A group of students stand with a CBS banner in front of a temple in Korea
Global Study Tours, offered through the Chazen Institute for Global Business are amongst the many popular electives offered at Columbia Business School.

Beginning in the second term, students select from one of the largest and most innovative slates of electives at any business school.

Columbia’s more than 325 offerings allow students to immerse themselves in specialized topics with faculty members who are at the forefront of innovation in their fields and practitioners who bring real-world, real-time experience to the classroom. The School also encourages students to take advantage of the more than 4,000 graduate-level classes available across the University, as well as the School’s many dual-degree programs. Students may assemble their own elective sequences or select from the School’s recommended courses for common career paths, such as entrepreneurship, healthcare, marketing, media, real estate, value investing, and social enterprise.

Popular Electives

Applied Value Investing

Designed to introduce the principles of value investing, the first few sessions of the course focus on how to value a business and where to look for undervalued situations. The remaining classes focus on particular applications of value investing. Topics discussed in class include portfolio management, activism, spin-offs, behavioral finance, distressed investing, and private equity. A number of value investors address the class and discuss their own investment styles.

Family Business Management

Family Business Management explores management and related family issues, including succession, that typically affect businesses in the second and third generations.

Foundations of Entrepreneurship

Foundations of Entrepreneurship serves as the gateway course to the entrepreneurship curriculum at CBS. It provides a broad survey of concepts and concrete skills that benefit not just aspiring entrepreneurs, but also those who want to work for a start-up, innovate within more mature organizations, and/or invest in new ventures. This course is especially appropriate for students who have limited-to-no experience in the startup world, or have some experience but do not yet have a fully developed and vetted business idea or team. Specific topics covered include: characteristics of successful startups and entrepreneurs; techniques for generating, identifying, and evaluating new ideas; forming and maintaining effective partnerships; customer discovery and acquisition; entrepreneurial finance; valuation and deal making; exits; entrepreneurship career tradeoffs; and learning how to pitch.

The Future of Financial Services

Team-taught by faculty members with diverse areas of expertise, including Dean Glenn Hubbard, the Future of Financial Services takes a cross-disciplinary approach to investigating the underpinnings and consequences of the financial crisis, and looks forward, challenging students to discover new opportunities for products and businesses by building on an analysis of the crisis and the changing landscape of the industry.

Global Immersion

Global Immersion classes bridge classroom lessons and business practices in another country. Classes meet for half a term in New York, then culminate in a one-week visit to a country of focus. During the immersion week, students will meet with local business executives and government officials while working on team projects. Recent Global Immersion countries have included China, India, Brazil, Costa Rica, and South Africa.

Healthcare Industry in the 21st Century

Healthcare is by far the largest and fastest-growing industry in the United States, accounting for more than 16 percent of GDP. The cost and quality of healthcare delivery has become a paramount concern for consumers, employers and employees, as well as local and national governments. Debates, controversies and problems emerge almost daily in the news, yet the complexities of the issues are not generally well understood. New technologies and methods of delivering and paying for healthcare are transforming the industry and providing new opportunities for existing and new players in the field. This course provides an overview of the U.S. healthcare industry; the major players involved in the payment, production and delivery of healthcare; and the key challenges and opportunities facing healthcare executives, investors and policymakers.

Impact Investing

This course provides a detailed introduction to this emerging sector, equipping students with vital, practitioner-focused skills in the following areas: 1) equity, debt, and alternative investment structuring for early- through late-stage social ventures; 2) assessment of impact and financial value for companies and investment portfolios; 3) legal and governance strategies to preserve mission-focus throughout organizational scale; and 4) role of investment funds and philanthropy in building the impact investing marketplace.

Lean Launchpad

This course provides real world, hands-on learning on what it’s like to actually start a scalable company. It's essentially a lab, not a theory or “book” class. The goal is to create an entrepreneurial experience with all of the pressures and demands of the real world in an early stage start up. Students talk to customers, partners, and competitors, as they encounter the chaos and uncertainty of how a start-up actually works. They work in teams, learning how to turn a great idea into a great company.

Managerial Negotiations

Our days are filled with negotiation and conflict, from everyday disputes to job negotiations, from coalition-building to boardroom bargaining. This course aims to help students improve their skills in two fundamental ways. One is knowledge-oriented: students learn concepts and frameworks for analyzing and preparing for bargaining. A second route is practice-oriented: students engage in a sequence of hands-on activities, practicing and reflecting, building self-awareness, and honing their skills for creating and claiming value.

Managing Brands, Identity, and Experiences

Taught by Professor Bernd Schmitt, faculty director of the Center on Global Brand Leadership, Managing Brands, Identity, and Experiences explores how companies need to understand the financial value of their corporate brand and its products, manage brands strategically, and deliver implementations to customers that are relevant, differentiated, and powerful in order to build loyalty and emotional bonds. The course involves field trips to retailing locations in Manhattan that are using experiential marketing to strengthen their brand awareness, such as the Apple Store, Abercrombie & Fitch, and the Samsung Experience.

Master Classes

Among students’ many elective options are Master Classes. Each Master Class focuses on a specific industry (e.g., media, real estate, consulting) and draws significant input from the professional community via group projects, guest speakers, adjunct faculty members, and alumni participation. With substantial project work and practitioner involvement, Master Classes provide students with unique exposure to real-time business challenges.