engineering and Analytics (MKT 630) 

Professor Fred Feinberg teaches this popular course designed to help students develop a systematic and analytical approach to marketing. The course enables students to identify appropriate options and actions, calibrate costs and expected returns, and choose those with the highest likelihood of achieving business goals through marketing activities. 

Specifically, students leave the course being able to recognize how to segment/target customers; how to optimize and position product attributes; and how to use analytic techniques to transform current-day marketing practice.

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Mergers, Acquisitions, and Corporate Development (Strategy 682) 

This insightful course taught by Professor Brian Wu presents students with the opportunity to analyze the mechanisms underlying the creation (and destruction) of value in mergers, acquisitions, and corporate restructuring. 

During the course, three sets of issues are examined from the point of view of a firm contemplating the use of these corporate strategy tools: Analytical frameworks to decide on whether and what to acquire; maximization of the share of value creation potential during the evaluation, negotiation and internal decision-making processes; and what actions should be taken after the acquisition is completed, in order to ensure that the value creation potential is realized.

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New Product and Innovation Management (ES/MKT 605)

Professor S. Sriram, associate dean for Part-Time MBA programs, leads students through the stages of developing new products and services. Through a variety of lectures, cases, and outside speakers, the course focuses on new product development processes and avenues to teach students how to make the process more productive and minimize failure.  

This course also gives students the opportunity to cultivate new product ideas and perform a concept test in order to evaluate their feasibility. The projects and material covered in the course are especially useful for those interested in product/brand management, management consulting, and entrepreneurship.

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The Psychology of Startup Teams (MO 602) 

Nine out of 10 startups fail. The majority of these failures lie not in the product or in the market, but rather in the people dynamics within the startup team. 

As faculty director of the Sanger Leadership Center, an associate editor at the Academy of Management Journal, and board member of six of the top management and psychology journals, Professor Lindy Greer has designed one of the first courses in the world to specifically focus on how startups can successfully manage the people dynamics within an organization. 

To accomplish this, the course bridges cutting-edge science on team dynamics and entrepreneurship with practical frameworks, experiential exercises, and well-known guest speakers including notable startup CEOs and venture capital partners. 

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While these courses may be the most popular for Michigan Ross Full-Time MBA students this year, there are many other action-based and innovative courses available. Explore the entire course catalog to view more.

Learn more about the Full-Time MBA curriculum 

Featured Faculty

Sanjeev Kumar
  • Lecturer of Technology and Operations
Stephen Leider
  • Professor of Technology and Operations
  • Jack D. Sparks-Whirlpool Corporation Research Professor of Business Administration
Lennart Baardman
  • Assistant Professor of Technology and Operations
David Canter
  • LEO Intermittent Lecturer
Mike Barger
  • Executive Director of Ross Online, Clinical Assistant Professor of Business Administration
Tom Lyon
  • Dow Professor of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce
  • Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy
  • Professor of Environment and Sustainability
  • Interim Area Chair of Business Economics and Public Policy
Fred Feinberg
  • Joseph Handleman Professor of Marketing
  • Professor of Statistics
  • Chair of Marketing
Brian Wu
  • Professor of Strategy
S Sriram
  • Associate Dean for Part-Time MBA Programs
  • Professor of Marketing
  • Michael R. and Mary Kay Hallman Faculty Fellow
Lindy Greer
  • Associate Professor for Management and Organizations
  • Michael R. and Mary Kay Hallman Fellow