William & Mary's Online MBA Ranked #26
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Online MBA by the Numbers

Students per Course
Weeks per Course
On-Campus Residency

Start Your Revolution With Design Thinking

By choosing the Online MBA at William & Mary, you are opting to pursue an essential element of revolutionary leadership: design thinking. Design thinking is a method of tackling problems that does not presume a solution. It replaces a linear mindset that prioritizes completion over innovation with an iterative approach aimed at constant refinement and open to unexpected discoveries.

Design thinking is introduced in the Online MBA program’s first course, Renaissance Manager, through a framework derived from the Renaissance ideal of Leonardo da Vinci. Adapted for the modern business world, this ideal informs the decisions of effective design thinkers by driving them to:

  • Approach new challenges with voracious intellectual curiosity
  • Bring deep expertise in an enabling field to their work
  • Develop and maintain broad knowledge and interests to transcend limitations
  • Think systematically and logically to focus on creative, well-reasoned solutions

When you embrace design thinking as it is taught throughout the Online MBA curriculum, you will build the mental agility to accept new information openly, collaborate generously and innovate perpetually in search of meaningful improvements rather than finite solutions. You will join the revolutionary leaders who have graduated from our Online MBA program in focusing diverse ideas into sound strategy and facing a changing business landscape with confidence and poise.

Renaissance Manager was a phenomenal way to start the program. I really liked how it addressed the major challenge impacting every business today—disruption

The Wicked Problem: Your Roadmap to Revolutionary Leadership

Threaded throughout your Online MBA coursework is a “wicked problem” which you will select during the introductory Renaissance Manager course and explore in each subsequent course, up to and including the culminating Revolutionary Leader Practicum.

A wicked problem is defined by the following characteristics:

  • An unknowable set of potential solutions
  • No definitive agreement on the nature of the problem itself
  • No way to know with absolute certainty that a chosen solution is best

By their very nature, wicked problems are best approached through design thinking, as their resistance to clear paths and easy answers demands an approach that seeks neither of those things. Instead, you will work to refine and improve a set of possible solutions, viewing each as a beta test and none as an endpoint.

Each course of the Online MBA program helps you add new skills and knowledge to your management toolkit which you can incorporate into your design thinking mindset, whether they be rooted in finance, marketing, business analytics or other business disciplines. As you progress through the program, you will compile a wicked problem portfolio to track your iterative engagements with your problem; this portfolio is shared with your classmates to provide opportunities for collaborative problem-solving and mutual growth.

This journey concludes with the Revolutionary Leader Practicum in which each Online MBA student delivers a TED-style “Tribe Talk” detailing ways they engaged with their wicked problem across their time in the program. By summarizing the steps you have taken toward unraveling your problem and identifying potential solutions, you will demonstrate the growth mindset required to lead with vision, openness and limitless potential.

Explore the Wicked Problem

How wicked is your problem?

Start identifying the wicked problems in your life with this simple checklist, then explore how our Online MBA can help you devise the best solution.

Online MBA Courses Overview

William & Mary's academic calendar offers three unique start dates throughout the year, so you can enroll when the time is right for you and complete the Online MBA in as few as 24 months. All courses are accessed through our engaging online learning platform, which makes it easy for students to track their assignments, connect with faculty and peers, submit coursework, and view lectures—and all that’s required is an internet-connected computer or a mobile device.

We require that all admitted students complete a quantitative refresher course covering accounting, economics, finance, statistics and spreadsheets prior to entering the program to ensure preparedness for the quantitative coursework you will encounter throughout the MBA curriculum.

Waivers for this course are available to qualified students. Contact an Admissions Advisor for more information.

Year 1 Courses

BUAD 5017: Renaissance Manager (4 credits)

This course provides a context for business, historically, functionally, and cross-culturally. It addresses the nature of problems; modes of thinking and inquiry; approaches to problem identification, framing/re-framing, and problem-solving; and approaching problems from multiple, interdisciplinary perspectives.

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BUAD 5107: Financial and Managerial Accounting (4 credits)

This course introduces students to the roles that accounting systems play in various organizations and global markets. Accounting is frequently referred to as “the language of business”, emphasizing its prominent position in both business communications and decision-making. The reports derived from accounting systems are often the primary way that information within organizations – as well as from organizations to various stakeholders – is communicated. Such information provides essential input and serves as a fundamental basis for managerial and stakeholder decisions. At the conclusion of this course, students should understand the primary elements of this language so that they are able to communicate more effectively about important business matters.

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BUAD 5507: Organizational Behavior (4 credits)

Organizational behavior is a field of study that seeks to understand, explain, and improve human behavior. The structure of this course is designed to explore how Renaissance Managers can improve two aspects of human behavior. The first is job performance, or the degree to which employees can perform the behaviors necessary to help the organization reach its goals. The second is organizational commitment, which is the extent of an employee’s loyalty to the present organization rather than seeking employment elsewhere. This course will guide students through a model that seeks to explain both areas of organizational behavior.

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BUAD 5707: Business Analytics (4 credits)

The primary aim of this course is to supply the student with the analytical tools that are needed for success in business. The course covers various tools that are necessary to analyze and understand the implications of collected data, including statistical tools (hypothesis testing,correlation and covariance analysis, probably distributions, simple and multiple regression, forecasting), statistical decision-making, simulation, constrained optimization, and sensitivity emphasized throughout the course.

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BUAD 5607: Operations (4 credits)

To achieve competitive advantage, managers must understand how to design and control products and services, as well as the systems for their delivery. To reach that understanding, this course focuses on issues of planning and control of complex products and services, as well as managing quality and continuous improvement and control of the supply chain.

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BUAD 5947: Global Managerial Economics (4 credits)

This course explores the essential macro- and microeconomic theories and evidence about how markets work and the factors that hinder their execution in an applied, global framework. As part of the course, students will assess the effects of other countries’ differing monetary and fiscal policies in relation to the competitive conditions in various industries. They will also apply demand and cost analysis and industrial structure to frame and answer the questions of optimal pricing, resource allocation, global outsourcing, and competitive strategies.

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Year 2 Courses

BUAD 5307: Finance (4 credits)

This course teaches students about the concepts and tools of valuation, financial and project analysis, financial forecasting, risk and return, cost of capital and mergers and acquisitions.

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BUAD 5407: Marketing (4 credits)

This course will focus on developing the integrated marketing programs that address customer needs, competitive activity, channel and supplier behavior, macro environmental factors, and market evolution. Strong emphasis is placed on assessing the market and developing a responsive marketing mix that includes product policy, pricing, channels of distribution, integrated marketing communications, and support structure.

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BUAD 5227: Integrated Technology (4 credits)

This course is designed to introduce students to the basic information technology and digital fluency. Emphasis will be placed on understanding how managers can participate in opportunities to select and successfully implement information technologies in order to promote business strategy. Interactive analytic tools will be used to solve business problems involving various functional areas.

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BUAD 5517: Leadership for the 21st Century (4 credits)

Leadership in the 21st century extends beyond the traditional topics of culture, networking, change management, and diversity. In a society where technologies are constantly disrupting communication and teams are becoming increasingly global, managers must be able to cope with constant change, messaging and empathy, and the powerful leadership trends that are emerging.

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BUAD 5907: Strategy (4 credits)

This course covers analysis for decision-making at industry, firm, and business levels, concentrating specifically on multi-business firms and global industries. Firm resources and competencies, business and environmental demands, and the sources of competitive advantage are also major points of focus throughout the course, which stresses the practical applications of theory.

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BUAD 5967: Revolutionary Leader Practicum (4 credits)

The Revolutionary Leader Practicum is a supervised business workshop that allows each student to apply the functional and design skills they have learned to the “wicked problem" of their choice. As a final deliverable, students must provide a detailed description of the problem itself, the approach(es) taken to address it, overall results, lessons that were learned, and any next steps.

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Optional Foundations in Business Analytics Certificate Courses

BUAD 502A Probability and Statistics I (3 credits)

In the area of probability, this course covers the concepts of discrete and continuous probability distributions as well as conditional probability. It also covers basic statistics, which can be thought of as a set of tools for interpreting data. These include descriptive statistics, which permit us to describe basic characteristics of data, including the computation of means, standard deviations and ranges of a data set. This course also covers inferential statistics, which are methods for uncovering deeper insights from the data, such as hypothesis testing. Finally, the course considers data visualization as an integral part of data analysis.

BUAD 502B R Programming (1 credit)

This course provides a set of programming skills using the R programming language, which is widely used in business analytics for statistical computations.

BUAD 502C Python Programming (1 credit)

This course provides a foundation of Python programming skills for business analytics including knowledge of Python data types, facilitating repeated execution through the application of loops, using conditional statements, programming the input and output of data, the use of Python packages, and the construction of functions.

BUAD 502D Linear Algebra for Business Analytics (3 credits)

This course provides a set of linear algebra tools for performing business analytics including vector-matrix multiplication, Gaussian elimination, computing determinants, computing matrix rank, computing matrix column and row spaces, performing eigenanalysis, and performing principal components analysis.

BUAD 5112 Competing Through Business Analytics (4 credits)

This course will include a survey of the state-of-the-art in business analytics, examining companies that have used business analytics for competitive advantage and how they have done so. This course will teach business acumen and how the field of analytics fits within the context of business. Topics will include business metrics as used for performance measurement and incentives, communicating with impact, visualization, and the functions of a company—how they interact, what data they have, and their development and deployment of algorithms. The course will also include a survey of opportunities for problem solving using business analytics in operations, supply chain, human resources, finance and marketing, as well as an introduction to more advanced analytics tools.

Please note: Course list and sequence are subject to change.

I am extremely surprised with the level of rigor the program entails. During a given week you will have numerous readings, quizzes, individual reflection papers and group project work.

Dive deep into the Online MBA.

Get a closer look at courses, program highlights and admissions requirements by downloading our program details guide

Give Your Online MBA an Analytics Focus

We recognize that many motivated professionals today wish to build a set of technical skills that fall outside of our standard Online MBA curriculum’s focus. For this reason, we’re excited to offer two options to accommodate our students’ demand for more robust programming and analytics courses.

As an Online MBA student, you may either:

  • Register for BUAD 502B R Programming and/or BUAD 502C Python Programming from our Online MSBA curriculum to augment your Online MBA with knowledge of these languages
  • Complement the Online MBA program with our Online Foundations in Business Analytics Certificate to add hands-on technical experience to your leadership toolkit over a five-course (12-credit) curriculum

Both of these options can be integrated seamlessly into your Online MBA program sequence, allowing you to build these additional skills without extending your time to degree. Contact an Admissions Advisor for more information.

Not interested in our Online MBA? View all of our program options.

Discover the Value of Cohort Diversity

Our Online MBA cohorts have historically represented more than a hundred undergraduate universities and an impressively diverse selection of ethnicities, career fields and professional histories. The story these statistics tell is that this program is one in which a variety of voices come together to develop their skills while also contributing to the personal and professional growth of others.

Gain invaluable exposure to a varied group of peers with new and important perspectives, and let their insight help you navigate the challenges and opportunities created by the wicked problems of modern business.

Average Cohort Data and Statistics


undergraduate institutions represented


average years of work experience


average undergraduate GPA (on a 4.0 scale)


ages 26-45


U.S. minority




from financial services background


from military background


from government background


from technology background

NOTE: Statistics are based on cumulative self-reported W&M Online MBA Student Profile Data collected from all cohorts between Spring 2016 and Spring 2018.

Interested in Our Online Programs?


Priority Application Deadline

June 11
Fall 2021 term

Application Deadline

July 30
Fall 2021 term

Next Start

August 30
Fall 2021 term

1. Based on a limited sample of self-reported data from alumni of W&M’s Online MBA program from graduating cohorts between 2016 and 2020

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