Management Communication in Non-U.S. MBA Programs: Current Trends and Practices

By Knight, Melinda | Business Communication Quarterly, June 2005 | Go to article overview

Management Communication in Non-U.S. MBA Programs: Current Trends and Practices

Knight, Melinda, Business Communication Quarterly

A study of top-ranked, full-time, global MBA programs suggests that management communication is indeed both an important focus and component in the curriculum. The methods of delivery, however, do not seem to follow any particular model, such as the common U.S. practice of a separate program or department. Required courses are found at 10 of the 24 schools, including two at 2 schools. Elective communication courses are offered at 8 schools, and related courses, those with a communication component, appear at all but 1 school. Communication is perceived as being an integral part of overall management development and global leadership, as opposed to a skill that could be assessed via testing or other assessment.

Keywords: MBA curriculum; management communication instruction; global survey


MANAGEMENT COMMUNICATION instruction reflects both local demands and global imperatives. As ABC becomes more international in scope, with conferences drawing members to sites around the world, we need increasingly to be aware of trends and practices in communication instruction in this global context. As one step toward that goal, I conducted a survey of highly rated, non-U.S.-based MBA programs that paralleled my earlier survey of such programs in the United States (Knight, 1999). This article reports on the results of that survey.


To select the sample programs, I consulted ratings compiled by four leading business publications: the 2004 Business Week "International Top Ten"; the 2004 Wall Street Journal list of 21 top international schools; the Forbes 2003 top 18 non-U.S, schools; and the top 50 of the 100 schools ranked by the 2005 Financial Times survey. Rating criteria have often been transparent for U.S. business schools but less so for international programs. For instance, Business Week, which started the whole ratings race almost 2 decades ago, relies on recruiter and student input, whereas the Wall Street Journal rankings are based on recruiter input as well as conversations with deans, career-services professionals, and business school associations. Only schools that attract a global mix of recruiters (from four or more countries) were included in the Wall Street Journal survey, which ranked international schools for the first time in 2004. Thus both Business Week and Wall Street Journal rankings primarily measure customer satisfaction, either student and recruiter or only recruiter.

Another major player in the ratings game, U.S. News & World Report (which rates only U.S. schools), uses ostensibly more quantifiable data, such as student performance and starting salaries, along with input from deans; the goal of this survey is primarily to measure a school's reputation. In a novel approach, Forbes looks at salaries and stock options for alumni in their first 5 years of work to calculate their return on investment. The Financial Times, which has been rating global MBA programs for 7 years, uses salary data from alumni 3 years after finishing their degree, diversity information obtained from the schools, and an assessment of faculty publications. Diversity is measured by such factors as international mobility of graduates and the demographics of students and faculty. Table 1 lists the 24 schools in the sample and the sources for their selection. It also notes, where appropriate, membership in the Community of European Management Schools and International Companies (CEMS), a prestigious consortium of 17 schools, mostly in Europe, and 50 multinational companies.

For consistency, I surveyed management communication instruction only in full-time programs, not executive, regionally specific, specialized, or part-time ones, and only in programs offering an MBA. A school's reputation, and thus its ranking, seems largely to depend on its full-time programs. Executive and regional programs offer great variety, along with very interesting institutional and corporate partnerships, and they probably contribute more revenue to the school, but these programs appeal to specialized audiences and are, in general, much smaller than full-time MBA programs. Using the four publication ratings and the full-time MBA criterion forced me to exclude quite a number of superb programs, including ones with excellent communication departments. For example, CEMS offers an international management degree, with an innovative curriculum including communication components, but because it is not an MBA degree, I reluctantly excluded it for this research. Fortunately, other contributions to this special issue discuss innovative management communication practices that fell outside the limited range of this survey.


For each program in this sample, the study aimed to answer the following questions:

1. What kinds of communication courses are required?

2. What elective communication offerings are available?

3. What is the place of language instruction or competence?

4. What courses have significant communication content, even if not specifically designated as communication courses?

5. What delivery methods are used?

6. How prominent is instruction in written communication?

7. Is there a communication proficiency requirement?

8. Did the new AACSB International standards for accreditation play a role in curricular development?

Other potentially attractive issues were outside the scope of this study. For example, it would be interesting to know about communication faculty--their status, rank, and reward structure. I also did not include the departmental home of courses. Although institutional home is an important concept in U.S. schools, it is less significant--and harder to identify--in non-U.S. programs.


For data about the schools themselves and about their communication instruction, I relied primarily on school Web sites, a major and robust resource. I confirmed Web data with program brochures, the marketing materials sent to prospective students; in almost all cases, information online was consistent with print materials. Any inconsistencies usually reflected electives, which vary from year to year depending on faculty resources, rather than requirements. I confirmed AACSB International accreditation against the organization's own Web site. Although not a perfect measure, I used course titles and descriptions to determine communication content. In doing so, I tried to distinguish between instruction with a specific academic purpose and instruction that was more strictly vocational or focused on career development and excluded courses or modules in the latter category. Any course that included a project, with a required report or presentation or both, was considered a "related course," even if communication was not part of the title. The appendix includes course descriptions for all required, elective, and related courses, where available either on a Web site or in a marketing brochure. All information in this article is current as of March 2005.


The programs in this survey show rich diversity in their approach to management education in general and to management communication instruction in particular. As Table 1 indicates, however, such programs tend to be shorter than in U.S.-based institutions, which may impact communication offerings.

Required and Elective Communication Courses

Table 2 lists, by institution, those required courses that have an exclusive or significant communication focus as well as elective communication courses. Required courses were found at 10 of the 24 schools, although the course title of management or managerial communication(s) is used only at 4. The Australian Graduate School of Management and Cranfield each require 2 courses. Elective communication courses are listed at 8 schools, 4 of which also require a communication course: IESE, Instituto de Empresa, Manchester, and Western Ontario.

Related Courses

Related courses are those that include a significant communication component--a deliverable, an expected outcome, or an application (Table 3). These courses encompass a wide range of topics and methodologies. Included in this group are leadership, cross-cultural management, corporate communication, practicum/project courses, interpersonal skills and marketing communication. I excluded, however, courses or programs that have career development as the primary focus, although included are those with career management as one aspect. All the leadership courses, which are required at 8 schools and are offered as electives at 11 schools (some schools have both elective and required courses), have a communication component. Marketing communication courses, offered at 13 schools, deal with communication strategy as well as with the actual media needed. Seven schools listed electives in some aspect of cross-cultural management, and 4 schools featured electives in the area of corporate communication and reputation management. But neither of these topics seemed as prominent as I had anticipated, given the research activity, especially in European universities, on corporate communication. The international awareness of all these schools probably means that cross-cultural issues are dealt with throughout the curriculum.

Projects are featured at all but seven schools (Table 3), and in some schools more than one is required (three at Cambridge and Manchester; two at IMD, London, and Oxford). Some projects offer unique experiences--for instance, the Shadowing Project required at London, where students observe a manager in a challenging situation and analyze various behaviors and outcomes. The appendix provides information on the complexity and engagement of many of these projects, which do seem to be a distinguishing characteristic of global MBA education in this sample.

Language Instruction and Competence

English has continued its dominance as the language of business; all programs require proficiency in English as a condition of admission, and English is the dominant language of instruction (Table 2). Seven schools also require proficiency in a second language, a marked difference from U.S.-based programs, which repeatedly promote the benefits of managers who can function in global markets but do not require proficiency in a language.

In predominantly English-speaking England, for example, two schools (Lancaster and London) require proficiency in a second language. INSEAD requires proficiency in two languages in addition to English (the language of instruction), one of which must be "commercially useful." Language courses are offered at several schools and may even count toward total degree credits. Many programs encourage or even require students to be able to conduct business in a language other than English. Where students can begin courses in English or another language (in Italian, for example, at SDA Bocconi), more advanced courses are taught in English.

Alternative Delivery Methods

The stand-alone communication course, a dominant model in the 1999 survey of U.S. programs, is not as prevalent in this survey. Instead, these programs seem to challenge conventional disciplinary boundaries and departmental constraints. For instance, the faculty responsible for supervising projects are often charged with helping students develop and produce sophisticated communication products, yet they are from different functional areas, not necessarily communication, and they work in cross-disciplinary teams in the same way that their students confront and propose solutions for complex and cross-functional problems.

Partnerships between schools in different countries and with different cultures seemed like an attractive delivery method for communication instruction, so I collected data on those. Details about partnerships, including those that offer double-degrees or regional degrees or joint capstone projects, are available in Table 1. The CEMS, as mentioned earlier, provides a regional consortium for innovative cross-institutional instruction, as does the AEA (America, Europe, Asia) Alliance, Cross-Regional Business School. Partnerships, however, were not as common as expected, appearing in only 6 of the 24 schools.

Exchange programs, both incoming and outgoing, were more prominent, found at all but four schools in the sample. Often, students can choose from a wide list of schools where they can enhance their global experiences through extended stays at another site. Such diversity in the classroom contributes to better intercultural communication as students work on projects and discuss course content.

Prominence of Writing

Unlike management communication programs in the United States, the teaching of writing does not seem to play a prominent role in the programs in this sample. The word writing appears in only two required course titles and paper in one elective course. Nevertheless, it is assumed that future managers will do a lot of writing, as evidenced by the written report requirements in almost all the projects. So to put this in perspective, written communication seems to be important, but not necessarily the teaching of writing. Writing seems to be used as a form of assessment rather than content area of instruction.

Proficiency Requirement

When I began my research, I reserved a column in the tables for proficiency requirements, but it remained blank. Either communication proficiency is considered an entry standard or instruction is so well integrated in the curriculum that a separate benchmark is not needed.

AACSB International Accreditation

AACSB International, as its name change several years ago indicates, has been branding itself as a global organization. Its new standards, adopted in 2003, represent a radical revision of its approach to accreditation, focusing on outcomes rather than on specific requirements (including courses). Many researchers believe that one factor driving the change was the need to accommodate and interpret differing educational paradigms outside the United States. Thus, the standards no longer prescribe courses, but rather describe the ways in which business schools can realize their own goals and objectives. A fundamental part of that process is developing a coherent and realistic mission statement, by which schools can be judged in terms of internally driven assessment measures.

At the MBA level, communication is not mentioned specifically in the new AACSB International standards, but communication appears throughout the interpretative guidelines as an example of how outcomes can be developed and assessed. ABC tried to make communication instruction more explicit in the standards, but without success. For a description of the new standards, see, and for ABC's response, see Although the survey did not track curricular changes that could be attributed specifically to the new standards, mission statements of these programs tend to stress strong communication and interpersonal skills. It is interesting to note, too, that an implication of these standards may be more stress on communication skills as an entry requirement, including demonstration of those skills in personal interviews. Fifteen schools in the survey were accredited by AACSB International (Table 1). It may or may not be significant that four of those not so accredited (Cambridge, McGill, Oxford, SDA Bocconi) had no communication requirements or electives, but then Western Ontario, which is also in that group, has a strong communication program, as does IESE.


One question I raised in my earlier study of U.S. programs was the extent to which management communication could be perceived as being a viable discipline. The answer then was that indeed management communication "has a permanent home in professional graduate management education" (Knight, 1999, p. 22). Non-U.S.-based programs in the current study also value communication, but the concept of a "permanent home" may not be appropriate to the way they approach communication instruction. Certainly, a separate program or department of faculty who focus exclusively on communication is rare in this sample. But the integration of communication components in so many parts of the curriculum, the citing of communication and leadership skills in mission statements, and the emphasis on communication in entry standards suggest that these programs recognize the importance of management communication skills to success in the global economy.


Course Descriptions From MBA Programs in the Study

Descriptions of required or elective communication courses and related courses are reproduced from program Web sites or brochures, where available, and are current as of March 2005. Web addresses for programs are included in Table 1.

Australian Graduate School of Management


Management Communication--Presentation Skills: The presentation skills component of the Management Communication Program focuses on the skills needed to develop and deliver clear, persuasive and engaging business presentations. This one-day intensive program is highly interactive, offering you the opportunity to learn new skills, gain personal insight and receive constructive feedback from both your peers and a professional facilitator.

Management Communication--Strategic Thinking and Writing: The Writing Skills component of the Management Communication Program focuses on the skills needed to develop logical analysis and clear and effective writing. Based on models of structured thinking, the course develops your ability to write clearly and persuasively in both business and academic contexts.


Integrated Marketing Communications: This course is designed from the perspective of managers who will need to make decisions about marketing communication programs. Contemporary cases are used to illustrate the key issues in developing effective advertising. The perspective that I take in this class is that the goal of marketing communications is to convey appropriate meaning to the relevant customer audience in order to build a strong brand. The more specific objectives of this course are: to help you apply the appropriate theories and tools to plan and evaluate marketing communication; to increase your understanding of advertising's strategic role in the development of markets; to develop your awareness of marketing and communication problems faced by a variety of organizations and to stimulate your thinking about ethical and social issues related to advertising.

Interpersonal Skills: Experiential exercises, feedback from others, in-depth self reflection and analysis, and action learning methodologies are used to provide opportunities for students to extend their self understanding and self confidence and to broaden their repertoire of intra inter-personal skills needed for managerial competence.

Leadership: Concepts and Skills: The course will cover theories of leadership as well as group dynamics within a multi-cultural context. It also incorporates a strong practical and experiential component based on the recognition that leadership qualities and skills are linked to self-awareness, the ability to manage oneself in different situations, and a high level of interpersonal skills. In this context, participants will have the opportunity to assess and explore their leadership experiences and styles of communication, with the aim to define areas of strength as well as areas that need further development.

Management Project: This is an eight unit of credit course. Management Projects offer MBA candidates who have completed their core courses real opportunities in businesses. Teams collaborate with corporate managers and AGSM Academics to apply conceptual frame works and global best practice to management challenges, finding practical solutions for companies. Students are supported in the completion of their project by an Academic Supervisor and the Management Projects Co-ordinator.



Practicum: CEIBS considers a practicum an integral part of its MBA Programme. The practicum is mainly in the forms of a Group Consulting Project, exposing the student to an international business environment by placing them in companies in China or overseas. Practicum involves tackling a significant and clearly defined business problem using teamwork over a short period. Each group of students will provide the company with a professional analysis of the problem and assist it in examining potential solutions. It allows students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in classroom to practical management problems. It also provides opportunities of mutual understanding between students and "host company" for job placement and recruitment respectively.

Concordia University


Developing Interpersonal and Managerial Skills: Developing Interpersonal and Managerial Skills is designed to further develop core competencies required by MBA graduates. The course will be structured as a series of seminars. The specific competencies to be addressed will be based upon the needs of the students and will be determined in the first session of the course. The competencies shall draw upon the following: Team Development, Conflict Resolution, Presentation Techniques, Time Management, Negotiations, Creative Thinking, Delegating, Coaching, Goal Setting, Supportive Communications and Interviewing. The course builds upon the research in each of the areas included. However, the course is designed to increase skills and competencies. It is a practical and application oriented course and not research or theoretically focused. This is a highly experientially based course, requiring considerable interaction and participation. To facilitate personal and professional development the class size is limited to twenty students per section.

Integrated Marketing Communications: The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the principles and practices of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) including the strategies and tactics involved in developing and executing IMC programs. Emphasis will be placed on the notion of aligning marketing communications tools: advertising, sales promotion, publicity, direct marketing, sponsorship and personal selling--to provide clarity, consistency and maximum communications impact.

Practicum Project: The objective of the practicum project is to provide students with an opportunity to carry out an in-depth investigation of a complex business problem within a corporation or other economic entity. The project is intended to enhance students' diagnostic skills, their ability to develop innovative and practical responses to complex interdisciplinary problems or entrepreneurial opportunities, their ability to work effectively with executives and with other group members, and their communication skills. Students work together in small groups within the framework of a course which extends over two terms and which includes lectures and readings on appropriate research skills as well as presentations and discussions with executives and with other participants in the course. The number of sections offered in a given year will be limited.

Business Research Project: The objective of the research paper is to provide each student with an opportunity to carry out an in-depth investigation of a selected business problem working on a one-to-one basis with a faculty member. Research papers may concentrate in a specialized area or they may be interdisciplinary in scope. The investigation will normally extend over two terms.

Cranfield University


Written Analyses of Case Studies: During the first two terms you are also required to undertake four Written Analyses of Case Studies--in Cranfield parlance WACS. The purpose of these is to provide practice in decision making under pressure, and to enable you to acquire confidence in producing persuasive and well-written business reports.



LEAD (Required): The Leadership Assessment and Development Programme (LEAD) is personalized and provides each student with the tools he needs to improve his leadership abilities and to incorporate new competencies during his career.

The programme detects those skills that individual students particularly need to enhance. After completing the training and evaluating the results through group activities, coaching sessions, and teamwork, participants are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, helping them develop the skills that will be vital in their chosen careers. Keeping an open mind is the key to getting the most out of the LEAD programme.

HEC Montreal


Integrated Marketing Communication: Allow participants to integrate and put into practice the concepts underlying the contemporary management of integrated marketing communications (advertising, promotion, public relations, sponsorship, ...); initiate participants to key elements of the integrated marketing communication decision making process; and provide an understanding of the advertising industry and of the agency's role and responsibilities.

Leadership: Around the globe, every year billions of dollars are spent on leadership training. Is there a difference between managing and leading or between leadership and entrepreneurship? Do they differ in different contexts--small and large firms, more or less technologically intense firms, stable versus turbulent environments? What is the relationship between leadership and innovation? What is the role of leaders versus leadership teams? These are some of the many questions raised in the seminar based on real-world cases such as Sun Microsystems, Nortel and Lucent.

Supervised Team Project (Required): The objective of this project is to allow students to carry a mandate within a business or organisation wanting to take advantage of the training provided by HEC. The achievement of the consulting mandate by a team of students is necessary in order to pursue the MBA program.

Furthermore, it gives students the opportunity to put their acquired knowledge and skills into practice while learning how to introduce and manage change within an organisation.



Managerial Communication: Improves communication skills with the focus on five critical areas: active listening, productive meetings, professional interviewing, high-impact presentations and effective writing. Uses group work, simulations and role-play.


Managerial Problem Solving (Required): First core course to hone skills in problem-solving, case analysis and presentation, team-building and leadership. Includes dynamics of group decision-making and provides personal insights through assessment of leadership style and experiential learning.



Managerial Communications: This course is designed to reinforce students' existing communication skills. Students analyze cases, deliver presentations and speeches, write reports, and explore the issues businesses face in communicating internally with employees and externally with the diverse public. It places strong emphasis on presentation and interpersonal skills and introduces a general theoretical framework for business communications.


Communication and Interpersonal Relations: Explores the psychological process of communication and the dynamics of interpersonal and group relations within organizations. More specifically, the course examines interpersonal communication, relations and conflicts, relations with superiors, group dynamics and group decision making, and the manager as a counselor.


Brands and Brand Communications: Understanding the relationship between consumers and the brands is crucial to differentiation in a world of parity products and services as well as to communicate effectively with them. This course is devoted to analyse what a brand means to consumers through different cases and lectures, including consulting models that give clues on issues as investment needs and communication disciplines better suited to reach effectively marketing targets. Finally it covers the communication process and discussions on the effectiveness of different approaches.

Cross Cultural Management

Inter-cultural: The course presents a problem solving, decision-making approach to international business, in the light of actual management situations where an appreciation of the impact of cultural differences on behavior can make a difference to performance.

Multi-disciplinary: The course builds on the functional management disciplines. Specific sessions will be held on cross-cultural marketing, finance, control, personnel, strategy, organizational behavior and negotiation.

Following topics are covered (one or two sessions per topic, approximately): The managerial concept of culture, Time and space across cultures, Cross-cultural accounting and control, Cross-cultural finance, Cross-cultural marketing, Cross-cultural organization design, Cross-cultural strategy formulation, Cross-cultural strategy implementation, Cross-cultural communication, Cross-cultural human resource management, Cross-cultural social responsibility and decision making, Successful international careers.

Leadership and Organizational Change: This course has as its primary objective the evaluation of change strategies in terms of the role of leadership. The course demonstrates the inadequacy of existing leadership models in their ability to prescribe sustainable strategies, and proposes different ways of addressing the leadership issue. While drawing on a firm theoretical base the course is firmly bedded in the practical issues of change and how to bring about effective change in business organizations. Because of its focus on the leadership element of change the course revolves around a central issue of change strategies being ineffective if not driven by individuals. During the course participants will be challenged in an outdoor environment that they have the ability to lead a team.

Leading Organizations (Required): El curso esta enfocado los procesos de liderazgo de las organizaciones, sus claves y mecanismos. Como realizar procesos de camhio tanto personalmente como en la estructura y cuales son las responsabilidades economicas y sociales de los dirigentes y las empresas.



Project Presentations: The last week of the program includes an overview of the four projects completed during the program. This is an ideal opportunity to share your individual and group learning with the rest of the class, and the faculty too. It allows you to synthesize everything you have learned over the year and to relive the significant experiences that you have shared.


Entrepreneurship Projects (Required): Leaders in the 21st century must have an understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship. A successful CEO knows what it takes to grow a new business, even within very large corporations.

The most effective way for participants to gain intimate knowledge about entrepreneurial processes is to 'live the startup experience.' The key purpose of the IMD Entrepreneurship Projects is for our MBAs to understand the specific needs of entrepreneurs and to generate a pragmatic understanding of the issues surrounding the entrepreneurial phenomenon.

Teams of about 6 participants support one of fifteen start-up companies in developing their business plans for specific next steps: analyzing business models, entry strategies, marketing approaches, etc. Although the start-ups may not actually enter the market, the experience develops the ability to act as an entrepreneurial booster in the company they will one day lead.

International Consulting Projects (Required): Unique in its structure and setup, IMD's International Consulting Projects have a history of over 20 years of leading successful projects in some of the world's most global companies:

We get a commitment from the client that the MBA project team will work closely with its top management.

Each project is carried out by a team of five or six people, supervised by faculty members who have extensive experience in consulting or line management.

The projects are carefully structured in four stages, each involving a presentation to the client:

1. Industry analysis

Determining what it takes to compete successfully in the client's industry.

2. Company analysis

Creating an overview of the company's competitive position and identifying priority issues.

3. Issue analysis

Examining the chosen problem and producing proposals for addressing it.

4. Implementation & feedback

Presenting specific recommendations with guidelines for implementation to client executives.

Leadership Experience (Required, January-May): A one-week leadership course in the first month of the program includes case studies, leadership and teambuilding exercises, and personal development coaching to help participants begin to understand what leadership means.

The personal coaching continues through the year to help participants understand their own leadership styles, how they interact with others and in what situations their strengths are most effective in their organization. The course consists of personal coaching with a counselor, performing an in-depth self-analysis, group exploration of what make effective leaders and their impact on their organizations, team-building exercises and structured study group feedback on how you can build on your leadership style.

Organizational Behavior and Organizational Leadership are two other key elements that are developed through the year. Participants focus on understanding individuals and social systems and on how to structure and steer these systems to achieve high organizational performance. They then explore the decisions and trade-offs leaders make when faced with challenging dilemmas and conflicting objectives.

Leadership Experience (Required, June) : One important element of the program is a trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bill), a European country disrupted by conflict and trying to get its economy back on track. During this one-week visit, participants meet with business leaders, government representatives and local people to explore the challenges facing the country and gain a deeper understanding of a situation where, as future leaders, they may have the opportunity to take a proactive, broader responsibility for society.

However, this experience is much more than a seven-day visit. Preparation starts in the International Political Economy course. It continues through the year as project teams do background research on their sectors and develop ideas about how the Bill government can enhance its approach to attracting foreign investment. The trip introduces participants to the leadership challenges that arise in environments that are fundamentally different from those they are accustomed to. The individual group recommendations are integrated into one report which is presented to government officials during Leadership Week.



Leading People & Groups (Required): Introduces current ideas, images and behavioural science theories that will help participants understand and manage behaviour within organizations. Examines team processes and interpersonal relations.

* Ideas, images and behavioural science theories

* Understanding and managing behaviour within organisations

* Team processes and interpersonal relations

Leading Organisations (Required): Examines organizational structure and design, power and politics, culture and change in organizations. Builds the participants' understanding of how organizations behave and change, and enhances their capacity to act.

* Organisational structure and design

* Power and politics

* Culture and change in organizations

Instituto de Empresa


Presentation Techniques Workshop: The purpose of this workshop is to provide an overall view and understanding of the importance of presentations, together with the opportunity to discover some of the factors they involve. The methodology used makes it possible to analyse students' presentations, identify possible opportunities for improvement and apply the knowledge acquired in an immediate and practical way so that students become familiar with presentation techniques.


Management Skills (Required): Throughout this course a series of sessions will take place designed to develop management skills and capacities via coaching workshops (how to give feedback), communication, workgroup presentation techniques, and negotiation and leadership techniques.

Lancaster University Management School


Leadership: The subject of Leadership is presented in various forms as both a theory and a valid practice. During the course we will examine the theory and, perhaps more importantly, how this actually relates in practice. Through the study of both prescriptive and critical literature, along with case study analysis and participative workshops, we can make sense of conflicting theories.

The elective will reflect a workshop format and will draw from experiences developed from an experiential event held toward the beginning of the elective.

Necessary readings will be provided in a pack of essential readings distributed at the beginning of the course. It is expected that participants will reflect on the issues presented and use various theoretical approaches and their own personal work experiences as valuable contributions to the success of the course.

Course aims

* Examine the nature of leadership

* Explore leadership as a process of social influence between leaders and followers

* Understand transactional and transformational leadership

* Appreciate the complexity of strategic leadership

* Apply leadership frameworks to a range of visiting speaker case studies and experiential projects.

Learning outcomes:

It is intended that the course will develop students':

* understanding of the notion of leadership

* knowledge of a range of theories on leadership

* ability to apply concepts to practical situations

* to appreciate a holistic context in which leadership occurs

* capability to assess their own and others leadership approaches


The course is assessed through a piece of individual reflection on leadership extending to a maximum of 5,000 words. The reflections will draw on relevant theory and readings to enable students to explore their understanding of leadership related to their lived experience. The course will have provided a framework for thinking through lived experience related to leadership and it is anticipated that the reflections would be concluded with insights on the process of leadership learning and developmental needs for each student.

Leading in Action (Required): The Leading in Action course is a unique and integral part of the Lancaster MBA. Running through the first 2 modules of the programme, it knits together all the other taught courses, teaching managers how to apply their learning in practical situations. Through Leading in Action we see how Lancaster's philosophy of Critical Thinking is applied to real managerial problems.

Leading in Action is a compulsory course on the Full-Time MBA. It runs during the autumn and spring terms, throughout Module 1 and Module 2, and culminates in a 2-week team-based consultancy project at the end of Module 2.

Leading in Action skills are introduced through a diverse range of learning environments, including outdoor events (taking full advantage of our location), plenary workshops, and small learning teams. They are developed further via 2 projects based in organisations: the 2-week team consulting project in Module 2, and the longer 10-week consultancy project over the summer.

Objective: To provide tools for thinking about managing in organisations so that students will always feel confident that they can be effective in the "messy" situations which they will face in their managerial lives.

Content: 12 hours in the Michaelmas Term in six 2-hour sessions

1. The Red-Green game; what does this tell us about team working, learning styles and our own approach to managing?

2. A framework for thinking about managing. Use of de Bono's Six Thinking Hats to structure the thinking process

3. Mindmapping--a technique to structure the relationship between facts and ideas

4. Theory of Constraints, working out what to change and what to change to

5. Theory of Constraints, working out how to cause a change

6. Six Sigma process and tools

24 hours in the Lent Term

1. The use of metaphors to appreciate different ways of seeing what is happening

2. Cognitive Mapping

3. Soft Systems Methodology 1, 2, 3, and group exercise

Consultancy project (2 week exercise)

Students work in groups on client-based projects to analyse and propose how a problem situation could be managed.

The Summer Project is the second client-based intervention that Lancaster MBA students undertake, following the 2-week Leading in Action consulting project that is completed at the conclusion of Module 2 in the Spring term.

The project period starts in early June and runs through until the end of the MBA in mid-September. We find most projects each year with our corporate clients. There is a full-time Projects Coordinator for this purpose who will discuss students' project needs with them. Projects vary from year-to-year because they are real and current problems which are faced by the collaborating companies at the time.

At the end of the project, we assess you on several aspects of your work. Firstly, we assess your practical performance on the project--for example, have you made good and reliable contributions to the work? Have you met the deadlines? Are you good at working with members of the client organisation? Then we require you to make an assessed presentation on your findings--and often your clients will wish you to present to them, too. Projects culminate in an academic dissertation, which includes the report produced for the client. The academic dissertation places the client report in a theoretical context.

Whilst working on the project, you may be based at Lancaster or in the client organisation, depending on the client's wishes. The client, who pays a fee to the university to cover the academic supervision, meets all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the student and jointly agreed by both parties. To get an idea of the sorts of projects likely to be available, read our MBA project case studies.

Some students work on a topic of their own choosing in depth. This can be a research project, or alternatively be a practical project by those wishing to start their own business.


You and Your Customer--Marketing Communications and Market Research: The course will be run as a live case study with the collaboration of elucid, a software engineering company that produces systems for companies engaging in multi-channel retailing.

elucid has collaborated successfully with the MBA programme over the last two years.

Course aims:

This course focuses on two major elements of marketing--finding out about your customers and potential customers and discovering how to communicate with them effectively. Successful companies are constantly researching the way their consumers think, act and behave and using this to formulate to the way the company, products and brand are developed, promoted and delivered to customers. This module is based on putting the theory into practice, and students will have the opportunity to design and execute market research and develop a marketing communications strategy for the client organisation.

By the end of the course the students should:

* Have an appreciation of the conceptual frameworks underlying successful market research and marketing communications

* Have developed an integrated perspective of the role of marketing communications within the broader context of marketing strategy

* Be able to analyse key issues in the design and management of the major elements of the communications mix: advertising, sales promotions, personal selling and public relations

* Be able to apply these concepts through the development of a communications strategy for a real client organisation.

London Business School


Career and Professional Skills Development Programme (CPSD): It is no good knowing things. You need to have the skills to apply your knowledge. The Career and Professional Skills Development Programme provides opportunities for you to get to know yourself better and develop your personal and professional skills in four key areas:

* yourself as leader and team member e.g., personal impact, assertiveness, conflict management, emotional intelligence

* solving complex cross disciplinary business problems e.g., creative thinking, strategic problem solving, negotiating strategic transactions

* communication e.g., high impact presentations, business writing, public speaking

* career skills e.g., interview skills, networking, work/life balance

There are over 40 courses to choose from.

Leadership Module (Required): The MBA begins with a period of Orientation. In addition to getting to know the School and your new colleagues through a kick off conference held at Lord's Cricket Ground and a variety of team activities, you will undertake a leadership module. This introduction to the programme sets the scene as it deals with:

* analysing your global business capabilities and generating a developmental action plan

* setting the context by looking at:

--the role of general management in business

--the ethical issues and professional challenges encountered in business round the world.

Global Leadership Assessment for Managers: London Business School's MBA is about developing people with the knowledge, skills and attributes to become global business leaders. This course helps you bridge the gap which most people have between your understanding of new countries and cultures and your ability to lead others in culturally sensitive ways. It will help you make a positive impact wherever you go.


* To identify key interpersonal and teamwork skills needed in successful global business management (e.g., finding their own way to be assertive in a culturally sensitive way)

* To share feedback on your own and others' interpersonal and teamwork skills

* To observe and practise selected interpersonal skills necessary for cross-cultural leadership and teamwork

* To understand the skills that underlie management and leadership effectiveness in the global business environment

* To consider the need to adapt skills for different contexts

* To develop personal and team action plans for the next year

* To assess learning using a follow-up survey for cross-cultural team and interpersonal skill.

Understanding General Management: Business has arguably replaced government, religion, and in many cases family as the social institution with the greatest influence on people's lives.

Business managers and leaders therefore, play a pivotal role in promoting economic and social progress.

This course highlights the professional challenges and responsibilities that you will face, and creates a road map to help you to navigate the twists and turns of the MBA Programme content. For those whose future calling is to advise general managers as consultants or corporate financiers, or who may seek to shape their behaviour as regulators, this course will illuminate the nature of the challenges and pressures placed on the top business managers with whom you will be working.

Topics include: Introduction to general management, Committing to the future, Framing the world, Managing through processes, Managerial values.

Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility: London Business School was one of the first top Business Schools to introduce ethics to the core curriculum. This course helps prepare you to recognise and manage ethical issues as they arise, and to formulate your own standards of integrity and professionalism.


* Develop your understanding of the ethical responsibilities subsumed in becoming a professional manager

* Make you more knowledgeable and comfortable with the central concepts, frameworks and theories of business ethics

* Provide you with experience in applying these tools to a select number of the ethical issues that managers face in business

* Improve individual and group skills in identifying and analysing these ethical issues

* Including your skills in articulating (in groups, in class and in writing) the reasons for the best resolution of the ethical conflict/dilemma, and the action plan for its effective implementation

* Provide an opportunity to reflect on and critically examine the values and assumptions brought to business decisions, both by yourself and by others.

Strategic Problem Solving: This core course provides a framework for making and communicating complex decisions more effectively. It is particularly relevant for improving performance in group projects both at the School and in subsequent careers, but is also highly relevant for case analysis in job interviews as well as in daily class discussion.

Second Year Project (Required): The Second Year Project is the culmination of your degree. Working in pairs on a paid consulting basis, students negotiate the terms and timetable with the client. The project offers students the opportunity to apply in practice the knowledge they have acquired in the classroom, as well as gaining valuable commercial experience.

Project themes are extremely wide ranging, cutting across many business functions and industries. Past project sponsors have ranged from global corporations to start up operations, from private companies, to charities and NGOs. The commonality, however, is that all these organisations have a significant, tangible business problem which is feasible to analyse and evaluate. Ultimately it must also be challenging for the students.

As well as producing a report for the company employing them, participants are required to complete an individual London Business School report. This reflects on the project, drawing on learning throughout the MBA. In addition, participants are asked to re-visit and update their Personal Management Statement.

Shadowing Project (Required): The Shadowing Project is unique to London Business School. It is an opportunity to practice your selling and networking skills (in sourcing your project), observational skills (as you "shadow" a manager), and feedback skills (as you produce your report which will be read both by the manager, and graded by London Business School Faculty).

The Shadowing Project is one week spent observing a manager in a challenging situation and reporting on what you observed and learned. For you as a future manager, it is important to understand how real managers work without actually participating in the act of management. Of course, it is likely that you have been a manager before joining the MBA course, but what we stress here is informed observation rather than participation.

While you shadow your manager, you will log their activity in a systematic fashion: what we call structured observation. In order to engage in structured observation, you'll use a framework within which you will record and categorise data. You will then analyse your data in order to make sense of patterns of behaviour and compare them against (1) existing academic frameworks presented in course readings, and (2) your expectations prior to doing the shadowing assignment. Finally, you will reflect on your data and analysis to make a statement about managerial and leadership behaviour.

Manchester Business School


Directed Personal Development Programme: This course focuses on "soft skills" such as communication and negotiation and includes career support, such as career coaching, job hunting and networking strategies and industry sector workshops.


Business Management Project (Required) : This group-based project is aimed at providing you with an understanding of business in the contexts of technological, operational and organisational change. You manage yourselves and your research brief, often in conditions of ambiguity and uncertainty; and you draw your conclusions at both sectoral and company levels.

Entrepreneurship Project: This involves teams working with a new or developing business, normally local, to develop a feasibility study of a new business venture. The project involves researching markets for new products and services; producing a business plan with projected financial statements and identifying the non-financial resources required to implement the plan.

International Business Project (Required): During this consultancy project your team investigates a particular aspect of your client's overseas strategy. It exposes you to the unstructured, often multi-dimensional international business problems increasingly faced by senior managers. It involves extensive primary research, including international travel, plus a high level of project organisation and client contact. Many projects are with multinationals. Recent projects have included market entry strategies, assessing the viability of commercial information services, product support strategies, and determining the location for new operations.

A second required project has four options:

Creativity Project (One of Four Options for Second Required Project): You will work on a real issue with businesses based in the North West of England, using the creativity techniques taught during the project. This will give you valuable experience of supporting the creative and innovative aspirations of firms. This project involves teams working on real issues with businesses in the North West and using creativity techniques taught during the project to develop innovative business solutions.

Inter-disciplinary Project: This project is designed to synthesise the knowledge and skills you have acquired in individual disciplines and apply an interdisciplinary approach to the solution of a complex business problem.

Marketing Project: Introducing pragmatic aspects of marketing, this involves team work in the analysis of a particular industry, using marketing data to expose trends, projections and forecasts.

Mergers and Acquisitions Project: Your team will take on the role of the acquisition function of a company to develop a tailored growth strategy. It provides practical experience in identifying strategic and financial acquisitions and the issues involved in corporate valuation during the acquisition process.

Personal Project: During the personal project you will choose which area of business and management you wish to concentrate on. You will work with your faculty supervisor to define the project's objectives, methods and assessment. Assessment is through a 7,500 word report.

Dissertation/In-Company Project: This is an individual report closely supervised by a member of faculty. It may be based on any aspect of business and management. Assessment is through a 15,000 word project.

Start-Up Business Consulting: Following lecture inputs, the elective offers a project that gives the students the opportunity to deal with start-up entrepreneurs. The aim of the project is to enhance students' skills in working as a consultant with start-up businesses.

McGill University


Stage Paper: After completing their stage, (minimum 80 hours in an organization) students in the MBA program must submit a paper which integrates the applied and academic aspects of the first year courses and stage. This paper involves the equivalent of 15 academic hours.


The Art of Leadership: Influence of personality, situational and cultural factors on strategic decision making. The role of power and political behaviour in organizational life. Topics include: managerial style, superior-subordinate relationships, organizational stress, entrepreneurial behaviour patterns, power and politics in decision making.

Cross Cultural Management: Cross-cultural awareness and communication skills necessary to manage in multicultural organizations. The focus of the course is on the relationship between cultural values and communication styles as they affect inter-and-intra cultural communication of managers, personnel and clients of multinational and multicultural corporations and organizations.

Marketing Communications: The design and implementation of advertising and promotions. Draws on theories of persuasion to develop a managerially oriented decision making framework. Links the framework to decisions pertaining to creative strategy, media planning, consumer promotions and trade promotions.

Queen's University


Leadership (Required): This course focuses on preparing leaders for the challenges of managing people, teams, and organizations. Emphasis is placed on transformational leadership skills found in the best practices at successful firms. Topics include coaching and mentoring skills, communication skills, and building creative teams and collaborative communities. Importance is placed on understanding ethical challenges and building constructive relationships.

New Venture Project: The New Venture Project gives students an opportunity to use the management concepts and tools they have acquired in the program to create a plan for a new self-standing business, or a new venture within an existing organization. Students will identify market opportunities, investigate business potential, conduct financial analysis, and create a business case and plan. Students will develop an understanding of the latest business trends and practices that can be implemented in their selected industry.

Management Consulting Project: The Management Consulting Project provides you with an opportunity to apply newly acquired management tools to an existing business challenge. Your project will add significant value to the company of your choice. Typical projects focus on performance improvement in operating processes, supply chain management, customer relationship management, or information systems. As well, projects can focus on approaches to enhancing margins, increasing productivity, or improving the strategic planning process.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University


Personal Leadership Development Program: The Personal Leadership Development (PLD) Program is a feature of Semesters I and II. The goal of the course is for participants to develop the interpersonal understanding and interpersonal communication skills necessary to becoming successful business leaders. Targeting three key competencies for leadership--Communication, Multi-Cultural Teaming, and Critical Thinking--the PLD Program uses students' daily experiences to improve personal and team performance in the short-term, and to create a platform for sustained lifelong learning and individual development.


International Reputation Management: This advanced course in Corporate Communication focuses on the interaction between corporate strategy, corporate identity, corporate image and integrated (internal and external) communications. A key feature is the cross functional perspective, integrating theory from the public relations tradition and marketing communication. This course offers techniques to improve the effectiveness of corporate communication programmes, planning and implementation. Theoretical backgrounds will be presented in lectures, combined with classroom activities.

Leadership: The purpose of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to explore the topic of Leadership. No single 'correct' perspective on Leadership is presented. Students are encouraged to reflect on their own professional and leadership abilities and to determine what steps they can take to increase their personal competencies in this area and to continue on a path of life-long learning.



Case Analysis and Presentation: This course provides second year students with the opportunity to hone the critical skills of effective presentation, decisiveness, integrative thinking and business acumen. The course pedagogy focuses on learning-by-doing. Students have three hours to analyze and recommend a solution to a business problem, and develop a forceful presentation. Throughout there is an emphasis on coaching and team development. Students must register for the course in groups (usually 5). Enrolment is limited.


Integrative Management Challenge (Required) : The purpose of this competitive business simulation is to teach students to think like general managers in a real-world environment and develop their integrative thinking skills. Participants will learn how to develop and implement a strategic management process in a complex, competitive atmosphere, using the tools and skills learned in their required courses to compete successfully against other talented "management teams." They will learn about the complexities and rewards of effective group management efforts, and will earn an appreciation for how the different parts of a business interact to add value to the overall enterprise.

Teams of four students will form the executive committee of a simulated manufacturing company (i.e. President, VP Marketing, VP Operations, VP Strategy) and will make real business decisions to guide their companies over a simulated three-year time period.

There are no tests in this course. Each management team will make three presentations to a real live board of directors (composed of outside business professionals, some of them Rotman alumni). Students will be rewarded for what they deliver and how well they understand their role and position within their organization. Click here for a Course Overview.

Leadership (Required) : This course will provide students with a practical and a theoretical understanding of leadership by focusing on three basic questions: What is leadership? What kind of leader am I? And how can I develop as a leader? The course will increase participants' ability to carry out the various managerial capabilities that they are learning at the Rotman School. Using experiential processes such as self-assessment exercises, case studies, student presentations, role playing, videos and discussions, participants will gain increased awareness of their personal leadership style and learn how to enhance it.

Western Ontario University


Management Communications: Successful communication is the foundation to leadership; and presentation skills the key to business situations that involve negotiation and persuasion. Focusing primarily on the mastery of both verbal and nonverbal skills, the course enables the student to apply principles of effective communication to the elevator pitch; the presentation of numbers and visuals/PowerPoint; and the presentation of powerful business plans. Presentations are videotaped and enable peer and instructor feedback to reinforce strengths and pinpoint areas for skill improvement.


Advanced Presentation Skills: This course, intended for the development and fine-tuning of presentation skills, will emphasize holding audience attention through complex presentations, structuring chaos and utilizing anxious energy, "reading" the audience for total engagement, and developing a relaxed rapport during candid group discussions and audience feedback.


Business Leadership: A Habit of Mind: By unlocking leadership talents, leading with influence and integrity, comprehending how others think, and applying intellectual empathy, students will master the skills of effective leadership and cultivate excellent feedback style.

Strategic Leadership: This Strategic Leadership course is designed to help you "wrap your brain" around the paradox of leading and managing, and the concept of Strategic Leadership. Organizations need leaders who are willing to both accept risk and invest in employee development and training, market research and research and development. They also need executives who define levels of required return, specify budgets and evaluate subordinates on the basis of objective financial performance in addition to the strategic process that led to their organizations performance.

York University


Case Analysis and Presentation Skills: This course is designed to give students the opportunity to practice and develop their analytical thinking and presentation skills. The key objective of the course is to train students to successfully participate in national and international case competitions. A secondary objective is to prepare students to successfully interview for management consulting positions. Second year MBA students who enjoy analyzing cases and delivering presentations are encouraged to take the course.


Cross-Cultural Management: This course is designed to address the dilemmas and opportunities that managers face in multicultural and international work environments. The purpose of the course is to improve students' effectiveness in identifying, understanding, and managing cross-cultural situations through increased cultural awareness, improved cross-cultural communication and transition skills, and enhanced knowledge of specific cultures and related business practices.

Interpersonal Managerial Skills: This course is an advanced, self-directed experiential offering designed to provide students with a learning laboratory in which they identify and experience their own interpersonal managerial style and effectiveness. The course builds upon the material learned in earlier courses, and emphasizes experiencing oneself as an active problem-solver.

Marketing Communications: This course explores formulation, implementation and evaluation of programs in the areas of advertising, selling and related sales promotional activities. The course sets forth a framework for formulating an internally consistent "communications strategy" to meet particular marketing objectives. Frequent use is made of concepts from other disciplines, particularly the behavioural sciences. A variety of teaching approaches is employed, including analysis of case studies, discussions of readings and invited guest participants.

Skills for Leadership and Governance (Required): This course challenges students to develop the skills they will need for effective governance and leadership. Given the global context of business, increasing uncertainty and rapid changes, new leadership skills are required. The course provides students with competencies in critical thinking, reflection and building of learning communities. It also teaches practical skills such as negotiations, valuing diversity and team building.

Strategy Field Study (Required): Since its inception, the Strategy Field Study, the capstone course of the Schulich MBA, has been carried out on over 2,500 (approximately 80 per year). Groups of seven or eight students undertake comprehensive strategy studies of large or small, profit-seeking or nonprofit, entrepreneurial or mature, service or manufacturing, domestic or international organizations. Each project spans two terms and demands substantial effort and time on behalf of the students, particularly early on when groups are being formed and sites chosen. Although time-intensive, the Strategy Field Study course can be extremely rewarding both academically and personally. Organizations and students alike have been praising its value and have consistently recognized its unique benefits to the Schulich MBA experience.

A panel of three faculty advisors directs each project. The course takes the form of a two-term study of an actual organization. It requires an extensive and in-depth analysis of the external and internal environment and an evaluation of an organization's activities, together with appropriate recommendations for improved performance. The main purpose of the strategy study is to provide an opportunity to develop a thorough understanding of the environment, markets, technology and operations of a real organization. Students apply and integrate knowledge and skills acquired throughout their MBA curriculum and further develop their skills in working productively within a team. At the conclusion of the study, students produce a comprehensive report and make a final presentation to the organization's senior management team; they are expected to develop convincing arguments about their overall assessment of the situation and their actionable recommendations for improved performance.

This is a capstone and integrative course that spans two semesters. It is expected that it will be completed during the last two semesters of a student's program of study.

Two options which can take the place of the Strategy Field Study:

1. The Global Leadership Program: The Global Leadership Program (GLP) takes the place of a 601 project and involves creating a market entry strategy for a foreign company that is interested in entering the North American market or a Canadian company contemplating foreign markets. Students work in teams composed of five Schulich students, plus three to five students from the partnering schools. Previous partner schools included: the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.; Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Denmark; the Recanati School of Business, Tel Aviv University in Israel; the Management Development Institute of Argentina (IDEA) in Argentina; and the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) in Mexico.

At the beginning of January two of the five students from the Schulich teams go to their partner school/country to meet with the company, negotiate the type of research that will be conducted, and to see first hand the capabilities of the company. These team members return to Toronto where the next two months are spent conducting necessary research. In March, the other three members travel abroad to present preliminary findings and to clarify the direction of the research for the remainder of the semester. Finally, in May, executives of the company and all team members from the schools involved meet in Toronto. Conclusions are presented and discussed through a series of meetings and final presentations during this final week in Toronto.

2. The Aboriginal Economic Development Project--CESO MBA Experience: Schulich offers an opportunity to participate in an annual Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO) Aboriginal Services program. The project begins in January and concludes in late April. Students apply and are selected during the early part of the previous Fall Term. Groups of three or four students undertake to investigate the viability of an economic initiative linked to one of the Aboriginal Reserves in Canada. They also provide specific recommendations related to the initiative. The project usually involves producing a feasibility study or a business plan, as well as articulating an action plan to implement the recommendations. Normally, the program loosely follows the five phases of a typical MGMT 6100.030 Strategy Field Study. However, meetings are more frequent, and the final report is presented to the appropriate members of the Aboriginal Community under study.

Table 1. School Summary

School                                Web Site

Australian Graduate School of
  Management (University of
  New South Wales and
  University of Sydney) (a)
Cambridge, University of (Judge)
Concordia University (Molson)         http://www-commerce
Cranfield University (Cranfield       http://www.som.cranfield
  School of Management)       
HEC Montreal                
HEC Paris                   
HKUST Business School       
IESE Business School        
  (University of Navarra)
Instituto de Empresa (i)    
Lancaster University                  http://www.lums.lancs
  Management School           
London Business School      
Manchester, University of   
  (Manchester Business School)
McGill University           
Oxford, University of (Said)
Queen's University (Queen's 
  School of Business) (k)     
Rotterdam School of         
  Management (Erasmus
SDA Bocconi (Bocconi        
Toronto, University of (Rotman)       http://www.mgmt
Western Ontario, University of
York University (Schulich) (m)        http://www.schulich

School                                Country            Sources

Australian Graduate School of         Australia          FT84, F9
  Management (University of
  New South Wales and
  University of Sydney) (a)
Cambridge, University of (Judge)      UK                 F3, FT42
CEIBS                                 China              FT22
Concordia University (Molson)         Canada             F18, FT81
Cranfield University (Cranfield       UK                 F11, FT58
  School of Management)
ESADE                                 Spain              C, BW4,
                                                           F16 FT35,
HEC Montreal                          Canada             BW10, F17
HEC Paris                             France             C, BW8, F14,
                                                           FT 37, WSJ4
HKUST Business School                 China              FT44
IESE Business School                  Spain              BW7, F8, FT12,
  (University of Navarra)                                  WSJ18
IMD                                   Switzerland        BW2, F2, FT13,
INSEAD                                France and         BW3, F1, FT8,
                                        Singapore (g)      WSJ12
Instituto de Empresa (i)              Spain              FT19, WSJ20
Lancaster University                  UK                 FT39
  Management School
London Business School                UK                 BW5, F5, FT5,
Manchester, University of             UK                 F15, FT44
  (Manchester Business School)
McGill University                     Canada (j)         F13, FT39
Oxford, University of (Said)          UK                 F4, FT25
Queen's University (Queen's           Canada             BW1, F10, FT75
  School of Business) (k)
Rotterdam School of                   Netherlands        C, F12, FT29,
  Management (Erasmus                                      WSJ15
SDA Bocconi (Bocconi                  Italy              C, F7, FT42
Toronto, University of (Rotman)       Canada             BW9, FT21
Western Ontario, University of        Canada (1)         BW6, FT34
York University (Schulich) (m)        Canada             F6, FT22,

School                              (Months)          Partnership

Australian Graduate School of         18                  No
  Management (University of
  New South Wales and
  University of Sydney) (a)
Cambridge, University of (Judge)      12                  No
CEIBS                                 18                  No
Concordia University (Molson)         16-24               No
Cranfield University (Cranfield       12                  EM Lyon
  School of Management)
ESADE                                 18                  Yes (c)
HEC Montreal                          12                  Yes (d)
HEC Paris                             16                  Yes (e)
HKUST Business School                 16-20 (f)           No
IESE Business School                  19                  No
  (University of Navarra)
IMD                                   10                  No
INSEAD                                12                  Wharton (h)
Instituto de Empresa (i)              13                  No
Lancaster University                  12                  No
  Management School
London Business School                15-21               No
Manchester, University of             18                  No
  (Manchester Business School)
McGill University                     20                  No
Oxford, University of (Said)          12                  No
Queen's University (Queen's           12                  No
  School of Business) (k)
Rotterdam School of                   15                  No
  Management (Erasmus
SDA Bocconi (Bocconi                  14                  No
Toronto, University of (Rotman)       20                  No
Western Ontario, University of        20                  No
York University (Schulich) (m)        16                  Yes (n)

School                              Exchange             AACSB

Australian Graduate School of         Yes                 Yes
  Management (University of
  New South Wales and
  University of Sydney) (a)
Cambridge, University of (Judge)      No                  No
CEIBS                                 Yes                 No (b)
Concordia University (Molson)         Yes                 Yes

Cranfield University (Cranfield       Yes                 Yes
  School of Management)
ESADE                                 Yes                 Yes
HEC Montreal                          Yes
HEC Paris                             Yes                 Yes
HKUST Business School                 Yes                 Yes
IESE Business School                  Yes                 No
  (University of Navarra)
IMD                                   No                  Yes
INSEAD                                Yes                 Yes
Instituto de Empresa (i)              Yes                 Yes
Lancaster University                  Yes                 No
  Management School
London Business School                Yes                 Yes
Manchester, University of             Yes                 Yes
  (Manchester Business School)
McGill University                     Yes                 No
Oxford, University of (Said)          No                  No
Queen's University (Queen's           No                  Yes
  School of Business) (k)
Rotterdam School of                   Yes                 Yes
  Management (Erasmus
SDA Bocconi (Bocconi                  Yes                 No
Toronto, University of (Rotman)       Yes                 Yes
Western Ontario, University of        Yes                 No
York University (Schulich) (m)        Yes                 No

NOTE: C = GEMS schools (

BW = 2004 Business Week ranking of top 20 international schools,

F = 2003 Forbes ranking of top international non-U.S. schools, FT = 2005 Financial
Times ranking, All
non-U.S. schools in top 50; schools numbered 51-100 included if also
part of Forbes or Business Week ranking. Some schools may have
identical FT rankings (indicating a tie). WSJ = 2004 Wall Street
Journal ranking of business schools,
topschools.html. Schools are listed with their most commonly recognized
names first. The length column refers to the most substantive full-time
program and excludes accelerated or fast-track programs. The
partnership column does not refer to joint ventures, but rather to
partnerships between entirely separate business schools; partnerships
as defined here do not include situations where simply make agreement
to balance incoming and outgoing students. Partnerships imply
coordination of curriculum and faculty between partner schools. The
Exchange designation assumes that it is both ways, unless otherwise

a. This school is a joint venture between the University of New South
Wales and the University of Sydney.

b. The school began the accreditation process in February 2005.

c. Esade has nine double-degree partners: four in the United States and
five in Latin America.

d. The school is a founding member of the AEA Alliance (Americas,
Europe, Asia), Cross-Regional Business School; for more information,

e. HEC Paris has six double-degree partners, in what are referred to as
regional MBA programs.

f. The 20-month length accounts for an optional exchange period.

g. The programs in France and Singapore are identical; students are
encouraged to spend time on both campuses.

h. Through the INSEAD-Wharton alliance, students from both schools can
spend one period at the other; this is not a double-degree program,

i. The MBA program used for this survey is the full-time International
MBA: there is another program, taught in Spanish, which is 10 months.

j. McGill has launched an MBA Japan program, but that is designed for
students continuing to work full time.

k. The MBA program included here is subtitled "for Science and
Technology." Other MBA programs at Queen's are designed for working
executives or for students who are continuing in their jobs while
attending school.

l. Ivey has launched a program in Hong Kong, but it is designed for
students to continuing working full time while going to school; for
that reason, it is excluded here.

m. The program used for this study is the full-time MBA; Schulich also
offers a much smaller IMBA (International MBA degree) which builds on
the general MBA but includes specialist areas such as regional studies,
languages, and overseas internships.

n. Students can work with students from partner schools (there were
five last year) for a capstone project.

Table 2. Communication Requirements

School                 Required Courses

Australian Graduate    Management Communication--
  School of              Presentation Skills; Management
  Management             Communication--Strategic
                         Thinking and Writing
CEIBS                  Business Writing and Presentation
Cranfield              Personal Communication Skills;
                         Written Analyses of Case Studies
HEC Montreal
HEC Paris
HKUST                  Managerial Communication
IESE (a)               Managerial Communications
IMD                    Project Presentations
Instituto de Empresa   Presentation Techniques
London Business
  School (c)
Manchester Business    Directed Personal Development
  School                 Programme (two semesters)
RSM Erasmus            Personal Leadership Development
                         Program (d)
SDA Boccoui
Western Ontario        Management Communications

School                 Elective Courses

Australian Graduate
  School of
HEC Montreal
HEC Paris              Professional Communication;
                         Presentation Skills
IESE (a)               Communication and
                         Interpersonal Relations
Instituto de Empresa   Internal Communication
London Business        Career and Professional Skills
  School (c)             Development Programme
                         (more than 40 courses)
Manchester Business    Managerial Communications
McGill                 Stage Paper
RSM Erasmus
SDA Boccoui
Toronto                Case Analvsis and Presentation
Western Ontario        Advanced Presentation Skills
York                   Case Analysis and Presentation

School                 Language Requirement

Australian Graduate
  School of
CEIBS                  Second language required;
                         compulsory 2-month
                         precourse training in
ESADE (a)              Second language required
                         (English and Spanish)
HEC Montreal           Second language required
HEC Paris              English or French
HKUST                  English
IESE (a)               Second language required
                         (English and Spanish)
IMD                    English
INSEAD                 Two additional languagest (b)
Instituto de Empresa   English required; Spanish
                         optional but necessary
                         for certain electives
Lancaster              Second language required
London Business        Second language required
  School (c)
Manchester Business
RSM Erasmus
SDA Boccoui
Western Ontario
                       Language of
School                 Instruction

Australian Graduate    English
  School of
Cambridge              English
CEIBS                  English
Cranfield              English
ESADE (a)              English and Spanish
HEC Montreal           English or French
HEC Paris
IESE (a)               English and Spanish
INSEAD                 English
Instituto de Empresa   English and Spanish
Lancaster              English
London Business
  School (c)
Manchester Business    English
McGill                 English
Queen's                English
RSM Erasmus            English
SDA Boccoui            English or Italian
Toronto                English
Western Ontario        English
York                   English

NOTE: Related courses are those that have a communication component.

(a.) Language courses are included in core curriculum.

(b.) A second language (in addition to English) is required
upon entry; working knowledge of a third "commercially
useful" language is required for graduation.

(c.) Language courses can count toward elective credit.

(d.) Integrated into the first two semesters.

Table 3. Related Courses

School         Leadership

Australian     Leadership
  Graduate       Concepts
  School of      and Skills
ESADE          LEAD
HEC            Leadership
HEC            Leadership
IESE           Leading
                 (Required; in
IMD            Leadership
                 (Required) (a)
INSEAD         Leading People
                 and Groups
Instituto de   Leadership,
  Empresa        Power, and
                 (in Spanish)
Lancaster      Leadership
London         Leadership
  Business       Module
  School         (Required)
Manchester     Perspectives of
  Business       Leadership
McGill         The Art of
Queen's        Leadership
RSM            Leadership
SDA Bocconi

Toronto        Leadership
Western        Business
  Ontario        Leadership:
                 A Habit of
                 Mind; (c)
York           Skills for

               Cross-Cultural           Corporate
School         Management               Communication

  School of
CEIBS          Cross-Cultural
HEC            Cross-Cultural
  Paris          Management
HKUST          Cross-Cultural
IESE           Cross-Cultural           Corporate
                 Management             Communication
INSEAD         Managing
Instituto de                            Identity,
  Empresa                                 Culture, and
Manchester                              Corporate
  Business                                Reputation
  School                                  and

McGill         Cross-Cultural
RSM                                     International
  Erasmus                                 Reputation
SDA Bocconi
York           Cross-Cultural

               Practicum/               Interpersonal
School         Project                  Skills

Australian     Management               Interpersonal
  Graduate       Project                  Skills
  School of
Cambridge      Entrepreneurship
                 Project (required);
                 Major Consulting
                 Project (required);
                 Individual Project
CEIBS          Practicum (Required)

Concordia      Practicum Project;       Developing
                 Business Research        Interpersonal
                 Project                  and Managerial

HEC            Supervised Team
  Montreal       Project (Required)
HEC            Company Consulting       Personal
  Paris          Project; Individual      Development
                 Professional             (Required)
IMD            Entrepreneurship
                 Projects (Required);
                 Consulting Projects
Instituto de   Research
  Empresa      Projects
Lancaster      Leading in
London         Shadowing
  Business       Project
  School         (Required):
                 Second Year
Manchester     Business
  Business       Management
  School         Project;
                 Marketing, or
                 Mergers and
                 (Required) (a)


Oxford         New Business
                 Project (Required);
                 Consulting Prcject
Queen's        New Venture
                 Consulting Project
SDA Bocconi    Field Project,
                 Project, or
                 Project (Required)
Toronto        Integrative
Western        Ivey Client
  Ontario        Field Project
York           Strategy Field Study     Interpersonal
               (Required) (d)           Managerial

School         Communications           Other

Australian     Integrated
  Graduate       Marketing
  School of      Communications
Cambridge      Marketing
Concordia      Integrated               Business
                 Marketing                Research
                 Communications           Project
ESADE          Communicaciones
HEC            Integrated
  Montreal       Marketing
HEC                                     Financial
  Paris                                 Communication

HKUST          Brand Equity             Managerial
                 and Marketing            Problem
                 Communications           Solving
IESE           Brands and
INSEAD         Marketing
Instituto de                            Management
  Empresa                               Skills

Lancaster      Marketing
Manchester     Management of
  Business       Marketing
  School         Communications
McGill         Marketing
SDA Bocconi
Toronto        Marketing
York           Marketing

NOTE: Related courses are those that have a communication component;
unless otherwise noted, these courses are elective.
Project courses are included because they require either a
written report or a presentation or both.

(a.) The Leadership Experience occurs in the January-May
period and again in June; the IEDC Bled School of Management
is a partner in this second Leadership Experience.
Organizational Leadership is also a component of the Building
Blocks required course (January-May).

(b.) Three projects are required; elective projects include
Personal, Entrepreneurship, International Business,
Dissertation/In-Company, and Start-Up Consulting.

(c.) Offered through the Communications area.

(d.) In place of this course, students may elect to complete
the Global Leadership Program (in conjunction with
students from partner schools) or the Aboriginal
Economic Development Project (part of an annual
Canadian Executive Services Organization Aboriginal


Knight, M. (1999). Management communication in US MBA programs. Business Communication Quarterly, 62(4), 9-32.

Address correspondence to Melinda Knight, George Washington University, Rome Hall 562, 801 22nd St. NW, Washington DC 20052; e-mail:

Melinda Knight

George Washington University

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Management Communication in Non-U.S. MBA Programs: Current Trends and Practices


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