Fletcher’s Master of Global Business Administration (GBA) degree merges the management skills of an MBA program with international affairs knowledge that provides context for the global challenges faced by organizations.
What sets our GBA students apart is their ability to deeply understand the array of factors—political, legal, economic—that impact the way business strategy is executed across borders. Our graduates are equipped to conduct business in a way that stretches beyond their own bubble, ensuring that they are ready to predict the risks and embrace the opportunities within the complex global environment.
The GBA program can be completed in 24 months on a part-time schedule (recommended for full-time working professionals) and 16 months on a full-time schedule. Explore sample course sequences.
Tufts University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), one of seven regional higher education accrediting bodies in the United States. Tufts is evaluated by and achieves accreditation from NECHE once every ten years. The next year for evaluation is 2023. To earn NECHE accreditation, Tufts University conducts a year-long institutional self-study, followed by a formal evaluation visit, to demonstrate to NECHE that the school meets its nine Standards of Accreditation, which span all aspects of university life, governance, and mission.
The GBA curriculum is designed to help students develop professionally relevant skills in four primary disciplines:
- Business Foundations
- Global Context
- International Law
- Analytical Tools
You will take core courses in Business Foundations and electives in each discipline, ensuring that your GBA curriculum provides both foundational knowledge and flexibility to meet your career goals. You will also select three additional electives within any of these disciplines.
The program culminates in a capstone project, which kicks off at the on-campus immersion. To provide you with practical global business experience, you will also attend an immersion in an international location.
These courses are offered every term.
This is an introductory course to corporate finance from the perspective of a company’s chief financial officer (CFO). The first part covers financial planning and budgeting, financial analysis, and short-term financial management. The second part will help you develop a valuation framework for making investment decisions (capital budgeting) for new equipment, launching new products, managing mergers and acquisitions and LBOs, and making funding/financing decisions to be coordinated with those investment decisions. Special attention is given to the cost of capital and valuing stocks, bonds, convertible debt, and preferred stocks in the context of global capital markets.
This course will prepare you to strategize effectively. You will master a variety of skills, including evaluating the dynamics of your external environment (including the complexity of the global context, political situations, emerging markets, and the changing state of natural resources), making choices regarding “where to play” and “how to win,” sustaining this advantage over time, and creating the right organizational and business models to execute the chosen strategy efficiently. You will learn to make a set of integrated choices, to spot innovative business models, to anticipate the key challenges and techniques for implementing these models, and to consider the tensions and opposing forces that must be balanced for your strategy to succeed.
Discipline and Open Electives
Business Foundations (3 Credits)
Select one course of your choice based on your discipline. Subsequent courses selected are considered open electives. Each course is typically offered every other term.
The course addresses the managerial, organizational, ethical, societal, environmental, and global dimensions of marketing decision-making. The main objectives of the course are to sharpen your skills in problem diagnosis and management. You will learn fundamental marketing concepts; improve your familiarity and understanding of institutional marketing knowledge, terminology, and practice; and practice formulating, presenting, and defending your own marketing ideas and recommendations. The course will stress agility in thinking (“whole-brain” and “neuro-marketing” models), operating in complex and volatile market environments, and leading marketing actors and initiatives cooperatively.
Beyond Balance Sheets is a journey. It is designed to follow, and also to fully complement, Corporate Finance in Global Financial Markets, while fulfilling two discrete goals. The first of these is to provide a review, and then an opportunity for deeper reflection and analysis of selected themes in corporate financial accounting as these specifically impact the risk and so the value of firms. The second goal is to extend the accounting paradigm to financial institutions and markets through a balance sheet “lens” to examine the role and functioning of these institutions as key components of the global finance system. As designed the course is organized into two discrete “halves”, the first consisting of five sessions culminating in the mid-term and focusing on themes such as advance accounting concepts, capital structure and corporate distribution policy, derivative securities, and forensic accounting. The second half is centered on financial institutions such as central banks, commercial banks, bond markets, pension funds, investment management companies, and private equity and venture capital firms.
The context for and expectations of corporations and their leaders are undergoing radical change. Population growth, increasing consumerism, globally networked supply chains, and shifts in transparency and communication are creating resource challenges and heightened expectations for governance, social engagement, and environmental stewardship. As a result, managing a sustainable and successful 21st century enterprise requires updated context, skills, frameworks, and vernacular.
This course is designed to prepare leaders for this new operating context. By the end of the semester, you will:
- Understand the roots and implications of climate change and resource scarcity.
- Learn a new mode of thinking that includes systems dynamics and the ability to use systems thinking as a tool to address nonlinear, complex, closed loop challenges.
- Appreciate leverage points with specific focus on the intersection among investors, consumers, governments, and corporations.
- Reconsider corporate purpose in light of newly extended boundaries of responsibility.
- Focus on the importance of serving stakeholders beyond shareholders.
- Narrate a different story and strategy in order to recruit and retain talent while contextualizing and activating strategy.
- Appreciate issues such as resource availability, license to operate, and evolving regulation.
- Learn how to build new relationships, partnerships, and collaborations across functions and sectors.
This course is designed to give you a framework to lead a progressive 21st century corporation. The pedagogy is a designed as a blend of lecture, case studies, practitioners’ experiences, and class discussion in order to provide you with models and tools to improve outcomes. Finally, the course will expose you to new types of challenges and opportunities that you will encounter across the value chain—from finance, to supply chain, to product development, to marketing—and prepare you with models and skills to identify solutions.
This course is about managing the growing flow of business between countries, especially the supply chains that interconnect economies. Supply chains are especially dynamic today—performance demands on companies are steadily rising, geopolitical risks abound, and digital technology offers new choices about how to deliver to customers and how to control the chain.
You will learn how to create, negotiate, and manage supply chains. The course operates at two levels. One is the global context: the forces that shape new supply networks, the elements that determine which ones succeed, and the particular challenges of operating in the developing world. The second is the operating level: how companies decide where to source, the partners they need, and where and how to build and control these supply networks.
The tools of the course range from hard analytics and decision-making models to soft skills in aligning incentives and conflict resolution. The course covers a great range of industries—from commodities to basic manufactures to high tech—as well as services and goods.
This course is designed to prepare students to launch new ventures. It draws from case studies and the growing body of research in entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and leadership. Upon completion of this course, students will have increased their self-efficacy, awareness, and skills needed to start and lead new business ventures. Features of this course include guest speakers, podcasts and videos, case studies, and assignments that help students to become more resourceful and build an entrepreneurial mindset. Students are not expected to have an idea for a business or social venture before starting the class, but they will complete the course having worked on a project to develop a new venture from inception. In addition, students will learn how to assess product-market fit, develop a financing plan, envision success, and apply the principles of the lean startup methodology and business model canvas. Graduates of this course will develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to support entrepreneurial activity in their career endeavors.
Global Context (6 Credits)
Select one of the two required courses and one additional course of your choice. Each course is typically offered every other term.
Individuals have traded goods across territorial borders since the dawn of the city-state. Over time, they have altered their economic relations with each other in response to changes in technology, ideology, and the distribution of power. But what determines the direction, magnitude, governance, and fluctuation of these cross-border flows? How does trade, money, investment, and migration respond to structural change or exogenous shocks? This course surveys theories and issue areas of the global political economy from the past and present to develop a better understanding about the future.
This course examines the determination of income, the exchange rate, and the trade balance in economies that trade goods, services, and assets with the rest of the world. Theory is developed and employed to study current events and historical experience. You will study exchange rate determination, monetary and exchange rate policy, the causes and consequences of external imbalances, international policy coordination, financial crises, and the global capital market.
This course examines the use of armed force in international affairs. You will examine theories of war and bargaining, conflict prevention and termination, post-conflict management, and the role of third parties. You will study civil wars, interstate wars, and insurgencies (including terrorism) as well as different forms of warfare, including conventional, nuclear, information, and cyber warfare. Although we will consider the nature of the state system and the structure of the international order from a historical perspective, special attention will be paid to the post-Cold War era.
Emerging market countries face unique economic policy challenges that are shaped both by their economic structure and their domestic and foreign policies. This course will examine different case studies of how emerging market countries have addressed dilemmas such as monetary policy, trade policy, capital flows, and industrialization. The course will focus on analyzing the interaction of political and economic trends to understand how they shape and constrain policy makers. Case studies of emerging markets responding to policy dilemmas and economic shocks will illustrate broader trends in policy making as well as to specifics of key countries such as China, Russia, India, and others.
This course explores the nature of leadership in the international business and organizational contexts. A key premise of the course is that leadership is an exercise in negotiation. To lead is to negotiate. The course will examine three key dimensions of the leadership life cycle: 1) the acquisition of leadership power, 2) the use of this power, and 3) the preservation and inevitable loss of this power. You will study a wide range of leadership theories and practices (American and international), examine failed leadership examples, and discuss the role of values, ethics, gender, and culture.
International Law (3 Credits)
Select one course of your choice. Each course is typically offered every other term.
This course provides an introduction to international business’s legal context. You will study the private international law issues that affect an international business transaction. You will also examine international taxation, anti-bribery law, intellectual property protection, trade law for market access, payment for goods using letters of credit or blockchain, international protection of foreign direct investment, and financing a foreign direct investment through project financing.
This course reviews the structuring, negotiation, and implementation of cross-border merger and acquisition transactions. It takes into account the applicable issues of international law and national practice. The course discusses alternative forms of transaction structure and the underlying tax and legal considerations related to choosing particular approaches. You will analyze different forms of acquisition agreements, review the role and application of key transactional concepts, and analyze how these concepts are addressed in the context of specific transactions. You will review the typical areas of negotiation in the acquisition of private and public companies and evaluate how these negotiations are affected by international regulatory, legal, and fiscal considerations. Finally, you will review trends in deal terms, drawing on recent transactions involving North American, European, and Asian companies.
Analytical Tools (3 Credits)
Select one course of your choice. Each course is typically offered every other term.
In 2017, The Economist declared that the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. With each passing day, more data is generated. Within these data are insights to drive operational efficiencies, solve global health emergencies, and more.
To prepare you to leverage that data, this course will focus on two approaches to data-driven decision making: visual analytics and statistical methods. The course introduces you to data analysis, combining an overview of traditional methods of statistical inference with an introduction to visual analytics. The goal of the course is to provide you with the skills to make decisions and succeed in a data-rich and increasingly data-driven world.
Most students will find themselves in positions to make or provide advice regarding difficult business decisions in their work. This course provides the opportunity to help you develop a toolbox of analytic techniques that can be indispensable in understanding complicated problems and arriving at the best possible decision such techniques and methods.
You will learn about different types of decision models and how to choose the model that best represents the problem and tradeoffs at hand. Throughout the course, you will learn and practice these analytic techniques through examples and cases from different countries involving a wide variety of business problems. You will construct and solve these models in class and in problem sets. This course does not require a background in economics, statistics, or advanced mathematics.
This course introduces management issues from the perspective of economics. The focus is on the strategic responses a firm can make regarding both its internal organization and its external interaction with both consumers and other firms. You will learn how economic analysis can aid the understanding and improve the design of organizational structure and the development of competitive strategies, whether the organization is a for-profit firm or a nonprofit enterprise.
Capstone and Immersions
Capstone is required.
The Lab is a capstone project that allows you to delve into real-world challenges with real-world organizations. The course builds skills in the classroom as you put them to the test in the lab with your client. Projects sit at the intersection of skill sets—from market sizing to demographic analysis to presentation techniques—and topic areas such as business strategy, government regulation, and technical innovation.
You will work in groups directly with a capstone adviser. The capstone is kicked off at the beginning of the term with the on-campus immersion.
Both immersions are required.
The on-campus immersion provides an incubator experience to kick off the capstone project and build the skills necessary to complete a real-world project. Seminars with Fletcher faculty on problem-solving frameworks, pitch development, and group work serve as a foundation for the project ahead. You will come together to work in groups for the first time and refine your project plan. Additional activities in Boston and at Tufts will be scheduled for networking. The immersion will take place over three days on Tufts’ Boston-area campus.
International immersions take place over four to five days in vibrant and relevant international locations in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Immersions allow you to delve into the business and geopolitical environments of a particular area, combining academic course work with site visits to organizations in various sectors. You will interact with local alumni, get to know the particularities of the business context, and understand the geopolitical challenges of operating in the region.