Focus Areas

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Global Challenges in Business

This specialization prepares students for the global challenges that businesses face in the 21st century. The global marketplace today and in the future spans emerging markets, a world connected by social media, and rapid technological advancements, hand in hand with huge challenges relating to the environment and poverty. This specialization on global business covers how business strategy is formulated and implemented in the global arena in all its complexities. It also covers the role of ethics and corporate responsibility in a connected world as well as the role of business in addressing global challenges such as poverty and the environment. Thus, the specialization enables understanding of global business and how to pursue opportunities and confront challenges in this arena responsibly.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand how businesses function in the global marketplace
  • Make ethical decisions to run a responsible business in the global marketplace
  • Understand the role of business in addressing global challenges such as poverty and the environment
  • Understand how business can pursue opportunities and confront challenges in the complex global marketplace

Target audience

  • Business professionals who seek professional development opportunities to upgrade their knowledge, skills, and abilities in global business
  • Qualified professionals who value the high quality of a University of Illinois education
  • The general public who, by acquiring valuable business knowledge, will be empowered to improve their current employment prospects
  • Students in disciplines outside of business who seek to develop credentials in business
  • Any learner pursuing an understanding of how businesses operate in a global environment
Courses:
Global Strategy

Cross-cultural management and the relationship of a multinational organization to various host countries is becoming more and more critical in today’s global economy. With ever-increasing globalization, opportunity and threat abound. This course begins with the discussion of these issues and global relationships and delves into a deeper understanding of business strategy in today’s global business marketplace.

Global Business Ethics and Corporate Responsibility

This course examines business decision making and the role ethics plays in that process in the global environment of the 21st century. The course analyzes how managers behave and whether ethical choices are knowingly made or only realized thereafter. The course explores various business problems and the nuanced – and at times opposing – ethical considerations that can exist in a global context.

Global Business Horizons

Madhu Viswanathan [profile]
Professor of Business Administration and Diane and Steven N. Miller Centennial Chair

This course on Global Business Horizons engenders an appreciation for the global challenges of the 21st century as well as opportunities that lie ahead and the important role that businesses can play in addressing these challenges. This course will consist of two immersive and interactive modules organized around understanding global challenges and designing business solutions on the topics of environmental sustainability and subsistence marketplaces.

Capstone

The capstone for the specialization will provide a learning experience that integrates across all the courses within that specialization. It will involve analysis of a situation concerning an actual business with a view to work toward a global stakeholder engagement business plan for introduction of a new product. Students will analyze a situation taking the vantage point of a global company and develop a global stakeholder engagement plan for a specific geography (chosen by students’ region or country of residence, or other consideration).

The global stakeholder engagement business plans will be peer reviewed in a crowd-sourcing format as part of a poster session, with participation by one or more focal companies. The deliverable will be designed to create value from the perspective of potential employers while achieving pedagogical and experiential goals for learners. Learner assessment for the capstone will include quizzes as well as peer reviews of capstone projects.

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Entrepreneurship and Strategic Innovation

In a VUCA World –a world characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity – innovative leadership skills are required. Thinking differently and developing an entrepreneurial mindset are critical to thriving in such uncertain business environments so as to develop a strong point of view. This specialization is about inculcating this entrepreneurial mindset, i.e., questioning conventional wisdom, thinking creatively, working with resource constraints, maximizing the potential of human talent, and experimenting with multiple options. Learning to change the rules of the game by creating innovative value propositions and discovering new market positions for sustained competitive advantage are some of the actionable lessons in this specialization. This specialization will be of value to both aspiring and practicing entrepreneurs as well as employees in established firms who are interested in becoming innovative leaders in an interconnected world.

Learning outcomes

  • Develop an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Understand how to manage and innovate in uncertainty
  • Assess the feasibility of a new venture and the diversity of challenges involved
  • Think creatively in the arenas of entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Think strategically about human capital

Target audience

  • Aspiring and practicing entrepreneurs
  • Employees in a startup or established firms interested in becoming innovative leaders by thinking differently
  • Students in disciplines outside of business who seek to develop credentials in business
  • Any learner pursuing an understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation
Courses:
Advance Marketing Strategies – Being a strategic innovator in a VUCA world

Raj Echambadi [profile]
Sr Assoc Dean-MBA Programs and Strategic Innovation, Professor of Business Administration, and James F. Towey Faculty Fellow

In a VUCA World – a world characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity – executives require new leadership skills. First, the ability to manage and thrive in uncertainty is important. Second, the ability to think abstractly is vital as well. This course is about nurturing these two skills in an innovation context and developing a point of view.

Entrepreneurship and Corporate Renewal

This course provides an understanding of the rich diversity of challenges that confront those creating new enterprises, whether a venture of one’s own or within a larger organization. Students see leading authors in the field and are exposed to “live cases” (real entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs). This course draws on students’ collective learning experiences. Students learn to carefully assess the feasibility of a new venture in a VUCA world and learn to judge their own unique capacity for engaging in entre- and/or intrapreneurship.

Fostering Creative Thinking

This course aims to increase your ability to lead effectively by increasing the flexibility of your thinking in a VUCA world. To complement the expert knowledge you will develop in other courses in this sequence, this course will aid your understanding of when, why, and how to adapt your knowledge to solve new problems, identify new opportunities, make wise decisions, and influence others through effective communication. The course uses exercises and discussion to develop your skills and to learn how to increase and make the most of the skills of those you lead.

Strategic Human Capital

Strategic Human Capital is about the management of what is perhaps the most important resource available to any company: talented and skilled people. Because human capital is critical for attaining and sustaining competitive advantage, organizational leaders must think and act strategically about human capital and cannot simply relegate this vital responsibility to the human resources function.

This course will: (i) focus on the strategic aspects of human capital that are relevant to the general manager (and not just the HR professional), (ii) take “action-oriented” consideration of key human-capital-related decisions and choices that firms and managers must make, (iii) connect human capital decisions to their performance implications for companies, and (iv) emphasize the human capital embedded in more skilled professionals.

Capstone

The capstone for the specialization will provide a learning experience that integrates across all the courses within it. It will involve analysis of a situation concerning a new enterprise – a venture of one’s own or within a larger organization – to develop the current business model and compare against alternative business models so as to identify potential opportunities and challenges. Students will analyze the business model including the value proposition, revenue model, resources, and capabilities, taking the vantage point of the enterprise and develop a plan for a specific geography (chosen by students’ region or country of residence, or other consideration).

The entrepreneurship and strategic innovation plans will be peer reviewed in a crowd-sourcing format as part of a poster session, with participation by one or more focal companies. The deliverable will be designed to create value from the perspective of potential employers while achieving pedagogical and experiential goals for learners. Learner assessment for the capstone will include quizzes as well as peer reviews of capstone projects.

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Digital Marketing

This specialization covers the concepts, tools, and techniques needed to communicate with customers in a systematic and integrated way and to create effective, targeted promotional campaigns. When you complete the Digital Marketing Specialization, you will understand strategic marketing concepts and the tools required to make informed decisions and set the direction for your company, business unit, department, or product line in a digital ecosystem.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the application of marketing tools and strategies in the digital environment
  • Employ marketing analytics to visualize and use data
  • Understand how digital channels are used in marketing

Target audience

  • Marketing professionals seeking professional development opportunities to upgrade their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the areas of digital marketing and marketing analytics
  • The general public who, by acquiring valuable marketing skills, will be empowered to improve their current employment prospects
  • Students in disciplines outside of business who seek to develop credentials in business
  • Any learner pursuing an understanding of marketing in a digital environment
Marketing in a Digital World

This course will examine how digital tools, such as the Internet, smartphones, and 3-D printing, are revolutionizing the world of marketing by shifting the balance of power from firms to consumers.

Digital Analytics

Learn the introductory theory and strategy behind marketing analytics that provides marketers with the foundation needed to apply data analytics to real-world challenges they confront daily in their professional lives. The course then builds on the theory and foundations of marketing analytics and focuses on practical application by demystifying the use of data in marketing and helping you realize the power of visualizing data with artful use of numbers found in the digital space.

Digital Channels

Learn the role of digital channels in an integrated marketing campaign and why you need a digital strategy. Interact with the content and learn from a variety of examples.

Capstone

The capstone for the specialization will provide a learning experience that integrates across all the courses within it. It will involve analysis of a situation concerning an actual business to develop a digital marketing plan for introduction of a new product. The digital marketing plan will involve visualizing and using data and digital tools, and choosing digital channels to communicate with customers through a promotional campaign. Students will analyze a situation taking the vantage point of a global company and develop a digital plan for a specific geography (chosen by students’ region or country of residence, or other consideration.

The digital marketing plans will be peer reviewed in a crowd-sourcing format as part of a poster session with participation by one or more focal companies. The deliverable will be designed to create value from the perspective of potential employers while achieving pedagogical and experiential goals for learners. Learner assessment for the capstone will include quizzes as well as peer reviews of capstone projects.