Course Descriptions

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This course supports your success as an effective communicator, innovator and leader in an age that demands immediacy and transparency. Translating ideas into successful efforts requires a communication discipline in writing and speaking that will persuade multiple audiences from diverse cultural, intellectual, and professional backgrounds. In short, you need to communicate effectively with those who will fund and follow your leadership. To achieve these goals, in this course you learn how to:

  • Develop a communication strategy appropriate to a defined situation
  • Analyze an audience to be effectively persuasive
  • Structure a message to achieve maximum impact for the listener/reader
  • Deliver effective prepared and impromptu presentations
  • Select and use appropriate media to match your communication intent
  • Prepare professionally written documents that meet the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Guidelines for Plain English

You are required to complete work both individually and as part of a team.

In this course, students learn how to program in R and how to use R for effective data analysis and visualization. This course is designed to enable students to turn raw data into understanding, insight, and knowledge by using R to import, prepare, understand, and communicate findings from data (Wickham & Grolemund, 2017). Students begin the course by developing a basic understanding of the R working environment. Next, students are introduced to the necessary arithmetic and logical operators as well as the salient functions for manipulating data. The common data structures, variables, and data types used in R are demonstrated and applied. Students write R scripts and build R markdown documents to share their code with others. They utilize the various packages available in R for visualization, reporting, data manipulation, and statistical analysis.

This course introduces the basic concepts of probability and statistics. We study the concepts of population and sample, discuss the difference between population parameters and sample statistics, and draw inferences from known sample statistics to usually unknown population parameters. We study discrete distributions along with their means and standard deviations paying particular attention to the binomial distribution. We explore continuous distributions and their probability density functions, paying special attention to the most central of the continuous distributions—the normal distribution. The Central Limit Theorem is introduced and confidence intervals and statistical tests are discussed.

This course deals with the fundamental aspects of measuring and modeling relationships between variables via correlation and regression analysis. Students learn to build and interpret simple and multiple linear regression models that use information from one or more variables to generate predictions. We discuss methods to detect outliers and check model assumptions as well as the business implications of incorrect modeling.

This course provides an introduction to the principles of financial accounting. In doing so, it covers the preparation and use of financial accounting reports in an economic business environment. When you have completed this course, you should understand: (1) how to read, prepare, and analyze financial accounting statements and related documents, (2) how to use those reports to make business decisions, and (3) how business transactions affect those financial statements. Achievement of these goals requires an understanding of the basic principles that underlie accrual accounting, as well as an appreciation of the amount of judgment required in applying these principles. An understanding of financial accounting is essential to anyone who uses financial information as an input to economic decision-making. Specific objectives include:

  • Recognizing accounting’s role in business and government
  • Identifying the basic financial statements, their interrelationships, and the information they provide to decision makers
  • Understanding basic vocabulary, definitions, measurement methods, and double-entry procedures associated with accounting and financial management
  • Understanding the difference between cash flow and accrual accounting
  • Becoming familiar with common analytical methods to measure business financial performance.

In Accounting 1, students learn about the four basic financial statements, their preparation and the rules of debit and credit. This course revisits those accounting topics in greater depth and from the perspective of a financial statement user. We place particular emphasis on managerial discretion and the potential for earnings manipulation. Managers can use the flexibility afforded by accounting rules to allow their company’s financial statements to better communicate the underlying economics of the firm, or managers can potentially exploit the rules to manipulate earnings opportunistically. Understanding where accounting rules afford discretion helps stakeholders form opinions about the quality of the financial statements and the extent to which they appropriately reflect the underlying economic value of the entity. Along the way, we look at some “good” examples — and some “horrible” warnings — using the documents public companies file with the SEC as well as examining shareholder lawsuits where investors allege wrongdoing by companies (and often their accountants). When you have completed this course, you should understand how to use financial accounting statements and related documents to make business decisions, and how business transactions affect those financial statements. Achievement of these goals requires an understanding of the basic principles that underlie accrual accounting, taught in Accounting 1, as well as an appreciation of the amount of judgment required in applying these principles. Ultimately, knowing when and how managers have discretion over the application of accounting rules (and examining when they might have incentive or ability to abuse that discretion) helps you be a better-informed investor, customer, lender, or other stakeholder in the economy.

This course provides an overview of the economic analysis of firms, industries, and markets. The overriding constraint in society is the scarcity of resources that actors face. We examine the rationales for decisions by individual buyers and sellers, how these decisions are aggregated through markets, the forms that competition can take, the role of industry structure, and the influence of government policies. This course is intended to provide students with tools and conceptual frameworks that they can use to better understand and analyze business decision-making and the government-policy environment in which businesses operate. In addition, the course introduces analytical tools, like game theory, that are useful in the study of strategy, finance, marketing, and other business areas. Key concepts addressed include:

  • Opportunity cost (which costs matter)
  • Economic incentives and how firms and individuals respond to them
  • Optimizing choices when faced with scarcity
  • Strategic behavior and how to use game theory to predict and respond to your rivals’ decisions
  • Market power (the impact of buyer or seller concentration)
  • Externalities (when economic activities impact 3rd parties) and optimal responses to them
  • Asymmetric information (what happens when economic actors know something other actors do not).

This course provides decision makers with a systematic understanding of critical aspects of the international business environment, especially the basic workings of the macroeconomy and the roles of international trade and foreign exchange. Students analyze the sources of long-term economic growth and the differences in growth performance of countries. Some of the key concepts we introduce include:

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP), its components, and how it is measured
  • Growth accounting, the Cobb Douglas production function, and the importance of productivity
  • Inflation, deflation, and the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  • Money, interest rates, and the role of central banks
  • The business cycle and drivers of expansions/contractions
  • Comparative advantage and the gains from trade
  • The balance of payments, the current account, and exchange rates.

We capture and store data about pretty much every aspect of our lives. All companies store their data in databases, and a prerequisite for any analytics effort is the ability to access and organize the data that are stored. In this course, we explore the basics of relational databases and examine how to use SQL for querying, browsing, and exporting data from databases. We use a variety of real data sources for our examples and, starting from very basic queries, we see how to generate increasingly sophisticated results.

We will study the fundamental principles and techniques for data science and advanced analytics.  We will develop conceptual frameworks for thinking through the solving of business problems with data science methods, especially predictive analytics.  After taking this course you should be able to:

  1. Approach business problems data-analytically, think carefully and systematically about whether and how data can improve business performance, and make better informed decisions for management, marketing, consulting, investment, etc.
  2. Interact competently on topics of data science for business analytics and understand the fundamental principles of data science processes: data, algorithms, humans, and systems. You will understand these well enough to interact effectively with CTOs, expert data scientists, data science consultants, etc. and be able to manage data science projects and consult on analytics solution design.

This course is a rigorous, quantitative introduction to financial market structure and financial asset valuation. The main topics of the course are the time value of money, discounted cash flow valuation, no-arbitrage pricing, portfolio theory, equilibrium asset pricing (CAPM), fixed income and equity securities, and derivative pricing. You are expected to understand valuation formulas and be able to apply them to new problems. The appropriate tools necessary for solving these problems are developed at each stage and practiced in the homework assignments. The models we cover have immediate applications and implications for real-world financial decisions. To take this course, students must be comfortable with statistics, calculus, and microeconomics.

This is an introductory course in corporate finance. The course has three main objectives:

  1. Develop an understanding of the tools that are used to value investment projects and companies (valuation and capital budgeting)
  2. Understand the basic issues involved in how firms should raise funds for their real investments (financing, capital structure, and cost of capital)
  3. Evaluate how investment and financing decisions are related

Emphasis is placed on appreciating the limitations and challenges that are faced when applying the theoretical framework of corporate finance to real-world problems.

This course is designed to inspire you with a positive vision of what business can be, a realistic vision of what it often is, and a roadmap for how to navigate through the hazards and opportunities you will face in your career. Specifically:

  • You will learn about the types of traps that lure business professionals into ethical lapses and criminal behaviors.
  • You will learn enough moral psychology to understand how well-intentioned professionals can get lured into such traps.
  • You will learn conceptual frameworks that help you to navigate ethical gray zones with more confidence and better results.
  • You will learn what characterizes companies with positive ethical values, and why you are better off working for them, or creating them.
  • You may, if you choose, commit yourself to a standard of professional conduct that will help to make your work more fulfilling and honorable.

Negotiation is the art and science of securing agreements between two or more parties that are interdependent and seek to maximize their outcomes. We negotiate daily with potential employers, co-workers, bosses, landlords, merchants, service providers, partners, parents, children, friends, roommates, and many others. Although we negotiate often, most of us know little about the strategy and psychology of effective negotiation. As a manager you need not only analytical skills to solve problems, but also strong negotiation skills to get your solutions accepted and implemented. The primary learning method we use is experiential. Students prepare for and simulate a variety of negotiations. The skills you develop will serve you in both your personal and professional life. Unlike real life, after each negotiation you will have access to three unique sets of data:

  1. How you performed, relative to others who had the same role, information, and objectives,
  2. How successful you were in maximizing the “pie” in the negotiation, relative to what was objectively available, and
  3. How you were perceived by the other party.

If you had this information in every negotiation you faced, imagine how quickly you could improve your negotiation skills and your performance. Expect to become a much better negotiator in this class.

Data visualization is an essential skill required in today’s data-driven world. With its foundations rooted in statistics, psychology, and computer science, practitioners in almost every field use visualization to explore and present data. This course shows you how to better understand your data, present clear evidence of your findings to your intended audience, and tell engaging data stories that clearly depict the points you want to make all through data graphics. The skills learned in this course offer enormous value for creatives, educators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders in a variety of industries. Whether you are a seasoned visualization designer or just learning about it now, this course will serve as an introduction and reference to becoming visual with data.

Business organizations of all types face chronic management problems that pose significant challenges. These problems include: (1) designing organizations capable of coping with highly dynamic business environments, (2) developing strategies and structures for hyper-competitive conditions, (3) the greater complexity of managing global enterprises, (4) shaping a corporate culture, (5) managing politics and conflict between individuals and organizational units, (6) motivating employees who are more mobile than ever, (7) designing attractive incentive systems, and (8) managing teams effectively. How leadership can deal with such challenges is the subject of this course. The course has three major components. The first is “macro” in nature. It focuses on organizational level issues and problems, such as how an organization should be designed (e.g., centralized or decentralized), what strategy it should follow (e.g., where and how it will compete), and how culture and control affect organizational dynamics. The second part is more “micro” in nature. It focuses on employee-related challenges, such as how to a) get things done in politically sensitive environments, b) evaluate and reward people, c) make effective decisions, and d) organize groups and teams to work together. The macro component is concerned with overall organizational performance, while the micro component is concerned with managing individual and group effectiveness. The third part of the course brings these two perspectives together through the lens of leadership and organizational change. This course introduces some of the central theories and frameworks in leadership and how to apply them to real managerial problems. It also provides you with a better basis for understanding and evaluating organizations and their business leadership practices. Finally, it is designed to help you develop—or at least reflect on—the skills required for effective leadership in an organizational setting.

In this course, we discuss Operations as a mindset focused on execution – on the ability to get things done. Since this ability is a key to maintaining a competitive edge in today’s ever-changing business environment, Operations is relevant to anyone at any function of the business and at any level of the organization. The basic premise is that of managing processes, rather than individual tasks or events. This course examines processes systematically throughout their life cycle, from design to execution to continuous improvement. It equips students with a set of process-focused skills such as how to analyze a process, how to measure its performance, how to allocate available resources, and how to set up a process improvement program.

This course introduces the basic principles and techniques of applied mathematical modeling for managerial decision-making. Students learn about the toolkit of prescriptive analytics and practice how to employ it for quantitative decision-making. The central theme of the course is learning about optimization modeling; that is, students learn how to convert business problems into models that can be solved using modern optimization algorithms. More generally, students:

  • Develop mathematical models that can be used to improve decision making in an organization
  • Sharpen their ability to structure problems and to perform logical analyses
  • Practice translating descriptions of decision problems into formal models, and investigate those models in an organized fashion
  • Identify settings in which models can be used effectively and apply modeling concepts in practical situations
  • Strengthen their analytics skills, focusing on how to use the prescriptive analytics to improve decision-making.

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the basic concepts of marketing management and experience in making marketing decisions in uncertain environments. Specifically, the course covers issues relating to developing marketing strategy and planning marketing tactics. This treatment is largely from a practical perspective with the emphasis being on managerial decision-making. After successfully completing this course, students will have learned the following:

  • An understanding of the central concepts of marketing
  • How to develop a marketing strategy
  • How the elements of the marketing mix work to implement the marketing strategy
  • How to identify and address the key decisions facing marketing managers and marketing decision makers
  • An appreciation of how digital technology has changed marketing and affects decision making.

Marketing begins and ends with the consumer – a key concept from your core marketing class. The purpose of this course is to further enhance your understanding of consumer behavior and provide you with consumer insights for better managerial decision‐making. We take the perspective of a marketing manager who needs knowledge of consumers in order to develop, implement, and evaluate effective marketing strategies. Besides learning how to gather data firsthand, we examine many concepts and theories from the behavioral sciences and analyze their usefulness for marketing strategies.

Strategy seeks to answer the core question of why some firms sustain high returns while others earn moderate to low returns. We cover concepts and frameworks for identifying environmental and firm level factors that help explain the performance of a business. The material covered in this course builds on microeconomic theory with the goal of developing students’ analytical reasoning skills. Additionally, we look at actual cases, sometimes in hindsight and sometimes in real time, and analyze real-world problems and opportunities. In practice, strategy is messy and complicated. This course offers students a lens that improves analytical reasoning skills rather than a tool that “cracks cases.” With diligent class preparation, students will be able to describe business situations in a more comprehensive, logical, and structured way.

This course builds on the foundation established in Business Strategy, extending the study to consider how firms find and execute profitable growth. We explore why firms may diversify into a range of businesses, why firms may choose to vertically integrate by producing key inputs for their final products, and how the governance of such multi-business firms is handled by senior leadership. While the underlying analytical perspective of Business Strategy is a key component of this course, we also add concepts and frameworks to help you analyze and understand large or diversified, multi-business organizations.