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About Innovation MBA

Innovation MBA

What makes the JMU Innovation MBA program special? The importance and central focus of the theme. Solid coverage of business fundamentals. Format designed to fit students' fast-paced, complicated lives. Content integration. International trip. Workshops to supplement course content. Leadership Development Program.

Innovation in today's business environment 

 "Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity." Michael Porter

 Innovation is the primary source of competitive advantage for many firms, especially those that operate in business environments that are becoming more complex and dynamic. Managers must have a thorough understanding of the innovation process so that they can become leaders of change and creativity within their organizations and effectively manage the organization's technology information and resources.

 "Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time." Bill Gates

However, the innovation process is complicated and multi-disciplinary. Leaders of innovation must understand the firm's technical environment and appreciate how technological change affects organizations. Their leadership involves coordinating and enabling knowledge flow and creativity in the organization. They need to understand that the people in the organization are their most valuable resources and the primary drivers of organizational creativity and innovation. These leaders are the primary catalyst of new product development and they must understand financial models and risks associated with large investments. Also, they provide the vision to effectively market new ideas and develop a sustainable competitive strategy.

"Just as energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress." Ted Levitt

Thus, we have developed an MBA program with the goal of producing managers that will excel at LEADING THROUGH INNOVATION WITH TECHNOLOGY AND PEOPLE.

What makes the JMU Innovation MBA program special? 

The importance and central focus of the theme: "Leading through Innovation with Technology and People." To ensure we "walk the talk," we have redesigned the program to truly enhance the theme. Several thematic courses have been added to the core curriculum and a wide variety of electives address pertinent issues from the different functional areas.

Solid coverage of business fundamentals. While we stress the importance of innovation throughout the program, we also realize that managers must have a solid understanding of the business fundamentals to be successful. Thus, we not only have accounting and finance courses as part of the core curriculum, but their principles are applied throughout the program in case analyses, simulations, and projects.

Format designed to fit students' fast-paced, complicated lives. The program will utilize the most cutting-edge teaching techniques in classrooms and online. It is a part-time program that is designed to be completed in two years by a cohort of students. The program will use a 'blended' format of instruction where students meet face-to-face with faculty once every 3 weeks in Harrisonburg during a week night, meet online in a synchronous format the other weeks, and utilize other advanced asynchronous teaching instruction, such as simulations and multimedia cases. Most of our professors, who have long been recognized as superior teachers, have experience with online teaching from our Infosec MBA Program, making us uniquely qualified to excel at this blended format of instruction.

Content integration. A major weakness of most MBA programs is a lack of integration of the functional topics; the different disciplines are often taught in silos. The JMU Innovation Program enhances content integration by having each core course paired with another course. The professors of the course determine the best way for the pair of courses to be integrated. For example, a class may be team-taught or the same case may be used in both classes to enable students to understand how the different theoretical concepts are interrelated. The program also includes three multi-disciplinary courses: Strategic Management, Ethics & Social Responsibility, and Management of Innovation and Technology.

International trip. The Cultural Awareness Experience course includes an international trip, where students will learn about cultural differences in a way that can not be accomplished in a classroom. The location of these trips will vary yearly and will include destinations such as China, India or Europe. The international trip will include numerous visits to both business and cultural sites.

Workshops. There will be three Saturday workshops to supplement the content taught in courses. The first will be an Orientation Workshop that will teach students how to use the technology needed to participate in the online activities, and introduce the students to the Leadership Development program. There will also be two Special Topic Workshops in the spring of each year that will have guest speakers debate contemporary business issues and will have students participate in a variety of group activities.

Leadership Development Program. The theme of our program, "Leading through Innovation with Technology and People," starts with leadership. In addition to learning about leadership theories in class, students will participate in a Leadership Development Program throughout the program. Each student will be assigned an experienced manager as a mentor/coach. During this program students will focus on self-assessment, program/career goals, team building and specific leadership skills. Students will be evaluated on their leadership and team-building skills during all the group projects throughout program, via 360 degree feedback from other students.