The core information systems (IS) course in an MBA program (the foundations IS course required for all students) is typically one of the hardest to teach. The wide range of student skills and the differing opinions on the content make this course a perennial problem. Who is the target audience? What should be the focus of the course? What is the appropriate course content? What is the proper balance between technical and managerial topics?

To help answer these questions this paper investigates the problematic issues surrounding the core IS course and the current pedagogical approaches. An examination of past studies on IS skills seems to suggest academia should consider redesigning the MBA level core IS course. The paper proposes a new IS managerial approach to the course that may better fit the needs of middle and senior managers. This approach differs from previous approaches by making the central focus of the course the skills/knowledge needed by management, particularly general management, for exploiting information technology. A detailed description of a course example following this proposed new approach is provided along with a discussion of the flexibility that this approach offers MBA level IS instructors in achieving various pedagogical objectives. The paper concludes with some limitations associated with the approach and how these limitations can be overcome.