MBA Essentials Certificate

To compete in today’s fast-paced, challenging workplace, you need solid business skills. The business perspective that you will get from the MBA Essentials program will enable you to be more effective at working across organization functions, communicating with senior management, and developing relationships with clients, customers, and suppliers.

2014 Dates
(Max 30 people per class)
2015 Dates
Registration opens 2015
Mon. & Wed. Evenings
Sept. 8-Oct. 8
Mon.-Fri. Days
Mon.-Fri. Days
Nov. 17-21
Mon. & Wed. Evenings
April 20-May20
  • Overview
  • Audience
  • Details
  • Faculty
  • Testimonials

The MBA Essentials program provides an overview of key subject areas found in the Carlson School’s nationally ranked MBA program. It is taught by many of the same outstanding Carlson School of Management faculty members who teach in the MBA program. You will experience classroom sessions with award-winning teachers—many of whom are also accomplished scholars and understand how to transform the latest academic insights into practical application.

Program Details (pdf)
(schedule, curriculum, faculty bios, past participant titles, testimonials)

How it Works

MBA Essentials is an evening program that meets twice a week for five weeks in the spring or during the day for one week straight in the fall. The program sets the stage by building an understanding of the nature of business strategy and the foundations of competitive advantage. Next, participants are introduced to the core perspectives of the basic business functions and how they each contribute to the organization. Throughout the program, participants are engaged in discussions to understand the practical issues and challenges associated with each functional area. The program concludes by coming full-circle and relating the concepts covered in the program back to the issues of firm strategy and competitiveness.

There are no graded assignments or exams in the program, but participants are expected to complete and discuss readings, case studies, exercises, and related homework. Upon completion of this non credit program, you’ll receive an MBA Essentials Certificate.

Review our general management program comparison chart to discover which General Management program is right for you.

The program is designed for:

  • Individual contributors, front line managers, and functional experts who need a broader understanding of basic business concepts
  • Individuals transitioning into management or leadership positions, especially from non-business or technical fields
  • Those who want to add to their resume because they are changing careers or seeking employment
  • People who want to know what it would be like get a Carlson School MBA

Examples of past participant titles include:

  • 3M Company, Application Engineer
  • Allianz Life Insurance Company, Interactive Art Director
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN, Sr. Account Business Consultant
  • Cub Foods, District Manager
  • Ecolab, Inc., Senior Scientist
  • JBT FoodTech, Inc., Sales Manager
  • Katun Corporation, Director of North American Marketing
  • Kraft Foods, Inc., National Customer Manager
  • Medtronic, Inc., Senior Legal Counsel
  • MOM Brands, Information Security Analyst
  • Oracle Corporation, Sr. Manager
  • Target Corp., Group Manager, Senior Engineer, Media Strategy Manager


  • Obtain a solid foundation in current business theory and practice
  • Develop the skills to think strategically and cross-functionally
  • Learn the language and skills needed to effectively and fully participate in your organization’s decision-making process
  • Develop the ability to think, adapt, and thrive in a continuously changing corporate and economic climate
Key Topics    
Business strategy   Building & leading teams
Marketing management   Operations management
Financial accounting   International business
Financial statement analysis & corporate finance   Leadership
Human resources management    

Benefits of Attending

  • Acquire an overview of basic business concepts, language, and practice
  • Become more effective in day-to-day operations and make better informed decisions
  • Apply the newly learned business concepts to more effectively communicate and work with other departments and senior management

Thinking about applying for a Carlson School MBA Program?

Attendees who apply for and are accepted into a Carlson MBA program within one year of completing the MBA Essentials course will be eligible to apply up to 50% of the MBA Essentials course fee toward their MBA tuition. (The actual dollar amount to be applied toward MBA tuition will be calculated as 50% of the course fee actually paid.) Tuition credit will be applied evenly over the first two semesters of enrollment in the Carlson MBA program. Completion of the MBA Essentials program does not ensure admission to the MBA program, nor does it provide any academic credit toward the requirements of the MBA degree.

Fee: The program fee includes tuition, program materials, and evening refreshments.

Carlson School of Management
Suite 2-260
321 19th Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mark Bergen Mark Bergen, the Carolyn I. Anderson Professor of Business Education Excellence and Professor of Marketing, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
Art Hill Art Hill, Associate Dean for MBA Programs and the John and Nancy Lindahl Professor for Excellence in Business Education in the Supply Chain and Operations Department in the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota
Ed Joyce Ed Joyce, Professor of Accounting, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Peter Krembs Peter Krembs, Carlson Executive Education Fellow
Svetlana Madzar

Svjetlana Madzar Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Richard Nelson Richard Nelson, Senior Lecturer in Finance and Director of Undergraduate Finance Programs, Department of Finance, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
Myles Shaver Myles Shaver, Pond Family Chair in the Teaching and Advancement of Free Enterprise Principles, and Professor of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
Connie Wanberg Connie Wanberg, Professor and Director Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
Aks Zaheer Aks Zaheer, Curtis L. Carlson Chair in Strategic Management and Director of the Strategic Management Research Center, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.

"Great course for the time-constrained professional buried in a task oriented world. Will reawaken your interest in reconnecting with learning and challenging yourself to learn more. It gives you real-life skills that are immediately applicable to your work life and career."
Material Manager
General Dynamics

"I joined the MBA Essentials class to gain a macro view of MBA principles and best practices. The materials of this class not only gave a clear macro view of all the topics covered, but also provided a wealth of micro-level details. The faculty's ability to teach these topics are exemplary. If it becomes strategically important for me to join an MBA program, it will surely be at Carlson."
Sr. Software Engineer
TE Connectivity LTD.

"I had been thinking about going back to school for my MBA and this was a great way to test the waters first. It is taught by world class professors and has confirmed my interest in pursuing an MBA and continuing to build on my leadership skills. I also found it has given me leadership, strategy, and business skills to apply to my current role.”
I.S. Manager
The Toro Company



Register and pay:
7 plus weeks prior

6 weeks prior $4,200
1 week prior $4,600

Program Details

Program Details

Request Program Details (pdf)


Program Preview

Learn about MBA Essentials from past participants, faculty, and staff.


"This course was incredibly informative and beneficial. The professors were world class, their knowledge deep, and the topics applicable to whatever sector you work in. I am headed back to my company with a toolbox of ideas to implement to help us in a plethora of ways."
Jessie Houlihan Bingen
Stahl Construction
MBA Essentials, Sept, 2013

Tuition Reimbursement

Attendees who apply for and are accepted into a Carlson MBA program within one year of completing the MBA Essentials course will be eligible to apply up to 50% of the MBA Essentials course fee toward their MBA tuition.


Contact Information

Let's Get Social!

Give  Contact  Visit

A to Z Directory | Faculty Directory

321 Nineteenth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455 | 612-625-0027 | 877-625-6468