8 Unusual and Unique MBA Syllabuses

8 Unusual and Unique MBA Syllabuses main image

For the most part, MBA participants embark on their program for similar reasons – to bridge a knowledge gap, change careers and/or home in on particular skills. However, from this starting point, a wide array of business areas and specializations have to be considered and top business schools are increasingly offering modules, programs or electives that cater to niche audiences.

Here’s a look at some of the more out-of-the-box MBA study options available.

Think on your feet, MIT Sloan

Having an unexpected situation thrown at you can feel like a recipe for disaster. Curveballs, the unexpected, and drastic changes can determine whether a business survives or sinks.

The answer to this? Well, being able to improvise and think on your feet is a good place to start. Daena Giardella is the course director of Sloan’s ‘Improvisational Leadership’ module, which aims to “teach us to take risks and to respond confidently in the moment to whatever happens”.

Embrace your passion for soccer, University of Liverpool – Management School

England’s north-western city Liverpool is home to many things. To name a few, the Tate Liverpool, The Beatles, and one of the world’s most successful soccer clubs, Liverpool FC, all call this city home.

If you dream of working in the soccer industry but haven’t quite got the skills to be the next Mo Salah, the Football Industries MBA at Liverpool Business School gives students the opportunity to work for world-renowned clubs like Liverpool FC.

The program offers a soccer focused approach to marketing, innovation, and leadership.

Paint like a professional, IEDC Bled School of Management

MBA students at IEDC Bled are given the tools to embrace leadership in the business world through a different kind of course syllabus.

Here, socially responsible leadership and creativity is garnered through sculpture, painting and drawing classes.

The school aims to help create leaders who are artful in their behavior and solutions through inspiration and artistic creation.

Wine & Spirits MBA, INSEEC Business School

They say good things come in threes, which must be why INSEEC Business School doesn’t just have one MBA program dedicated to wine and spirits – it has three!

Once students have completed the MBA Wine & Spirits program, they can enroll in the MBA Wine Marketing & Management or MBA Spirits Marketing & Management if they wish to land managerial positions in the wine and spirits sector.

The wine and spirits market is going global, with the traditional producers of Spain, France, and Italy going to head-to-head with wines from new territories. Students will earn a specialized education in the industry.

Interpersonal Dynamics or ‘getting touchy feely’, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Known somewhat affectionately as the “Touchy Feely” class, Interpersonal Dynamics has been voted the most popular elective for 45 years running at Stanford GSB.

This class has been so effective as building personal relationships helps you succeed in your career. And yes, this does involve removing yourself from your comfort zone and truly getting to know people.

Students are encouraged to break down personal and professional barriers in order to interact with peers on a personal level. The course promises to enhance emotional intelligence and reinforce positive feedback systems.

MBA in Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries, University of Liverpool – Management School

Launched in 2015, this two-year program aims to prepare future executives keen to take up senior administrative or leadership roles in horse racing.

Participants focus on topics such as marketing, sponsorship, the media, sports law, regulation and horse welfare.

And what would a horse racing MBA be without field trips? Students will be able to get a behind the scenes peek at races and visit the country’s center of racehorse breeding – the UK’s National Stud in Newmarket.

Mastering Mindfulness, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Studying for your MBA can be a stressful experience and it may seem as though remaining mindful and calm is the last thing you’ll be able to do.

However, RSM sees mindfulness as the groundwork for their MBA program. Students are removed from the stressful classroom environment and given the opportunity to participate in a leadership retreat based anywhere from Catalonia to South Africa.

Employees who generate fresh ideas can boost a company’s innovation, but hectic work environments and stress can easily undermine anyone’s focus and creativity. This is why the retreat works so well.

Dual-degree MBA/MFA in Producing, NYU Stern School of Business / Tisch School of Arts

All budding film producers and hopefuls wanting to make it as leaders in the entertainment industry are advised to check out the dual-degree program offered by NYU Stern and the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television.

The MBA/MFA in Producing will give students the knowledge to navigate the fast-changing landscape of filmmaking and business entertainment.

This program is highly competitive, and students must be accepted by both schools to earn a place. You will then divide your time between the two schools for your classes, with the first year spent at NYU Stern, the second at Kanbar and the third split between the two.

Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Assistant Editor of TopMBA.com, creating and editing content for an international MBA student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of the business world.  

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