The center of gravity in The Denver MBA is a set of four core business challenges.
The challenges include an enterprise, social good, corporate and global challenge, each completed by small student teams alongside a faculty advisor, business professional and personal coach.
Challenges and classes run concurrently. What you learn in the morning, you try out in the afternoon, so you come back to class with a clearer idea of what you do and don’t understand, and what you do and don’t need to get the job done.
You approach each challenge through the lens of a Personal Growth Agenda focused on professional competencies such as leadership, teamwork, storytelling and the ability to navigate ambiguity. You use each challenge to hone adaptive techniques and overcome maladaptive tendencies. At the end of each challenge, you refresh your growth plan to up your game in the next one–producing cumulative, exponential growth over time. It’s one of the three biggest innovations in the history of management education, geared toward elevating your performance and effectiveness as an MBA graduate.
THE ENTERPRISE CHALLENGE
The best and fastest way to learn how to do something new is to start from scratch—whether it is a new company or a new initiative inside a big organization.
According to Forbes, Denver is ranked #2 for the best place to launch a start-up. For the Enterprise Challenge, you and your team will create your own start-up. This challenge is foundational to the program, because nothing develops initiative, encourages innovation or teaches you what you don’t know about business like starting a business.
THE SOCIAL GOOD CHALLENGE
Working with local partners, you will make a positive impact in a high need area.
Facing constrained resources, you will apply your learning to help others by demonstrating measurable progress on a social improvement initiative. The initiative could be a sustainability/social responsibility challenge, a troublesome issue for a nonprofit or NGO, or another form of social impact. Your work will benefit society while you learn how to work in particularly ambiguous situations facing complex, difficult problems.
Past cohorts have partnered with Art from Ashes, Denver Food Rescue, Denver Sister Cities, Douglas Elbert Task Force, EarthLinks, Goodwill Denver, Growing Colorado Kids, Redline, The Gathering Place and YouthRoots.
THE CORPORATE CHALLENGE
Working in a team, you will play the outside consultant role and provide value to corporate partners. Solve business problems and implement solutions.
Centered on solving a problem while developing a value-creation opportunity in a working corporation, this challenge develops your ability to work in complex organizations—and to see what it takes to transform your academic training into real-world outcomes.
Past cohorts have partnered with Ball Corporation, Charles Schwab, Delta Dental, Enterprise Holdings, Hosting.com, Oracle, Pacific Life, Terumo BCT, The Madison Group and Zayo.
THE GLOBAL CHALLENGE
Working cross-culturally on a major business issue, you will spend some time outside the U.S. to deal with a diverse set of ideas, points of view, customer types and more.
These are all critical skills for effectiveness in any kind of business, whether a local business in a small town, a regional office or a major multinational. Examples include working with Newmont Mining to improve the success of a new mine opening in Suriname or working with Opera Software to create a marketing plan for their mobile browser in Indonesia. In the past, students have traveled to Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Israel, Kenya, Norway, Peru, Tanzania and Uganda, to name a few. If you can perform when facing the complexity of a new country context, then you will be a high performer professionally.
The Denver MBA includes six electives, four of which will comprise your concentration. You can select from one of the five concentrations listed here or customize your concentration:
Daniels is a preferred hiring school for countless international, national and local accounting firms. Students can take courses in assurance, taxation, information technology and business valuation.
Business Analytics is an exploding field with countless career opportunities. The curriculum focuses on the three pillars of business intelligence: data, analytics and business.
Master the analytical tools, theories and principles of finance that today’s employers demand. Focus on corporate finance or investment banking.
If you have the passion for marketing, Daniels offers the purposeful, hands-on learning you need to succeed in this fast-paced field. Focus on Brand Management or Digital Marketing.
Real Estate and the Built Environment
To stand out in this field you need to understand the complete project life cycle. Prepare to be noticed as a leader with a focus on real estate, property development or integrated project delivery.
Customize your concentration with the guidance and approval of the Program Director and advising staff.
PERSONAL GROWTH AGENDA
The challenge-driven education model is powered by a Personal Growth Agenda consisting of continuous performance analysis and individualized coaching.
The Personal Growth Agenda is a mash-up of career services, academic advising and executive coaching. You will shape your Daniels experience to fit your personal developmental goals and the specific demands of the career trajectory you choose.
Your Personal Growth Agenda takes into account your own strengths and weaknesses, the key criteria of employers in your chosen field—or the most critical skills for start-up success if that’s your plan—and the tools you need for continuous learning and agility once you graduate.
This is why the live experiences you get from the four core challenges are so important. They become labs that enable you to work on the elements of your growth plan in the real world and see how you do. The plan integrates academics, technical skills and soft skills into a single, comprehensive strategy. It is about how all the pieces of the puzzle come together from accounting to teamwork, and from leadership to finding comfort with ambiguity. It also includes networking with business professionals wherever you go. The sum of these things—and your ability to draw them all together at the same time—determines how successful you become.
Through your Personal Growth Agenda, you enter each of the four core challenges with a customized development plan. It’s a map of what to concentrate on, how to do so and where to get help. Throughout the challenges, there are check-ins. If you are having trouble, we work on it with you. If you’ve nailed something and are ready to up your game, we help you do that. It makes your development deep and exponential.
LAUNCH: LIFELONG LEARNING LAB
As the program winds down and you ramp up to the next stage of your career, we will prepare you for launch.
We’ll work with you to do a final check of your personal growth agenda and you’ll have intensive executive education-style modules to help you fill any final gaps or add any needed polish.
We will bring you experts to make sure you are up to the minute on any late-breaking concepts in the business world as well as the state of the economy and society you are about to re-enter as a leader.
Above all, you’ll get a refresher on the habits and tools for lifelong learning and growth. The world changes constantly, and one of the most critical determinants of your success and advancement will be your agility. You’ll start and stay ahead of the curve.