Outdoor Industry MBA


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Faculty & Staff


D. Scott Borden, Ph.D. headshot
Director, Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.2294
Office Location: Kelley Hall 108
Jeffrey Dykes, Ph.D. headshot
Associate Professor of Business Administration, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.3189
Office Location: Borick Business Building 226
James Harriss, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Banking & Finance, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.3005
Office Location: Borick Business Building 215
Sally E. Hays, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Economics, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.2893
Office Location: Borick Business Building 228
Jessica Laramie, J.D. headshot
Director of Energy Management Program, Senior Lecturer in Business Administration, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.2538
Office Location: Borick Business Building 225
Taryn Mead, Ph.D. headshot
Graduate Faculty for the School of Environment & Sustainability and Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.3954
Office Location: Kelley Hall 106
Brooke Moran, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Recreation & Outdoor Education for MEM Graduate Program, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.2118
Office Location: Wright Gym 223
Kevin A. Nelson, Ph.D. headshot
Associate Dean of the School of Business, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.2610
Office Location: Borick Business Building 243
David J. Plante, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Economics, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.2207
Office Location: Borick Business Building 244
Joel Watson, Ph.D. headshot
Assistant Professor of Marketing, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.3008
Office Location: Borick Business Building 246
Jay Whitacre, Ph.D. headshot
Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Office Location: Paul Wright Gym 231


For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

 MBA 600 - Sustainability Accounting (3 cred.)

An integration of the principles of financial and managerial accounting to prepare the manager to use accounting to assess and manage the health of the organization. Students also explore environmental, social and ethical accounting issues, which challenge students to apply existing accounting systems to new settings and critically analyze existing and proposed accounting systems.

 MBA 601 - Managerial Economics (3 cred.)

An introduction to the fundamentals of managerial economics, focusing on microeconomics, macroeconomics, with a backdrop of ecological economics. Provides an understanding of the standard or neoclassical microeconomic model and how this model is useful for business decision-making and provides a critique of this model and present a more heterodox view of economics.

 MBA 602 - Managerial Finance (3 cred.)

An introduction to financial decision-making theory and practice, which deals with major issues in managing the inflows and outflows from the Chief Financial Officer’s (CFO) perspective. This course includes financial analysis, forecasting financial needs, sources and use of funds, efficient allocation of funds within the firm, risk/return decisions, capital budgeting, and the firm’s relationships with investors, financial markets and financial institutions.

 MBA 603 - Leadership, Ethics and Organizational Behavior (3 cred.)

An investigation of how and why complexities increase as individuals form groups or teams, and as various groups form organizational systems. Students learn how to bridge leadership-management roles, how to distinguish between required systems and emergent systems, and how to assess ego-motivation, eco-motivation, and employee ownership in designing effective teams and workplaces.

 MBA 604 - Business Law for the Outdoor Industry (3 cred.)

Legal matters encountered in the outdoor industry. Included is an introduction to real property, environmental regulation, water law and contracting. Agreements involving customers, vendors, insurance, procurement, risk management and liability are also addressed.

 MBA 605 - Competitive Dynamics in the Athletic and Outdoor Industry (3 cred.)

An examination of the distinctive challenges and insights of the athletic and outdoor industry. Students examine the unique business practices of both manufacturers and retailers in this industry. Students look at issues such as brand management, customer service, innovation and sustainability in the athletic and outdoor industry.

 MBA 606 - Marketing and Brand Strategy in the Outdoor Industry (3 cred.)

An introduction to the framework for marketing management. A survey of trends and an overview of concepts and techniques as they relate to the customer experience, marketing opportunities, marketing strategies and communicating effective marketing programs within the context of sustainable management. Effective sales and go-to-market strategies for athletic and outdoor companies of all sizes.

 MBA 607 - Strategic MGT Business Models for the Outdoor Industry (3 cred.)

Students develop their ability to analyze the organizational and external factors essential for creating and executing a firm’s strategy for sustained success. The course draws heavily from the key concepts, frameworks and tools of strategic management. Other topics include competitive advantage through commitment, competitor analysis, organizational responses to environmental changes, modularity and increasing returns.

 MBA 608 - Resort and Hospitality Management (3 cred.)

Examination the operations and management of resorts, including hotel operations. Guest relations, amenities and facilities design and management, event management, customer service, leadership, communications and problem solving are also covered. Students are also exposed to techniques used for data analysis and service measurement, to assess operational performance and efficiencies and staff turnover. 

 MBA 609 - Sustainable Outdoor Product Development and Material Sourcing (3 cred.)

Students work through the product planning process, all the way from concept to consumer. This is not a focus on the design component, but provides students with a comprehensive picture of the importance and value of all the steps from creating to launching a product.

 MBA 610 - Supply Chain and Logistics in the Outdoor Industry (3 cred.)

Strategic and tactical issues pertaining to the distribution and delivery of products and services are examined. Also covered are global sourcing strategies and the global supply chain used by the sports product companies including the history of sourcing in Asia and the importance of managing sustainability in this process. Prerequisite: MBA 606.

 MBA 611 - Topics in the Outdoor Industry (0 cred.)

An examination of current topics in the outdoor industry.  Graded S/U.

 MBA 613 - Natural Resource Regulation and Economics (3 cred.)

Students examine topics in the environmental regulatory scheme, knowledge of which is imperative to operating a sustainable business, including many federal acts and policies. Presentation of the analytical tools and approaches used by economists to examine and assess environmental issues, conflicts and policies. Students use various techniques to investigate a variety of resource-based issues.  Prerequisite: MBA 601.

 MBA 614 - Sales and Customer Experience (3 cred.)

Focuses on helping students take advantage of the unique opportunities that outdoor industry businesses have to craft stories that leverage the emotional connection customers have to their personal outdoor experience. Students learn to become qualified, well-trained professional sellers which helps to maximize the potential of the product and the company.

 MBA 615 - Sustainable Finance (3 cred.)

An introduction to how sustainability/ESG (economic, environmental, social & governance) issues have become financially material to the global credit, underwriting, insurance, risk management, venture capital and asset management capital markets. These issues have a direct impact on risk exposure and the quality of public, private and government debt/equity investments.  Prerequisite:  MBA 602.

 MBA 691 - Capstone Project (3 cred.)

Students develop a project designed to increase the profitability and functionality of their current organization (or another relevant organization if they are not employed in the outdoor industry). By creatively responding to real-world business issues, students deepen the analytical, technical and leadership skills they need to succeed. Projects relate to topics such as the development of a marketing plan, a modified financial tactic, or the development of a legally viable sustainability initiative.   Prerequisite: Completion of all other MBA requirements.

Are you interested in moving up the professional ladder and bringing your lifestyle with you? Western’s Outdoor Industry MBA allows working professionals to obtain a non-generic, advanced degree from anywhere in the world while creating meaningful impact. Evening online courses, immersion experiences and a final capstone project with an organization of their choosing, brings professionals the content and connections of a degree geared specifically to advance their careers, enter into the industry or create a new business.

The Program

This two-year program includes an MBA Core as well as specialized tracks for either the product or service side of the industry. The MBA Core includes traditional MBA courses with content focusing on the outdoor industry. The Product Concentration has specialized courses in Sustainable Outdoor Product Development and Material Sourcing; Supply Chain and Logistics in the Outdoor Industry; and Sustainable Finance. The Service Concentration has specialized courses in Resort and Hospitality Management, Natural Resource Regulation and Economics, and Sales and Customer Experience.

Western is located in beautiful Gunnison, Colorado. This is the location of the first immersion experience, where students take full advantage of the natural resources surrounding campus. Students will also attend two other Colorado immersions. Immersions are designed to build connections with industry leaders, establish relationships with the small cohort and ensure intimate faculty mentoring

If you value promoting health and wellness, protecting public lands, ensuring inclusive spaces, connecting people to nature and meaningful employment, apply below.

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Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Headshot of Lindsay Wells in the Borick Business Building
Outdoor Industry MBA Program Coordinator
Office Location: 
Borick Business Building 223

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