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MBA Curriculum: Preparing to Lead

​Drive toward smart, principled decision-making. 

Our full-time MBA program starts in June. Before you dive into the MBA core curriculum, you’ll be “on the road,” gaining a better understanding of the context in which businesses operate and how businesses adapt to these differences. The standard five-semester format includes a summer internship after Spring 1. You graduate in May, after Spring 2.

Year 1 Curriculum

Summer 1 Semester


Fall 1 Semester


Spring 1 Semester

Year 2 Curriculum

Fall 2 Semester


Spring 2 Semester


Program Options

Reach out to our admissions team for more information about program format options.

  • Accelerated (14 months): take courses continuously in a four-semester format with no internship, and graduate in August (Summer 1 through Summer 2)
  • December graduation (18 months): graduate early in a four-semester format with summer internship (Summer 1 through Fall 2)
  • Dual degree: earn an MBA and a specialized master’s degree in the same amount of time as the five-semester standard format (Summer 1 through Spring 2)

Core-Required and Elective Courses

The majority of your core classes—41.5 of the 67 credit hours required to graduate—are completed in your first year, primarily in the summer and fall. In addition to regular three-credit-hour courses, we offer many electives in compressed one-half- to two-credit-hour courses that we call “minis.” These short-format classes cater to your individual interests and requirements and expose you to a variety of topics.

Two of our most popular electives center on values-based leadership:

  • Most successful leaders are able to point to a handful of defining moments in their careers—instances that defined the trajectory of their career and their company. Olin’s graduate-level course Defining Moments: Lessons in Leadership and Character from the Top examines these situations by bringing in notable leaders who exemplify both business excellence and personal character. Past speakers have included Dave Peacock, former president of Anheuser-Busch, and Bob Chapman, chairman and CEO of Barry-Wehmiller.
  • A new course, Women & Leadership, co-taught by Professor Hillary Anger Elfenbein and Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, is taking a multi-faceted approach to learning about women and leadership that includes a lineup of top executive guest speakers, including Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of the New America Foundation, and Jill Barad, former chairman and CEO, Mattel.

In your final two semesters, you take the required Leadership Development and Business & Government capstone courses. Read more about leadership courses on the Bauer Leadership Center website.

Degree Requirements

The Master in Business Administration degree requires completion of 67 credit hours, 25.5 of which are electives. This allows you to shape your MBA curriculum to align with your personal and professional goals. Our career platforms guide your preparation in a specific area. You can select classes that will hone your skills and start you on the path to becoming an expert in your field.