Outdoor Industry MBA 3+2


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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.

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
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


Institutional Scholarships

Common Scholarships

Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit our scholarships page.

Early Action Credit

If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit western.edu/mars.

Neighboring States Program

Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Presidential Promise

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Tuition Discount Programs

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Western Merit Scholarship

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • Career Fairs: Connect with future employers during the various career fairs in the School of Business and around Colorado.
  • ICELab: The Innovation + Creativity + Entrepreneurship (ICE) Lab on upper campus is a space that provides startups and expanding businesses with the materials and support needed to succeed.
  • Office of Career Success: Business students have a department-specific career services professional.
  • Study Abroad: Experience Harlaxton College in the English Midlands.

Based in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Western’s Outdoor Industry MBA is the first of its kind in the United States. Combined with an accelerated “3+2” pathway, this is truly a one-of-a-kind program that equips future leaders with the business acumen, sustainable vision and industry connections needed to raise and run environmentally-conscious companies in the 21st century.

Degree Details

  • B.A. in Business Administration: A versatile degree that covers all corners of the business world—from marketing and sales to resort management and entrepreneurship. 
  • Outdoor Industry MBA: A rigorous, online graduate degree with traditional MBA coursework and specialized courses for the product and service side of the outdoor industry.


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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