Carnegie Mellon University

MBA Concentrations

As a Tepper MBA student, you can customize your degree by selecting concentrations based on areas of interest.

Students are required to complete one concentration, but most students pursue three or four. A concentration is not declared; once you take three or more elective classes in a subject area, your concentration is automatic. 

Accounting has been a mainstay in the MBA core curriculum since the school’s inception in 1949. While Financial and Managerial Accounting I and II are required core classes for MBA students, there are unique electives to choose from in building an Accounting concentration grounded in analytical decision-making, technology, strategy and high ethical standards.

A concentration in Accounting is intended for those MBA students who want to have a role in evaluating, analyzing and communicating an organization’s performance. Students seeking a career in general management, investment banking, corporate finance, operations management or consulting should find the concentration very useful. For instance, the course Corporate Financial Reporting has students exploring topics of recent interest to the business community, including mergers and acquisitions, executive compensation, quality of earnings, and intangible assets. Also, the course Strategy, Performance Measurement and Corporate Governance focuses on strategy implementation and incentives topics throughout the organization, including the board of directors, top management team, division heads and other levels of management. Some of the courses in this concentration include Corporate Financial Reporting, Financial Statement Analysis, and Taxes and Business Strategy.

This concentration complements students’ quantitative and analytic development by helping them create and implement communication strategies for key stakeholders in multiple professional situations.

Courses require effective writing and/or presentations that build upon foundational lessons in the MBA core. Students explore communication styles and critical thinking needs for diverse management tasks, including strategic planning, management consulting, negotiations, executive actions, cross-team collaboration, change management and corporate-wide communication strategy. Assignments closely replicate scenarios that managers routinely encounter. These courses, along with Business Acting, enable students to mature as stronger communicators, no matter their prior experience upon beginning each course. 

The Tepper School of Business created a revolution in management science decades ago, and this revolution was, in part, spurred by the school’s leadership in the economics arena. The unprecedented research along with faculty Nobel laureates at the Tepper School deepened the debate surrounding societal and economic issues and reshaped public policy and markets, and hence the environment in which businesses operate. The Tepper School continues this tradition by conducting cutting-edge research that explains how individuals and economies operate and how policy changes, global competition and innovation affect individual and firm choices and economic outcomes. The Economics concentration brings these insights from microeconomics, macroeconomics, monetary policy, global economics, incentives, market design, monetary policy and risk management into the classroom. The collections of courses in the concentration teach students tools to become more effective and agile decision-makers in a variety of business areas, including finance, technology, consulting and marketing. Some of the courses in this concentration include Financial Regulation, Emerging Markets and Business Forecasting with Times Series Models.

Recognized as one of the first business schools to focus on entrepreneurship as a distinct arena of management study (in 1972), the entrepreneurship program has consistently been ranked as one of the top in the country. The campus hub for entrepreneurship is the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, which partners with MBAs on business plans, venture capital and startup market entry. Carnegie Mellon’s innovation spurs economic growth and has helped to launch more than 300 companies and 9,000 jobs in the past 15 years. The curriculum combines theory with practice through a mix of coursework, hands-on venture capital exposure, corporate consulting and the close interaction with a world-class faculty, all having successful VC or entrepreneurial backgrounds. Some of the courses in this concentration include Entrepreneurial Alternatives, Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition and Funding Early Stage Ventures. 

In 1960, our business school was the first to introduce ethics as an essential component of the MBA curriculum. Today, we continue to recognize the importance of ethics by integrating ethics and social responsibility topics throughout our MBA coursework.

In addition to having a strong framework for analytical decision-making, business leaders must also be skilled at ethical decision-making. The Ethics and Social Responsibility concentration prepares students to assess ethical contexts and business situations to make well-informed decisions based on a logical framework. Going beyond our core curriculum, this concentration presents a series of electives focusing on sustainability, ethics, social responsibility and accountability in business to provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage ethical challenges within a dynamic business context. Students will be prepared in their studies of ethical leadership, ethics issues in business, sustainable operations, economic issues in financial institutions, energy and environmental policy, and cross-cultural management and executive communication skills.

Our Finance program emphasizes the analytical and quantitative aspects of finance and accounting, offering students an opportunity to explore various methodologies and analyses. Faculty include some of the most prominent members of the financial academic community with successes in several fields of research in finance and economics. The Finance coursework is designed for the lifetime of your career. Tepper MBA alumni are well-represented in senior financial positions at investment banks and Fortune 500 companies, corporate finance and treasury programs. Some of the courses in this concentration include Investment Analysis, Corporate Finance, and Venture Capital and Private Equity.

The unprecedented speed with which technology transforms markets and economies has altered the way multinational organizations successfully compete. As the university that is synonymous with technology, Carnegie Mellon has been a key player in leading this trend.

Our students represent a new breed of leader, one who understands global issues and is able to take advantage of emerging trends and technologies. Broadly encompassing an array of technical and managerial coursework as well as applied project experience, the Business Technologies concentration is aimed at preparing students for a career in a technology-related field. Students are able to take advantage of a cross-campus academic experience through our MBA program as well as the School of Computer Science, the Software Engineering Institute, and the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. Some of the courses in this concentration include Technology Strategy, Modern Data Management, and Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy.

One of the most popular concentration areas, the Marketing curriculum focuses on the creation of value for the organization and the consumer through marketing decisions like pricing, promotions, distribution channels and product design.

The curriculum reflects the growth of analytical methods to use insights from data mining, statistical modeling and operations to understand marketplaces and make marketing decisions. Our students’ ability to approach marketplace and consumer issues as part of a honed, analytical framework is rare — and valued — in today’s fast-paced technology industries.

Within an analytical decision-making context, coursework encompasses product marketing, market entry planning, marketing with social media, segmentation, communications management, pricing/sales forecasting, channel distribution, and management and marketing research. Our graduates are highly sought after for positions at technology, consulting, healthcare/pharmaceutical and consumer products companies. Most Tepper MBAs pursuing marketing careers work in product management, product marketing, brand management or marketing analytics roles or enter leadership development programs with a marketing focus. Some of the courses in this concentration include Marketing Research, Consumer Behavior and New Product Management.

Each year, 20 of the most elite business schools from around the world meet on the Tepper School's campus to participate in the nation’s capstone MBA Operations case competition. With a broad variety of electives available, students explore operations topics such as demand management and price optimization, supply chain management, risk management, operations strategy, sustainable operations, real options, service management, and six sigma tools and techniques. Some of the courses in this concentration include Optimization Roles for Operations, Supply Chain Management and Operations Strategy.

Our history of excellence in Operations Research and Statistics is renowned. During the 1950s, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University pioneered a revolutionary new approach to business management known as management science. Our practice of applying analytical, quantitative decision-making techniques via complex methods and modeling to management principles has since been adopted by virtually every leading B-school in the U.S. Also referred to as quantitative analysis, the study of Operations Research and Statistics provides a powerful career advantage in which students master frameworks for assessing complex, dynamic variables to form strategic decisions.

As one of the pioneers of organizational studies, we believe that creating new knowledge is as important as disseminating it. In the 1960s, our contributions in the arena of behavior science grew to impressive prominence. Today, the history of organizational research at our school is one of the pathbreaking, highly influential, interdisciplinary milestones that fundamentally changed how scholars think about organizations.

The program’s strength lies within the areas of groups, negotiation and conflict management, social networks within and between organizations, and organizational learning and management. The Organizational Behavior concentration features faculty who are spearheading innovative classroom-to-boardroom research, particularly in the arenas of knowledge transfer and management, interpersonal negotiation — within and between team/group dynamics — organizational change, and productivity, as well as corporate leadership. Within our trademark framework of analytical decision-making, this program introduces models and techniques that elicit meaningful insights regarding the universal challenges of organizational success.

Strategy encompasses a range of functions within both the corporate and the entrepreneurial landscape. A popular concentration for Tepper MBAs, strategy provides the underpinning for helping students develop the fundamental skillset for formulating and executing strategies for competitive business advantage.

The elective and core coursework provides exposure to companies’ operating environments (both within the firm and in the external competitive environment), approaches to sustaining competitive advantage, methods for generating value for customers and shareholders, and a framework for balancing the opportunities and risks associated with dynamic and uncertain changes in industry attractiveness and competitive position. This concentration utilizes a range of analytical tools and the ability to take an integrative point of view within a framework of decision-making that focuses on multiple disciplines. Students will understand how to integrate functions such as finance, law, operations, marketing, etc., all within the context of strategy.

Tepper MBA students will become comfortable integrating coursework from other areas/concentrations to use their analytical skills to perform in-depth analyses of industries and competitors, predict competitive behavior, and analyze how firms develop and sustain competitive advantage over time. Topics among various concentrations include, but are not limited to, consulting and conflict resolution, customer-driven strategies and services, managing intellectual capital and knowledge-intensive business, strategic corporate management, technology strategy, trade, and investment strategy.