Business Economics & Strategy
Students will be introduced to principles and conceptual frameworks for evaluating and formulating business strategy. Topics include the analysis and optimal decisions, consumer choice and the demand for products, market structures and strategic interactions, strategic positioning and competitive advantage, and the role of resources and capabilities in shaping and sustaining competitive advantages.
Risk and Uncertainty
These sessions will provide frameworks for reasoning about decisions in uncertain environments. Case studies will be used to motivate the importance of probabilistic reasoning to avoid the systematic biases that cloud decision making. Formal probabilistic tools will be introduced and their relevance to modern business issues is conveyed. Some of the applications include inventory management with uncertain demand, selection bias, rare events, real options and risk. Statistical techniques will be used to analyze relationships.
Accounting for Decision Making
The accounting sessions will cover fundamental accounting concepts and how they manifest themselves in the three primary statements—the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows. The discussion of basic concepts will lead into some of the most important questions faced by the financial community today: accounting for intangible assets and contingent liabilities, when to recognize revenue, and the tension between cash-basis, accrual-basis, and fair value accounting. Myriad high profile accounting scandals over the last decade brought into public view the importance of organizational governance and accounting’s central role in the governance process. The Sarbanes-Oxley reforms, fair disclosure regulations, and the role of auditors and audit committees will be discussed.
These sessions will focus on cost of capital, forecasting cash flows and evaluation of investment projects. Firms make investments any time they spend money with the expectation of return in the future, not just when they invest in traditional instruments. One of the key determinants of the value of an investment is the cost of capital. Just as firms consider the cost of raw materials and labor, they should also consider the cost of capital when making investment decisions. These sessions will help students understand how risk is measured by investors and the market and thus how it is priced. Participants will learn how to estimate the future expected cash flows generated by the investment by valuing a product extension of a large food concern.
The goal of these sessions is to introduce a supply chain framework and highlight the importance of strategic fit. In particular, the focus will be on building supply chain capabilities for different stages of product life cycle. A simulation will be used to demonstrate the challenges in making operational decisions.
Strategies for Leading and Managing Organizations
A series of topics will be covered that will provide students with the social science tools needed to solve organizational problems and influence the actions of individuals, groups and organizations. They will be taught to understand how to best organize and motivate the human capital, manage social networks and alliances, and execute strategic change. This will be accomplished through knowledge of competitive decision making, reward system design, team building, negotiation, strategic organizational design and leadership, all of which will be covered in detail.
Marketing is essential for success in any organization; the ability to turn ideas into products and services that people actually want to buy is a core skill for managers. The marketing sessions will focus on building marketing and marketing strategy skills. They will also cover critical fundamental concepts and apply them to a variety of situations, including customer advantage, differentiation, the 4Ps, segmentation, targeting, and positioning.
Management of Intellectual Property
These sessions will discuss the importance of intellectual capital for competitive advantage. With globalization, intangible assets such as human capital, intellectual property, brands and relationships have become the dominant proportion of a firm's market capitalization. Yet most firms do a poor job of managing this intellectual capital strategically. This course will adopt a "lifecycle" approach to the management of an intellectual asset, covering the creation of the intellectual asset, the codification of the asset in the form of intellectual property (IP), the valuation of intellectual assets, the protection of intellectual assets, and leveraging of intellectual assets into future markets for growth.
Participants will be introduced to specific management skills needed during a crisis. Simply "doing the right thing" is not enough. Rather, companies increasingly find themselves as targets of aggressive legal action, media coverage, and social pressure. Organizations must be prepared to handle rapidly changing environments and anticipate potential threats. This requires a deep understanding of the strategic complexities in managing various stakeholders and constituencies. To provide students with realistic challenges, they will be exposed to crisis simulation exercises.