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One of the most unique aspects of the William & Mary Online MBA program is the emphasis on innovative problem-solving, a topic that’s introduced in the very first class.

Instead of focusing solely on traditional topics like accounting or operations, the Renaissance Manager course asks students to identify a “wicked problem” they are currently facing in their personal or professional lives, learning the best ways to approach and eventually solve their wicked problems.

But, what exactly is a wicked problem?

Wicked problems are characterized as having an unknown number of potential solutions, with no way of truly knowing which solution will yield the best results. Once an issue has been identified, its “wickedness” can be assessed using a specific set of criteria, which we’ve outlined in the rubric below. Problems must qualify as “somewhat wicked” in at least four areas in order to be considered sufficiently wicked for use during the program.

Consider how you would approach a wicked problem in your life by answering our questions below. Once you’ve completed the questions, use the answer key at the bottom to determine how wicked your problem truly is.

How wicked is your problem?

Learn more about what it means to tackle a wicked problem as an Online MBA student.