Master of Business Administration

Introduction & Overview

This handbook includes the policies that apply to all MBA students enrolled at Alverno College. In the spirit of continuous improvement, the Alverno business faculty invite you to contact the MBA Faculty Director with your suggestions for changes to this handbook and/or program improvements. All student handbooks are available online.

Alverno College started the MBA program in 2006 and the first cohort graduated in 2008.  Today, there are over 400 Alverno MBA graduates. Cohorts typically average between 15 and 20 students. Alverno's MBA program consists of 33 credits and is coeducational. Students can start the program in the fall or spring semester depending on the year. We offer a general MBA or an MBA with a concentration in Organizational Leadership and Development (OD). Students much complete three electives in this area to earn this concentration. Core courses, which total 21 credits, are offered only in the fall and spring semesters. Before starting the program, students are required to complete a zero-credit online technology orientation (MBA-600A) and to earn an “S.” The progress codes used for all courses in the MBA program are “S” for satisfactory or “U” for unsatisfactory. In certain circumstances and in consultation with the course instructor and MBA Faculty Director, students may qualify for an incomplete or “I.” Electives carry three credits each and are offered in winter term (mid-December to mid- January) and two summer sessions. Students determine their own pace in the program and can complete the program in 18 months. They have seven years to complete the program. They can also take a leave of absence up to a year. Alverno also offers an accelerated program for undergraduate students already enrolled in the business program.

MBA Program Outcomes

At Alverno, we have designed our MBA standards around a Professional Competence Model which fosters managerial competencies across industries in an ever-changing marketplace. For that reason, we do not issue letter grades, rather substantive narrative feedback. The MBA program outcomes reflect the faculty’s commitment to Alverno’s eight abilities and build upon them in the MBA program. They also contextualize graduate student learning within the discipline. They were developed by full-time business faculty and continue to evolve with assistance from business professionals, including alumni and adjunct instructors working in various settings.

Alverno MBA Professional Competence Model

 MBA Core Course Descriptions

Our accredited 33 semester-hour MBA program consists of six cross-functional required courses (21) credits and four electives (12 credits). Please see the course sequence below. Each required course integrates core knowledge areas with skills, values, and attitudes to enable graduates to build relationships that enhance organizational capabilities, results, and agility.

MBA-600 Integrated Management (3 credits) Offered in fall and spring.
Prerequisite: MBA-600A (Online Technology Orientation, 0 credits)

In this introductory course, students learn management theory and basic accounting through integrated content. Through case studies and projects, you will connect knowing and doing, develop your financial acumen, and improve your organizational decision-making skills. They will also learn how to apply principles of management in today's business environment.

MBA-609 Financial and Managerial Accounting Concepts (3 credits)
Only offered in the fall.
Prerequisite: MBA-600A (Online Technology Orientation, 0 credits)

This course focuses on financial and managerial accounting. It includes a financial accounting case study and a managerial accounting report/presentation project to develop your financial acumen while applying your managerial best practices.

MBA-610 Strategic Management (3 credits)
Only offered in the spring.
Prerequisites: MBA-600A, MBA-600, and MBA-609

In this course, students will become familiar with and use strategic frameworks to assess an organization and its operating environment. These tools will enable students to evaluate organizational effectiveness as a foundation for improved organizational performance through case studies, business and industry research, and class discussion. Students will apply and master select strategic frameworks, allowing them to practice and develop successful strategic management. They will also learn how to leverage their knowledge and strengths in a managerial capacity.

MBA-611 Financial Analysis and Decision Making (3 credits)
Only offered in the spring.
Prerequisites: MBA-600A, MBA-600, and MBA-609

In this course, students will use financial frameworks to assess an organization. Students will learn a variety of quantitative analysis frameworks and techniques. These techniques include ratio analysis, vertical analysis, horizontal analysis, competitor analysis, and cash flow analysis. Students will develop financial analysis and decision making as a core competency and management skill.

MBA-620 Operations Management (3 credits)
Offered in summer and fall.
Prerequisites: MBA-600A, MBA-600, MBA-609, MBA-610 and MBA-611

In this course, students learn how to effectively manage processes, relationships, and organizational resources to enhance organizational capability, results, and agility. They will gain an acute understanding of operations and how individuals, processes, relationships, and systems can work together as a competitive advantage.

MBA-630 Leadership through Innovation and Change (6 credits-Capstone Course)
Offered in spring and fall.
Prerequisites: MBA-600A, MBA-600, MBA-609, MBA-610, MBA-611 and MBA-620

This final capstone course focuses on change management and leadership. Students will learn how to respond to changing markets, global operating environments, and unforeseen business challenges. They will develop advanced skill sets and knowledge related to creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. This course is the culmination of student learning in the Alverno MBA program.

Elective Courses

Elective courses offer students the opportunity to focus in greater depth on selected business practices and explore emerging topics. These topics rotate each year.

Examples of electives include:

  • Nonprofit Management
  • Data for Business
  • Project Management
  • Grant Writing
  • Managing the Consulting Process
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Servant Leadership
  • Facilitating Change in Organizations
  • Team and Group Facilitation
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Building External Relationships
  • Social Media in the Business Environment
  • Organizational Tools and Processes
  • Effective Evaluation Practices


Academic Honesty

Throughout your studies at Alverno College, you are exposed to a variety of learning styles. In some classes faculty require students to complete assignments in small group work sessions, while in other cases they may require you to complete work on an independent and individual basis. Both experiences can be stimulating and rewarding. However, when submitting work for your courses, you need to remember
that you have a personal responsibility to complete work in accordance with the instruction of your teacher and sound academic principles. This means standing behind your work as a contributing member of a team when collaborative work is required. It also means standing behind your work as the individual who thought it through and carried it out when independent work is required.

When you are required to consult with professionals outside the College or undertake research in the library in order to gather information necessary for the completion of an assignment, you need to make reference to the resources used. Whenever you refer to secondary sources, whether for direct quotation or paraphrasing, you must supply clear documentation within generally accepted academic standards. In other words, when you use another's thoughts in the exact words or with some words changed around, the source must be indicated.

Work required to be completed independently does not meet the above requirements if it is more the work of someone else than that of the person who claims it. To claim work that is essentially someone else's constitutes misrepresentation. Failure to document sources of information constitutes plagiarism. When such cases come to the attention of faculty and/or the MBA Program Director, the Director will follow up with the student and make a recommendation to the faculty member regarding possible disciplinary action or opportunities to revise the work. Some cases are reviewed by the Graduate Student
Standing Committee. They may recommend that the student receive an unsatisfactory in the course for which the work was required or take other actions, such as academic probation or dismissal from the College.

Here are some additional guidelines adapted from The Masters in Education Student Handbook:
Learning the appropriate academic procedures for citing sources will not only help you in writing your papers within the academic setting, it will also help you to be accurate about the sources of ideas in writing and speaking within your work setting. Giving others credit for their ideas is a basic writing guideline. Such practice keeps you honest, by allowing you to reflect on the ideas of another and to add or integrate your own thoughts with the deliberate support of other authors. Citing sources correctly also helps your reader to follow your own thinking and to understand the evidence that supports your thoughts. You too may find that being able to find a reference based on how someone else talked about them in an article or paper is a reference based on how someone else talked about them in an article or paper is a very helpful process.

The same guidelines apply to giving a speech, poster-project, or other form of presentation. PowerPoint, slides, posters and other visual materials need to be properly referenced, and your thinking needs to be distinguished from the thoughts and ideas of others.

Plagiarism is, in essence, the taking of someone else's thoughts and words and representing them as your own. It is seen as an offense to both the original author of those thoughts and words as well as an offense to your reader, who potentially could confuse the thoughts of the original author with those of someone representing those thoughts as their own.

Therefore, we will be very picky about plagiarism. If you use someone else's words, you must use the proper quotation format. For short quotations, that means quotation marks and a reference with page number. For longer quotations, that means a hanging indent, and a reference with page number. Don't do this incorrectly even on a draft — it's plagiarism if you do. We'll stop reading drafts when we find
plagiarism — there's no point in our assessing the writing of an already published work. Your best bet is to avoid using quotes as much as possible. Consult your APA Manual, Seventh Edition for ways to paraphrase an author's ideas and how to properly give credit for that idea, even when you are paraphrasing it. (Remember when you paraphrase, you give the author's name and date of the publication. When
you quote, you must also include the quotation ma If you have a question about the format of a specific citation, first consult your APA Manual, Seventh Edition. If after considerable effort in trying to resolve your question you are still in need of assistance, bring your question to your instructor or advisor, along with your specific work with the APA Manual and show them exactly where your confusion lies. They
will help you address your specific concern. In the end however, you will be held responsible for representing yourself and others in an appropriate manner.

When you are working with another author's ideas, it is imperative that you represent those ideas accurately and that you give credit to the author for those ideas. If, for example, an author is presenting several alternatives to a particular dilemma, it is important that you indicate the range of alternatives that the author offers, rather than simply picking the one that you like the best and presenting it as if it were the author's only idea. To single out a sentence or paragraph that suits your own purposes but does not represent the author's train of thought is considered misrepresentation.

A student may be dismissed from the program if he/she uses the work of another student as her/his own. This includes using papers that have been published on the internet, written by a student in this or another college or university, or written by a former student.

Self-plagiarism is the practice of using a paper that is written in one class to complete the requirements for a different class or project. If you are planning to use a part of a paper that you have already written in another class, first consult your instructor to see if the part of the paper is suitable material for the class you are presently taking. If you do not obtain appropriate permission for building on work from another class, or if you hand in a duplicate paper from another class to meet an assessment requirement, you may fail the project, the assessment and jeopardize your standing in the program.

Students are expected to be appropriately responsible for their work within a group project setting. This includes attending mutually agreed-upon group meetings, completing mutually-agreed upon assignments and carrying your weight in the writing of a group paper or the implementation of a group presentation. If you fail to maintain your responsibilities as a group member, you may fail the group project assignment and you may be dismissed from the class.

Smith, P. (2001). Policy on plagiarism for all psychology & MA courses. Alverno
     College Master of Arts in Education policy on academic honesty. Unpublished
     document. Milwaukee, WI: Alverno College.

Advising and Contact Information

The MBA Faculty Director advises the MBA students regarding program requirements. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Director.

We are here to support you and to ensure you are successful in the MBA program.  Additional resources to empower you include:

Attendance Policy

Graduate students are expected to attend all classes, to arrive on time, and to participate in all learning activities, including online sessions. If, due to illness or unavoidable personal/professional commitments, a student must miss a class, the student should consult with the faculty member involved and/or the MBA Faculty Director as soon as possible to develop an alternative plan to meet the objectives of the missed class. Absence from more than one class session of a course will generally require the student to withdraw from the course. In all instances, if a student chooses to withdraw from a course, it is the student’s responsibility to officially drop the course by contacting the Registrar's Office. Students are encouraged to communicate with their advisor (the MBA Faculty Director) if they are considering dropping a course.

Commencement Ceremony

Alverno College believes in the value of participation in the commencement ceremony and the significance of students sharing in the event with their colleagues. While the college participation policy requires the satisfactory completion of all requirements, an exception can be made for MBA students in recognition of the cohort nature of the MBA program. MBA students who have completed all requirements except one MBA elective course may request permission to participate in commencement by submitting a general permit to the Registrar's Office. Commencement ceremonies take place in May and December, although students may also complete their degree in August as well. They can then participate in the December ceremony.

Credit for Transfer Courses and Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)

It is possible to transfer up to six credits of elective credit into the Alverno MBA program. This includes graduate coursework recently completed at another college or university. Students with extensive managerial experience may qualify for credit for prior learning (up to six credits). Please contact the MBA Faculty Director for further information about these opportunities to reduce the overall tuition cost of the program.

Graduate Student Professional Rubric

All MBA students are held to high academic and professional standards. This rubric is used by faculty to document professional behavior. Should concerns arise regarding unprofessional behavior, course instructors and MBA Faculty Director will review concerns with the student involved and take the appropriate next steps.

  • Student effectively demonstrates discipline and responsibility for attending all class sessions and being present at the start of each class.
  • Student finishes and turns in on the dates requested assignments that are complete and have been proofread.
  • Student takes the initiative to communicate with faculty if there are attendance or assignment concerns.
  • Student consistently uses appropriate language, interacts in a professional manner, and shows respect for others.
  • Student accepts equal responsibility for group assignments and supports others in doing so.
  • Student honors professional ethics including appropriate use of quotations, recognition/citation of sources, respect for confidentiality and privacy, honest self and peer evaluation, etc.