Module Descriptions – Adelaide MBA & Adelaide GCBA

Module Descriptions – Adelaide MBA & Adelaide GCBA

Fundamentals of Leadership (3 units)

Corporate executives, strategic leaders, senior managers, and general managers of companies, business units, subsidiaries, divisions, and joint ventures among many other forms of high-level positions have specific roles, responsibilities, and duties that give them the legitimate authority to lead and manage their organizations’ (Rainey 2014, p. xv). This course will immerse in the knowledge, capabilities, and behaviours required to lead in complex and changing business environments, and with consideration for human motivation in business, the hybrid workplace, a diverse workforce, complex stakeholder groups, workplace system design, and leading innovation for competitive advantage.

Marketing for Leaders (3 units)

Marketing lies at the core of all business. Whatever the character or size of your entity, its profit can come from only one place; the marketplace. All businesses are dependent on the income they earn from their customers, clients or buyers. In most larger businesses, it is marketing managers who are primarily responsible for keeping their company close to its customers. In any case, all those who have a direct responsibility for identifying, reaching and satisfying customers are engaged in marketing and everybody in a business needs to understand its marketplace activities. This course offers a complete introduction to professional marketing thought and action. The course explains the nature and purpose of marketing, followed by the fundamentals of each of the most important marketing tasks. It analyses the business need for customer orientation, the evaluation of markets and the targeting of market opportunities. There is assessment of buyer behaviour and the role of market information. In addition, the course explains how to integrate product and service decisions with those on pricing, distribution and promotion – and why this is necessary.

Accounting for Managers (3 units)

Participants in this course will develop the essential ability of all managers, to use complex accounting information as a platform for decision-making. As the course unfolds, participants will build an increasingly sophisticated level of understanding of the language of accounting and its key concepts. In addition, the course develops skills in interpreting earnings statements, balance sheets, and cash flow reports. This ability to analyse financial statements will enable participants to deal more effectively with strategic options for their businesses or business units. Strong foundations in financial analysis and development of crucial basic accounting skills will also enable participants to develop a management accounting focus. From this second phase of the course, students will take away highly relevant skills in areas such as budgeting, product and service costing and short-run decision making. Such skills, ability and knowledge will enable participants to more effectively identify profitable opportunities and to contribute significantly to better management within their own organisations.

Systems Thinking for Management (3 units)

Many of today’s complex challenges cannot be tackled with the narrowly-focused, unconnected thinking of the past. Managers must make decisions and take action in complex environments in which finance, economics, markets, people and nature are interconnected and interdependent. In addition, this messy interconnectedness blurs the boundaries between organisations, communities and fields of expertise, nothing is neat and tidy. This course will introduce you to the world of systems and systems thinking. We will consider the merits of looking at wholes, rather than unconnected parts, and we will explore ways in which managers can make use of the nature of systems, even in complex, unpredictable environments, to influence outcomes in a more profound way than can be achieved with linear or mechanistic thinking.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship (3 units)

Innovation is an idea, product or process that is new and adds value. It is at the heart of economic development and prosperity. In this course, you will discover the role of entrepreneurship in innovation and recognise and analyse new venture opportunities. Anticipating the challenges that emerge from new ventures requires careful planning. You will explore different sources of new venture funding and learn how to pitch a new opportunity. This course will give you the skills on how to venture as an entrepreneur beginning a start-up or in an established business championing a new project.

Negotiation Skills (3 units)

The purpose of this course is threefold. The first is to explore the major concepts and theories of negotiation, as well as the dynamics of interpersonal and intergroup conflict and its resolution. This will involve studying the structural (e.g. parties, positions, interests) and process (cognitive, interactional) dynamics that are required for a sound critical understanding. The second objective is to develop practical skills applicable to a broad range of contexts. This involves direct training in identifying crucial elements of negotiation situations and implementing appropriate resolution strategies. The third objective is to develop teamwork skills by working within and through group exercises.

Managerial Finance (3 units)

This course introduces you to the world of modern finance, with a focus on understanding how important financial decisions are determined within the firm. It covers the concepts of time value of money, asset valuation, the risk and return paradigm, capital budgeting and payout decisions. Upon completion, students will be able to value bonds and stocks, estimate asset returns according to their risk characteristics, and choose projects that maximize shareholder’s wealth using a wide range of analytical tools. They will also develop a good understanding on how firms finance their capital expenditure on their investment and how payout levels are determined.

Economics for Management (3 units)

This course provides an introduction to economic thinking and its relevance and application to managing organisations. The first part of the course deals with microeconomic issues such as consumer choice and the structure of markets, including perfect competition, monopoly and oligopoly, and the competitive regulatory environment. The second part deals with macroeconomics such as the determinants of the aggregate level of output and employment, and elements in the determination of macroeconomic policy including interest rates, inflation and foreign trade and capital flows. The focus of the course is on fundamental tenets of economics in relation to current issues and their implications for managers and competitive organisations.

Managing Organisational Behaviour (3 units)

This course exposes students to some key influences and perspectives on the management of organisations. Its focus is primarily on human issues that affect and are dealt with by managers day-to-day. The course is an extension of “Fundamentals of Leadership” and provides the background and theoretical framework for more advanced studies in business management. Some of the topics addressed may, at first, seem somewhat theoretical or even ‘philosophical’ in nature, but the whole course is designed to provide students with the foundation for practical action in the field. The ability to analyse and to think clearly and independently about these issues will be the basis of effective action. Managing Contemporary Organisations begins by examining the nature of ‘organisation’ as an ‘open system’. We then look at the management challenge in relation to various facets of the organisation – learning, motivation, politics, performance, ethics, culture, innovation, decision-making, structure and change. Throughout the course, there is an emphasis on thinking about and asking important questions, rather than fixing on ‘right’ answers.

Managing in a Global Context (3 units)

This course will prepare you for a leadership role in the globalised world. Such a role requires skills and a mindset to deal with uncertainty and complexity. The course uses cutting-edge practices to provide you with a developmental stretch of self-exploration and experimentation. You will learn about the practical impact of diversity in cultural, political, legal and economic systems on human behaviour and its effect on business activities in both local and international contexts. The course will equip you with skills to devise and implement effective communication, collaboration and consultation strategies to engage, support and manage stakeholders of diverse backgrounds to achieve organisational outcomes. You will also study, compare and contrast strategies that organisations use to seize opportunities and manage challenges presented by the international scale of business operations. As a result, you will be able to analyse and interpret the process of internationalisation of an enterprise and contribute to decisions about the internationalisation of an organisation.

Strategic Management (3 units)

Strategic management is concerned with the long-term direction, scope and performance of an organisation. As such it draws on other disciplines (e.g. marketing, finance, economics, organisational behaviour) already covered in the Adelaide MBA. Whether the overall ‘strategy’ of an organisation emerges from the interplay of functional departments or is a ‘grand plan’ devised by one group, its implementation takes place at the functional/process level where goals, plans and actions need to align with other departments as part of a coherent orientation. Hence all managers need to understand how their roles and functions are part of the overall strategy of the organisation.

Research for Decision Makers (3 units)

This course is designed to develop skills in designing, conducting and evaluating action research in the context of management practice. Action research is a methodology commonly used by management practitioners to affect change. It is an iterative, cyclical, collaborative approach to identifying, critically and reflectively analysing, evaluating and synthesising data in relation to a given problem or question. Practitioners are simultaneously learners, researchers and agents for change. This approach is particularly useful when dealing with complex and complicated systems as it allows practitioners to respond to the emerging and changing needs as the situation changes with each iteration of the process. Students will consider leading theories in this field, the relationship between action research and other common business research methodologies and the relationship between action research and complexity and systems theories.

Business Analytics for Managers (3 units)

An under-utilised resource within many organisations is the data it possesses. This is despite the fact that good data decisions can bring a significant competitive advantage to the company. This course will help you understand the basic concepts of data analytics and focus on applying analytics techniques to improve decision-making and drive business impact. In doing so, the course will cover the three pillars of business analytics (descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics) as well as introduce the role that artificial intelligence and machine learning play in extracting value from big data.

Enterprise Project (6 units)

The purpose of this course is:

1. To place the cumulative learning from Adelaide MBA core courses in the context of enterprise and explore the practical applications and ramifications.
2. To apply the systemic action research approach to an enterprise field research project.

This research project will be planned and undertaken collaboratively and reported on and evaluated individually. It will draw on all the knowledge, insights and capabilities developed in the previous courses of the Adelaide MBA. Each project group will have an academic supervisor who will ensure all the individuals in that group contribute to designing, generating and evaluating an Enterprise Acton research project. All projects must be designed to conceive, establish, refine or grow an enterprise which will operate commercially while addressing a social problem or opportunity. The emphasis will be on systems awareness and identifying enduring, holistic solutions, rather than short-term fixes. Students will be required to investigate, analyse and synthesise complex concepts and theories and to argue propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions with reference to relevant theory. That is to apply the learning gained from previous courses in the Adelaide MBA.


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