Core Curriculum (1st year)
ACC 502: Principles of Financial Accounting (2.25 credits)
BE 502: Applied Microeconomics (2.25 credits)
TO 502: Applied Business Statistics (2.25 credits)
STRATEGY 502: Corporate Strategy (2.25 credits)
FIN 513: Financial Analysis (optional - Fall A half-term) (2.25 credits)*
ACC 552: Managerial Accounting (2.25 credits)
TO 552: Operations Management (2.25 credits)
FIN 503: Financial Management (2.25 credits)
MKT 503: Marketing Management (2.25 credits)
MO 503: Leading People and Organizations (2.25 credits)
BA 553: Multi-Disciplinary Action Projects (7.5 credits)
* FIN 513 in Fall A is offered for those students pursuing a career in finance. Students must waive ACC 502 and submit an interest form (check back soon for link) in order to be considered for enrollment in this class. Those who pass FIN 513 will not be required to take FIN 503.
ACC 502: Principles of Financial Accounting (return to top)
(2.25 credits; Fall A)
Course Description: This course introduces the basic concepts and methods used in corporate financial statements for the information of investors and other interested external parties. Readings, problems and cases are used. Major topics included are: Understanding the Goals of Financial Accounting, Developing a Framework for Evaluating Financial Accounting, The Basic Accrual Model, Analysis of Transactions, Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Cash Flow Statement Construction and Analysis. The course emphasizes analysis of cases, many of which use actual financial reports and situations faced by managers. These cases allow an opportunity to understand the applications of the basic concepts and methods of financial accounting to issues such as long-term assets, inventory, sales, receivables, long-term liabilities and understanding financial statements.
Contrary to the methods of many undergraduate introductory accounting courses, we focus on building a thought process regarding accounting. To do this effectively requires some knowledge of the "nuts and bolts' of accounting (debits and credits, journal entries, etc.) but these are only a means to an end and not the primary objective of the course. Our end goal is to provide a framework that allows students to evaluate and understand financial accounting in general, not just topics covered in this course. Students will find that the coverage of financial reporting in a single undergraduate financial accounting course will be insufficient to replicate the experience of ACC 502.
Waiver Requirements: Waiver requests for ACC 502 may be submitted based on academic experience or professional designation. Waiver requests are not accepted based on professional experience. A waiver exam is offered for ACC 502 only to students who attend a pre-term Accounting Waiver Preparatory Course.
Waiver Request based on Academic Experience: In general, requires successful completion of a minimum of two courses in financial accounting (i.e., through the undergraduate intermediate level). Please note that one introductory course in financial accounting and one introductory course in managerial accounting will not normally be deemed sufficient.
Waiver Request based on Professional Designation: Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and Chartered Accountants (CA) will automatically be waived from ACC 502 with documentation and cannot receive credit for this course by taking it.
Waiver Exam following Pre-term Accounting Waiver Preparatory Course: The Ross School of Business offers a pre-term ACC 502 waiver preparatory course in August to prepare students for the accounting waiver exam. This course is designed for students who are interested in waiving ACC 502, but do not have the complete requisite background to do so. The cost of the course is $450.
The course is taught by a member of the accounting faculty with extensive experience teaching the core course. Meeting every day over a seven day period, the course is, essentially, a full-time experience for that week. The course is a combination of traditional lecture/discussion sessions, CD-ROM or web-based tutorials and individual self-study cases, readings and assignments. No prior accounting professional experience is necessary to successfully complete the course. However, due to the pace of the course, it should only be attempted by students with reasonably strong quantitative skills who are willing to commit a sufficient amount of time and effort to the course for the entire week. At the completion of the course, a waiver exam is offered for ACC 502. Successful completion of that exam allows students to waive ACC 502 and enroll in another course during Fall A.
Students may register for the pre-term Accounting Waiver Preparatory Course by completing an online registration survey:
- The course dates to be announced.
- The registration deadline is to be announced.
Information about the textbook for the course can be found at this website.
You can also see answers to ACC Exam Frequently Asked Questions.
ACC 552: Management Accounting (return to top)
(2.25 credits; Winter A)
Course Description: This course considers decision-making in organizations where the decisions involve the generation, analysis, or use of financial information. The major topics in this course are cost management systems and management control systems. Cost management systems develop product and service cost information for pricing and other decisions. Traditional and activity-based costing systems are discussed. Management control systems focus on the measurement and control of managerial performance. Business unit measures, such as ROI, EVA, and the balanced scorecard are discussed. Methods useful for both performance evaluation and control, such as variance analysis, are also discussed. Throughout the course, a managerial viewpoint is stressed. Cases are used.
Waiver Requirements: Waiver requests for ACC 552 may be submitted based on academic experience, professional experience or professional designation only. A waiver exam is not offered.
Waiver Request based on Academic Experience: Two undergraduate courses in managerial (not financial) accounting are required. Coursework must consist of two undergraduate courses (one introductory course such as ACC 301 or equivalent and one intermediate course such as ACC 315 or equivalent) or one equivalent graduate level course.
Waiver Request based on Professional Experience: Extensive experience will be considered if it includes experience with design or implementation of costing systems.
Waiver Request based on Professional Designation: Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Chartered Accountants (CA) and Certified Management Accountants (CMA) will automatically be waived from ACC 552 with documentation; however they may choose to take and receive credit for this course.
BA 553: Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP) (return to top)
(7.50 credits; Winter B)
Course Description: MAP is a field study program in which teams of students apply structured problem solving techniques to analyze multidisciplinary business problems or opportunities and make recommendations for improvements. It is a unique feature of the Ross MBA program — the action learning experience it provides is central to the School’s curriculum.
Students learn how businesses apply and integrate multiple functions and gain an appreciation of the value of teamwork through an intense hands-on project at a sponsoring company. Students do not enroll in additional course work during MAP due to time obligations and intensive group work.
Waiver Requirements: Waiver requests for BA 553 (MAP) may be submitted based on academic or professional experience only. Waiver requests are not accepted based on professional designation. A waiver exam is not offered. This program represents 7.5 credit hours towards a student’s degree. As such, the hurdle is high to show that a student has covered the material previously. The criteria will be the learning objectives for MAP.
Waiver Request based on Academic Experience: Students must demonstrate that they have met the MAP learning objectives through previous course work.
Waiver Request based on Professional Experience: Students must demonstrate that they have met the MAP learning objectives through previous work experience. Relevant work experience might include: work on multidisciplinary teams, work involving rigorous problem solving and data-driven decision making, and substantial experience on problem solving or opportunity-creating projects.
Detailed guidelines on how and when to apply for a waiver are provided by the MAP Office in late October.
BE 502: Applied Microeconomics (return to top)
(2.25 credits; Fall A)
Course Description: This course provides students with the foundations of microeconomic analysis. The primary objective is to develop the abilities of students to apply fundamental microeconomic concepts to a wide range of managerial decisions, as well as public policy issues. Foundation topics include: costs and supply behavior of the firm; consumer behavior and market demand; market forces, price formation and resource allocation; international trade and trade restrictions; and, market power and price-setting behavior. Students will also be introduced to more advanced aspects of microeconomic analysis. Advanced topics include: decision-making with risk and imperfect information; oligopoly and game theory; and, complex pricing strategies.
Waiver Requirements: Waiver requests for BE 502 may be submitted based on academic experience only. Waiver requests are not accepted based on professional experience or professional designation. A waiver exam is not offered.
Waiver Request based on Academic Experience: Students who were undergraduate economics majors within the past 7 years will be waived based on: (1) GPA of "B" or better for undergraduate economic courses, and (2) list of courses appearing on the transcript must include intermediate microeconomics. Waiver petitions from non-economics majors will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The faculty will consider both the number of microeconomics classes taken and the grades received.
Course Description: The course is primarily devoted to the principles of financial valuation. We will first discuss the concept of present value in extensive detail, and then apply the principles of valuation to value (a) real projects (or what is commonly referred to as capital budgeting) and (b) financial securities (stocks and bonds) under certainty. Since financial decision-making virtually always involves risk and uncertainty, we will then introduce the concept of risk, and the relation between risk and return. We will integrate our knowledge of cash flows with our understanding of risk to modify capital budgeting techniques in the presence of risk and uncertainty. The course concludes with an introductory treatment of the effects of financing on capital budgeting decisions. Although the concepts of competitive capital markets and market efficiency will not be covered in a separate session, they will be woven in the fabric of the course. Please note that students may not take both FIN 503 and 513 for credit.
Waiver Requirements: FIN 503 may be waived only by exam. Waiver requests will not be accepted based on academic or professional experience, or professional designation. A waiver exam for this course will be offered before the beginning of the Fall term.
Waiver Exam: This exam will test you on the fundamentals of Financial Management & Policy. The basic concepts that will be covered are: Time Value of Money, Capital Budgeting, Risk and Return and Efficient Markets Hypothesis. A good way to prepare for this exam is to review Chapters 1 through 14 of Corporate Finance by Ross, Westerfield and Jaffee, 10th Edition (ISBN=978-0-07-803477-0). Please gauge your knowledge of the topics by doing as many problems as you can. You may consider taking the waiver exam if you have had a graduate-level finance course and 2 to 3 years of work experience in the finance field. Students should carefully review the FAQ information for FIN 503 when considering this waiver exam. The Waiver Exam Schedule lists the date, time and location of the exam.
FIN 513: Financial Analysis (optional) (return to top)
(2.25 credits; Fall A)
Incoming students who waive out of ACC 502 may apply to take FIN 513: Financial Analysis during Fall term in place of taking FIN 503 in Fall B.
Course Description: Financial Analysis --- This course is primarily devoted to fundamentals of financial analysis as applied to both corporate finance and financial markets. On the corporate side, the course deals with capital budgeting in great detail. Capital budgeting criteria (NPV, IRR) and cash flow estimation are discussed. The concept of risk is then introduced and the CAPM is used to derive cost of equity and then, the weighted average cost of capital. The course also provides as introductory treatment of the effects of financing on capital budgeting decisions. On the financial markets side, the course introduces the student to the concepts of competitive capital markets and market efficiency. The workings of the financial markets are explored using the trading room. The principles of equity valuation are also covered. Finally, term structure and bond valuation are discussed.
MKT 503: Marketing Management (return to top)
(2.25 credits; Fall B)
Course Description: Marketing management is a complex business function which requires both knowledge and skill in strategy formulation and implementation. It necessitates a systematic and disciplined approach, which employs the appropriate selection of tools, analyses, and logical reasoning. This course helps you develop a broad knowledge of the core marketing concepts and tools - both strategic and tactical. Using cases, discussions, and other experiential activities, it provides you with opportunities to apply these marketing concepts and tools.
Waiver Requirements: Waiver requests for MKT 503 may be submitted based on academic and professional experience. Waiver requests are not accepted based on professional designation. A waiver exam is not offered.
Waiver Requests based on Academic Experience: Undergraduate coursework and prior work experience will be considered in requests to waive this course. Completion of a graduate-level course on marketing management and strategy will also be considered. The course must be similar to the marketing core course and completed with a grade of "B" or better. Provide a note detailing the topics that were covered in the course, a copy of the course syllabus and the name of the textbook that was used.
MO 503: Leading People and Organizations (return to top)
(2.25 credits; Fall B)
Course Description: Leading People and Organizations prepares you to lead high-performing, successful groups and organizations and seeks an understanding of human behavior to enhance management practice. The primary objective of this course is to provide you with rigorous, analytical frameworks for understanding how to diagnose organizational problems, develop solutions that appreciate the complexity of your organizational context, and lead your group or organization in the implementation of more effective strategy and action. You will learn how to influence others without relying on formal power and authority, negotiate and make effective decisions in uncertain and complex environments, as well as how to build and utilize your social capital. You will learn how to effectively manage conflict, organize, and lead teams. Finally, you will develop skills that enable you to manage organizational boundaries, initiate and drive organizational change, and align people and organizational processes in ways that enable your organization to thrive in today’s dynamic, competitive, and global marketplace.
Waiver Requirements: Waiver requests for MO 503 may be submitted based on academic experience only. Waiver requests are not accepted based on professional experience or professional designation. A waiver exam is not offered.
Waiver Request based on Academic Experience: Undergraduate coursework and prior work experience are not sufficient to waive this course. To waive, completion of a graduate-level course on individual and organizational-level behavior (both must be addressed) is required. Courses must be similar to the MO core course and have been completed in the past 5 years with a grade of “B” or better. Provide a note detailing the topics that were covered in the course, a copy of the course syllabus and the name of the textbook that was used.
TO 502: Applied Business Statistics (return to top)
(2.25 credits; Fall A)
Course Description: This course covers simple probability and random variables, estimators and sampling distributions, confidence intervals and hypothesis testing, and statistical modeling using simple and multiple linear regression. The course prepares students for later applications in economics, marketing, finance, and operations. It is divided into three modules: introduction to probability, statistical inference, and statistical modeling. Students should also be able to use and interpret the covariance, correlation, and regression output from Excel, because we use that software and some waiver exam questions will ask students to interpret and use it.
Textbook: Groebner, D., P. Shannon, P. Fry, and K. Smith, 2010, Business Statistics A Decision Making Approach, 8th edition, Pearson/Prentice Hall. The course covers major portions of chapters 4-9, and 14-15. The intent is to train students to hypothesize, construct, test, revise, interpret and use statistical models of business realities.
Waiver Requirements: TO 502 may be waived by exam only. Waiver requests are NOT accepted based on academic or professional experience, or by professional designation. A waiver exam for this course will be offered before the beginning of the Fall term. Note that only one exam time will be offered per year.
Waiver Exam: If you are interested in taking the waiver exam please email RossAcadServices@umich.edu.
In the last three years, very few students have passed the exam successfully. They all had either: (1) a good introductory statistics course and substantial statistical experience at work; and/or (2) two or more 14-week courses in statistics, including at least one or two courses in addition to the introductory class. Students should carefully review the FAQ information for TO 502 when considering this waiver exam. The Waiver Exam Schedule lists the date, time and location of the exam.
Format from last year:
Laptops with Microsoft Excel may be required unless a computer lab is reserved for the exam. Students should be prepared to conduct data analysis on a data file that we will provide.
Calculators are not necessary; Excel can be used for all calculations.
Statistical tables will not be provided. Students are expected to use Excel to obtain statistical information. The recommended textbook contains information on how to use Excel's statistical functions.
Obviously, students will not be permitted to connect to the internet during the exam. They do not need to submit the Excel file; they will only be expected to do the calculations in Excel and then note down their final answers on the answer sheet.
TO 552: Operations Management (return to top)
(2.25 crs; Winter A)
Course Description: All value in society is generated by transforming one set of things into other, different things. Without such transformations, there would be no wealth creation and no rationale for business. Operations management is the design and management of those transformation processes. In this course, we will provide a framework for systematically examining and understanding operation management issues. We will also expose you to a few of the most important tools and practices that are useful in managing manufacturing and service production systems.
Waiver Requirements: Waiver requests for TO 552 may be submitted based on academic experience only. Waiver requests are not accepted based on professional designation. A waiver exam is not offered.
Waiver Request based on Academic Experience: To waive this course, at least 6 credit hours of prior course work in operations management are required. The courses must have been taken within the past 7 years with a letter grade of “B” or better in each one. Model-oriented operations research or management science courses are not considered to be operations management courses.
Waiver Request based on Professional Experience: Extensive operations management experience will be considered in lieu of no more than 3 credit hours of course work. Waiver requests must be accompanied with relevant transcripts and, if applicable, documentation of prior operations management work experience.
STRATEGY 502: Corporate Strategy (return to top)
(2.25 credits; Fall A)
Course Description: This course focuses on the job, perspective, and skills of the general manager in diagnosing what is critical in complex business situations and finding realistic solutions to strategic and organizational problems. The course provides a total business perspective, and thus serves as a foundation on which to build expertise in various functional areas.
STRATEGY 502 cannot be waived by either waiver request or waiver exam. This course must be completed at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor while enrolled in the MBA program. (The only exception that will be granted is for students who successfully completed this course at the Ross School of Business within two years prior to entering the MBA program.)
STRATEGY 503: World Economy (return to top)
(1.50 credits; Core course taken anytime during two year program)
Course Description: The march of globalization continues, and international markets are pivotal to the operations of virtually all corporations. As companies intensify their international presence, the need to understand the economic and political challenges associated with the global environment increases. Such challenges are the focus of this course. This course explores the theories and concepts that are crucial to understanding the global location and structure of industries, the politics of trade and investment, and the impact of globalization on firm strategy. Various learning methods are used in the course, including in-class lectures, discussion of current events in the world economy, and case analysis.
STRATEGY 503 cannot be waived by either waiver request or waiver exam. This course must be completed at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor while enrolled in the MBA program. (The only exception that will be granted is for students who successfully completed this course at the Ross School of Business within two years prior to entering the MBA program.)
Business Law or Ethics Requirement (return to top)
As part of the core requirements, students must complete or waive out of either a Business Law or an Ethics course during their MBA program. Students enrolled in the dual JD/MBA program or who have a Juris Doctor are exempt from this requirement and may not take Business Law courses for credit without instructor permission.
The following courses fulfill this core requirement and may be taken in either the first or second year. Course descriptions are listed on the Department of Law, History and Communication website:
Ethics of Corporate Management
Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship
Law of Finance and Banking
Intellectual Property Law
Legal Environment of Business
Introduction to Business Law
Law of Marketing
Employment Law for Managers
Law of Enterprise Organization
Law of Business Organizations
Real Estate Law
Please note: The following Business Law and Ethics courses are electives only and do not meet the Law/Ethics requirement: BL 510, BL 532, and BL 688. EFFECTIVE FALL 2013: BA 512 will no longer be offered. BL 536 will fill this requirement, and it is a 2.25 credit course.
*Effective Fall 2013: BL 536: Ethics of Corporate Management (formerly BA 512) is a 2.25 credit class. This class is cross-listed with NRE 512.
Waiver Requirements - Business Law: Waiver requests may be submitted based on academic experience or professional designation. Waiver requests are not accepted based on professional experience. A waiver exam is not offered.
Waiver Request based on Academic Experience: Waiving the business law requirement entails completion of graduate courses in business law with demonstration of sophisticated knowledge of legal concepts, standards, systems and institutions in the context of business entities and commercial transactions. Factors that will be considered before granting a waiver request include: how recently the graduate courses were taken, the number of graduate courses, the depth and rigor of the graduate courses, the student’s performance in the graduate courses and, if the graduate courses were taken in a non-US. jurisdiction, whether the topics covered were sufficiently international in scope to provide understanding of both code and common law legal systems. Please provide a copy of your transcript with the relevant graduate courses highlighted together with copies of your syllabi for the graduate courses.
Waiver Request based on Professional Designation: Students enrolled in the joint JD/MBA program or who have a Juris Doctor are exempt from this requirement and may not take Business Law courses for credit unless they obtain permission from the instructor.
Waiver Requirements - Ethics: Waiver requests may be submitted based on academic experience only. Waiver requests are not accepted based on professional experience or professional designation. A waiver exam is not offered.
Waiver Request based on Academic Experience: Waiving the ethics requirement requires that a student has had a graduate business ethics course that considered contemporary business ethics theories including social contract (Donaldson & Dunfee and/or Keeley), rights-based (Werhane), stakeholder (Freeman), virtue (Solomon or Shaw) and multiple alternative (Hosmer) theories among others. If a course from philosophy, theology or jurisprudence included these business ethics theories, they may be acceptable depending upon the extent of coverage. Clearly not acceptable are courses in professional ethics such as law or accounting; neither are generalized discussion courses on business ethics without the above referenced theoretical material. Waiver requests must include a copy of your transcript with the relevant graduate courses highlighted, as well as copies of your syllabi for the graduate courses.
Communication Requirement (return to top)
In addition to your core courses, you must fulfill a communication requirement. This communication requirement can be fulfilled through coursework or a waiver exam. The exam is only offered once per year, in mid-July through mid-August; students may only take the exam during this period, though they may take it more than once while they are enrolled at Ross. This flexibility in test taking, as well as flexibility in course options that satisfy the requirement, allow students to select the option that best fits their curriculum objectives.
Courses that satisfy the requirement include:
Writing Fundamentals for Entrepreneurs
Managerial Writing Fundamentals
Persuasive Management Communication
Taking and passing one of these classes satisfies the requirement. Other communication classes may be taken as electives, but they do not satisfy the requirement.
The communication waiver exam is a managerial writing test and is different from the GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment, which is an academic writing test. The waiver exam is directly related to the kind of on-the-job writing that MBAs will encounter in their careers. It presents students with a communication case, in which a critical management situation requires a written, persuasive response. For example, students may be asked to persuade top management to keep a sales training program or to motivate an employee to improve performance. The exam is a timed test, in which students have four hours to read a case, write a response, and upload it to the test site.
Responses are evaluated with the following question in mind: To what extent does this response demonstrate effective selection, development, and organization of content; control of language that enhances credibility and conveys content clearly; and employment of persuasive strategies that achieve management goals?
The communication waiver exam is offered prior to the start of each Fall term (typically in mid-July through mid-August). MBA students (including Duals) may take the exam during one of these exam periods at any point in their education. Students may re-take the exam without penalty. If a student does not pass the Communication waiver exam during one of the available periods, the requirement must be satisfied with coursework.
Students will need their uniqname and password to access the waiver exam via this website. A practice test is available at the same location. While you can take the practice test at any time, the actual 2015 waiver exam will only be available from July 20 (opening at 12:01 am) through August 17 (closing at 11:59 pm).
For further details about the Communication Requirement and Communication courses, please review the Communication website.