IE Brown Executive MBA


Go beyond the traditional MBA to gain a unique business education and a truly holistic leadership perspective.

Over 15 months, you’ll go on an experiential learning journey engaging with online coursework and residencies across the globe. Courses that focus on core business fundamentals, like managerial economics and financial accounting complement a range of content in the social sciences. Emphasis is placed on globally-focused topics critical to a changing future, such as foresight, inclusive leadership and sustainability. 

"Traditional business classes are complemented by courses focused on the impact business can have on people. This combination produces well-rounded, responsible leaders that are able to understand strategic impacts for their company and society."

Sophie Parker '22 EMBA

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a global perspective on business and its impact on society, drawing upon insights from history, politics, and cultural studies to navigate complex global business environments
  • Engage in data-driven ethical decision-making
  • Understand the intersections of business and liberal arts, and the potential for creative and ethical problem-solving within this intersection
  • Acquire confidence in your ability to think critically in complex, unfamiliar environments as a means to connect the dots and engage teams and stakeholders
  • Gain a language and structure to forge innovative and executable solutions to the critical challenges facing business and society today
  • Apply principles of leadership and management to foster innovation, creativity, and social responsibility in organizations

Capstone: The Key Reflection Project

The Key Reflection Project (KRP) is a culminating academic project where students integrate and apply the knowledge acquired during the program in order to examine an idea or solve a challenging problem that is within their area of influence or personal interest. The project should mirror the spirit and learning objectives of the program, which are based on the awareness of social complexities and critical analysis of business issues.

Current Courses

This is a current offering of courses (subject to change).

Leading People and Teams

This course focuses on advancing students’ understanding of how to lead and manage with the aim of increasing personal and organizational effectiveness. It is designed to address several fundamental aspects of managing and leading people. These include understanding and influencing group behavior and performance, working with and managing people on a one-on-one basis, and leading, motivating and aligning people behind a common vision or direction. This course places a particular emphasis on increasing students’ self-awareness as leaders and their ability to address the challenges of leading change in organizations.

21st Century organizations are experiencing a growing prominence of the role of employees for the purposes of business differentiation and competitive advantage. This sets important challenges for managers, who have to influence their teams in order to elicit competencies such as collaboration, creativity or entrepreneurial drive, and put them in play in their daily activities. Managing people effectively along these lines, however, should involve a careful analysis of organizational dynamics, overcoming subjectivity and developing critical thinking about how to capitalize the best of people talent for boosting corporate performance. The development of such skills is the purpose of this subject. Participants will be provided with a set of analytical tools that will help them think strategically about how work can be organized and individuals and communities motivated (and de-motivated). Specifically, participants will explore ways in which better management of workplace communities can deliver competitive advantage.

This course develops basic skills in learning to use ethnographic research methods, the hallmark of anthropology and a crucial methodology for analyzing why people behave the way they do. Concentration is on the two key elements of ethnographic methodology: participant observation and interview techniques. Students apply these techniques in assigned course project work.

The purpose of this course is to explore ethical issues that leaders confront in a rational, practical, and responsible way to enable students to address them effectively when confronted their professional lives. This course works to close the gap between personal moral choices of an individual and the business challenges presented by organizational life. This course will raise awareness surrounding selected ethical systems, explore ethical challenges leaders face, create an awareness of the implications of decisions, and provide a personal system to guide ethical choices.

Business at its Core

This introductory course to the area of strategic management aims to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the internal and external factors that shape a firm’s ability to create value. Participants will be familiarized with tools to analyze industries, firm resources and competitive interactions, both on the individual business and the corporate level. Perhaps most importantly, the course strives to instill a strategic mindset that will enable participants to go beyond a simple application of tools to derive a deep understanding of firm competitive behavior in order to enhance their own firm’s performance in any given situation. Corporate strategy extends the strategy logic to the corporate level. The main theories, models and tools within the field of strategy will be covered with a strong emphasis on their application to ambiguous real settings.

A cost accounting system collects and classifies costs and assigns them to cost objects. The goal of a cost accounting system is to measure the cost of designing, developing, producing (or purchasing), selling, distributing, and servicing particular products or services. Cost allocation is at the heart of most accounting systems. Cost behavior -how the activities of an organization affect its costs- is also fundamental to cost accounting systems. The data provided by a cost accounting system is used for various purposes, which include product costing, planning and control, and decision making. This course mainly focuses on the first of these objectives -products costing. Students, as future managers, will utilize, at a minimum, the output of cost systems, which are the primary internal information systems in a firm. Students taking this course will gain an understanding of cost accounting systems, which includes a familiarization with: the goals of cost accounting systems; the fundamental features and design of cost accounting systems; and the various uses of the data provided by cost accounting decisions.

The use and proliferation of digital technologies have created drastic shifts in how organizations buy and sell goods and services, and integrate their supply chain and delivery systems. Today, digital technologies and networks require organizations to formulate new strategies and competitive differentiation. In this course, students learn to manage enterprises in a net-centric environment; how to exploit technologies to transform processes; and, extract the maximum strategic and tactical advantage based on the use of information. Students combine theories and frameworks with practical approaches to identify business opportunities, find appropriate information related technologies, and lead adoption efforts to succeed in the global competitive landscape.

This course provides a forum for the in-depth examination of mindsets, methods, and managerial activities that follow the entrepreneurial process from opportunity recognition to growing ventures. In particular the course will examine the role innovation plays in the creation of new value, and how leadership of the entrepreneurial dimensions of an enterprise is paramount to sustainable growth and competitiveness.

While the most tangible outcome of this course is an opportunity report document, we will examine entrepreneurship from a managerial perspective, covering a wide area of issues that emerge with starting and growing new ventures independent of context. This course is envisioned to give participants a well-rounded learning experience – one which will enable them to develop skills and apply tools vital in today’s business world regardless of individual career choices. The theories, frameworks and concepts will be explored in class and readings will serve as a backbone to a range of hands-on experiences through individual reflection, group and case discussions, coaching sessions, team-work, and opportunity presentations. By placing the learning experience at the nexus of theory and practice the course is designed to lead participants through the intricacies of the entrepreneurial process, both through the experiences of others’ (case studies) as well as your own experience (workshops, coaching sessions, development and presentation of an opportunity report).

Financial accounting is about communicating information to all the stakeholders of the company and to the general public. Annual reports are “messages” written in a specific language and sent in certain point in time and space. Numbers and words have to be chosen, they are not mechanically produced through the application of routines.

This course will emphasize the understanding of how financial statements are created and how accounting decisions affect these statements. The course will teach the theory emphasizing the use of accounting as a tool for decision-making and problem solving.

The objective of this course is to help participants integrate the financial theory with the current business environment in which financial decisions take place. In this context, financial decisions can be broken down into two basic decisions: (1) how much to invest and what assets to invest in, and (2) how to raise the necessary cash. The course provides participants with a framework to answer how the firm should make the investment, or capital budgeting decisions, in order to increase shareholder value. Also, participants will discuss the management of the right side of the Balance Sheet, specifically Capital Structure, Shareholder Value Creation and Valuation.

The economic environment provides many of the critical parameters for companies doing business in an increasingly integrated world. Economic expansion or recession will change all business forecasts; market structure will affect profitability; fluctuating exchange rates will have an impact on costs, sales, risk perceptions and debt levels; and the state of the national budget or interest-rate decisions can color a company´s future. In particular, a global recession like the one suffered recently can transform consumption behavior and business strategies.

Managerial Economics provides participants with a framework to understand the main economic variables and dynamics that affect business activity. The second part of the course will focus on the macro-economy and the policies that governments follow, and how the interaction between free economic forces and policy affect the business cycle and company prospects.

This course is designed to provide students with a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of marketing and marketing strategy making. The focus will be on getting to know the basic techniques of defining and segmenting a target market for goods or services, building a brand with a meaningful positioning, and then integrating product, price, promotion and distribution to offer a superior marketing mix leading to a long-term competitive advantage. Finally, students will be given an insight into consumer behavior and brand management, as well as understanding the role played by different marketing tools such as marketing research.

The design and operating system of a company must be coherent with its strategy. To achieve this it is important to analyze and understand the design of products, services and work organization, the long and medium-term management of the capacity of both industrial companies and services, integrated chain supply management, MRP, total quality management and the management of technology and innovation. In this course participants will apply an operations strategy framework to assess the level of alignment between marketing and operations strategy. Together they will explore how decisions in operations strategy impact on creating and delivering a firm’s competitive capabilities.

This course builds on the principles of strategic management to build an understanding of the impact of society on firm strategy and to learn to shape, accordingly, superior business strategies. The course addresses: stakeholder strategy (creating shared value); issue management (how social movements impact firm strategy); links between social performance and financial performance; communicating corporate strategy in line with social expectations in a social media era; and staying competitive in a global and digital era.

For first time ever in the history of humanity, individuals are ahead of institutions and corporations. Individuals can have a louder voice, can share worldwide their individual opinions and knowledge, and can take decisions of living and purchasing that were never imagined before. The age of individual consumers (in its widest definition) has arrived. And that is thanks to Technology (with capital T). Technology has become totally pervasive in business and personal life, affecting all industries and business models.

This course will help to analyze the application of technology in its wider sphere of social transformational drivers, and to apply that in your own sphere of influence:

  • Social & collaboration: The power of many and the capability of individuals in being empowered by technology
  • Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship: using lean and agile approaches as new ways to innovate
  • Digital transformation: Technology being a huge catalyzer to help driving changes in society that some years ago were unthinkable
  • Speed of change that digital transformation is imprinting


Strategic Foresight

This seminar aims to foster awareness and discussion on trending issues that have an impact on managerial work. The Series will concentrate on two highly imbricated areas that impact organizations: Global Leadership Awareness and Technology Trends. Students will be exposed to insights and discussion from speakers who will share their ideas about current geopolitics, climate change, emerging AI developments and social implications of the integration of technology among other topics as they relate to the world of work. The seminars will take place either during the residential periods in Madrid and Providence or via webinars during the online periods.

This course utilizes team-based experiential learning methods for the further development of skills in business opportunity creation. It builds upon the courses on entrepreneurial management and ethnographic research methods to investigate a business opportunity that participant teams create within, or stemming from, a developing region. The course leverages field work in a specific complex developing regional economy that serves as a proxy for such developing regions more broadly. Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to develop business opportunities in complex, developing regions and have a greater appreciation of the potential and challenges these regions represent.

In the past three decades the flows of commodities, ideas, people, norms and resources across international borders has accelerated exponentially. Driving these dynamics are not only market forces, but also social networks, cultural diffusions, and institutional transformations. This course draws on analytical tools from the social sciences to make sense of the rapidly changing nature of global society that can help you unpack and analyze the complex interactions that drive globalization and the resulting societal transformations.

The course begins by considering the general process of economic growth. Topics cover not only the growth of income per capita, but also other measures of well-being such as health. Delving into the roots of growth entails understanding, among other things, investment in skills and the institutional environment in which firms and workers operate. The course investigates the question of whether the “Western” model (often called neo-liberalism by its critics) is the best choice of institutional and economic structure. Technological progress, income inequality, globalization (trade, financial flows, and immigration) and the role of the state are all examined. The course concludes by exploring two issues that will have enormous implications for economic, social, and political developments over the next several decades: persistent sub-replacement fertility and climate change. 

Sustainability and Social Impact

This course is designed to introduce you to the most recent science of climate change and its impacts in the coming decades, allowing us to see mitigation of climate change and adaptation to its impacts not only as moral imperatives but also as an opportunity for commercial actors in the coming years and decades. The course discusses the scientific foundation for a goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions, and then explores how that is operationalized in businesses, in investing, and by governments. The final deliverable asks you to explore emissions reductions or adaptation strategies in your own company.

This course helps students develop a set of skills that constitute data fluency for nontechnical business leaders. Students select a topic related to the social good and define a specific problem, generate hypotheses, gather data, analyze information, and produce visualizations in order to make persuasive, actionable recommendations. Using multiple frameworks, including Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics and the Effective Altruism (EA) movement, students use data science to effect positive social change in a wide range of organizations and communities.

Through an interdisciplinary social scientific lens, this course examines questions related to diversity and difference; changes in the DEI field; principles of equity and inclusion in relation to individuals, families, communities, and society; and, the effective use of data for leaders to inform DEI decisions and drive greater business results. Students explore the contours of difference and the dynamics of diversity, privilege, and oppression in international contexts. Cultural humility and frameworks for driving systemic progress through equity and empowerment is a focus of this course. The goal is to promote DEI enablement and values-based approaches for advancing DEI within organizations.   

This course imparts specific content knowledge of the history of the Atlantic slave trade and the plantation regimes of the Americas and the relationship of slavery to capitalism’s development in the West. The course conveys key principles of historical reasoning and argumentation: the reliance upon evidence to support interpretation; the appreciation of contingency and the specificity of time and place; skepticism towards claims of the universality of experience and the inevitability of outcomes. In unraveling the paradoxical relationship of free markets to un-free people, the course considers questions about commodities and liberties that remain urgent in today’s global economy.