Whether it’s a required course, elective or focus area, you will find a legal component in every MBA program. And no matter how many times an MBA curriculum evolves, legal topics will always be part of the program. The reason why is simple: business leaders and decision-makers familiar with business law are less prone to legal mistakes, says the College of Business at University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC). Legal mistakes can cost companies millions of dollars and they can quickly sink a small business. This means that knowing the laws that regulate business is crucial for every MBA.

Says UTC, understanding the laws and regulations involved in starting a new business saves entrepreneurs time and effort. “These laws, properly understood, are an instruction manual for new business owners, covering everything from business structure to licensing and employment.” Further, “these regulations equip decision-makers with the tools they need to work with the public, other companies and lawmakers.”

Though most MBA programs require a legal course or two, students don’t have to stop there. To ensure that all bases are covered, students should consider choosing additional legal courses to meet elective requirements. They may even take additional courses on their own, with approval. The following are just a few examples of courses that may be available as elective options or part of the curriculum:

Managing the Legal Environment of Business

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Addresses the legal aspects of business relationships and business agreements. Topics covered include forms of business organization, duties of officers and directors, intellectual property, antitrust, contracts, employment relationships, criminal law, and debtor-creditor relationships including bankruptcy. –Berkeley Haas

Leadership and Corporate Accountability (LCA)

Legal, ethical, and economic responsibilities of corporate leaders. –Harvard Business School

Legal Studies & Business Ethics

Options: Responsibility in Global Management, Responsibility in Business. –Wharton

 Business Law

An overview of the legal system and survey of legal standards applicable to companies, including laws impacting corporate formation and governance, contracts, tort liability, employment law and unfair competition. The course is designed to help executives understand how to manage risk in light of applicable standards. –Rice University (Jones)

Law of Business Organizations

Focuses on the legal environment in which management decisions are made including agency relationships, duties of senior management, rights of shareholders, insider trading, and more.

-Michigan Ross

 Privacy, Technology, Policy, and Law

This course seeks to equip students to understand the multiple perspectives relevant to managing privacy in an organization, both for private-sector companies and for government.

–GeorgiaTech (Scheller)

Legal Issues in Finance and Banking

Covers legal issues related to securities law, systemically important firms, hedge funds and derivatives, and private equity and venture capital. - Michigan Ross

 International Business Law

This course covers the GATT and the World Trade Organization, he regulation of import competition and unfair trade, regional trade agreements in North America and European Union, international commercial and sales laws, imports and customs law, intellectual property rights and licensing, and labor and employment discrimination law. –GeorgiaTech (Scheller)

Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship

This course offers an examination of legal issues that every entrepreneur should understand, from start-up to IPO. -Michigan Ross

Business and Government Regulation 

Covers the mechanisms by which government regulates business at the federal, state and local levels, including regulation by legislative bodies, executive branches of government, administrative agencies and the courts. Concludes with an in-depth look at examples of financial, environmental and competition regulation. –GeorgiaTech (Scheller)

To enhance the legal weight of the MBA even more, students could opt for a concentration in Business Law, Business Law and Ethics, Corporate Governance, International Business, or other related area. The options are limitless.

In the end, it’s never a good idea to underestimate the value of law in business, so choose your courses or concentration wisely.  


"Business Education Standards." National Business Education Association (NBEA). National Standards for Business Education, 2007. Web. 03 July 2017.

"Study Business Law With an Online MBA Program." College of Business - UTC Online. University of Tennessee Chattanooga, 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 03 July 2017.