The Curriculum

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Comprehensive and Intercultural

In six thematically distinct modules, the curriculum of the MANNHEIM & TONGJI Executive MBA covers all important areas of management – always practice-based, leadership-oriented and founded on an international, Sino-German perspective. Teamwork plays an important role in the program: Participants work on many program topics in deliberately heterogeneous small groups.

Another important component is the soft-skill courses which are part of every module and illuminate various aspects of leadership. Finally, regular lectures from renowned industry experts provide insights into current challenges in the corporate world.

Finance Module

  • Financial Accounting for International Business Leaders

    The program provides managers with a business-oriented introduction to key financial accounting concepts. The course covers such fundamentals as balance sheets and income statements, as well as looking at the operational and leadership perspectives of accounting. One session deals with financial instruments and provides an understanding of the causes that led to the financial crisis. Finally, the course allows participants to learn how to evaluate financial statements, with a particular focus on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which will be discussed with special attention to doing business in China.

    This course aims at giving insight into the following key objectives: 

    • understanding the key concepts of financial accounting, such as balance sheets and income statements
    • gaining insights on how to analyze the financial performance of a company and how to link it to corporate controlling 
    • understanding financial accounting from a leadership perspective and how external reporting under IFRS is connected to internal decision-making
  • Corporate Finance

    The capital structure and refinancing costs of a company are important indicators of its financial health and ability to attract capital from investors and markets. In order to remain competitive and to avoid becoming a target for potential take-overs, organizations have to manage their finances effectively and earn premiums on the capital employed. This course enables the participants to attain an understanding of the key issues in corporate finance, including company valuation, costs of capital, and risk premiums.

    This course is designed to help participants:

    • understand the importance of corporate finance for the overall stability of a firm and the impact of different financing options on the costs of capital
    • learn how to calculate diversification effects and general risk premiums in financial markets and for specific companies
    • learn how to evaluate companies, merger options, and LBOs 
  • Mergers & Acquisitions

    The course focuses on five aspects of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures: (1) When are acquisitions and divestitures the most applicable tool to advance and implement a firm’s strategy? (2) How should acquisition targets be assessed, both strategically and financially, in the due diligence process? (3) How should acquisition and divestiture programmes be developed and managed? (4) How to become a successful systematic acquirer and how to develop a firm’s capabilities to manage divestiture processes successfully? and (5) How to lead the acquisition integration and divestiture separation processes? A number of cases of both successful and less successful companies accompanied with a set of analytical frameworks are used to develop participants' skills to successfully develop and execute acquisition and divestiture strategies.

    This course is designed to help participants:

    • gain an overview of the determinants of and patterns in merger and acquisition activity
    • learn about the central success factors and success traps in merger and acquisition processes
    • develop the ability to conduct the key strategic and financial analyses (e.g., valuation and due diligence more generally) which go along with mergers and acquisitions
    • learn about similarities and differences between acquisitions and other portfolio restructuring modes (i.e., divestitures, alliances) or other takeover mechanisms (buyouts).
    • learn to critically discuss and reflect upon previous transactions in business practice
  • Soft Skill Course: Negotiation in a Cross-Cultural Environment

    Sino-European deals are crucial due to the relevance of China as an Economic Power. Although deal making in western countries follows the “win-win” Harvard approach, when negotiating in Asia this model needs to be revisited and adjusted to their values and cultures.

Operations Module

  • Operations & Supply Chain Management

    This course introduces the key concepts, tools, principles and best practices in operations and supply chain management. It focuses on understanding levers for structuring, managing, and improving a firm’s recurring business processes to achieve competitive advantage in customer responsiveness, price, quality, and variety of products and services. These levers are as applicable to banks, hospitals, and brokerage firms, for example, as to traditional manufacturing. Processes within firms, as well as between firms, i.e. supply chains, are explored. The fundamental principles underlying state-of-the-art practices are examined so that participants learn and appreciate how operational innovations and improvements can help firms deal with uncertainties in demand and supply.

    The course is designed to help students:

    • understand operations and supply chain concepts and theories and the relationships between them
    • become familiar with several operations strategies adopted by leading companies
    • recognize strategic challenges and opportunities for managing operations
    • learn to use several basic analytical tools to assess performance tradeoffs and support decision making
  • Corporate Governance & Organizational Design

    Especially in times of failure, questions arise concerning how companies are “governing” their decisions and processes. Recent corporate collapses in the financial sector, but also the insolvency of whole nations such as Iceland, or the need for large-scale rescue funds like in Greece, show that the ways of managing companies and countries in some cases converge, and that the term “governance” is actually also appropriate in a commercial context. This course lays a foundation of legal frameworks and corporate governance mechanisms and applies and discusses them in examples and cases. Beside shareholder structures and other stakeholders of a corporation, organizational design is also a critical instrument for insuring checks and balances inside the company, which will also be covered under this aspect.

    The course is tailored towards managers and professional advisors who are designing, structuring or re-structuring organizations and who set the regulatory rules or supervise companies on a board level.  “Corporate Governance and Organizational Design” will improve the following abilities:

    • understanding principles of corporate governance in different jurisdictions
    • identification of conflicts of interest
    • designing checks and balances in an organization
    • understanding specifics in joint ventures in China
    • asking the right questions (risk management)
    • organizational design and re-structuring
  • Information Systems

    The past few decades have witnessed Information Systems (IS) grow in importance in the business world, coupled with ever faster innovation cycles. Ranging from the enrichment of routine working tasks (e.g. enterprise resource planning systems) to the enabled integration of entire business eco-systems (e.g. e-supply chains), IS have become a vital backbone of businesses.

    Consequently, the ability to implement and use IS in a way which supports the overall value proposition of a corporation has become a central success determinant for many firms. Accordingly, the “Information Systems” course is designed to introduce the nature, role, and potentials of IS in corporations and to enable the establishment of a meaningful interface between information technology and business. Furthermore, specific emphasis will be laid on challenges existing with global and cross-cultural information systems.

    The primary objective of the course is to enable participants to play a vital role at the intersection of technical and business issues, being able to bridge the gap between a company’s end users and IT experts. In doing so, they shall understand that IS transcend mere technological artifacts, constituting complex socio-technical phenomena. Specifically, this course aims at giving insight into the following key objectives:

    • understanding key characteristics of information systems used in globally operating Enterprises
    • learning concepts and techniques to successfully run the conversion process from IT
    • expenditures to IT assets
    • understanding how to manage the user process as a foundation for driving positive business impacts
  • Soft Skill Course: Change Communication

    Detailed course description following soon

Innovation Module

  • Business Ethics

    This program provides insights into the key ethical issues managers face in today’s private sector and public organizations. The course examines the meaning of ethics and its implication for managers, supported by analysis of the relevance of values and embedding critical values into the organization.

    Common ethical dilemmas faced by managers will be discussed, with a focus on the ethical competencies that managers need in order to effectively work through such dilemmas. The course concludes with an exploration of current and future trends in the area of corporate social responsibility and the ethical challenges managers are likely to face in the future.

    “Business Ethics” is designed to help participants:

    • understand the meaning and relevance of ethics for high performing managers
    • appreciate how individual values need to be incorporated with corporate values
    • examine the ethical dilemmas and considerations they are likely to face as managers in particular
    • identify the relevance and contribution of ethical codes of conduct within corporations
    • develop the ethical competencies that will assist them in their duties as managers
    • explore how to effectively embed responsible practice within the corporation
  • Innovation Management & Design Thinking

People Skills Module


  • Human Resources Management

    This course is designed to help students understand HR management in its basics, theories, concepts, challenges and trends, to act like an HR manager and to understand the key performance indicators, criteria and ways to develop HR management into a successful tool.

    Definitions and characteristics of HR management, employer and employees, objectives, challenges, concepts of HR management, meanings of management levels, law and contracts, consequences of demographic change, and shortage methods are all touched upon at the very beginning of this course.

    HR planning is also considered in depth, in particular the concepts and theory behind: goals, qualitative and quantitative planning, contextual factors, levels of requirement specification, analysis instruments, requirement profiles, classification and recruiting.

    The subject of personnel changes explores the topics of recruitment, HR development and lay-offs. Here the participants learn concepts concerning, for example, qualitative and quantitative terms, internal and external job descriptions, recruitment and personnel marketing, ethics in this environment, channels of recruitment, target groups, references and CVs. Information about perception and communication psychology, such as active listening skills and perception mistakes gives the students background information to understand processes and procedures in order to optimize HR management. Information about personal applicant selection supports the understanding and ability to realize an interview, a test or an assessment in an optimal way. As further aspect, total workforce management is addressed.

    Staff deployment and salaries are discussed, as well as personnel administration and HR controlling, two areas which are an important part of HR management. Our discussion touches upon challenges and trends, delving deeper into the topic HR management, its situation, global concepts, possible and necessary developments and changes in the future.

    “Human Resources Management” helps participants:

    • understand the whole background, processes and levers of optimal HR
    • management, enabling them to manage this independently in a structured way
    • optimize the current situation of HR management in their company
    • drive the future process of an integrated HR management
  • Organizational Behavior

    This course aims to offer insights on how people in organizations think and act. We engage with the human aspect of organizations and discuss themes and challenges that every leader is faced with. Essential themes such as organizational communication, decision making and culture are addressed. 

    Based on the insights gained from this course, participants will be able to:

    • appreciate the complexities and underlying factors shaping behavior in organizations
    • understand how communication goes beyond the transfer of information, towards shaping how individuals interpret salient issues, and the decisions that follow
    • appreciate the limits to rational decision making, the effects of cognitive biases, and how to minimize their impact
    • gain insights to the pervasive effects of culture and dominant logic, and how to avoid negative consequences
  • Leadership & General Management

    The purpose of this course is to investigate what makes a leader, what makes a successful leader and why leaders sometimes fail. We then proceed to look at typologies of leaders and the different forms of leadership behavior along the spectrum from democratic to autocratic, and how leaders operate in SMEs and corporations – which can be quite different. Examples will be looked at in a cultural context, using case studies and exercises to illustrate the presentation. We will look at management issues in relation to leadership to encourage consideration of this crucial connection. We include communication, the media and leadership and the crucial role of the leader in a crisis using simulations to help illustrate the themes.

    “Leadership and General Management” has three main objectives:

    • to make the participants more aware of the complexities of leadership and management
    • to improve their leadership skills in their respective professions
    • to share their experiences with other participants on what problems they found in a leadership context in their own professions, and how they could overcome them using honed leadership skills

Strategy Module

  • Management Challenges for SMEs and Family Firms

  • Entrepreneurship

  • Strategy Development

  • Soft Skill: Public Speaking & Presentation Skills

Marketing Module


  • Marketing Management

    This course aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the key concepts, tools and applications of contemporary marketing. It combines both theoretical and practical elements and is intended to help participants comprehend the nature of marketing functions and key areas of strategic marketing. In particular, the practical relevance of selected areas and marketing in the Chinese context will be elaborated upon in detail. Case studies and guest lectures given by business leaders will further enrich the course with practical insights. The ultimate goal of the course is to help participants grasp the unique challenges and opportunities an international company has to face in order to achieve its long-term corporate objectives using strategic marketing management. A final individual project will round off the link between theory and practice.

    “Marketing Management” is designed to help participants:

    • understand marketing concepts and theories and the relationships between them
    • describe the impact of environmental and contextual aspects of marketing strategy
    • understand cultural differences and their impact on marketing
    • recognize and apply tools of strategic marketing
    • develop a marketing plan that could be applied to the participants’ professional practice
  • B2B Marketing

    This course aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the key concepts, tools and applications of Business-to-Business-Marketing. It combines both theoretical and practical elements and is intended to help participants to comprehend the nature of marketing functions in a B2B-environment. Case studies and guest lectures given by business leaders will enrich the course with further practical insights.

    This course aims at giving insight into the following key issues:

    • what are the key characteristics of B2B-Marketing?
    • how should a B2B-company design and implement its sales management system?
    • how can customer relationships be managed effectively in a B2B-context?
    • how should a B2B-company manage its pricing system?
    • how can the innovation process and value-added service be managed in a B2B context?
    • how can B2B-brands be managed effectively?
  • Consumer Behavior

    Consumer behavior is complicated, but thanks to the development of social psychology and behavior science, we could now gain good insight into the principles of consumer behavior. If you understand these principles, you will know which option is more effective. 

    This course involves multiple disciplines including psychology, sociology, behavioral science, and, of course, marketing. It will consist of two major parts. The first part will focus on the factors which influence consumer behavior at the micro-level. These factors are the things we could control or even manipulate. They include motivation, perception, attitude and learning.

    The second part will focus on the latest findings from Behavioral Economics, discussing how cutting-edge research in Behavioral Economics could be applied in the marketing context. The study will help marketing managers better understand consumer decision-making process and design effective marketing and business strategies. Knowledge of these issues can be a significant source of competitive advantage, because they are unknown to most managers and are not taught in most MBA programs.

    The course will achieve the following learning objectives:

    • establishing students’ awareness in justifying marketing decisions from a behavioral perspective, helping reduce arbitrariness in marketing decisions
    • providing students with a framework to understand the process of consumer decision-making
    • improving the students’ own decision-making qualities
  • Soft Skill Course: China related M&A Transactions: a legal perspective

    Merger and acquisition (“M&A”) is a type of transaction that encompasses many interesting legal and commercial aspects. This lecture will provide EMBA students with an overall understanding, from a legal perspective, about how China related M&A transactions are handled. This lecture analyzes such important topics as transaction procedures and structuring issues. It also offers in-depth discussions on key legal documents used in M&A transactions, including such as confidentiality agreement, letter of intent, legal due diligence questionnaire and report, share purchase agreement, etc. Through case studies and in-class discussions, students will have the opportunity to apply knowledge that has been acquired in the course.

    The lecture aims to achieve following objectives:

    • to provide students with an overall understanding of the Chinese legal and regulatory framework with regard to inbound and outbound investments
    • to equip students with knowledge of managing cross-border transactions 
    • to familiarize students with key legal documents used in M&A transactions
    • to provide students with knowledge about special legal, regulatory, structuring, tax and other considerations that are relevant to China related M&A Transactions

Online Course

  • Writing on Identity

    Writing on Identity is an online course which is geared toward coaching graduate students through an intercultural experience as they participate in a Sino-German learning environment. The objective of the course is for participants to reflect upon their personal and professional identities in order to better understand how power and culture are negotiated within both the home and workplace environments.


    This course aims to create a learning environment through critical self-reflection and discussions of lived experiences in order to foster not only better understanding of the self. Additionally, participants are encouraged to reflect upon and discuss issues such as modes of communication, individualism versus collectivism, power, and gender to develop competencies of perceiving, evaluating, believing and doing in multiple ways.

Master Thesis

After the completion of all six modules and the online course, the participants will pursue the Master Thesis on a Sino-European topic. The Master Thesis is an integral element of the learning process of the Mannheim & Tongji EMBA. It provides an essential opportunity for participants to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills in combination with their rich business experience to tackle a challenging business issue. This can either be an issue of strategic importance for the company, or a more research-oriented topic. It is an interdisciplinary exercise, establishing links between the different business disciplines (e.g. marketing, finance, human resources, operations management) in order to generate sound and innovative recommendations.


Located in the heart of the German and European economy, Mannheim Business School (MBS), the umbrella organization for management education at the University of Mannheim, is considered to be one of the leading institutions of its kind in Germany and is continuously ranked as Germany’s #1.