Build a Strong Foundation

Wharton’s intensive, cross-functional core curriculum provides business fundamentals and the leadership, communication and analytical skills that are critical to your success.

You will begin your MBA with six required key core classes, fixed core to ground you in fundamentals, followed by your choices in the flexible core. The flexible structure of the core course allows students to take more electives in the first year to prepare for an internship, global experience, business venture, or other interests, and defer some core requirements to their second year.

During August and the first half of your first year, you will take the required courses with your cohort, a group of about 70 students who are part of a larger group, namely your cluster. You’ll work with your learning team, — a group of five or six classmates with whom you collaborate on projects and cases.

Fixed Core Courses

LEADERSHIP: Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership

This intense immersion experience shapes the learning team and leadership experience that helps you develop your future personal leadership style and capabilities. You will begin with the Teamwork and Leadership Simulation, a team-based, highly interactive simulation that is custom designed for this course.

MARKETING: Marketing Management

Design and implement the most strategic combination of marketing efforts to reach a firm’s target markets. Develop skills to apply analytical concepts and marketing tools to such decisions as segmentation and targeting, branding, pricing, distribution, and promotion.

OPERATIONS: Operations Management

Learn to measure key process parameters, such as capacity and lead time, and how to improve a process through approaches such as finding and removing bottlenecks or better work division. Next, focus on restructuring processes and management for increased performance.

MICROECONOMICS: Microeconomic Foundation

Master the basic theory of microeconomics: supply, demand, consumer behavior, market price and output, production, cost, simple competitive market equilibrium, simple monopoly pricing and output determination, price discrimination, and bundling.

ECONOMICS: Advanced Topics in Managerial Economics

Apply microeconomic theory to firm management, and learn how to use microeconomics to enhance decision making. Topics covered include: sophisticated pricing policies, transfer pricing, strategies for dealing with competitor firms, cooperation strategies, managing under uncertainty, and more.

STATISTICS: Regression Analysis for Managers

Become familiar with two key statistical methodologies for working with data: regression analysis and experimentation. Learn techniques, such as least-squares estimation, tests and confidence intervals, correlation and autocorrelation, collinearity, and randomization.


The Wharton Communication Program helps prepare business leaders for the communication challenges of the workplace.

Speaking: The Fall speaking course covers persuasion, impromptu speaking, speaking confidently, handling Q&A, and speaking on-camera. The Spring speaking courses offer a choice of advanced topics.

Writing: The Fall writing requirement is a pass/fail, non-credit course required for graduation. Course objectives are clear, concise, persuasive writing.

Flexible Core Courses

More than half the core courses are flexible to match your learning style, interests and goals. Within each core area, the course choices offer flexibility in content, timing, or format. Subjects covered include: 

  • Operations
  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Corporate Finance
  • Macroeconomics
  • Management
  • Legal Studies & Business Ethics

For example, once you complete the fixed core Operations course, you can select from one of four options to fulfill the flexible core requirement of an Operations course.

Consulting: OPIM 612: Business Analytics will help you understand the enormous amount of data available to companies to make smarter, targeted and dynamic business decisions.

Technology: OPIM 613: Information Technology teaches to how information technology transforms companies and entire industries.

Entrepreneurship or Marketing: OPIM 614: Innovation demonstrates how to bring innovative ideas to market.

Operations Strategy: OPIM 615: Operations Strategy teaches how a firm can strategically use operations to gain a competitive edge or even develop a new business model.

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Meet Our Students

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“I knew Wharton was a place I could learn all the tools I was missing, across all disciplines. In particular, I loved the idea of the core.”

Philadelphia, PA

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