Cross Continent Class

How the Cross Continent MBA Breaks from the Norm

Jeremy Petranka

Two multi-term courses—Global Markets and Institutions and Culture, Civilizations and Leadership—help bring the complexities of global business to life and help students understand different economies.

Read a Q&A with Professor Jeremy Petranka

A Student's Experience

Farman Syed gives the Cross Continent Graduation 2011 speech

Farman Syed highlights lessons learned during the Cross Continent program. He spoke during his graduation ceremony.

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Related Information

Learn more about The Duke MBA—Cross Continent program.

Over 6 terms, you will complete at least 16 courses, including: 

  • 10 core courses that span all functional areas of business
  • 4 elective courses that allow you to sharpen your skills in a particular discipline or broaden your knowledge of several functional areas
  • 2 multi-term courses in which you will develop global business intuition and competence

For more detailed information on the curriculum, please explore the tabs below.


Core Courses

Financial Accounting
This course focuses on how economic events and transactions are communicated through the financial reporting process to users of financial reports. You will learn the skills to read, analyze, and understand financial reports based on both international rules (International Financial Reporting Standards, IFRS) and U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The emphasis of the course is on the use of financial reports rather than their preparation.

Managerial Effectiveness
An introduction to the study of the behavior of individuals and teams in organizations. The course examines also the impact of national and regional culture on management practices. Emphasis is given to managerial and leadership actions that enhance organizational effectiveness. Topics include leadership, motivation and reward systems, decision making, power and politics, conflict management, and organization structure and design.  

Managerial Economics
This course is about markets and how they work. You will examine the decisions of firms, consumers, and governments and how they interact to determine market outcomes both within domestic markets and across borders in global markets. You will also explore a variety of market structures, ranging from perfect competition to oligopoly to monopoly, and apply the analysis to international cartels, pricing across national boundaries, and entry into foreign markets. 

Statistical Models
In order to make informed decisions under uncertainty, managers must learn to analyze and understand data concerning relevant variables and relationships and to make inferences and predictions on the basis of such data. This course sharpens quantitative and analytical skills and develops tools for interpreting data and making predictions.  

Global Financial Management 
This course provides an overview of corporate finance, financial markets, portfolio diversification, and asset pricing in a global setting. You will study fundamental issues and models of risk, expected return, and asset pricing. Learning modules will examine bonds, stocks and capital budgeting techniques. Futures and options markets are introduced and the effects of debt and equity financing policies are examined.

Corporate Strategy 
This course considers the tools and frameworks that managers, consultants and analysts use to analyze complex competitive situations and make sound strategic decisions in a dynamic global business environment. Students will learn how to evaluate markets and strategies, build and sustain competitive advantage, and align the internal strategy of a firm with the external environment.  

Decision Models
Many decision problems — particularly those involving uncertainty and/or complex interactions — are difficult to grasp intuitively and the stakes may be too high to simply guess or go with a "gut instinct." This course introduces several frameworks for formally modeling decision problems (decision tree analysis, Monte Carlo simulation, and optimization) and provides an introduction to the art of building spreadsheet models of business problems. 

Marketing Management
Modern marketing philosophy holds that only those firms that provide high customer value can succeed in the long run. Creating this value in a global environment requires that managers must effectively: assess marketing opportunities by analyzing global customers, global competitors, and their own company; and design effective marketing programs by selecting appropriate strategies for pricing, promotion, place, and product and adapting them across markets. This course examines the frameworks, processes and tools necessary to analyze markets and design optimal marketing programs. 

Managerial Accounting
Managerial accounting is concerned with the use of accounting information by managers to plan and control (evaluate) personnel and operations of the firm. The focus is on planning, decision-making, and control by the organization and on the accounting systems that managers use to support their strategic and operational decisions about resource allocation and performance evaluation.

Operations Management
Operations Management involves planning and controlling the processes used to produce the goods and services provided by an organization. Managing these processes can be quite challenging — they are often complex, and can involve large numbers of products and facilities, huge volumes of materials, and great distances. Specific topics include analysis of production processes, the impact of variability on process performance, inventory management, global operations, and the strategic role of operations in the firm.

Multi-term Courses

One of the unique characteristics of the Cross Continent curriculum is the inclusion of two multi-term courses. These courses offer one-of-a-kind experiences. The content for the courses will embed and connect the 5 in-country experiences of the Cross Continent program: China, Chile, India, Russia, and the United States.

The interactive nature of these courses will force you outside of the classroom and provide visceral experiences that will help you become more connected and embedded in each region, making you a truly competent global leader. Some assignments will be non-traditional engagement activities intended to facilitate rich, illustrative classroom discussions and will guarantee that you experience each region to its fullest. In region, you will engage in activities such as taking a cab ride, exploring local landmarks and interviewing locals. In addition to providing you with some of your richest and most memorable educational experiences, these activities will help demonstrate how region-specific institutions, markets, cultures, and civilizations both enhance and hinder international commerce.

Global Markets and Institutions

Institutions serve the fundamental role in global business of reducing the uncertainties and risks associated with international commerce. In the absence of institutions, innovation and commerce suffer. You will learn about the evolving nature of global institutions and markets, and the role of formal and informal institutions in facilitating (or hindering) commercial trade.

As you progress through the course, it will become apparent that the same problem might be addressed by differing, jurisdiction-specific institutional arrangements around the world. You will also learn about the difficulties associated with applying an institutional arrangement developed in one country to another country. By the end of the course, you will:

  • Have a greater appreciation for the complexities associated with globalization, institutions, incentives, corporate governance, regulation, business law, international finance and accounting, organizations and management, and international trade.
  • Learn from your classmates who hail from all over the world and bring their own unique business experience and perspective to classroom discussions.
  • Develop a business vocabulary that spans markets and institutions.

Culture, Civilizations and Leadership

Understanding the differences and similarities in cultures and civilizations provides a basis for understanding the management challenges associated with running a global firm. The core objective of this course is to develop a working knowledge of how to evaluate culture and how to use this understanding to improve the way you engage and lead others. Much of the course will be experiential and your learning will be through personal experiences in each residency and through direct interaction with speakers who are regional experts or exemplary leaders within the region. The course also includes "Culture Dash" projects through which you to engage with the culture to gain greater perspective and context to process your experiences. Throughout the course, you will:

  • Learn the historical context of many of today's political, business, and societal debates, and become acquainted with the cultural traditions associated with a region's history. 
  • Explore current issues from a variety of perspectives including the region's current business climate, social and economic issues, and basis for competitive advantage. 
  • Develop an appreciation of the context within which business operates around the world providing you with greater global insight that you will be able to apply throughout your career.
Elective Courses

Electives courses provide an opportunity to explore advanced topics in one or more disciplines. Electives are taken jointly with Weekend Executive MBA students in Durham, during Term 6.

Elective course offerings vary from year to year. Past courses included:   

  • Corporate Finance
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Emerging Markets
  • Energy & the Environment
  • Entrepreneurship & New Venture Management
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Health Sector Management
  • Investments
  • Leadership
  • Market Intelligence
  • Marketing of Innovations
  • Negotiation
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Service Operations or Supply Chain
  • Valuation & Fundamental Analysis
  • Venture Capital & Private Equity

Electives may be taken to earn a Concentration or a Certificate.


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