Globally Focused Courses at Darden

  • Approximately one-third of the students in the full-time MBA class are from outside of the United States, which means Darden’s classrooms in Charlottesville and around the world are full of diverse perspectives.

    Darden’s case study method allows students in every course to explore a particular topic through a global window. The core accounting and marketing courses include international content through case examples. There are numerous elective course opportunities for students to expand their global knowledge. Some of these options include:

    Strategic Thinking: Integrating East and West

    As businesses and economies become globally interconnected, companies and individuals will need to examine their business practices and beliefs within a cross-cultural, cross-national context and be able to leverage nuanced understandings of culture into strategic advantage.  The contemporary conception of global enterprise is bounded by such notions as East-West, global-local, and traditional-modern.  Our course pushes past boundaries, applying an integrative perspective of global enterprise through analysis of Eastern and Western philosophy, cultural foundations, and business and social practices.  Synthesizing managerial concepts and practices that appear to be in opposition can lead to expansive “ambicultural” thinking about enterprise development in the new global reality.  Course participants will develop the ability to analyze the cultural factors essential for crafting and executing a strategy for sustained success in a multicultural environment.

    Advanced Global Financial Markets

    This course is an extension of the content of the prerequisite, first-year elective, Global Financial Markets (GFM). As in GFM, students will discuss real-time forward-looking “live” cases on the world’s currency and the bond, gold, and oil markets as well as have the opportunity to analyze in depth current big issues in international financial markets. The course is appropriate for students who want to solidify their economics-based understanding of global financial markets at an advanced practitioner level. It will consist of case discussion, many student-led discussions and presentations, and a number of short (one-page) papers that should help students solidify their understanding in a concise, compelling way.

    Strategic Intuition and Eastern Philosophy

    Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Confucianism focus on how to clear one’s mind. This course will explore how military, political, and religious philosophies from India, Japan, China, and Thailand inform Western strategic thinking with the goal of learning how to apply these philosophies to the making of business strategy. The course follows but is not dependent on Professor Bourgeois’s Strategy Seminar, which starts with rational-linear Western economics and analytics and ends with the role of intuition and insight in the creation and development of strategy. Students will read literature and translations of source materials on several significant Eastern philosophies and religions, study such Asian military books as The Art of War (Sun Tsu) and the Book of Five Rings (Samurai method and philosophy), and learn the game of GO (Eastern counterpart to chess), to further inform the strategist about alternative ways of framing strategy. The course will end with Tiha von Ghyczy’s Clausewitz on Strategy to bring the two philosophies together for today’s modern business strategist.

    The Global Economics of Water

    Recent droughts and the soaring food prices they trigger underscore that freshwater scarcity will be a major challenge in the 21st century. In spite of reports about imminent water crises, the world is not running out of water. It is especially the very uneven distribution of water, across and within countries, that is a concern. There is a need for improved water management. This course applies the tools of economics to various dimensions of sustainability and sustainable development in the context of global water use and water management. 

    Global Industry Economics

    In this course, students study the tools of microeconomics that shed light on the structural industry characteristics and global and local forces that afford an understanding of economic change at the industry level. These tools are applied to rapidly changing industries characterized by high levels of innovation, network economic effects, important roles of information and information asymmetry, and other complex forces. Students will also examine competitiveness in situations where the macro characteristics of the nation state or economic region interact with the microeconomic characteristics. Together these various tools enable students to be astute analysts of competition and economic change. The course will include projects with organizations where the tools of the course can be applied.

    China in the World Economy

    To prepare business students for engagement with China, this course explores the fundamental forces that shape its business environments. We start with an analysis of China’s economic and political systems and then move to investigate the unique features of its labor, financial, and real estate markets. The course will also examine how foreign businesses succeed and fail in the world’s most dynamic economy by covering topics on outsourcing, foreign direct investment, business adaptation, and institutional risks and how China integrates into the world economy, including its interactions with the United States and in comparison with India. The course consists of case discussions, student-led presentations, a term project, and engagement with external speakers. For the term project, teams of several members will carry out joint research, present in class, and write-up their research findings.

    Transforming Societies

    This course seeks to equip students with basic economic and development concepts and tools in order to enhance their problem-solving skills, and to deepen their understanding of socioeconomic issues and how business, entrepreneurs, and markets can promote human development and transform societies across the world. We will tackle issues in the social sector, sustainability challenges, problems of the underserved, and other urgent issues faced by emerging economies.