Flexible MBA Specialization in Public and Private Sector Leadership

Add a specialization in Public and Private Sector Leadership.

Leading an organization is not about maintaining the status quo. Emerging technologies make organizations dynamic, present challenges, and create opportunities. Managing through change and uncertainty is both difficult and necessary. The public and private sector leadership specialization prepares experienced and budding managers to lead with confidence.

The Public and Private Sector Leadership Specialization exposes you to the crucially important interface between public (governmental) institutions and the private sector. Course content spans project management, human capital considerations, political influences, social impact, and strategy, among others.

The specialization builds “soft” skills such as effective communication, productive teamwork, bias-free decision making, adaptive problem solving, and emotional intelligence to lead teams and navigate conflict. Becoming an inspiring leader isn’t learned in a day. We provide the science to make your lived experiences meaningful, so you become a better, smarter negotiator and a savvy leader.

Public and private sector leadership curriculum highlights

Required courses

BU.141.710  Effective Teaming (2 Credits) required

In today’s businesses, teams are a basic organizational building block. Working within a team is perennially listed as one of the top skills that recruiters look for in graduating MBAs. This course conveys knowledge and practical tools that will help you become a more productive team member and leader. Topics include the characteristics of high-performing teams, leadership strategies for creating high-performing teams, strategies for avoiding dysfunctional team dynamics, and best practices for managing diverse and virtual teams.

BU.151.770 Power & Politics (2 Credits) required or can be used as elective if not chosen as second required course

Immerse yourself in issues and dynamics related to power and politics in organizations. We seek to make power and politics discussable, recognizable, and usable. In other words, this course is designed to fuel the learning of concepts that are useful for understanding, analyzing, and harnessing power and political processes. But beyond discovering ways to extend your own power, influence, and political skill, you will also learn about ways in which power and politics can blind and deceive you, and how you might better navigate situations in which you are up against relatively more powerful people or forces. We will use a range of learning methods including theoretical and business articles, cases, exercises, assessments, and simulations. We will cover a variety of topics ranging from political skills, bases of power and influence, dangers of power, power and change, and leading with power.

BU.121.610 Negotiation (2 Credits) required or can be used as elective if not chosen as second required course

This course provides you with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to negotiate. Designed around a series of research-based negotiation exercises, the course exposes you to a variety of negotiation situations to build the foundation of two fundamental approaches to negotiation. By reflecting on these exercises in light of negotiation theory, you will develop an awareness of your personal negotiation style, including its strengths and weaknesses. By the end of the course, you will be able to negotiate in an effective, ethical, and culturally appropriate manner.


BU.131.601 Business Leadership and Human Values (2 Credits)

This foundational course develops an understanding of yourself as a moral agent in a complex environment of competing values and often ambiguous ethical challenges inherent in business.  Through a rigorously discursive exploration of human moral capabilities, value systems, ethical frameworks, and contemporary ethical dilemmas, you will clarify your personal moral compass and develop a toolkit of knowledge and practices for sound ethical leadership in business and society.

BU.152.740 CityLab Catalyst: Business Innovation for Social Impact (2 Credits) and BU.152.745 City Lab Practicum: Social Impact Project (2 Credits)

For the first time in history, humans are an urban species; the livability of cities now determines the future of humanity and the planet. CityLab is an urban innovation platform engaging students in a global experiment of reinventing cities by revitalizing urban neighborhoods from within. The CityLab toolkit immerses you in the concrete context of people and places dealing with the disruptive uncertainty and frustration of livability challenges that threaten the environment, human health, social cohesion, civic order, and prosperity of cities. It introduces strategies, tools, and practices for tackling these challenges as opportunities to co-create value for the flourishing of humanity and the planet. This course is a hands-on, active learning experience requiring a high degree of individual commitment, initiative, self-discipline, adaptability, and collaboration. Learn more

BU.151.720 Corporate Strategy (2 Credits)

This course is concerned with the formulation and analysis of corporate strategy. Corporate strategy asks the question, “In what industries should a firm compete?” These are the objectives and policies that collectively determine how a business positions itself to increase its returns and create economic value for its owners and stakeholders. Learn analytical techniques for diagnosing the industrial landscape of a business and a firm’s overall portfolio, and identify and analyze specific business options. These concepts and frameworks will help you learn to put structure on complex and unstructured problems in corporate strategy to provide a solid foundation for managerial decision making.

BU.610.705 Crisis Management (2 Credits)

In this course, we will examine the entire crisis management life cycle – from prevention and preparedness through response, recovery, and mitigation – and consider the life cycle’s principles and practices. We will identify and use the entire crisis management toolkit to address challenges faced by managers when organizations face any crisis, due to either external factors outside the organization’s control or internal control or strategic management failures. We will develop a complete crisis management plan, including tools and methods to identify potential crises, implement response and mitigation strategies to limit exposure, manage crisis response teams, and create communications to address stakeholder and public relation issues.

BU.003.903 Global Immersion (2 Credits)

The Global Immersion program embeds you within international companies facing today’s most pressing global business challenges. In this seven-day travel course, step out of the classroom and into the heart of today’s biggest business questions, such as Brexit and trade policy’s influence on international business.

Typically held during the January Intersession or in Spring II, Global Immersion is an intense, one-week, two-credit course held at a university abroad. Classroom work is supplemented with on-site visits to government offices and corporate partners. You will collaborate with business leaders to examine a particular industry problem from the business’ perspective. And learn first-hand how businesses are adapting to emerging political developments and how political outcomes impact business decisions and strategy. Topics include trade, industry, and regulation.

BU.003.893 Leadership Development Expedition (2 Credits)

Develop your leadership capacity in this leadership-intensive seminar. The course utilizes the unique opportunity for leadership development embedded in outdoor experiential education, providing students the challenge of serving as a leader. The course combines a thorough academic introduction to leadership development and opportunity for self-assessment with repeated reflection and feedback to help students develop their own path as leaders. This is a physically demanding course. You should be in moderate physical condition. However, no technical outdoor skill or experience required – this is beginner-friendly. Expedition destination, activities, physical demands, fees, and eligibility requirements vary. Learn more

BU.300.620 Managing Complex Projects (2 Credits)

This course aims to equip you with effective techniques, methods, and practices for defining, scoping, and planning a project, and then managing it to a successful completion. Special areas of emphasis in the course are driven by practical experiences with large and complex projects frequently being late, over budget, and failing to meet specifications. We will pay particular attention to understanding project complexity, risk, and uncertainty so you are prepared to address these challenges. You will gain experience using a leading project management software package.

BU.142.720 Managing in a Diverse & Global World (2 Credits)

Business organizations and other critical organizations operate in both a market and nonmarket environment. Examine contextually global diversity, inclusion, and multicultural issues through the lens of multiple dimensions. Successful, globally minded managers align the firm’s capabilities with the demands of both its market and nonmarket environment. This course examines political, regulatory, and societal factors of influence. You will learn to analyze the motives for focused intervention to better judge when and how political developments may affect business or organization interest. Explore the rise of “private politics” (activists, civil society networks, and NGOs), which are increasingly complementing conventional “public politics.” This new plurality also opens exciting new nonmarket strategic opportunities for profit and socially driven business, providing it with new potential allies. This course stresses collective moral agency and the ethical dimensions of business and management in such a global political economy. You will explore cross-cultural perspectives on economics and business culture, and how to analyze and proactively manage the nonmarket environment through integrated market and nonmarket strategies. Cumulatively through class interaction and team activities, students develop strategies for managing aspects of global diversity and inclusion within the context of a real organization opportunity.

BU.142.730 Strategic Human Capital (2 Credits)

Developing and managing human capital is vital for the success of any organization. In this course, examine ways in which human resources management can be used to enhance organizations’ competitive capabilities. The goal will be to understand how an organization can select, train, and retain the right employees, and how it can effectively motivate them to make decisions that will allow the organization to successfully implement its overall strategy. You will explore and master topics such as hiring and layoff decisions; human capital and on-the-job training; turnover; the provision of incentives; the advantages and disadvantages of alternative compensation schemes; objective and subjective performance evaluation; relative performance evaluation; promotions and other career-based incentive schemes; team production and team incentives; stock options and executive compensation; intrinsic and extrinsic motivation; non-monetary compensation; and mandated benefits.

BU.152.735 Strategy Consulting Practicum (2 Credits)

This course is concerned with the formulation and analysis and practical application of business strategy. Business strategy is the set of objectives and policies that collectively determine how a business creates value for stakeholders. Strategy is concerned with answering two central questions: “What businesses should we participate in?” and “How should we compete?” Students will learn analytical techniques for diagnosing the competitive position of a business, evaluate strategies, and identify and analyze strategic options. You will integrate and apply previous course work to strategic challenges addressed by organizational leaders. Analytic, integrative, and decision-making skills are also developed as you and your teams confront these strategic challenges. Creativity and innovation are critical to achieve success; to follow often-traveled strategic paths is unlikely to result in superior performance. You are challenged to use both critical and creative thinking as you perform analyses and provide strategic recommendations to clients.