Please click on the electives listed below for a brief description.

Corporate Governance

(MGMT-GB.2176, 1.5 credits)

This MBA elective examines the key concepts, structures, and dynamics of modern corporate governance. The course explores three questions: 1) how is the control of publicly traded corporations exercised, 2) how are managers in control kept accountable, and 3) will recent regulatory changes improve corporate governance or simply add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy? The course gives students the tools needed to recognize an effective corporate governance system and manage corporate governance within the context of our legal system, product distribution, labor structure and financial markets.

Corporate Transformation and Leadership in Law & Business

(INTA-GB.3150, 1.5 credits)

This course examines the opportunity for transformation change emanating from a corporate crisis. We explore the following questions: how does senior level management effectively change an organization in response to dramatic changes in circumstances? All too often, managers and corporate boards fail to recognize factors that threaten the firm’s business until its very survival is in doubt. In such cases, the board of directors and management may need to implement drastic and sudden changes in several aspects of the firm.

Evolution, Human Behavior & Business

(GB.2170.30, 1.5 credits)

Companies are made out of people, so if you understand how human nature evolved and how we came to be so good at both cooperation and competition, you'll understand why some organizations bring out the best in people, while others depend only on self-interest. In this course we'll look at business using the most recent and exciting developments in the social sciences. We'll examine how cultures evolve, and how to improve any organization's culture. We'll look at norms, reputation, prestige, and other constructs crucial to organizational health and success. We'll examine innovation, and what makes new ideas and inventions spread.

Real Estate Transactions

(BSPA-GB.2300.30, 3 credits)

This course examines the legal and financial aspects of each phase of commercial real estate transactions from the acquisition through the disposition of the property, including all components of real estate development and real estate finance. The main topics covered will include property acquisition; entity selection and structure; tax considerations; construction and permanent financing; mortgage securitization; leasing; workouts and other exit strategies; as well as current legal and financial transactions. This course will prepare the student to become sensitive to the wide variety of legal and financial issues and topics encountered in commercial real estate transactions from the perspective of a business professional.

Law, Business & Human Rights

(BSPA-GB.2331.30, 3 credits)

Increasingly businesses are confronted with human rights challenges, whether in managing global manufacturing supply chains, addressing privacy issues in the information technology industry, security issues in the extractive industries, or confronting child and forced labor in agriculture. We will examine the origins and content of international human rights standards; the effects of globalization and the increasing imperative for global businesses to address human rights challenges in their core business operations; and, the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights. We will take a case study approach, examining how business and human rights issues manifest themselves in global manufacturing, the extractive industries, information and communication technology companies, and in agriculture. We also will explore how the investment community is addressing these issues. Finally we will look ahead and anticipate where the field of business and human rights is headed and how corporate leaders and lawyers can help develop models of sustainability for businesses in the human rights realm.

Ethical and Legal Challenges of the Modern Corporation in Law & Business

(BSPA-GB.3101.30  - 1.5 credits)

This new course includes faculty and students from both the Stern School of Business and New York University School of Law. The emphasis is on the individual’s legal and ethical responsibilities in interacting with the corporation and navigating real-world market pressures. The course addresses these challenges by considering moral and social psychology, ethical norms, and legal imperatives and from an institutional perspective. Students will be asked to consider the role, design, and institutionalization of ethics and compliance cultures in global business. The objective is to facilitate professional interaction and joint work between students from both schools.

Work, Wisdom, and Happiness

(BSPA-GB.3110.30 – 1.5 credits)

For centuries, work was regarded as nothing but toil – a requirement for earning one's daily bread. But in recent decades, expectations about work have been transformed as has its very nature. While it still provides one’s daily bread, it is also regarded as a major opportunity for people to find purpose, meaning, and happiness in their lives. In this course, students study the latest research on what makes people happy at work, on how happiness at work improves the quality of work, on how people and organizations develop wisdom, and on what makes a career not just successful but meaningful. We will also discuss some of the impediments – both individual and organizational to doing meaningful and satisfying work. Students will develop their own visions of their ideal career, and of the ideal company they’d like to lead or work for.

Cuba Sanctions, Reform, and Opportunity

(BSPA-GB.2313.0A – 3 credits)

Cuba is one of the United States’ closest foreign neighbors, but for many in the U.S., Cuba remains shrouded in mystery because of long standing U.S. economic sanctions and travel restrictions. The purpose of this course is to provide Stern MBA students with a realistic and personal appreciation of the challenges of doing business in Cuba as well as potential opportunities arising from ongoing Cuban economic and political reform and changing U.S.–Cuban relations. The course seeks to maximize the learning experience of participating Stern MBA students by offering academically challenging course content in a realistic Cuban context. The program will include lectures by Cuban professors, field trips, and talks by Cuban economists, subject matter experts, industry leaders, and political officials.

Fashion, Law & Business

(INTA-GB.3344.30 – 3 credits)

This course will teach students to develop effective synergies between strategic and legal perspectives in the growth of a fashion company. Students will practice analyzing business issues from a legal perspective – and legal issues from a business perspective – throughout the life cycle of a fashion company. The course will address the key challenges faced by companies as they move from entrepreneurship through domestic growth, brand extension through licensing, and international expansion via sourcing and distribution. Although it has much in common with other consumer goods industries, the fashion complex faces a set of unique issues. No other industry has to design, generate and manufacture such a multiplicity of concepts every season and deliver them so rapidly and efficiently to global markets. Fashion’s ability to create iconic brand status while profitably mastering a complex supply chain involves a range of capabilities that other business sectors are eager to imitate.

Social Problem-based Entrepreneurship


Social Problem-based Entrepreneurship is a course designed to put the idea of teaching social entrepreneurship to its ultimate test—with the objective of incubating a series of social ventures through the course of the semester that have the potential to be viable businesses and positively impact social or environmental outcomes. Once the semester begins, “start-up” teams of four to five students each will be formed. The course will employ the latest techniques from Design Thinking to help teams identify a problem as the basis for the startup, prototype a solution and develop a business model through real customer discovery out on the field. While the problem they are looking to solve may be a national or global one, teams will be encouraged to focus on New York City as their initial market of choice to facilitate fieldwork.

Social Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Food Business


The objective of this course is to help students incubate food businesses that have a positive impact on consumer health.

Business Law for Managers

(BSPA-GB.2314 - 3 credits)

To succeed, business managers and entrepreneurs need to know how to operate in the legal environment of business. This course provides a basic understanding of legal issues that a business manager may face and opportunities to communicate about law and business. The relationship between law and business will be illustrated in class lectures, discussions and selected readings. The objective of the course is to expose students to some of the key legal areas they can expect to encounter in business as entrepreneurs, managers and consultants.

Entertainment Law

(BSPA-GB.2120 - 1.5 credits)

Law inevitably touches all fields in some way, and mass media and entertainment is no exception. This course will examine the inner workings of the entertainment business from a legal perspective. Major topics include contracts, torts (defamation and privacy), and intellectual property. We will also focus on the relationships between various parties in the entertainment field (e.g., the artist, manager, agent, and so on), the protection of intellectual property interests, and various aspects of the recording industry (e.g. contracts and royalties).

Ultimately, this course should prepare you for general analysis of a wide variety of entertainment law issues. Dealing with more narrow topics, such as constitutional concerns or union representation, will require additional, specialized independent study. As any study of law should, this class should also help to further develop your reasoning and communication skills.


Corporate Political Power

(BSPA-GB.2356.30 - 3 credits)

This course is designed to address an empirical reality: the modern American corporation is, of necessity, a political entity, and that – consequently - senior corporate executives are political actors whose decisions in the service of their shareholders have far reaching effects for society. The purpose of this course is to explore the political tools that the American legal system has put in the hands of the executive, with serious consideration given to their appropriate use. The goal of the course is to build on these tools to sketch out a model of executive statesmanship, designed to guide corporations to more effective political engagement by balancing the unavoidable tensions between shareholder returns and stakeholder outcomes.

The course will consider five functional domains in which the corporation can engage as a political entity: Campaigns & Elections, Legislation, Regulation, Commonwealth (Public Resources) and Taxation.  While these domains can and do apply globally, the focus of the course is the United States, and the functional domains will be considered across the federal, state and municipal levels of government.  The course’s purpose is to educate, not advocate, but it will consider the legal and ethical principles that can develop the effective corporate leader into an executive statesman – one who guides the corporation to achieve high shareholder returns while appropriately mindful of the corporation’s effect on other stakeholders.

The course will be taught through a combination of lecture, outside speakers, and, most importantly, in-class discussion of topics and cases.  In addition to classroom lecture and discussion, there will be two short written assignments or presentations and one major paper.

Economics Inequalities: Perspectives & Practices

(MULT-UB.0042 - 2 credits)

This course provides students with a deeper understanding of current policy debates about economic inequality. The course format integrates a discussion seminar with a collaborative research project. In the seminar context, students become familiar with relevant terms and concepts drawn from economics, political science, organizational studies and philosophy. Informed by these analytic perspectives, students undertake research projects focused on the roles that individual organizations play in increasing and/or decreasing economic inequality. Funded by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), these projects include collaboration with business students from ESADE in Barcelona, Spain, SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy and Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. This dimension of the course exposes students to a variety of international perspectives on economic inequality, and allows them to learn from the experience of producing deliverables in a geographically- dispersed team.  

Sustainability and Competitive Advantage

(BSPA-GB.2305 - 3.0 Credits)
Prof. Tensie Whelan
Mondays, 6:00-9:00pm
Specializations: Social Innovation & Impact; Leadership & Change Management; Supply Chain Management

In this course, students will develop a effective leadership perspective through pursuit of the following learning objectives: 1) to become familiar with the key environmental and social issues effecting business today, 2) to understand the evolution of corporate response—from compliance to engagement to innovation, 3) to begin to develop some of the skills required for leading in this new social and political environment (e.g. multi-stakeholder management), 4) to explore the efficiencies and innovations being developed by corporate leaders in pursuit of sustainability, 5) to explore innovations in finance (true cost accounting, net positive value, social impact bonds), and 6) to become familiar with the latest consumer insight research on sustainability. In short, this course is multi-disciplinary, and seeks to integrate across the functions of the firm to arrive at an effective firm-wide leadership sensibility.

Corporate Governance: Stakeholder Activism - Who Is In Charge?

(BSPA-GB.2176.10 -1.5 Credits)
Prof. Sam Liss
Thursdays, 6:00-9:00pm

Corporate Governance has evolved to be one of the more compelling and challenging subjects in law, business and society. Governance is a multi-faceted topic that has economic, ethical, legal, regulatory, and sociological dimensions. Its impact has increased with the ever-growing power and scope of modern business corporations and of institutional shareholders who own an increasing proportion of public companies equity securities. The imperfections of many companies’ corporate governance have been demonstrated by a distressingly long list of spectacular business and governance failures. These failures - accounting frauds, excessive executive compensation packages, value-destroying market strategies, bankruptcies, and still evolving aspects of the 2008-2009 financial crisis - have imposed substantial costs on shareholders, other stakeholders, and society at large. The debates are real and evolving: Shareholder versus Stakeholder; Shareholder primacy versus Board primacy; Activism and activists: good or bad?; Board effectiveness: the U.S governance construct is distinctly flawed versus the U.S. construct works. It is critically important for both NYU business school graduates to be familiar with corporate governance dynamics. Many of you are very likely to have a responsibility in your evolving careers to engage with corporate boards as a member of management or as an advisor, and as well over time serve as active members of Boards of Directors (both for- profit and non- profit). The purview of the course is broad, and its intent is to integrate legal and business realities as well as develop interdisciplinary skills around the key decisions presented to Boards-- -including critical issues such as management leadership and succession, the decision to pursue an initial public offering, undertake a substantial restructuring or engage in a significant acquisition, a business unit sale, or a total entity sale to another public company or to a private equity or similar non-public buyer.

Though much of the material and discussion will address challenges particular to publicly traded corporations, we will, for purposes of comparison and perspective, give consideration to private corporations, partnerships, cooperatives and non- profits. We will address specific institutional questions and develop some specialized analytical skills, including how to read a corporate case study and legal case with a corporate governance lens. We will also have “real life practitioners” attend some of the classes to talk about their experiences and share their insights, including a couple leading activist investors, a governance specialist from a leading institutional investor, and a sprinkling of investment bankers and Board- savvy governance lawyers.
It is critically important for NYU MBA graduates to be familiar with corporate governance dynamics. Many of you are likely to have a responsibility in your evolving careers to engage with corporate public and private boards as a member of management or as an advisor, and as well in serving as active members of Boards of Directors (both for- profit and non- profit) or participating in governance issues as investors.

Driving Market Solutions for Clean Energy

Prof. Vignesh Gowrishankar

This course is designed to provide students with a rich understanding of the economy-wide energy transitions that are needed in the United States to help curb climate change, with an emphasis on how the private sector can drive such changes. As relevant background, the course will cover energy-related macroeconomic concepts and trends, and provide environmental and international context. It will draw on the instructor’s diverse experiences, readings and other media, classroom discussions, case studies, visiting speakers, and group projects, to explore and debate how such ambitious but necessary transformations may be brought about.

The course will cover these 5 main themes: (1) environmental and macroeconomic context of the global climate problem, the U.S. energy system, and energy costs; (2) established and emerging business models for key clean energy drivers (outlined below), based on market trends, growth potential, and surrounding policy environment; (3) in-depth case studies of around 20 pioneering clean energy companies (e.g., Tesla, Vivint, OPower) or technologies, and learning from their successes and failures; (4) hurdles and business challenges to realizing the clean energy transformation; and (5) alternative pathways to cutting emissions in the United States, advantages and risks.
The bulk of the course will focus on the five main clean energy drivers – energy efficiency (in buildings, industry, and transportation), renewable energy, electrification (of cars and other end-uses), power grid modernization and fuel decarbonization. For each, the course will step through the key concepts, market and policy contexts, and company/technology case studies, generally closing with a visiting speaker.

The course will be of interest to students wishing to: understand potential clean energy and sustainability actions (including those that can be and are being taken by companies), meet energy industry practitioners, and visualize career options in this field. Particularly relevant to students who go on to consulting, financial services and investment banking, the course will cover energy-related macroeconomic trends, investment potential in emerging fields, and successful (and unsuccessful) business models and strategies.