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Executive Master's in Leadership: Course Listings

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The Executive Master’s in Leadership curriculum helps executive advance their leadership skills and gain a deeper understanding of management strategy.

The EML curriculum is organized around the following themes:

Leading Teams and Organizations
Tools for Leadership
Capstone Project
Looking to the Future

In addition, there is an opening residency, closing residency, and a global residency. Read more about the EML global residency here.

Leading Teams and Organizations 
Models of Leadership
This course provides an introduction to the study of leadership at the graduate level. Models of Leadership includes an analytical survey of major leadership perspectives, theories, and models. Participants explore both relevant theories and models and their implications for specific leadership contexts and challenges. A major goal of the course is to provide each participant with a repertoire of leadership concepts that can be applied, as appropriate, in a variety of specific leadership situations.

Leading Teams
This course is focused on leadership in the context of teams, the most common arena for the experience of leading — or being led. Exploring both the science and the practice of leading teams, the course highlights the leader’s role (e.g., designing, composing, structuring, and coaching a team) and the differences among various sorts of teams (e.g., entrepreneurial teams, creative teams, decision-making teams, virtual teams, and top management/C-suite teams).

Leading Change
The primary focus of this course is organizational transformation, or the leadership that fundamentally reorients an organization, its potential, objectives, and methods. In particular, Leading Change examines how effective leaders are able to bring about fundamental change in organizational settings and why certain methods and techniques, and not others, are effective in particular settings.

Strategy of Organizational Leadership
Students will analyze and understand the building blocks of competitive strategy and organizational leadership and learn to establish and defend an organization’s dominant position in its industry.

Scenario Planning
Scenario Planning builds capacity for scenario thinking as it relates to the leadership of organizations and groups. The course introduces participants to a robust technique for creating scenarios, with an emphasis on the value of scenarios as tools for environmental monitoring, innovation, strategic planning, and short-term alignment of initiatives. Vigilant leaders spot opportunities and threats before others. Scenario Planning provides a disciplined process to guide this focus on the future and tools to manage key uncertainties.

Creating and Changing Cultures
Building on Leading Change, Creating and Changing Cultures focuses on helping students understand the power of organizational culture and a leader’s role in shaping and leveraging it. The course explores major perspectives on culture to create frameworks that allow students to analyze culture, understand its strengths and weaknesses, and learn how a leader can use culture to bring the best results to the organization.

Tools for Leadership 
How Leaders Develop
This course weaves together two major themes — the development of individuals into leaders, from both the personal and organizational perspective, and methods for studying leadership and leadership development in a systematic way. The course provides a survey of research methods most likely to be useful in preparing the Master’s Paper for each participant — methods such as literature reviews, participant observation, interviewing, and surveys — while exploring the available research on the development and maturation of leaders.

Human and Social Capital
Social capital is defined as the resources embedded within and available through social relationships. This course demonstrates how an organization can attract, develop, and retain talented people (human capital); systematically build trust and social capital; and thereby enable organizational success. The course provides a context for understanding how an organization can identify and nurture potential leaders.

Building on previous coursework in team leadership, this class develops students’ negotiation skills. The course explores interaction between individuals and teams and the systems that interact with or affect them. Subsequently, students will conduct multi-level analyses on such topics as cultural nuances, identity, barriers, perceptions, motivation, group entanglements, creativity, social identity, and intergroup behavior.

Power and Influence
Exploring the dynamics of power and influence within human organizations, topics include the role of power in leadership (and vice versa); the interface of values, behavior, and perceptions; and an exercise in “creating yourself” as a leader.

The ability to make good decisions is a fundamental skill for leaders in all organizations. This course provides students with a systematic way to think carefully about decisions to arrive at more informed choices and will thoroughly examine the “pitfalls” (i.e., cognitive biases) that commonly derail good decision-making. Topics include decision structuring, tradeoffs, analysis, and traps.

Leadership Communications
Students will learn how to present their message successfully, from understanding their audience and integrating visuals to creating strategies for difficult conversations.

Capstone Project 
The Master’s Paper is an individual capstone project that provides an opportunity for each EML student (guided by a faculty mentor, and with input from a faculty reader) to carefully explore a personally relevant leadership issue. Capstone Project Weekend provides an opportunity for each EML participant to make an oral presentation of his or her project to classmates and to EML faculty. The event is open to the Georgetown McDonough School of Business community.

Looking to the Future 
Anticipating the Future
World-class leaders share their visions of current trends and likely developments in areas such as global demographics, economics, geopolitical developments, technology, and social trends. The course takes place during the initial and final portions of the program. The first portion emphasizes trends relevant to the location of the pending Global Residency, and the second portion touches on issues likely to prove directly relevant to the future of participants as leaders.

Developing a Personal Leadership Action Plan
Participants integrate concepts learned throughout the program into a personalized action plan that identifies the strategic priorities, action steps, and areas of opportunity in their individual leadership journeys. The plan that each student produces serves as a guide for future growth and success and directly prepares the participant for the Closing Residency.