Course Descriptions - Required Courses

The Willamette MBA program includes a combination of required and elective courses. Some of the required courses are completed during the first year of study and some are completed during the second year of study. First year required courses have a course number in the 5000's.  Second year required courses have a course number in the 6000's.


GSM 5101: Managing Organizations: Individuals, Teams and Human Resources (1.5 credits)

GSM 5101 and GSM 5102 focus on human resources and organizational dynamics management issues as they apply to the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. GSM 5101 uses a micro/meso approach and focuses on individuals and groups in organizations and related HR management processes. The goal of GSM 5101 is to enhance your knowledge of management concepts and theories so that you can increase organizational effectiveness by better managing yourself, other individuals, teams and stakeholders of the organization. This course also focuses on how to diagnose and analyze individual and group behavior from different perspectives (using strategic, political and cultural lenses) and how to prescribe appropriate courses of managerial action. As part of this course, you will also become familiar with a number of assessment tools and use interactive class exercises to develop your managerial skills. Selected cases and real life vignettes are used to apply management concepts to real-world applications. You will learn from your own pre-class readings and your interactions with a diverse group of peers. Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 506A. (Human Resources and Organizational Dynamics)

    GSM 5102: Managing Organizations: Design and Change (1.5 credits)

    GSM 5102 and 5101 focus on human resources and organizational dynamics management issues as they apply to the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. GSM 5102 examines the behaviors of large formal organizations – whether public, private, or not-for-profit – in terms of their functioning, performance and accountability to their various stakeholders. The broad goal of the course is to sharpen your critical thinking regarding the intertwining relationships between: 1) organizations and society at large, and 2) between organizations and our personal biographies. Developing a keen appreciation of these connections and deepening your understanding of how organizations “really” work and change will inevitably improve your effectiveness both as a manager and as a member of an organization. To succeed in the world ruled and governed by formal organizations, one must posses a diversity of skills including how to work with other people, for other people, and through other people; how to set up structures that facilitate work; and how to deal with and accommodate change. Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 506B. (Human Resources and Organizational Dynamics)

      GSM 5103: Data Analysis, Modeling & Decision Making (3 credits)

      The techniques of quantitative analysis are deployed against problems in such diverse areas as financial management, quality control, public budgeting, research and development, compensation analysis, and market research. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be an intelligent interpreter and user of data and statistical information. This includes different types of data and how they are obtained, the range of statistical processes for transforming data into useful and actionable information, a working familiarity and self-sufficiency with basic computational tools of data summary, analysis, and modeling, and the ability to effectively communicate the results of quantitative analyses with numerical and graphical tools. The joint emphasis on the development and implementation of tools is enhanced through an even division of classroom lectures and weekly small group laboratories. Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 503.

        GSM 5105: Accounting for Managers (3 credits)

        This course provides managers with the fundamental tools and techniques they need from the discipline of accounting. Students have multiple opportunities to read, listen, write and speak in the language of accounting as much as possible. The main focus is how accounting information is used by managers. Students are introduced to the traditional tools and techniques of accounting that are used by managers including: financial statements, transaction analysis, GAAP “basis” vs. cash flow “basis”, internal controls, break-even analysis, budgeting, and variance analysis. We introduce the elements of a record-keeping system (journals, ledgers, etc) as well as “debits and credits”. Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 505.

          GSM 5107: Marketing - Creating Satisfied Customers (3 credits)

          Marketing is not advertising. Marketing is not persuading customers to purchase your products. The essence of marketing is to create satisfied customers. From a marketer’s perspective a satisfied customer is any entity whose expectations for performance of the product or service you provide is exceeded by the actual performance of the product or service. The course begins by building a model for creating satisfied customers in a for-profit setting in order to make sure everyone in the course understands the model. The model is then extended to the international for profit, the not-for-profit, and government settings. Students will understand how the principles in the private domestic sector are applicable to the public, not-for-profit and international contexts. Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 507.

            GSM 5108: PACE I - Practical Applications for Careers and Enterprises (3 credits)

            Consulting for Non-Profit and Public Organizations, and Achieving Your Career Goals. The project starts on the first day of class when each PACE team begins transforming their team of students into an organization of consultants who will provide management consulting services for a client organization. The service/consulting project provides a valuable opportunity to build real-world experience and contribute to the community through enhancing the operations of client service organization. Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 508A.

              GSM 5109: PACE II - Practical Applications for Careers and Enterprises (3 credits)

              Developing a New Entrepreneurial Venture and Consulting for Non-Profit and Public Organizations. Students who want to go from "thinking like an entrepreneur" to "being an entrepreneur" can implement their PACE plan or an entirely different plan of their choice in the two semester second-year elective course "New Ventures to Launch." The PACE I experience continues as students complete consulting projects with their not-for-profit or public clients. The end of the semester includes two major presentations: the delivering value for society presentation (describing the not-for-profit partnership) and the new ventures to market presentation (pitching business plans to a team of judges representing venture capitalists). Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 508B.

              • Prerequisite(s): GSM 5108

              GSM 5110: Economics, Finance and Markets (3 credits)

              This is the first MBA course in finance and economics. Topics include building a financial model of a company, corporate strategy, valuation, analysis of risk and return, and the interaction of business, government, and society. Course materials include cases and a game of investing. Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 510.

              • Prerequisite(s): GSM 5103, 5105

              GSM 5114: Operations and Systems Management (3 credits)

              This course is largely a survey of concepts, principles, tools, and techniques widely used in production and service delivery organizations. It adopts as a unifying theme a consistent focus on process: its organizational dimensions, its analysis, its management and its improvement. While some important concepts require some math and statistics, Operations Management is not a “quant course,” per se. Indeed, you’ll find that some of the “softer” ideas from organizational theory and behavior are equally important. Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 514.

              • Prerequisite(s): GSM 5103

              GSM 6121: Politics and Public Policy for Managers (3 credits)

              Public, private and not-for-profit organizations operate within a framework of rules at the global, national, state and local levels. This course looks at the impact of customs, policies, laws, regulations, technologies and trends on these rules, how interests in society influence rules informally and formally, and how organizations respond to opportunities and threats these rules create. Each nation’s unique governmental and procedural arrangements make cross sectoral relationships even more complex. Students will explore common and disparate features that impact management in a global economy and polity, incorporating the perspective of public service values – including efficiency and objectivity, fairness and respect for the individual, accountability and transparency, and public trust. Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 698. (Governance & Leadership: Creating Value through Governance)

              • Prerequisite(s): Core courses of the first-year curriculum.

              GSM 6122: Leading Ethical, Socially Responsible and Sustainable Organizations (3 credits)

              The world outside the classroom is laden with uncertainty, irrational behavior, and at times over zealous exuberance, which may lead to confusion and discontent. Your obligation is to create a structure of understanding that integrates course discipline and experiential applications, and think strategically and critically in determining personal and professional standards of excellence. The course is segregated into learning modules which will explore substantive questions, such as: What constitutes an effective and sustainable organization? What empirical lenses can be applied in analyzing and synthesizing organizational performance? How can organizations incorporate corporate social responsibility into strategic decision making? What constitutes the foundations of organizational ethics? How does governance affect organizational values? What constitutes trust theory and how do organizational agents benefit? How does leadership affect organizational performance within ethical boundaries? Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 673.

              • Prerequisite(s): Core courses of the first-year curriculum.

              GSM 6123: Strategic Management (3 credits)

              Addressing the question of why some organizations succeed while others fail, we will develop our understanding of effective cooperation across functions, competitive strategy across organizations and strategy formation across time. We will apply models and insights from course material to case studies, creating effective new strategies and anticipating challenges to successful implementation. This involves comprehensive thought around the functional, competitive, technical, global, and corporate components of potentially successful strategy. The course includes application of these ideas and concepts to new enterprise development. Course number prior to fall 2012: GSM 650.

              • Prerequisite(s): Core courses of the first-year curriculum, GSM 6121 and GSM 6122