Core Curriculum

A Solid Foundation


The Core Curriculum is designed to provide students with the fundamental principles of business that every manager needs to know and is delivered over five terms within the first academic year.  It provides students enhanced and systematic opportunities to practice teamwork, leadership, critical thinking and creative problem solving. Furthermore, the Core Curriculum provides opportunities for students to define and develop their professional identity and explore major career paths and industry-specific and functional insights that are critical to securing a meaningful summer internship.

In Term 4, student-teams participate in a consulting project with a Los Angeles-based company, developing solutions for real-life business problems, using fundamental business tools they have learned in the program. In Term 5, students also begin to explore global business through the Global Context of Business course followed by the PRIME overseas experience. USC Marshall’s signature PRIME overseas experience is an experiential opportunity that allows students to travel abroad to one of a select number of countries to gain first-hand knowledge of how business is done globally. During the 10-day PRIME trip, students visit domestic and multinational companies and governmental institutions, develop business insights and complete projects that take into consideration the cultural, financial, regulatory, political and other constraints and opportunities of the country.

USC Marshall Full-Time MBA Core Curriculum


The Core Curriculum

Term 1

  • GSBA-511:  Microeconomics for Management
  • GSBA-540:  Contemporary Issues for Competitive Strategy
  • GSBA-541:  Foundations of Your Professional Value
  • GSBA-542:  Communication for Management 

Term 2

  • GSBA-510:  Accounting Concepts and Financial Reporting
  • GSBA-524:  Data Science for Business
  • GSBA-527:  Structured Analysis for Unstructured Problems
  • GSBA-548:  Corporate Finance

Term 3

  • GSBA-509:  Marketing Management
  • GSBA-510:  Accounting Concepts and Financial Reporting (Cont’d)
  • GSBA-524:  Data Science for Business (Cont’d)
  • GSBA-548:  Corporate Finance (Cont’d)

Term 4

  • GSBA-504a:  Operations Management
  • GSBA-533:    Organizational Behavior and Leadership
  • GSBA-552:    Problem Solving and Decision Making: An Integrated Approach 
  • Electives

Term 5

  • GSBA-503:    Contemporary Issues in Competitive Global Strategy
  • GSBA-580:    The Global Context of Business: PRIME
  • Electives
Experiential Learning

The Global Context of Business: PRIME

In this course, you will put the material you learned in your core classes to the test in a week-long immersive experience abroad. You will analyze the influence of emerging business models and technologies that have the potential to significantly alter the industry landscape and society. After studying the cultural, economic, and political characteristics of your selected region, you will work with multi-national companies, domestic enterprises, and governmental institutions to develop recommendations for pressing economic and societal issues they aim to solve.

Explore PRIME and more experiential learning opportunities here.


Problem Solving & Decision Making: An Integrative Approach

This immersive course will give you experience and exposure to actual unstructured business problems faced by various companies, ranging from startups to multinational organizations. You will apply classroom knowledge and your professional experience as you partner with local companies and help develop recommendations to solve business issues in this team-based consultancy project.

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Communication for Management

This communication and leadership course is designed to jumpstart your development as a true leader in your respective field by enhancing your core leadership skills, professional communication style, and self-awareness through clinical research in leadership and communication theory.


Foundations of Your Professional Value

What drives you? This course is designed to help you put into place the foundational knowledge to discover, identify, and leverage your personal strengths to serve as catalysts in your career development.


Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Leading, managing, and working collaboratively with others is essential to being effective in the workplace. By recognizing the motivations and behaviors of stakeholders inside and outside organizations, you will have a heightened ability to apply ethical principles and professional standards in the corporate world.

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Contemporary Issues in Competitive Strategy

Fundamental strategic business decisions can only be made effectively by viewing a firm holistically. This integrative course takes a broad view of the overall environment, including companies, customers, and competitors, to create a body of analytical tools to aid in strategic decision-making.


Contemporary Issues in Competitive Global Strategy

In the quest to enter foreign markets, firms must look at the overall strategy to become multinational. In this course, you will learn several aspects of corporate and global strategy designed to help you understand and analyze significant business opportunities around the world.


Structured Analysis for Unstructured Problems

In this course, you will learn how to grapple with how to frame problems and make decisions with incomplete information that is typical in the business world through problem-framing, analogical reasoning, hypothesis evaluation, and counterfactual thinking.


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Data Science & Operations

Data Science for Business

This course offers a deep dive into probability, statistics, and advanced analytics critical to managerial decision making. You will learn modern statistical techniques like neural networks, data mining, and clustering analysis through multiple applications, including R programming language.


Operations Management

You will learn about the fundamentals of design, operations, and production systems of a firm's business practices critical to meeting consumer demands for goods and services.

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Fundamental Courses

Accounting Concepts and Financial Reporting

Learn the language, rules, and conventions used in preparing financial statements to critically assess companies and make decisions based on financial data. The course provides foundational financial reporting knowledge for business managers.


Corporate Finance

Familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of finance in this course designed to provide an introductory framework for understanding how financiers break down the components of a financial problem and make decisions as investors in capital markets.


Marketing Management

Marketing concepts are at the core of every business. After this course, you will be able to understand marketing strategy, determine market opportunities, and apply both qualitative and quantitative frameworks from a managerial perspective.


Microeconomics for Management

In this course, you will learn about supply and demand analysis, game theory, and the causes and consequences of market failures.

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