MBA Syllabus: The Ultimate Guide for MBA

  • By Bhavya Thakkar
  • 8 April 2022

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Management education in India has witnessed evolution over the years. A modern-day Masters of Business Administration (MBA) graduate undergoes holistic and multidimensional knowledge enhancement about the several aspects of management as a profession and the overall business world. The subject areas covered during an MBA programme include a diverse range of topics from streams like Economics, Accounting, Communication, Information Technology, etc. The broad programme structure as highlighted in AICTE’s model curriculum for management 2018 includes Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Sustainability & Social Responsiveness, Management of Social and Not for Profit Sectors, Management of MSMEs, and Indian Ethos and Business ethics.

Syllabus and Subjects for MBA

Since all MBA programmes in the country are overseen by the AICTE, the MBA syllabus is similar across B-schools. There are 4 semesters spread over a period of 2 years, and 24 papers over this period. Some colleges also follow a 6-trimester system. Among the papers, some are core and others are elective. The syllabus is the same for all specialisations in the first year, but in the second year, some specific subjects are taught to different specialisations like MBA Finance, MBA Sales, MBA HR, MBA Marketing, etc.

Semester-Wise MBA Syllabus

MBA Syllabus for 1st Semester
Organisational Behaviour Quantitative Methods
Managerial Economics Financial Accounting
Marketing Management Human Resource Management
Business Communication Information Technology Management
MBA Syllabus for 2nd Semester
Organisation Effectiveness & Change Management Science
Economic Environment of Business Financial Management
Management Accounting Production & Operations Management
Marketing Research Management of Information System
MBA Syllabus for 3rd Semester
Business Ethics & CSR Strategic Analysis
Legal Environment of Business Elective Course
MBA Syllabus for 4th Semester
Project Study International Business Environment
Strategic Management Elective Course

MBA Subjects List

The subjects that are necessary to be studied by all irrespective of the specialisation area are called core. Electives on the other hand are those papers that students can pick as per their preference. 

Core courses as suggested by AICTE in its model curriculum are as follows -

  • Foundations of Management
    • Managerial (Micro) Economics - This subject deals with the nitty-gritty of how economics works. Topics like Demand & supply of goods and services, money and interest rates and pricing theory.
    • Indian Economy & Policy - This is more of macroeconomics that covers the birds-eye view of economics. Chapters will cover how policymaking affects the demand and supply as a whole, GDP, how GDP is calculated, monetary policies.
    • Business Communication - Topics covered include the importance of being professional and how one must communicate in a professional manner which includes professional email writing, the terminology used in corporate communication, interacting with one another to achieve business goals.
    • Legal and Business Environment (Micro & Macro) - This subject covers aspects relating to business law which include topics such as companies act, intellectual property act, information technology act to name a few.
    • Indian Ethos and Business Ethics - this covers topics pertaining to various business theories and practices used to solve problems, allowing for analytical thinking and making data-based decisions, ability to communicate the business goals effectively among many topics.
  • Finance 
    • Financial Reporting, Statements and Analysis - Topics covered are basics of financial reporting like GAAP and other concepts, preparing books of accounts, preparing trading, P&L and balance sheets and also understanding trends, ratios and cash flow statements.
    • Corporate Finance - This subject covers topics related to financial accounting, taxation, portfolio management, modelling & valuation to name a few.
    • Indian Financial System & Financial markets - the topics covered include the type of financial institutions in India, various financial assets like shares, debentures and bonds, and also the types of financial markets in India.
  • Marketing Management
    • Marketing Management - This subject deals with the basics of marketing, definitions, marketing strategy, history of marketing and the latest trends in marketing like digital marketing and its uses.
    • Marketing Research - This subject focuses more on the research aspect of marketing and uses various tools to gather information and make decisions accordingly.
  • Operations Management
    • Operations Management - topics covered include supply chain management, six sigma, price optimisation to name a few.
    • Project Management - focuses on problem-solving and how to handle resources efficiently.
    • Management Information System - in this subject, various topics like web application management, basics of data analytics and data management are covered.
    • Computer Applications for Business - Covers various aspects of computers, software, hardware, excel technicalities and overview of database management systems.
  • Human Resources Management
    • Human Resources Management - The topics covered include the basics of human resources, the importance of having HR in a company, a strategic approach to handling people in a company, compensation management to name a few.
    • Managerial Skills for Effectiveness  - This subject covers topics that include learning and understanding the basic skills that are important for an HR professional that aid in dealing with people and decision making.
  • Organisational Behaviour
    • Organisational Behaviour - A part of the HR specialisation, this subject will cover topics about behaviour, how people behave in an organisation, various case studies done in the past about people behaving in workplaces and productivity.
    • Organisation Design - this covers the concept and definitions of structuring an organisation and various ways and techniques that will help establish a firm setup among people in an organisation that will aid in achieving the business goals.
  • Strategy
    • Corporate Strategy - this includes understanding the concept of strategic management in a company and the pillars of corporate strategy with various case studies to demonstrate the importance of strategy conceptualisation and implementation.
    • Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability - This subject will talk about how the corporates give back to society and the various initiatives taken by companies in the past and also the importance of having a CSR team in the company.
    • Entrepreneurship - This subject will cover topics ranging from the definition, skills required to start a business, important aspects to know when starting a business.
  • Business Analytics 
    • Business Statistics and Analytics for Decision making - this subject will cover the basics of business analytics, the importance of business analytics and how data-driven decision making is important.
    • Quantitative Techniques - Topics in this subject include the various tools like SQL, Python, R programming that are used in helping crunch big numbers to aid in decision making.

Subjects in MBA First Year

Since an MBA is a two-year programme with 4 semesters generally, the subjects studied under the first two semesters (Semester 1 and Semester 2) are part of the MBA First Year syllabus. The focus in the first year is to build strong management and business-related foundation for the students. The subjects studied here are most common in all B-schools. Following subjects are covered in MBA First Year -

  • Organisational Behaviour
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Managerial Economics
  • Financial Accounting
  • Marketing Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Business Communication
  • Information Technology Management
  • Organisation Effectiveness & Change
  • Management Science
  • Economic Environment of Business
  • Financial Management
  • Management Accounting
  • Production & Operations Management
  • Marketing Research
  • Management of Information System

Subjects in MBA Second Year

The subjects studied under Semester 3 and Semester 4 form the syllabus for MBA Second Year. These are mostly advanced subjects in management, along with the electives depending upon the student’s specialisation. Furthermore, MBA Second Year is when the students are mostly busy with internships and projects. Common papers include -

  • Business Ethics & CSR
  • Strategic Analysis
  • Legal Environment of Business
  • Elective Course
  • Project Study
  • International Business Environment
  • Strategic Management
  • Elective Course

Elective Subjects for MBA

The elective subjects of an MBA student depends upon the area of specialisation. Following are the main electives as per AICTE Model Curriculum. 

  • Finance
    • Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management
    • Managing Banks and Financial Institutions
    • Project Appraisal and Finance Valuation
    • Financial Markets and Services
    • Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Restructuring
    • Financial Derivatives, International Finance, Behavioural Finance, Taxation
  • Marketing Management
    • Consumer Behaviour, B2B Marketing
    • Retail Management
    • Sales and Distribution Management
    • Marketing to the base of Pyramid Consumers
    • Integrated Marketing Communications / Promotion Strategy
    • Digital and Social Media Marketing
    • Product and Brand Management Services, Marketing International Marketing
  • Operations Management
    • Supply Chain and Logistics Management
    • Quality Toolkit for Managers
    • Pricing and Revenue Management
    • Operations Strategy
    • Sales and Operations Planning 
    • Behavioural Operations Management
    • Operations Research
    • Applications Management of Manufacturing Systems
    • Sourcing Management
    • Supply Chain Analytics
  • Human Resource
    • Manpower Planning
    • Recruitment, and Selection
    • Employee Relations
    • Human Resource Metrics and Analytics
    • Compensation and Benefits Management
    • Performance Management Systems
    • Team Dynamics at Work
    • Strategic HRM, 
    • International HRM
    • Cross-Cultural Management
    • Understanding Self: Indian Perspective
  • Strategy
    • Strategic Management of Services
    • Competing in Global Markets
    • Dynamics of Framing and Executing
    • Strategy Entrepreneurship in Practice
    • Foundations of Strategy Consulting
    • Strategic Leadership Designing and Configuring Business Models
    • Corporate Governance

Apart from the model curriculum suggested by AICTE, certain B-schools provide electives that they feel suitable for their students. Some of these as per their thematics areas are as follows -

  • Decision Science Subjects
    • Science and Management of Big Data
    • Analytics for Cross-Functional Excellence
    • Predictive Analysis for Business Forecasting
    • Competitive Advantage of Speed in Business Operations
    • Business Analytics and Intelligence
    • Spreadsheet Modelling for Business Decision Problems
  • Information Systems Subjects
    • Big Data analysis with networks
    • Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning
    • Foundations of Machine Learning
    • Information Systems and Development
    • Managerial Digital Transformations
    • Management of Information System and Technology
  • Finance and Accounting Subjects
    • Financial Markets
    • Advanced Corporate Finance
    • New Enterprise Financing
    • Financial Derivatives
    • Management of Commercial Contracts
    • Banking, Financial Markets, and Systems
    • Corporate Valuations
    • Project Appraisal and Financing
  • Economics and Social Sciences Subjects
    • Behavioural Economics
    • Business Law
    • Public Economics
    • International Macroeconomics
    • Financial Macroeconomics
    • Current Economic Scenario
    • Global Macroeconomics and Financial Markets
    • East and South East Asian Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
    • Venture Capital & Entrepreneurship
    • Corporate Growth in Entrepreneurial Environment
    • Investing in and leveraging your Social networks for Professional growth
  • Marketing Subjects
    • Competitive Marketing Strategy
    • Brand Management
    • International Marketing
    • Strategy, tactics, and economics of pricing
    • Marketing Communication
    • Services Marketing
    • E-Commerce
    • Business to Business Marketing

Specialisation Wise MBA Syllabus

The syllabus for MBA also depends on which specialisation one is opting for. Popular MBA specialisation areas include Finance, Marketing, Human resources, International Business and Operations. Given below are the subjects covered in each. 

MBA in Finance Syllabus

Specialising in the field of finance while pursuing an MBA opens doors to domains that specialise in banking, non-banking financial institutions, stockbroking companies and investment banking companies to name a few. Various roles such as analysts, equity analyst, derivative analyst, risk analyst positions are offered to candidates.

An MBA (Finance) graduate studies - Investments, Securities Analysis, Borrowing, Corporate investment management, Portfolio management, Hedge fund management, Small business and corporate finance, Fundraising, Collections, Disbursements, International Finance and thematic coverage of smaller topics like global financial institutions, valuation, volatility, fixed income securities, international markets and macroeconomics.

MBA in Marketing Syllabus

Marketing generally includes both sales and marketing though both are different sides of the same coin. However, a new branch of marketing that is digital marketing has also become popular which also includes marketing digitally or doing sales digitally as well. A student specialising in the marketing domain will be exposed to subjects that cover sales management, marketing of a brand and also digital marketing.

MBA (Marketing) Syllabus includes - Marketing Management, Salesforce management, Consumer and brand insight strategy, New product strategy, branding and marketing, Digital marketing and social media management, Forecasting, modelling, and marketing strategy, International and multinational marketing. 

MBA in HR Syllabus

Human resources has always been the crux of any organisation as a company cannot be run without it. Hence, students who specialise in this domain will be taught how to handle people through people management skills, keeping employees engaged, gauging the satisfaction of employees at work and addressing any grievances, dealing with compensations and rewards and issues that employees may face.

Subjects covered in MBA (HR) include - Fundamentals of Industrial Relations, Individual Behaviour in Organisation, Human Resource Information System, Business Environment, Human Resource Planning and Development, Human Resource Management, Training and Development, Managerial Communication and Skill Development, Performance Management and Competency Mapping, Quantitative Techniques in Human Resource Management, Compensation and Reward Management, Labour Laws, Contemporary Employment Relations, Economics of Human Resources, Human Capital Management and HR Audit, Managing Interpersonal and Group Processes, Cross Culture and International Human Resource Management. 

MBA in Business Analytics Syllabus

Like digital marketing, this specialisation has also picked up and is proving to be a game-changer in companies that employ data-analytics graduates. Students who choose this specialisation will be exposed to dealing with numbers and how to crunch the numbers using various tools such as Python or SQL and heavily relying on decisions using data.

An MBA (Business Analytics) graduate is taught the following subjects - Predictive analytics, marketing analytics, data mining, simulation modelling, analytics systems analysis & design, Financial Analytics, Optimization Analytics, Stochastic Modelling, Business Intelligence, Statistical Analysis, Data modelling and Big Data analytics. 

MBA in Digital Marketing Syllabus

This specialisation can be considered as a whole new course in itself instead of clubbing it under marketing specialisation. Since marketing includes both sales and marketing, the same can be applied in digital marketing as it involves branding and selling the company using the internet. Students specialising in this domain will be taught new skills such as digital advertising, social media marketing, SEO etc to start off.

MBA (Digital Marketing) is inclusive of broad subjects like - Digital marketing fundamentals, website planning and structure, Facebook marketing fundamentals, Ad campaigns and advance strategies, Google Ad Words, YouTube marketing, Google plus for business, website integration, Google Analytics and WebMaster tool and Search Engine Optimization. 

MBA in Operations Syllabus

Specialising in operations is for those who are interested in understanding how processes work and how can one better a process. This can be done by either reducing cost or using existing resources more efficiently and also planning and forecasting future demand to incorporate in the process.

A student with an MBA (Operations) degree will have learnt - Operations Management and Strategy, Tools for Implementation of Operations, Aggregate Planning, Competitive Capabilities and Core Competencies, Manufacturing Strategies, Service Strategies, Applications of Production Planning Techniques, Operations Research Applied to Production Planning, Optimised Production Technology, Computer-Aided Process Planning, Simulation Techniques, PPC in Supply Chain Management, Methods of Forecasting, Qualitative Methods of Forecasting, Associative Models of Forecasting, Introduction to Scientific Inventory Management, Multi-Echelon Inventory System, Quality Control Techniques, Quality-based Strategy, Value Stream Mapping, Business Process, Physical Database Modelling, Project Management Principles, Project planning, Project Process Flow, Project Feasibility Studies etc.

MBA in Banking and Finance Syllabus

Students who specialise in Banking will understand the ins and outs of the banking industry, the accounting principles and how to use them and customer relationship management.

Subjects studied under MBA (Banking and Finance) include - Principles and Practises of Banking, E-banking, Ethics and Moral Values, Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management, Bank Marketing, Risk Management in Banks, Financial Markets and Services, Human Capital in Bank Management, Strategic Management, International Financial Management, Insurance Products and Management, Technology in Banking, CRM and Retail Banking. 

MBA Entrance Exam Syllabus

There exists a multiplicity of MBA Entrance Exams in the country, namely CAT, XAT, SNAP, MAT, CMAT, IIFT and ATMA among several others. But the syllabus for them is generally similar, though minor differences like in question paper pattern, duration, and difficulty level exist. Aspirants can log on to the official websites of each of these exams so as to know the exact details. The pattern also changes over the years, hence exact information is updated every year. Most exams have three sections - Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, and Verbal Ability. Some also check the students for General Knowledge and Current Affairs. Following are the common topics that are covered in each MBA entrance exam syllabus. 

  • Quantitative Aptitude
    • Number Systems
    • LCM and HCF
    • Ratio and proportion
    • Percentage Calculation
    • Profit and Loss
    • Speed, time and distance
    • Linear and quadratic equations
    • Binomial theorem
    • Geometry
    • Trigonometry
    • Probability 
  • Data Interpretation
    • Tabular representation of data
    • Bar Graphs
    • Line Graphs
    • Pie Charts
    • Column Graphs
    • Venn Diagrams
    • Histograms
  • Logical Reasoning
    • Arrangements
    • Prepositions
    • Data Arrangement and Puzzles
    • Logical Sequence, Matching & Connections
    • Number & Letters Series
    • Clocks & Calendars
    • Blood Relations
  • Verbal Ability
    • Grammar Usage
    • Reasoning
    • Sentence Correction
    • Fill in the blanks
    • Idioms
    • Paragraph Summary
    • Facts/Inferences
    • Meaning-Usage Match
    • Synonyms & Antonyms
  • Current Affairs & General Knowledge
    • Constitution
    • Government
    • Laws
    • History / Geography / Economics
    • World Leaders
    • Science
    • Trade
    • States & Capitals
    • World Summits
    • Famous People & Achievements

Best Books for MBA

MBA gives a holistic view of how the management world is and how the corporate world works and the liberty to choose which domain we wish to enter when pursuing the course. Life in MBA will teach us a lot about managing everything right from subjects, exams, tests and even ourselves. And not to forget the endless books and case studies that we will read for presentations and tests are also there. There are numerous book that will talk about various topics in MBA but only a few are effective if we consider them seriously. Those few books are

Books for MBA in Marketing

Book Author
Marketing Management Philip Kotler
Marketing 4.0 Philip Kotler
Sales Management –Decisions, Strategies and Cases Richard R Still, Edward W. Cundiff and Norman A.P.Govani, Prentice Hall of India
Consumer Behavior Schiffman and Kanuk, Prentice-Hall
Rural Marketing: Text and Practice  Siddharta Raut and Pradeep Kashyap, Biztantra
Marketing Research – an applied orientation Naresh Malhotra and Satyabhushan Dash, Pearson
Integrated Marketing Communications: Putting It Together & Making It Work Don E. Schultz, Stanley I. Tannenbaum,‎ and Robert F. Lauterborn

Books for MBA in Finance

Book Author
MBA Fundamentals Accounting and Finance Michael P. Griffin
Macroeconomics for MBAs and Masters of Finance Morris A. Davis
Best Practices for Equity Research Analysts James J. Valentine
Interpretation and Application of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles Steven M. Bragg
Financial Lexicon: A Compendium of Financial Definitions, Acronyms, and Colloquialisms (Finance and Capital Markets Series) Erik Banks
Finance and Accounting for Nonfinancial Managers Samuel C. Weaver and J. Fred Weston
The Five Rules For Successful Stock Investing Pat Dorsey and Joe Mansueto

Books for MBA in Operations

Book Author
Project Interface Management -Reducing Risk on Major Projects Michael Bible, Susan Bivins
Warehouse Management - A Complete Guide to Improving Efficiency and Minimizing Costs in the Modern Warehouse Gwynne Richards
Managing Supply Chain Operations Lei Lei, Leonardo Decandia, Rosa Oppenheim
Production and Operations Management Systems Sushil Gupta, Martin Starr
Agile Project ManagementBeginner's Guide to Agile Operations and Methodologies for Quality Control Binkley Mj
Supply Chain Management For Dummies Daniel Stanton

Books for MBA in HR

Book Author
Human Resources Management(SIE): Gaining a Competitive Advantage Raymond Noe, John Hollenbeck
Human Resource Management 14e Dessler, Varkkey
Managing Human Resources Through STR (Managing Human Resources Through Strategic Partnerships) SCHULER, JACKSON
Human Resource Management: Text and Cases Aswathappa
HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT(SIE): Gaining a Competitive Advantage Raymond Noe and John Hollenbeck

Books for MBA in Digital Marketing

Book Author
The Art of SEO Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Jessie Stricchiola
Permission Marketing Seth Godin
Social Media Marketing All-in-one Dummies Jan Zimmerman, Deborah Ng
Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Digital Distraction Derek Thompson
New Rules of Marketing and PR David Meerman Scott
Jab Jab Jab Right Hook Gary Vaynerchuk
Digital Marketing For Dummies Ryan Deiss & Russ Henneberry
Youtility Jay Baer
Epic Content Marketing Joe Pulizzi

Books for MBA in Data Analytics

Book Author
Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data Charles Wheelan
Microsoft Excel Data Analysis and Business Modeling Wayne L. Winston
SQL in 10 Minutes a Day Ben Forta
Python for Data Analysis: Data Wrangling with Pandas, NumPy, and IPython Wes McKinney
Scoring Points: How Tesco Continues to Win Customer Loyalty Terry Hunt
The Hundred-Page Machine Learning Book Andriy Burkov
Practical Tableau: 100 Tips, Tutorials, and Strategies from a Tableau Ryan Sleeper
Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic
The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking Barbara Minto

Books for MBA in Banking and Finance

Book Author
Money Banking Financial Markets And Institutions Michael Brandl
Principles & Practices of Banking 2021 IIBF
The Economics of Money ,Banking ,and Financial Markets Fredric S. Mishkin
Risk Management and Financial Institutions John C. Hull
Money and Banking Richard E. Wright, Robert E. Wright, and Vincenzo Quadrini

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