Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

The Executive MBA program challenges students to complete eight courses consisting of individual learning exercises and team projects, plus a capstone course consisting of an individual project and a business simulation. Team projects require students to solve contemporary large-scale business problems utilizing a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach. Students also apply what they learn to specific consulting projects for actual companies. The capstone course course combines a business simulation experience with an individual student-proposed project, which may be a real business problem the student is facing or a new business idea the student wishes to explore.

The EMBA program begins with a 5-day orientation during which students are introduced to the program's technology and processes. The focal point of the orientation is a mini-project based on the question "Should X Buy Y?" with X and Y being two companies chosen by faculty and program alumni. Teams make a formal presentation of their findings and recommendations to industry experts. The orientation experience results not only in students gaining knowledge and skills needed for subsequent courses, but also in a strong bond between and among students and faculty.

In this course students learn quantitative approaches to analyzing business data and making better business decisions. The course has three components. The first two, data analysis and decision modeling, use statistical tools and business models, respectively, to aid management decision-making. In the data analysis component, students learn to apply statistical tools to making decisions in an uncertain environment using Excel and StatTools, a commercial Excel add-in. Decision modeling covers the model building process and its application, using Excel to formulate, solve and interpret linear programming models. The third component is the course project, which requires students to estimate the fundamental value of a public company, using critical methods and tools to conduct a valuation of a firm with a leveraged balance sheet.

Learning Outcomes

  • Extract information from large collections of data by organizing, presenting, describing and interpreting the data in the context of a business problem
  • Use Excel and StatTools to quickly and effectively perform data analysis and interpret results for descriptive statistical measures, confidence intervals and hypothesis tests, and regression analysis
  • Build Excel models of business decision problems in a spreadsheet
  • Estimate firm value through various models such as discounted cash flow and relative valuation
  • Use techniques of forecasting future cash flows, growth rates and discount rates based on fundamental analysis, macro-economic analysis, and industry characteristics


This course teaches students to formulate and execute a competitive business strategy. Students acquire skills in analyzing the industry environment, industry structure, evolutionary processes, and competitor moves that influence the performance of a business strategy. They build proficiency in assessing the potential of the resources and capabilities of a firm to create a sustainable strategic advantage. They recognize how business ethics, personal values, and social responsibilities affect strategic decisions and financial performance.

The course project requires student teams to develop a five-year strategic plan for a business organization. The team evaluates the current competitive strategy of the company, analyzes the conditions and trends in its environment, assesses company resources and competencies, and develops recommendations to improve its competitive position and financial performance, including a 5-year forecast of demand and pro forma financial statements that demonstrate the expected results of the recommendations.

Learning Outcomes

  • Assess the impact of economic, regulatory, socio-cultural and technological forces in the broad environment on the firm's industry and on its own strategic requirements
  • Define and analyze the competitive environment of a firm, including the trends and conditions that influence the strength of substitute products, potential entrants, suppliers and customers, and rivalry among competitors
  • Assess the resources and capabilities of a firm that support business objectives and performance objectives over time
  • Identify and evaluate the performance objectives and business strategy of a firm, including analysis of how the strategy will achieve the desired performance objectives and will create economic and social value, and assessment of the likely response of competitors and potential competitors to the strategy
  • Design the firm's structure, process and systems to implement a business strategy

Building upon skills acquired in Competitive Business Strategy, this course teaches students to formulate a global diversification strategy in a company with a portfolio of businesses. In doing so, students develop skill in analyzing the evolving global environment of business. They learn how relationships among business units and between corporate headquarters and business units can create strategic advantage and contribute to financial performance. They examine the complexities of managing units in different countries with differing cultures, regional economies, local needs, and ethics.

The team project requires students to develop recommendations for geographic expansion, business acquisition, divestiture, strategic alliance, or similar corporate strategy initiative to improve the performance of a global company. Support for the recommendation includes financial projections, corporate strategy considerations, and organizational impacts, including an analysis of the proposed strategic initiatives' synergies with other businesses in the firm's portfolio.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify, categorize and analyze diversification strategies and international strategies for firms that compete in multiple industries and/or multiple countries
  • Evaluate acquisitions, divestitures, resource developments, and strategic alliances from the viewpoint of a firm pursuing a global diversification strategy and attempting to create value through diversification and geographic expansion
  • Assess the resource capabilities, capital structure, and financial performance of a global diversified firm
  • Identify and evaluate the synergies that can result when a firm competes simultaneously in several industries and countries by leveraging resources and capabilities across them
  • Assess the appropriateness of organizational structures, systems, and processes for managing the complexities inherent in a global diversification strategy


In this course students learn how systematic design, analysis and management can improve the processes that produce and deliver goods and services. Students will gain the skills necessary to analyze and improve operating performance for manufacturing and distribution. Topics include process flow, bottleneck, and capacity management; total quality management; and supply chain management. These topics are examined through realistic business cases in a range of service and production industries.

The student project requires the implementation of operations theory. Teams advise a firm on its production and logistics plan and determine the plan's impact on income and profitability. Recommendations may include make-or-buy decisions, forward or backward integration decisions, continuous or revolutionary change processes, and redefinition of input or output requirements in terms of cost, quality, and service. The teams justify their recommendations in terms of the improved capacity, efficiency, effectiveness, or flexibility of the operation.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use data and analytical tools to improve the performance of manufacturing and service operations
  • Analyze and manage supply chains and physical distribution systems
  • Measure and estimate costs and variances
  • Evaluate make-or-buy decisions
  • Institute continuous or revolutionary improvement processes in an operation
  • Select among and manage alternative technologies for an operation
  • Manage process variability in supply and demand


In this course, students learn about consumer behavior, customer relationship management, new product development, and all aspects of marketing planning and implementation. Student project teams conduct consumer research, develop new product ideas, and propose a marketing plan for a new product for an existing business. This project involves extensive secondary and consumer research that includes implementation and analysis of consumer interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Many new product concepts are developed for the client and tested through use of concept testing surveys. After concept testing is analyzed, a full-scale marketing plan is developed for a recommended new product idea. This plan incorporates all forms of integrated marketing communication necessary to build awareness and create loyal customers.

Learning Outcomes

  • Conduct a SWOT analysis for a company
  • Design and develop new services or products
  • Define target markets and assess market needs for a new service or product
  • Segment markets and determine the advantages or disadvantages of serving them
  • Conduct marketing research and forecast market demand for a service or product
  • Position a product effectively in a selected market
  • Formulate an integrated marketing communications program and the marketing mix (price, product, place, promotion) for a new product or service
  • Present a persuasive sales pitch to a potential client


This course is focused on corporate finance and investment analysis, with particular emphasis on financial statement analysis, time value of money, various classes of securities, cash flows in the capital budgeting process, capital structure, asset management and risk management. The course project requires student teams to build a portfolio of securities. The portfolio can be equity only or a combination of different asset classes. The selection of securities is based on rigorous fundamental analysis. Students build their portfolios in the first three weeks of the course and track its performance for the next six weeks. The project makes extensive use of financial databases.

Learning Outcomes

  • Value the firm using bond valuation and equity valuation
  • Determine a firm's cost of capital and apply appropriate discount rates
  • Analyze the tradeoffs in financing projects with debt versus equity
  • Use capital budgeting techniques such as net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), adjusted net present value model (ANPV), and profitability index (PI)
  • Evaluate the tradeoff between risk and return
  • Build a diversified portfolio and perform analysis for security selection
  • Use CRSP and COMPUSTAT to download firm-specific data
  • Apply risk analysis to corporate finance
  • Use Excel to perform statistical functions


In this course, students learn to understand the implications of U.S. monetary policy, trade policy, and fiscal policy for business.

For the course project, student teams prepare a "White Paper for the White House," suggesting policy priorities that increase U.S. global competitiveness and innovation while taking debt, pension and unemployment pressures as well as widespread educational deficits into account. The White Paper will include policy recommendations in three areas: 1) reducing the national debt long-term, while maintaining economic growth in the short-term, 2) funding the U.S. Social Security obligations, and 3) job creation and training/education.

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate the economic impact of government regulation on individuals and organizations
  • Evaluate the financial and strategic impact of government regulation on the operating environment of organizations
  • Evaluate the fiscal position of the United States in terms of institutional, environmental, socio-economic and political factors
  • Use the public policies of other nations (e.g., Switzerland and Germany) as benchmarks for improving US policies
  • Evaluate global, comparative and national trends that impact U.S. public policies and the implications of these policies for business as well as for individuals
  • Identify causes and solutions (including education and training) to current problems facing the U.S. pension system, job market, and national debt
  • Understand the implications of U.S. monetary policy, trade policy, and fiscal policy for business and individuals
  • Control the role of the financial sector (i.e. banking, brokerage, insurance) so as to maximize economic stability and domestic stock market predictability while leaving enough freedom for entrepreneurship, job creation and sustainable economic growth


This course focuses on the human side of organizations and leadership, with secondary emphasis on strategy, marketing, and finance issues. The first part of the course covers theories and models at the organizational, group, and individual levels of analysis to explain employee behavior and performance. The second part examines organizational processes and stages, as well as human resource and leadership capabilities for leading change in organizations.

Student teams gather information on large, complex organizations over time to determine how the organizations have dealt with change in the past and to project what they might do to accommodate, or perhaps even anticipate, the need for change in the future.

Learning Objectives

  • Apply contemporary theories of motivation to individuals, groups, and organizations to accommodate to the challenges of change in organizations
  • Design jobs and manage employee reactions to work
  • Approach workgroup dynamics and problem solving
  • Develop a plan for organizational change
  • Understand and manage employees through shifting environmental changes that alter organizations' approaches to leadership and management
  • Adjust organizational structure over time
  • Identify and accommodate to shifts in organizational strategy, marketing and operations resulting from a changing environment
  • Apply frameworks and choose criteria for evaluating organizational effectiveness e.g., the balanced scorecard, Baldrige, triple bottom line


The capstone course is made up of two equally weighted components. The first requires students to design and implement a significant multidisciplinary research project of their own choosing. Program faculty approves all project proposals prior to the student beginning the work. The second is a complex management simulation in which student teams manage companies in a competitive marketplace, where the goal is to achieve the best performance as measured by a combination of traditional business measures such as ROI, market share and stock price.

Learning Outcomes

  • Design and organize a large scale business research project
  • Distinguish between empirical research and field research techniques as they apply to a business project
  • Use research methodology to solve an applied business problem
  • Select and use applicable data resources to support problem solution
  • Organize company resources to compete in a management simulation
  • Manage various company functions such as manufacturing, human resources, corporate finance and marketing in a simulated competitive business environment
  • Develop corporate strategies that promote company growth through understanding the simulated market environment and by taking advantage of strategic weaknesses of the company's competition
  • Analyze operating results in order to react appropriately to changes in the simulated market environment
  • Transfer the management skills developed in the business simulation to operations in the real world