MBA Subjects

Exploring MBA Subjects at Top Business Schools

If you are interested in getting an MBA, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with MBA subjects. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most popular graduate-level programs in existence. However, MBA courses vary significantly from program to program.

MBA programs are designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills for a business or management-related career. Therefore, certain MBA courses are offered in all MBA programs. However, after completing required core MBA courses, students can take electives in other MBA subjects. This flexibility is one of the most appealing parts of an MBA curriculum.

In this guide, we will review the most common MBA subjects at top schools. First, we’ll review what an MBA is and why students choose to pursue this popular degree. Then, we’ll talk about MBA degree requirements, including MBA courses that are foundational across almost all reputable MBA programs. Following this, we’ll explore different types of MBAs that offer students the chance to specialize in a specific subfield of business. Finally, we’ll look at the top business schools for different MBA programs, and provide tips for choosing the best MBA program for you. 

Overall, MBA admissions are competitive. Moreover, understanding these different facets of MBA programs and MBA subjects can help you put together a compelling application for your ideal program. So, let’s get started!

What is an MBA all about?

MBA Subjects

The Master of Business Administration is a common degree because it provides students with so many transferrable skills and opportunities for career advancement. A general MBA provides students with leadership, communication, and analytical skills while giving them an overview of foundational business knowledge.

A typical MBA curriculum also leaves plenty of room for elective courses. This allows students to learn more about specific MBA subjects, like international business or diversity and inclusion in business practices. Therefore, after completing your MBA courses, you will have all the experience needed to excel in business management. 

Why MBA?

Undoubtedly, there are many reasons why students choose to pursue an MBA. Some students hope to become business owners, while others want to make a career switch into a business-related role. Since many MBA programs offer part-time or online options, many individuals pursue an MBA while working to increase their earning potential, advance their skillset, or expand their network.

However, if you have a more specific career goal, you can pursue a specialized MBA program. These programs contain a narrower set of MBA subjects, allowing students to focus their interests and build a network of like-minded individuals. For example, an MBA program focused on entrepreneurship might offer students more opportunities to generate business ideas with other students and network with those who have started their own businesses. 

While an MBA has many benefits, it also comes with many challenges. For instance, the high cost of tuition and the competitiveness of MBA admissions. Therefore, make sure you find the right MBA curriculum for your needs so you can invest in the right types of opportunities. 

Exploring top programs

Later, we will share more about the top business schools, such as:

  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • Kellogg School of Management
  • Columbia Business School
  • Harvard Business School
  • Wharton School of Business
  • MIT Sloan School of Management

Each of these institutions provides slightly different types of MBAs. However, they are all prestigious MBA programs which makes gaining MBA admissions to these schools competitive. But, students who do so will have an experience that greatly enhances their career opportunities.

How many subjects will be there in MBA?

MBA Subjects

Across schools, the MBA courses list will vary. Indeed, the core Harvard MBA curriculum differs from the core MBA curriculum at Stanford. Moreover, if you are enrolled in a specialized program, your MBA subjects list will reflect your specialization more heavily.

Additionally, your specialization may overlap with other fields, making it interdisciplinary. For example, the information systems MBA degree requirements will likely contain many computer science or technology courses along with traditional MBA courses.

In general, students will spend the first year of their MBA curriculum taking core MBA subjects. Following this, in their second year, they will enroll in more elective MBA courses. At this time, they can expand on the subjects covered in their core curriculum. Core MBA subjects include finance, marketing, operations, business ethics, accounting, statistics, economics, communication, and leadership.

Meanwhile, elective MBA courses may include anything from global studies to environmental law. For instance, at the Wharton MBA program, students start by taking six core MBA courses. Then, they can choose from over 200 elective MBA courses within ten academic departments. Therefore, while the Wharton MBA degree requirements are rigorous, they also leave ample space for exploration and discovery.

What are the subjects of MBA?

As we previously mentioned, some MBA subjects are very common. Indeed, the most common MBA subjects include:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business Analytics
  • Information Systems
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Product/Operations
  • Project Management
  • Real Estate
  • Supply Chain Management
  • International Management
  • Nonprofit Management

Some of these MBA subjects are found in specialized MBA programs. However, others apply to all MBA students and are applicable no matter the field they plan to work in. For instance, leadership and communication are MBA subjects that develop skills applicable to any role or industry. Additionally, almost all MBA curriculums include leadership and communication courses. 

Indeed, at the #2 top business school in the nation, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, leadership is a central part of the curriculum. This is what makes the Kellogg School of Management one of the top schools in subjects such as management and marketing–but, we’ll discuss this later!

At this point, we’ve briefly learned about some of the different MBA subjects you’ll encounter in an MBA program. Now, let’s explore key MBA subjects and what they entail. 

Understanding Key MBA Subjects

At this point, you may be wondering, what will I learn in my core MBA courses? So, let’s look at a few of the common MBA subjects and what you can expect from each of them:

Common MBA Subjects


One of the most popular MBA subjects is marketing. In a marketing course, you will learn about the role of communication in advertising and sales. Moreover, you’ll gain strategic communication skills to learn how to develop a brand, conduct market research, and lead a marketing campaign. Some marketing MBA courses include social media marketing, brand management, and consumer management. 


In accounting MBA courses, you will learn how to manage a company’s finances. Some skills you’ll learn are organizational skills and attention to detail. In general, common topics are auditing, bookkeeping, taxation, financial statements, and economics. Specific MBA courses in auditing might include financial accounting, accounting information systems, and business law.


One of the more general MBA subjects is finance. Finance refers to money management. Consequently, it can include topics like financial planning, banking, and investing. In a finance class, you will learn problem-solving and communication skills related to making and managing money. Common MBA subjects related to finance are financial modeling, principles of macroeconomics and microeconomics, and banking and financial institutions. 


Lastly, one of the most fundamental MBA subjects is management. In general, management courses prepare students to identify priorities, set goals, and guide teams toward meeting their objectives. In management MBA courses, you learn leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills. Some common management MBA subjects include leadership principles, operations, strategy, and decision-making. You might take management MBA courses such as managing change, project management, and strategic planning. 

You will likely take classes in all of these MBA subjects no matter where you go for your MBA. On the other hand, you might want to specialize in one of these MBA subjects. For that reason, we will next look at the best colleges for each of these MBA subjects.

Best Colleges for Accounting

To begin, let’s explore the best colleges for accounting, one of the most popular MBA subjects. Accounting, as previously mentioned, focuses on managing finances accurately, efficiently, and ethically. Accounting courses can be theoretical, such as business ethics courses, or practical, like financial accounting courses. 

Here are the top five MBA programs for accounting: 

Top 5 Accounting MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. University of Texas, Austin (McCombs)

At the top of our list for accounting programs is the McCombs School of Business, located in Austin, Texas. Ranked #20 among business schools, the McCombs MBA admissions rate is around 34%. The Master in Professional Accounting (MPA) degree boasts three different pathways to completion: the Traditional MPA, MPA Bridge, and Integrated MPA.  

2. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

Next, we have the Wharton School of Business located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Wharton MBA offers an accounting specialization that equips students with the concepts and application skills necessary to be successful in the field. Wharton is the country’s oldest business school and has the largest alumni network. The school is ranked #3 nationally.

3. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Gies)

Coming in third in accounting programs is the Gies College of Business located in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. Moreover, Gies offers two options for accounting programs. The Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) is open to students with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. It is an accelerated, specialized approach to preparing for the CPA exam. This MSA program is open to all undergraduate majors and offers both theoretical and hands-on experiences to become an accountant. The Gies College of Business has a 24% acceptance rate.

4. Brigham Young University (Marriott)

The fourth school on our list is the Marriott School of Business in Provo, Utah. Ranked #35 in business schools, the Marriott School emphasizes family values and ethical decision-making in all its programs. The accountancy program is offered as a standalone MBA curriculum for graduate students or as an accelerated five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree. The BYU Marriott School has an acceptance rate of 56%.

5. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)

Rounding out our top five accounting programs is the Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Ross School of Business is ranked #8 nationally and has a 28% acceptance rate. Ross MBAs include multidisciplinary action projects that prepare students for solving complex business problems across many different types of organizations. In addition to their in-person program, Ross offers an online MBA which is popular among working professionals.

Now that we have explored some of the top MBA programs for accounting, let’s look at programs that specialize in finance. 

Best Finance MBA Programs

To succeed in one of the most common and lucrative MBA subjects – finance— you’ll need an excellent MBA curriculum. As we discussed, finance is a field dedicated to money management. Finance MBA courses will prepare you with contextual knowledge of how systems of banking and financial institutions function, while also giving you the strategic and mathematical skills to navigate them. 

Here are the top five MBA schools for finance:

Top 5 Finance MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

At the top of the list is the Wharton MBA, the oldest and arguably most prestigious program of them all. The Wharton School has a 21% acceptance rate. The Wharton MBA subject list focuses not only on equipping students with institutional knowledge but also emphasizes cutting-edge analytical analysis drawing from fields such as statistics and computer science. 

2. University of Chicago (Booth)

In second place on the list of best finance programs is the Booth School of Business in Chicago, Illinois. Currently ranked #1 amongst business schools, the Booth School has a 23% acceptance rate. The Master in Finance Program has some of the top finance scholars and emphasizes both quantitative skills and soft skills like communication and problem-solving. Career development is woven into the curriculum in the form of internships and speaker series that help students develop strong networks. 

3. New York University (Stern)

Our third-place school for finance MBA courses is the Stern School of Business located in New York City. The Stern School of Business is ranked #10 nationally and has a 27% acceptance rate. Located in one of the world capitals of finance, the Stern School places graduates at some of the country’s top financial institutions as well as local small businesses.

4. Columbia University

Next on our list is another New York City school, the Columbia Business School. Ranked #11 nationally, the Columbia Business School has a 19.7% acceptance rate. The school’s master of science in financial economics offers Ph.D. level classes and allows students to opt for an academia or industry career track. 

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

The final of our top five finance programs is at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Master of Finance program is geared towards ambitious early-career students. The Sloan MBA subject list provides the option for concentrations in financial engineering, capital markets, and corporate finance. Ranked #4 nationally amongst business schools, the MIT Sloan School of Management has a 14.8% acceptance rate.

Now that we have explored the top MBA programs for finance, let’s take a look at the strongest programs in entrepreneurship. 

Best Entrepreneurship MBA Programs

Without a doubt, entrepreneurship can be one of the most exciting MBA subjects. The term entrepreneurship refers to the desire to start a business, program, or other initiative. Naturally, the MBA courses list for an entrepreneurship MBA include a lot of leadership and organizational skills development. MBA courses in an entrepreneurship program might include product management, social innovation, or legal aspects of entrepreneurship. 

Here are the top five MBA programs in entrepreneurship:

Top 5 Entrepreneurship MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. Babson College (Olin)

Though ranked #68 in Best Business Schools according to US News, the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College is #1 for entrepreneurship. While all of the programs at Olin have an entrepreneurial lens, the school has a specific master of science in entrepreneurial leadership and an MBA program with an entrepreneurship concentration. The school is located in Babson Park, Maryland, and has a 63% acceptance rate. 

2. Stanford University

The second on our list of top entrepreneurship programs is the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Located in Stanford, California, the school is ranked #6 nationally and has an 8% acceptance rate. The MBA curriculum at Stanford focuses on bold thinking and leadership. The school offers over 60 electives in entrepreneurship and many opportunities for experiential learning. Indeed, the MBA curriculum at Stanford is known for producing some of the country’s greatest minds.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

Coming in third on our list is the MIT Sloan School of Management. While Sloan has many academic strengths, entrepreneurship is one of the areas where it thrives. This makes sense considering the school has long been a hub of innovation. Resources like the Center for MIT Entrepreneurship provide students with state-of-the-art facilities. The MBA curriculum also includes the Entrepreneurship and Innovation certificate through which students can learn about launching and developing technology companies. 

4. Harvard University

In fourth place on our list is the Harvard Business School in Cambridge, MA. The Harvard MBA curriculum focuses on educating leaders who can impact the world. In fact, more than 50% of Harvard Business School graduates go on to create their own business ventures. The Harvard MBA curriculum is one of the core reasons that the school is ranked #5 nationally. Harvard Business School has a 14.4% acceptance rate.  

5. University of California, Berkeley (Haas)

Located in Berkeley, California is the Haas School of Business. Tied for #11 in business schools, the Haas School has a 19.6% acceptance rate. The Berkeley Haas MBA subject list emphasizes experiential learning via applied innovation MBA courses like the international business development course and the design sprint for corporate innovation.

If entrepreneurship is your path, investigate these five schools for their incredible MBA courses lists and their unmatched resources. Next, we’ll dive deeper into the top programs for another one of the most common MBA subjects: business analytics.

Best Business Analytics MBA Programs

Those who enjoy looking at data might consider an MBA in business analytics. Business analytics is a field dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to make more informed business decisions. An MBA subject list for business analytics might include data optimization, machine learning, communication and persuasion through data, and ethics and data privacy.

Below are the top five MBA programs for business analytics: 

Top 5 Business Analytics MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

At the top of our list is the MIT Sloan School of Management. As we already shared, the Sloan School is one of the top business schools in the United States. The Master of Business Analytics program is no exception. In just 12 months, students can select from an MBA courses list that provides them with cutting-edge business knowledge. They can also engage in interdisciplinary research via the MIT Operations Research Center.

2. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

Coming in second place on our list of top business analytics programs is the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Tepper School is ranked #18 in Best Business Schools and has a 28.8% acceptance rate. The MBA courses list at Tepper emphasizes topics at the intersection of business, technology, and analytics. The Master of Science in Business Analytics can be completed as a 9-month on-campus program or a 20-month part-time online program. 

3. Georgia Institute of Technology (Scheller)

In third place is the Scheller College of Business at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The school is located in Atlanta’s Tech Square, the hub of Fortune 500 companies and innovation centers. Scheller’s MBA subject list includes many opportunities for hands-on learning experiences involving both technology and business. Scheller ranks #26 in Best Business Schools and has a 32.3% admissions rate. 

4. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

Our fourth-place program is at the Wharton School of Business at UPenn. While we established that a Wharton MBA offers great flexibility, the MBA subject list at Wharton also allows students to major in business analytics. The business analytics major prepares students for successful careers in data science. 

5. New York University (Stern)

At our final spot on the list is the NYU Stern School of Business. The Master of Science in Business Analytics at the NYU Stern School of Business uniquely prepares students to harness the power of AI in business processes. Students also benefit from a blended-learning approach that includes both in-person classes and independent study.

Indeed, an MBA in business analytics allows students to experience an MBA courses list that is interdisciplinary and hands-on. Our next set of top programs will do the same for one of the fastest-growing MBA subjects: information systems.

Best Information Systems MBA Programs 

Our next list of MBA programs is focused on information systems. While information systems has to do with data analysis, similar to business analytics, it also emphasizes how data is collected, stored, and processed. Examples of careers that result from a degree in information systems can include a data analyst, database administrator, or software engineer. Sample MBA subject lists for an information systems MBA program will include subjects like application development, systems analysis and design, and database management. 

Now, let’s look at the top five MBA programs for information systems:

Top 5 Information Systems MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

In the top spot on our list is the Tepper School of Business. Tepper’s information systems program combines MBA courses in business management with computer science and information technology. Students get to work on real-world projects. As an example, the Technology Consulting in the Global Community program is a 10-week summer internship where students work with an organization in an under-resourced community to develop technological solutions to key problems.  

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

Our second spot goes to the MIT Sloan School of Management. Sloan boasts an Information Technology group that researches how digital technology transforms life and work. The MBA courses list includes highlights like an action learning seminar on analytics, machine learning, and digital economy as well as a leadership lab on leading sustainable systems. 

3. University of Arizona (Eller)

Coming in third is the Eller College of Management in Tucson, Arizona. Eller is ranked #53 in business schools and has a 28.9% acceptance rate. The school’s strength in information systems comes from its privacy and security concentration and its dual MIS/MBA in Management Information Systems. The dual degree combines MBA subject lists with computer science classes. The dual degree makes students more marketable to a wide variety of employers.

4. University of Texas, Austin (McCombs)

In fourth place is the McCombs School of Business. McCombs offers a broad and flexible MBA curriculum where 70% of coursework is self-selected. However, the operations and analytics concentration includes MBA courses like supply chain analytics and analytical tools for marketing decisions. Their MIS program specifically focuses on “technology’s role in all aspects of business.”

5. Georgia Institute of Technology (Scheller)

Our fifth and final top MBA program for information systems is at the Scheller College of Business. Scheller offers an information technology management concentration where students explore a more tailored MBA courses list that includes classes such as technology strategy and global operations as well as supply chain. Students within this concentration choose their electives based on their interest in careers in systems analysis and design, business analytics, or information security.

Now that we have completed our review of the top programs in information systems, we will learn about the top programs in management. 

Best Management MBA Programs 

Next on our MBA subject list are Management MBA programs. In MBA management programs, students will take courses that develop their business strategy, decision-making, data analysis, leadership, and communication skills. And, as the program’s name implies, students will learn to efficiently manage a business. Whether it’s delegating to employees or making tough decisions, those who study Management MBA programs will be ready to take on a myriad of business aspects. 

Here are the top five MBA programs for management: 

Top 5 Management MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. Harvard University

While Harvard Business School’s MBA courses cover a wide range of MBA subjects, they are known for their management courses. The Harvard MBA curriculum offers 32 elective courses in Entrepreneurial Management. This is in addition to their core MBA curriculum, which includes topics such as marketing in the context of general management as well as a course called Leadership and Corporate Accountability. Approximately 16% of their 2023 graduates went on to work in general management positions.

2. Stanford University

Of Stanford’s many MBA subjects, they excel in management. In fact, their rigorous core courses are designed to help students hone their management instincts and related skills. During their first year, students are required to take two specific courses: Managing Groups and Teams and Organizational Behavior. Additionally, students must meet the distribution requirements across Stanford’s MBA subject list, including topics in Human Resource Management, Information Management, and Strategy. 

3. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)

The University of Michigan offers certain specializations across MBA subjects, including one in Management Science. This STEM-focused track includes MBA courses such as The Psychology of Start-Ups, Valuation, and Artificial Intelligence for Business. However, if you are not interested in a STEM specialization, you can still take elective management MBA courses in areas such as Advertising Management, Brand Management, and Entrepreneurial Management.

4. Northwestern University (Kellogg)

The Kellogg School of Management is aptly named. At Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, students will develop both management and leadership skills while exploring a range of disciplines. You can personalize your track with a management focus by majoring in either Managing Organizations or Management Science. Regardless of whether you opt for the General Management path or one of these more specialized paths, you’ll have the opportunity to apply your skills during a practical, real-world work period between your first and second years of study.

5. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

The UPenn Wharton MBA curriculum consists of a combination of fixed and flexible core MBA courses. Many of the fixed courses are management-focused. For instance, students are required to take MBA courses in MBA subjects such as Microeconomics and Statistics. However, these MBA courses are taught through a management lens. After completing the fixed course curriculum, students can go on to take flexible core courses in various MBA subjects. In fact, students can gear their whole MBA curriculum towards management with an individualized MBA major in Management.

Now, let’s look at the best marketing MBA programs.

Best Marketing MBA Programs 

Marketing is next on our MBA subject list. When focusing their MBA in marketing, students can expect to take courses in marketing strategy, consumer behavior, data analysis, and brand management.

Here are some of the best marketing MBA programs: 

Top 5 Marketing MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. Northwestern University (Kellogg)

The Kellogg School of Management is home to one of the best marketing MBA programs. The core MBA courses list at Kellogg includes a course in Marketing Management, however, students can actually specialize and major in Marketing. The MBA courses list for this major include courses such as Marketing Research and Analytics, Marketing Strategy for Growth and Defense, and Digital Marketing Implementation. There are also marketing MBA courses for students with specific interests in certain areas, such as Biomedical Marketing or Technology Marketing.

2. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

Similar to their other, more broad MBA subjects, the Wharton MBA curriculum for the marketing program offers foundational courses in marketing. For example, a Marketing Management course is required for all students. However, students also have the option to take courses such as Dynamic Marketing Strategy and Marketing Simulation. Along with their other specializations in various MBA subjects, students can pursue a focus in marketing through Wharton’s Marketing major or Marketing and Operations joint major.

3. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)

All MBA students at Michigan Ross are required to take a course in Marketing Management. However, this is only one of many marketing MBA courses Michigan offers through their MBA program. If you look at the University of Michigan’s MBA courses list, you’ll find marketing-related MBA courses such as Behavioral Research in Marketing, Business to Business and Industrial Marketing, and Digital Marketing.

4. Stanford University

Another one of Stanford’s strongest MBA subjects is marketing. If you look at the MBA curriculum at Stanford, you’ll see many MBA courses in marketing. This includes both required first-year courses and electives such as Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, and Customer Acquisition for New Ventures. Stanford also offers a hands-on learning approach in their action learning program called Marketing for Measurable Change.

5. Columbia University

At Columbia Business School, students have access to various academic divisions in core MBA subjects, including marketing. Here, you can explore an interdisciplinary approach to marketing with topics ranging from consumer behavior to marketing analytics. The MBA courses list for the Marketing Division includes courses such as Strategic Consumer Insights, Sustainable Marketing, and more niché courses such as Entertainment Marketing. 

Next up on our MBA subject list are product/operations MBA programs.

Best Product/Operations MBA Programs 

In product/operations-focused programs, students will take courses in a variety of MBA subjects, including strategy, finance, marketing, and organizational behavior. In particular, a product/operations focus will require students to learn about process improvement and project management.

Furthermore, let’s look at the best product/operations MBA programs:

Top 5 Product/Operations MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

Product management is the second-largest job category for MIT Sloan graduates. At the MIT Sloan School of Management, students can differentiate themselves as experts in certain MBA subjects through certificate programs, including one in Product Management. To complete this certificate, students are required to get hands-on experience by participating in a Product Management Lab. To complement their product management courses, students can then take electives like Entrepreneurial Strategy and Product Design and Development. Outside the classroom, students can even join MIT’s Product Management Club.

2. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

With analytics being one of Carnegie Mellon’s core MBA subjects, it’s no surprise they excel in operations. In fact, students can tailor their curriculum towards a variety of concentrations, including Operations Management and Operations Research. The Operations Management Concentration provides students with the foundational tools and experiences necessary to plan, organize, and supervise product and service development. For students who excel at quantitative analysis, the Operations Research Concentration allows students to explore data’s uses and applications to operational problems.

3. Purdue University, West Lafayette (Krannert)

Not all MBA programs require two years to cover the core MBA subjects. At Purdue, you can pursue a one-year MBA and develop core skills in operations and strategic management. If you’re looking for a program with MBA subjects geared towards technology and engineering, you may be interested in Purdue’s Masters of Business and Technology. Here, you can take courses like Technology-Driven Business which explores the connection between technological developments and business operations.

4. Stanford University

Considering Stanford is ranked #6 in Best Business Schools, it’s no wonder this school keeps showing up on our MBA subject list. The MBA curriculum at Stanford covers operations in both manufacturing and service industries. Similar to its marketing course, Stanford offers an action learning program in Product Management, which is an excellent opportunity for students interested in pursuing this particular career path. Additionally, students can take elective courses in areas such as Biodesign Innovation and Strategies of Effective Product Management.

5. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)

On their MBA courses list, you’ll find MBA courses such as Introduction to Operations as well as hands-on courses such as Action Learning Projects in Operations, Procurement, and Supply Chain Management. You can also find MBA courses that combine operations with more specific interests and contexts relevant to the business world. For example, the course Sustainable Operations and Supply Chain Management uses a sustainability lens to examine design and management issues.

Up next, let’s look at top MBA programs for project management.

Best Project Management MBA Programs 

If you are interested specifically in project management, then these are the MBA programs for you. Similar to operations, project managers will need general and foundational business knowledge in areas including finance, accounting, strategy, and human resources.

Here ar some of the best project management MBA programs:

Top 5 Project Management MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

One of the core aspects of MIT’s curriculum is its Action Learning labs. These labs offer students an opportunity to apply their classroom theories while also developing their project management skills. Looking at the MIT Sloan School of Management subject list, you may not see a project management category. However, certain MBA subjects such as Operations Research/Statistics and System Dynamics have courses that relate to and focus on project management.

2. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)

At Ross, you can specialize in Design Thinking and Innovation Concentration, a program designed for students interested in either design thinking or project management. Looking at the MBA courses list for this specific program, students are required to take MBA courses across three MBA subjects: Desirability, Managing Business Innovation, and Designing Lasting Solutions. Additionally, students can take elective MBA courses in Project Management, where they’ll learn strategies and tools to deal with issues such as resource constraints.

3. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

At Tepper, students will learn the foundational knowledge and skills required to excel in a career in project management. Over the summer, students will take leadership and communication courses, where they will have the opportunity to undertake a project-based activity or internship to gain hands-on experience. If you are particularly interested in innovation, you may be drawn to Tepper’s Management of Innovation and Product Development track

4. University of Texas, Austin (McCombs)

At McCombs School of Business, students can explore a concentration in either General Management or Strategy & Innovation. The Strategy & Innovation concentration includes courses such as New Venture Creation, Managing Complexity, and Managing Projects. All of these courses, along with the core curriculum, are designed to give students the foundational skills and knowledge required to become project managers in any industry they choose.

5. Arizona State University (W.P. Carey)

Last on our list of project management programs is ASU. At ASU, students will complete MBA courses that emphasize data analytics and leadership. Additionally, students can enrich their learning through Experiential Learning Labs and 1:1 mentorship and coaching in the Executive Connections program.

Now, let’s look at a distinctly specialized MBA program: real estate.

Best Real Estate MBA Programs 

One of the more niché focuses you can dedicate yourself to during an MBA program is real estate. The curriculum for a real estate MBA program will focus on topics that directly relate to real estate, with courses in law, finance, markets, and investments.

So, let’s look at some of the best MBA programs for real estate:

Top Real Estate MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

Beyond their specializations in common MBA subjects, the Wharton MBA program also offers industry-focused majors. The Real Estate major’s MBA courses list includes courses such as Global Real Estate, Housing Markets, and Real Estate Investments. Beyond learning the skills and tools required for a successful career in real estate, students can also stay up to date on industry-related news and issues thanks to programming sponsored by the Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center and Department.  

2. New York University (Stern)

The NYU Stern School of Business’s Real Estate program covers a rigorous curriculum of standard MBA subjects as well as more specialized MBA courses in real estate and finance. Looking at the NYU Stern School of Business coursework, you’ll see real estate-related classes including Transactions, Investment Strategies, and Primary Markets. You’ll also have opportunities for experiential learning through the NYU Stern School of Business’s Stern Signature Projects and the Marron Institute of Urban Management

3. Columbia University

Within Columbia Business School, you’ll find the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate. To complement the breadth of MBA subjects covered in the core curriculum, students can take specialized courses in real estate. You can learn real estate fundamentals in Real Estate Finance or dive into more advanced courses such as Real Estate Debt Markets or Real Estate Equity Securities Analysis. Students will learn through a combination of engaging formats including case studies and guest lecturers from prominent alumni in the real estate field.

4. University of California, Berkeley (Haas)

In addition to completing the core requirements of Haas’s MBA program, students can pursue an Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Real Estate. This opportunity allows students to take courses focused on real estate, covering topics such as real estate development, real estate finance & securitization, and land development & investment. MBA students at Berkeley can even join co-curriculars like the Berkeley Real Estate Club, Haas’s oldest student club. 

5. Cornell University (Johnson)

After completing their required MBA courses, MBA students at Johnson can choose to pursue a customized MBA immersion in real estate. This specialized program allows students access to courses offered by the Cornell Baker Program in Real Estate, such as Principles of Real Estate, Commercial and Residential Development, and Real Estate Development.

Next on our list of MBA subjects is supply chain management.

Best Supply Chain Management MBA Programs 

Another specific area of business you might explore in an MBA program is supply chain management. In these types of programs, students learn how to manage both information and finances, while also managing risk and implementing operational strategies. If an MBA in Supply Chain Management has caught your eye, then here are some of the best programs.

Now, here are the top supply chain management MBA programs:

Top Supply Chain Management MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. Michigan State University (Broad)

Beyond developing skills and foundational knowledge through the core curriculum, students can become supply chain experts through Broad’s supply chain management concentration. MBA courses for this program cover six main areas of study: fulfillment, consulting, demand/supply planning, leadership development, operations/logistics, and procurement.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

The MIT Sloan School of Management is also a great place for students interested in supply chain management. Courses like Introduction to and Analytics of Operations Management touch on real-world examples of supply chain applications. Moreover, MIT offers supply chain-specific courses such as Supply Chain Analytics, Global Supply Chain Management, and even a lab dedicated to projects based on supply chain design and improvement.

3. Arizona State University (W.P. Carey)

At W.P. Carey, MBA students interested in supply chain management will strengthen their communication, strategic thinking, analysis, and leadership skills. Courses for this concentration include Strategic Procurement, Operations Planning and Execution, and Logistics in the Supply Chain. Graduates from this supply chain program go on to become supply chain managers, analysts, and consultants.

4. University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Haslam)

Beyond providing students with foundational business skills and experiential learning opportunities, Haslam offers students the option to pursue a supply chain management concentration. Haslam is ranked #2 in supply chain graduate programs. This is thanks to the Global Supply Chain Institute, specialized courses, world-renowned faculty, and the strong alumni network the program offers its students.

5. Ohio State University (Fisher)

The MBA curriculum at Ohio State covers three main areas of development: problem definition & problem-solving, interpersonal communication & leadership, and accountability & purpose. A unique feature of the Fisher MBA program is its MBA Career & Industry Immersion Academies, which support specialization and preparation for internships. Students interested in supply chain management will want to choose the Operations, Analytics, and Supply Chain Academy, which focuses on s topics such as global sourcing and matching supply and demand.

Now, let’s turn our attention to global business with international MBA programs.

Best International MBA Programs 

Like other areas of study on our MBA subject list, an international program covers many core MBA subjects. However, international MBA programs look at these subjects from a global perspective with a focus on global applications and contexts. Students in International MBA programs will learn to understand foreign markets and global economics, while also strengthening their skills as effective communicators and leaders.

Next, let’s take a look at the top five international MBA programs:  

Top 5 International MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. University of South Carolina (Moore)

The Darla Moore School of Business is the top-ranked school for international business. With two tracks to choose from, students can personalize their MBA curriculum to fit their needs. The Global Track allows for in-country immersion in English, whereas the Language Track emphasizes language study in French, German, or Spanish. Both tracks follow Moore’s core curriculum, providing students with the skills needed to excel in international business.

2. Harvard University

Taking another look at the Harvard MBA curriculum, you’ll find an interesting required course titled Business, Government, and the International Economy. Once you fulfill HBS’s MBA degree requirements, you can explore HBS’s elective MBA subject list. Like in other MBA subjects, students can focus their learning through specialized electives.  Harvard offers many MBA courses that focus on international economics and business. In fact, there are 12 elective courses to choose from, with topics such as Managing International Trade and Investment, Global Trade, Capital, and National Institutions, and Entrepreneurship and Global Capitalism. 

3. Georgetown University (McDonough)

The Baratta Center for Global Business is just one of the many benefits of pursuing an International MBA at Georgetown. The center sponsors unique learning opportunities such as McDonough’s Global Business Experience as well as Global Business in Practice MOOC. And, with opportunities to study abroad, students can learn and advance in a global setting.

4. Florida International University

At Florida International University, students can earn an International MBA in just one year. This program is uniquely geared towards an international experience. Students will either study abroad or complete an internship at an international or multinational company. And, they’ll have the opportunity to further prepare for a career through soft skills workshops and career conferences.

5. Columbia University

Taking a global approach to their MBA curriculum, one of Columbia’s core MBA subjects is Global Economic Environment. Accordingly, these courses look at common MBA subjects in a global setting, providing a foundation from which students can build through electives geared toward specific geographic areas. Additionally, Columbia Business School’s Chazen MBA Exchange is a program that allows students to enrich their studies through a study-abroad experience. This program allows students to engage with partner schools all over the world, such as the Indian Institute of Management, Keio University, the Graduate School of Business in Japan, and the London Business School.

Finally, let’s look at nonprofit MBA programs.

Best Nonprofit MBA Programs 

Finally, we’re closing out our MBA subject list with Nonprofit MBA programs. Nonprofits provide a unique opportunity for students to use their business skills to help spearhead positive change. In an MBA program with a nonprofit focus, students can expect to take courses in organizational strategy, financial management, and social impact.

To close, here are the top five nonprofit MBA programs:

Top 5 Nonprofit MBAs

MBA Subjects

1. Yale University

Social impact is one of the Yale School of Management’s core interests, covering areas such as social enterprise, impact investing, and nonprofit management. After building foundational skills in Yale’s core classes, students can take a range of elective courses relating to nonprofit work. Classes in this area are even available across Yale’s different schools. Some examples include Modern Philanthropy and Ethical Choices in Public Leadership.

2. Harvard University

With exceptional management and leadership courses included in the Harvard MBA curriculum, it’s no surprise that HBS also has one of the best nonprofit MBA programs. While courses are not specialized to nonprofits, Harvard provides their students with the foundational knowledge across a wide range of MBA subjects to succeed in any nonprofit management role. In addition to their MBA programs, Harvard is also home to executive education programs specializing in Social Enterprise & Nonprofits.

3. Stanford University

We’re going to revisit the MBA curriculum at Stanford one last time, however, this time through the lens of nonprofits. Stanford’s MBA degree requirements include many courses designed to prepare students to be leaders in nonprofit organizations. To further supplement their MBA curriculum, students can pursue a certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation. To complete this certificate, students will focus their elective MBA courses on social innovation or approach to social change.

4. University of California, Berkeley (Haas)

Social Sector Leadership is one of a dozen areas of emphasis MBA students can explore at Haas. By studying core MBA subjects through a social impact lens, students will build the skills they need to become effective and knowledgeable leaders. Furthermore, nonprofit-related coursework at Haas includes Social Investing, Human Rights and Business, and Social Impact Marketing. 

5. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)

Throughout Ross’s MBA program, students have the opportunity to apply what they learn in the MBA curriculum and consult on issues with real-world organizations. In fact, in their core course MAP (BA 553), students can choose to work for seven weeks consulting with a nonprofit organization to help find solutions to a pressing challenge. To learn more about attending Ross as a student interested in nonprofits and social impact, check out this article.

As you can see, there are many different types of MBA courses and MBA subjects to explore. With this in mind, let’s discuss how to choose the best MBA subjects for you.

Choosing the best MBA Subject for you

MBA Subjects

Before you dive into the MBA admissions process, you’ll want to consider which MBA programs best fit your needs. Of course, the top MBA programs prepare students for successful careers in any field with a comprehensive MBA curriculum. However, it is also true that different schools specialize in different types of MBA subjects.

Consider the types of MBA subjects you’re most interested in, and then take the time to explore the MBA courses list of the programs you’re considering. Additionally, some MBA programs have a stricter core curriculum versus a more flexible one. Consequently, this will affect the variety of subjects you have the opportunity to explore as an MBA student. Therefore, you must think about all aspects of your ideal MBA program, taking into consideration your needs, preferences, and career goals. 

To learn more about top MBA programs, check out our article on the best MBA programs and the best universities for business. However, if you’re not sure what type of MBA program is the best fit for you, you can read about the various types of MBA programs here. Beyond our online library of resources, we have advisors specifically devoted to MBA admissions counseling to help you throughout the application process.

MBA Subjects – Final Thoughts

In this guide to MBA subjects, we discussed the common MBA subjects students can expect to encounter while completing their MBA degree requirements. When looking at any MBA courses list, you’ll find MBA subjects such as marketing, accounting, finance, and management, just to name a few. While many of the top MBA programs have a similar MBA curriculum, we highlighted some of the schools with the strongest MBA courses and offerings in certain MBA subjects.  

On the whole, if you’re interested in specializing in a specific MBA subject, CollegeAdvisor is here to help you approach every aspect of the MBA admissions process. We can help you find and apply to your dream MBA program, so you can feel confident pursuing any one of these MBA subjects.

MBA Subjects

This article was written by senior advisor, Courtney Ng and Stefanie Tedards. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.