Making Your MBA Electives Work for You


Author: Shreya Iyer

Congrats—you’ve made it through your Orientation and LAUNCH week. Now, you are sitting in your Mod 1 classes juggling between Economics, Accounting, and Statistics, and may be wondering, ‘what have I gotten myself into?’.

As someone who was going through this process not too long ago, I can empathize with the anxiety of picking the right concentration and electives. One of the biggest learnings entering into an MBA program is to actually un-learn some best practices from your Undergraduate years. This is especially true as you’re picking your Mod/Elective classes.

At Questrom, full-time first year is structured in four modules (Mods), with each lasting roughly seven weeks. Mod 1 focuses on building a strong foundation and understanding core business of Economics, Accounting, and Statistics. Mod 2 introduces you to business functions—marketing, finance, and operations. Module 3 takes a broader perspective, with courses in Strategy, Organizational Leadership, and Information Technology. All Mods have hands-on experiential learning components to them. Finally, in Mod 4, you can delve into your interests and choose courses that fit your concentration and career goals. I took Health Sector Issues and Opportunities, Analytics for Managers, and a Global Immersion Trip (Israel) as my Mod 4 electives.

Your MBA elective courses are designed and built on the learnings established from your Mod courses. Electives are meant to serve your needs—giving you complete freedom to take an easy or challenging course depending on your goals. They even allow you to explore a subject area you’re curious about, because, why not!

Here are some tips to help you think through your electives:

1. Take a global immersion course: I highly recommend taking a global immersion trip if it fits your needs and schedule. These are 3-credit courses that count towards the Mod 4 or second year schedule. I went on the Israel trip because I was interested in learning about the innovation ecosystem and global entrepreneurship. Because of the format of these courses (1 week of travel + few weekend classes), doing an immersion course allowed me to have a lighter workload for Mod 4—which is especially helpful if you are internship/job searching in the Spring.

2. Take classes from other schools: Questrom offers some amazing courses; however, if you find a course offered at another school within Boston University (say, within the School of Engineering or Communications, etc), you may be eligible to take that course and count it towards your Questrom credits.Talk to your academic advisor for more information on this.

3. Take classes that challenge you: Business School is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone and dabble in unique subjects that pique your interest. For example, I took Corporate Finance even though I had very limited knowledge in that subject. I spoke with the professor beforehand about my limited exposure to Finance, and he was very accommodating. Remember, this is your opportunity to stretch your learning, so spread wide!

4. Take advantage of the add/drop period: the first week of classes is your chance to evaluate the course, professor, and topics being covered—take advantage of this time. Try to sit in on courses you are interested in and assess whether the course load and curriculum is conducive to your needs.

5. Take intensives: intensives are usually a week-long course offered during the beginning of Fall or Spring semester. Questrom also offers 1.5 credit Saturday courses. You can free up your core semester by finishing 3-credits in the beginning.

Bonus: as an HSM-student, I would highly recommend connecting with Ned Rimer to discuss which courses may be right for your career interests. Personally, I have taken Drugs, Devices and Diagnostics (Triple D), Health Economics, and Health Innovation–highly recommend these courses.

Good luck!

Shreya Iyer is an MBA & HSM Candidate 2020. She is the president of the Marketing Club at Questrom. Shreya will be joining the pharmaceutical/bio-tech industry post-graduation.

View all posts