This list is representative of the nature and number of electives offered each year.
ADVANCED MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING (AMA)
Professor Richard Sansing
This minicourse explores advanced topics in managerial accounting, which in turn focuses on how a manager should make decisions in the presence of accounting information. We will use the concepts of opportunity cost and organizational architecture as a framework for the study of managerial accounting. Opportunity cost is the conceptual foundation underlying decision-making; organizational architecture is the conceptual foundation underlying the use of accounting as part of the firm’s control system. We examine these issues using case discussions. Successfully completing Managerial Accounting is a prerequisite for taking Advanced Managerial Accounting.
Because of the importance of accounting information in promoting the efficient allocation of resources by capital markets, we study the external financial reporting process and the general manager’s responsibilities with respect to this process. We focus, in particular, on how financial accounting systems are designed to capture the underlying economics of an organization’s business strategy and operations as well as the roles of accounting principles, rules, and institutions in improving the quality of financial reporting.
Two conceptual challenges arise when measuring corporate performance for financial reporting purposes. First, performance must be measured for a single period when economic transactions can have an impact over multiple periods. In CFR, we explore accrual accounting, which involves forecasting the future economic consequences of current transactions, as a mechanism to overcome this challenge and facilitate period by period performance measurement.
Second, managers are allowed considerable discretion in making the estimated forecasts required of accrual accounting. Managers often have their compensation tied implicitly or explicitly to accounting performance and therefore have incentives to bias their estimates of performance. In CFR, we will examine how managerial incentives can affect reported performance.
The course follows a case format that emphasizes practical implications and applications of financial accounting over unnecessary technical expertise. Upon completing the course, students should expect to be able to confidently converse on financial reporting issues with accountants and non-accountants alike in their future management careers.
FINANCIAL REPORTING AND STATEMENT ANALYSIS (FRSA)
Professor Thomas Porter
Financial Reporting and Statement Analysis (FRSA) will greatly increase your depth of understanding financial statements. The course is designed to prepare you to analyze, interpret and use financial statements effectively, both from a general manager and investor perspective. This course will help to integrate much of the material covered at Tuck, particularly in accounting, finance, economics and strategy.
We will use financial statements as a window to peer into a firm in order to determine where value creation occurs and how managers may be using financial statements to guide value creating behavior and how investors use financial statements to identify value-creating opportunities. We will try to make the window easy to look through by considering the effects of the economic industry in which the firm operates, its business strategy, and, most importantly, its portfolio of accounting choices. With a clear view of a firm’s current operations, we will move on to forecasting future operations. The ability to compile forecasts is an important first step for valuation, so FRSA is a good complement to Corporate Valuation.
To perform an effective analysis of financial statements, you must have a strong foundation in financial accounting. In my experience, MBA students have different previous exposures to accounting. In order to level the playing field and to set you up for success in FRSA and Cases in Financial Reporting, the first two weeks of FRSA will provide an intensive review of the basics of accounting. We will study and practice the science and art of summarizing economic transactions into a set of financial statements. If you feel your foundational skills in accounting are weak, this review will help you enormously, not only for FRSA, but for your entire career in business regardless of your chosen occupation. If you feel your skills are already strong, then you will be able to lend your assistance and perspective to those wanting to strengthen their skills.
With a unified understanding of the financial accounting framework, we will move on to learn about the various accounting choices available that ultimately affect the numbers reported on financial statements.
FINANCIAL REPORTING FOR CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICERS(FRCFO)
Professor Jordan M. Schoenfeld
A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) typically oversees corporate financial reporting, manages an investor relations team, and influences decisions on corporate finance and strategy. Most students will at some point interface with, or assume the duties of, a CFO or someone in a related role such as a financial controller. It is therefore crucial to have an informed perspective on what these individuals do and worry about. This course is designed with this objective in mind and emphasizes: (1) investor relations and (2) the CFO’s role in corporate finance and operational decisions, with particular attention paid to the financial reporting implications of these decisions. Applying a framework from information economics, we conceptualize the CFO as someone whose role is to mitigate agency problems such as adverse selection arising from information asymmetry between managers and investors. The course builds on the tools developed in the accounting and finance core, namely the ability to analyze financial statements and valuation models. The course does not focus on journal entries. Each class session devotes time to concepts, computation, academic research, and discussion. The course is meant for students with broad interests, and the course material draws heavily from recent real-world events and takes the perspective of a manager running a firm.
FSIA is aimed at students who possess stronger accounting, finance, and quantitative skills and plan to pursue a career in investment banking, private equity, M&A advisory, or hedge fund. The aim is to ascertain the value of a firm’s shares using commonly used valuation techniques, with a focus on fundamental analysis (project a firm’s pro-forma financial statements and discount its future free cash flows). The course relies on cases, active class participation, and team-oriented assignments. The course ends with a team-oriented project involving valuation of two firms: an old-economy and a new-economy firm. Note: Students may take either this course or Financial Reporting and Statement Analysis (FRSA); credit cannot be earned for both courses given their similarity.
MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING (MA)
Professor Joseph J. Gerakos D'90
This course focuses on the internal use of accounting information as opposed to the preparation and evaluation of financial statements. Internal uses of accounting information include decision making and the implementation of control systems. The course framework is based on the concept of opportunity costs. The course's targeted audience includes students intending to become management consultants, entrepreneurs, brand managers, line managers, and non-profit managers. Topics covered include breakeven analysis, keep versus replace decisions, inventory accounting, overhead allocation, activity based costing, the opportunity cost of excess capacity, working capital management, performance evaluation, and internal controls.
TAXES AND BUSINESS STRATEGY (TBS)
Professor Leslie A. Robinson
This course has two objectives: First, you will gain exposure to key areas where taxes play a role in implementing business strategy. Business strategy broadly refers to a firm’s working plan for achieving its vision, prioritizing objectives, competing successfully, and optimizing financial performance. Taxes affect many strategic business decisions such as forming a new business and raising capital, investment strategies, financing projects, compensating employees, making shareholder distributions, expanding through acquisition, divesting lines of business, or expanding internationally. There are trade-offs in meeting organizational objectives at the lowest tax cost.Second, this course will introduce you to a framework for thinking about tax strategy. A tax code is a living set of regulations that are constantly changing and adapting in response to politics, perceived abuse, and business innovation. It is precisely this ebb and flow that creates both challenges and opportunities in the world of business. The details of tax law are quite nuanced (and will often require advice from a tax lawyer), but there is a thematic approach to effective tax planning that can guide decision-making even as specific laws and governments change.
As part of the Core at Tuck, Management Communication (ManComm) was designed to provide Tuck students with immediately applicable skills for professional communication. For students seeking to deepen their communication skills, Advanced Management Communication (AMC) expands beyond ManComm, shifting from a passive audience to an active one. In this minicourse, we’ll ask you to not only anticipate audience needs, but to actively manage questions from them. You’ll practice leading a dynamic discussion to reach a common set of objectives: soliciting audience input, asking for and answering questions and managing dissent. Similar to ManComm, we’ll follow the same prepare – present – reflect pedagogy and in-class time will be dedicated to presentations and feedback.
This term we’ll be in a remote learning environment. Overall, best practices for giving in-person presentations hold in a remote world; however, you need to be more explicit when remote and particularly in an interactive discussion. The skills you practice in this class will help you navigate remote work situations that are likely to continue in some form post-pandemic; they will also translate back to in-person engagements when the time comes.
Post-Tuck, you’ll regularly be engaged in discussions rather than pure presentations. AMC is designed to give you more agility in working with each unique situation you face.
Theater is heightened communication. Since the beginning of human culture, theater as an art form has been a crucial element in intellectual, emotional, and spiritual cultures worldwide. Theater communicates great ideas and inspires action. The actor is the instrument through which the message of the play is communicated. Therefore, it is the actor’s communication skills—developed through arduous training in use of the voice, body and expressive language—that determine whether the message of the play actually reaches and affects the audience. The task of the actor is to be present, and with that unique ability, to capture the heart, mind, ears and eyes of the audience through galvanizing communication. The leader whose responsibility it is to persuade, inspire and motivate must possess similar abilities. The difference between the two pursuits is that actors dedicate themselves to the acquisition of those skills; leaders all too often do not have that opportunity. This minicourse will be an active examination of what it is that comprises “presence” in communication. It will utilize a practice of certain actor-skills and behaviors to facilitate an ability to walk on the “stage” of everyday academic or business life with a strong communication capacity that projects energy, confidence, clarity of thought, and physical and vocal expressiveness. Each session will build on a progression of physical and vocal techniques incorporated in weekly spoken exercises intended to establish and reinforce the qualities of the leader as an energetic, active communicator.
CORPORATE COMMUNICATION (CC)
Professor Paul A. Argenti
This minicourse focuses on the changing environment for business and using corporate communication to execute strategy. Building on the first-year curriculum, it covers, in greater detail, the changing environment for business, media relations, financial communications, corporate advertising, reputation management, social media and crisis communication. Students also work on further developing their communications skills through case analyses, experiential exercises, and presentations.
COUNTRIES AND COMPANIES IN THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY (CACIE)
Professor Andrew B. Bernard
This minicourse focuses on the interaction between countries and firms in the arenas of international trade, investment, and finance by applying and extending the tools acquired in the Global Economics for Managers core course. The ultimate objective is to help you and your organization make decisions in today’s global economy. Two broad themes recur throughout the term. One emphasizes the analysis of decision-making at the country level with emphasis on the constraints implied for individual enterprises. We visit a number of countries around the world that are at various stages of economic and market development and thus that face issues of monetary union, currency crisis, trade liberalization, and economic integration. In each case we consider how these events provide opportunities and constraints for companies. The second main theme of the course concentrates on the decisions faced by companies themselves as they participate in the international economy. Across a range of countries we look at issues surrounding production location, market entry, cross-border pricing, exchange-rate risk, hedging, and integrating the supply chain.
This course explores a managerial perspective on the economics of energy markets, including crude oil, refined products, natural gas, and electricity. The class will study drivers of supply and demand, imperfect competition, economic regulation, environmental regulation, and various other public policy issues. Students will compete in competitive strategy games by making decisions for countries in OPEC and for firms in the California electricity market.
In this elective course, we study the phenomenon of economic growth. In the past half-century, the world has witnessed remarkable shifts in the economic fortunes (and misfortunes) of countries. While Western Europe and North America have maintained high standards of living, their pace of growth has slowed and even stalled. On the other hand, we have witnessed the growth miracles of the East Asian tigers and the rise to prominence of the BRIC emerging economies. Even still, many developing countries remain seemingly stuck at low levels of income per capita.
We will take a deep dive in this class to explore the fundamental drivers of countries’ growth performance over the medium- to long-term. A solid understanding of these drivers of growth is invaluable. For policy makers (and the consultants they hire), this will inform the recommendations that they make over strategies to promote growth. For the managers of firms, a keen appreciation of these forces can be vital for identifying opportunities and navigating business decisions.
The course will adopt a two-pronged approach. On one level, we will pursue the economic theories that seek to explain differences in growth outcomes across countries, and explore the empirical evidence marshaled for or against these theories. At the same time, we will ground our discussion in the real world through selected country case studies. These will draw out the relevance of the theories and speak to their more practical implications.
HEALTH ECONOMICS (HCE)
Professor Robert Hansen
This minicourse delves into advanced topics in health economics. My goal is to give students a theoretically sound yet practical understanding of how health care markets function, with the assumption being that a good understanding of how the markets function leads to understanding how those markets can and will change with new policies or with disruptions. There will be a strong but not exclusive focus on prices. Prices play a huge role in health care markets, creating incentives and driving decisions by physicians, hospitals, insurers, drug and device developers, governments, and of course patients. Pricing in health care is particularly complicated and interesting for a variety of reasons, including the prevalence of market power and inelastic demands; the impact of insurance; the role of non-profit providers; informational problems; regulations; and poor understanding of costs. There is also considerable innovation in health care pricing today and I would like to see students finish the course able and eager to engage and embrace such innovation.
LEADERSHIP IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY: CONTEMPORARY ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS (LGE)
Dean Matthew J. Slaughter
A decade beyond the trough of the World Financial Crisis, the fusion of digital, global and social forces continues to create immense opportunities—and yet serious pressures and anxieties as well. Economic recovery continues in most parts of the world—but at a pace far too slow relative to many benchmarks, and at a pace that slowed noticeably in 2019. Complicating the macroeconomic environment is, at the level of citizens and policymakers in many countries, widespread unhappiness with in the dynamic forces of globalization and innovation.
Several business-policy questions await the important year of 2020. What will happen in the U.S. presidential election? How will Brexit evolve—for the U.K. and the EU alike? Will the U.S.-China trade war worsen or resolve—or both? What kind of policies will Latin America’s new leaders like AMLO pursue? Will central banks like the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank resume, slow, or unwind their historic stimulus? More generally, will leaders find voice for how to bring the vast gains of globalization and digital innovation to more workers, communities, and families?
LGE provides a chance to engage with all these contemporary business and policy issues that are top of mind in c-suites and board rooms around the world—for newly founded unicorns and generations-old companies alike. Class sessions are structured as mock legislative hearings in which you’ll apply some of your learnings from the core curriculum—in particular, GEM and Man Ec—in fresh, contemporary settings. You will expand your ability to articulate and defend a point of view, and to constructively disagree with others, as you prepare, deliver, debate, and analyze CEO testimonies.
RESEARCH TO PRACTICE SEMINAR: FIRMS AND TRADE POLICY (RTPTP)
Professor Emily J. Blanchard
The past seventy years have seen unprecedented expansion in the breadth and depth of economic links across countries. Global supply chains, multinational firms, and capital investments span borders as never before. But the rules-based trading system underpinning today’s global economy is under assault and increasingly fragile. The long-overlooked political and economic challenges of deeper global integration have triggered a vast and complex anti-globalization backlash around the world. Governments, businesses, workers, and communities stand at the precipice of what comes next. Will countries re-nationalize their economies, balkanizing production, innovation, and consumers in protected geographic blocks? Or will new leadership and policy innovation reinvent and reinforce the global institutions to ensure a stronger, fairer, more open global trading system?
Today’s unprecedented moment poses fundamental challenges and opportunities for business leaders and policy-makers. In this research to practice seminar, we will explore international economic policy — how the world got where it is today, and where it might go next — through the lens of current research in economics. We will focus on important practical, political, and research questions related to international trade, immigration, and foreign direct investment policy.
The course is structured around nine once-a-week, three-hour meetings, for which students are expected to be well prepared and actively involved. Readings will consist of current economics research papers, policy briefs (white papers), and readings from trade and popular media outlets. Every student will lead the weekly class discussion once during the term. The final project will take the form of either small-group presentations or an Oxford-style debate, as decided by majority vote. Under either format, the project will be based on original research and include a written component of roughly 8-10 pages.
RESEARCH TO PRACTICE SEMINAR: GLOBAL STRUCTURE AND CONDUCT OF FIRMS (RTPGS)
Professor Teresa C. Fort
Firms operate in a global market. The rise of multinational production, the greater ease of transmitting knowledge, and the growing importance of global value chains have all contributed to deeper economic integration across countries. Recent events, such as the US trade wars and the COVID-19 pandemic, threaten this globalization. In this RTP, we will study how firms have contributed and responded to increased globalization, and how they may adapt to current and future challenges to it. We will use an economic framework that can help guide managerial decisions on where to locate production, whether to outsource or integrate fragmented production, and when to adopt new technologies. We will also apply this framework to understand how firm-level responses to globalization affect industry and country-level outcomes, such as employment, wages, productivity, and innovation. We will study these topics by reviewing recent empirical approaches and evidence so that students develop the tools necessary to evaluate the relevance and credibility of data-driven analyses. The focus of the class will be on learning about the types of data and empirical techniques economists use to study these issues.
This full-term mini course is an introduction to entrepreneurship and “entrepreneurial thinking.” Taught by two experienced entrepreneurs, this course exposes students to methodologies and practitioners and allows for the development of personal perspectives about starting a company now or in the future, joining an entrepreneurial venture, and/or exploring career options in fields related to entrepreneurship, such as early-stage investing. The course introduces the concepts of Hypothesis-Driven Entrepreneurship, Customer Discovery, and Lean Startup Methodology. The Lean Startup Methodology will be applied to 1. existing early- and growth-stage companies (often as part of a live discussion with the founder) and 2. a new venture idea created by student teams. The course prepares students to launch their own startup, qualify for an entrepreneurial First-Year Project (eFYP), and apply to the Tuck Startup Incubator.
Professor Curt Welling D'71, T'77
Social Entrepreneurship (SESHP) seeks to inform students who are interested in understanding the theoretical and practical elements of Social Entrepreneurship, and in addition equip those who wish to explore the possibility of defining or starting a social enterprise.
Thorough of series of readings, cases, guests and student presentations the course will explore:
BUSINESS AND CLIMATE CHANGE (BCC)
Professor Anant Sundaram
Climate change and its impacts raise momentous concerns. Hundreds of companies worldwide are aggressively getting in front of it, since they are the constituency with the strongest links to climate change: companies are the major source of greenhouse gas emissions and equally, by deploying R&D, financial resources, technology, and talent, they are the ones developing the solutions to address the problem. There is an emerging, multi-trillion dollar ‘climate economy’ that will mitigate and help us adapt to climate change. The main questions we will ask and address in ‘Business and Climate Change’ are: (1) What is climate change, and why should you as an MBA, and the company you work for, care? (2) What does the climate economy mean for your career, your firm, your industry? (3) How do companies measure and manage emissions? (4) What are the tools and frameworks to understand regulatory responses (e.g., a carbon tax or cap-and-trade), and to assess how a company’s business model is exposed to climate change? (5) What do you need to know about the global policy-making process and how it will impact your firm?
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
BUSINESS AND ETHICS AT THE BASE OF THE PYRAMID (BOP)
Professor Susan M. Hanson
The gap between rich and poor is the subject of growing international attention. As we move forward in the 21st century, the markets at the base of the global income pyramid, where consumers earn about $2.00 a day, have become a meeting place of global corporations and development advocates alike. Today’s business leaders are pulled by the promise of new markets, and pushed by the demands of corporate responsibility. The relationship between profits and poverty alleviation in pursuit of mutual value creation is the focal point of investigation of this mini-course. The marginalized economic situation of very low income customers is often compounded by weak social safety nets and institutional failure, and business leaders may find themselves pursuing market opportunities, which also present responsibility and ethics challenges.
In keeping with the Ethics and Social Responsibility core requirement, this mini-course aims to create an opportunity for students to develop their ethical voice. Background readings on philosophical ethics are a resource in understanding and navigating the value laden debates that frame the challenges that business ventures can face, as they serve very low income markets. Innovating business models to address challenges of access may test traditional assumptions about business-society-government relations, and spark debate over broader questions of risk and corporate responsibility. Case readings for this course are selected to highlight the challenges of socially and politically charged contexts that firms need to navigate, including care delivery, infrastructure service, humanitarian relief, and environmental sustainability.
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
BUSINESS AND SOCIETY (BAS)
Professor Curt Welling D'71, T'77
Governments and societies around the world are increasingly focused on intractable social issues: problems of poverty, health, education, the environment and social justice. There is an accelerating demand for sustainability. In this context, expectations for business accountability are rising, and the social contract between business and government is under scrutiny and in some cases under attack in markets and countries around the world. At the same time, new technologies and new models of collaboration between business, government and civil society are emerging. And new perspectives about investing and raising “social purpose capital” are being tested. Business “stakeholders”—communities, employees, governments and “civil society”—are increasingly demanding a role in corporate governance and accountability. And now we are in the Age of Covid 19: the immediate and longer term realities of the pandemic will challenge all of our assumptions, expectations and models about the “social contract".
Through a series of readings, cases and speakers, this introductory minicourse is designed to give students an integrated perspective on the unique roles which government and business play in society, the sources of authority for, and limits to, those responsibilities, and the ways in which the traditional roles and organizational models are being challenged, questioned and changed.
The course will also explore the role that capital markets play in this context: sustainability is impossible without mobilizing capital. The course will examine markets from a number of perspectives: as facilitator of social policy, as allocator of capital and instrument of organizational accountability, as manifestations of social priorities and as mechanisms for reflecting moral and ethical priorities.
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY (CRSP)
Professor Paul A. Argenti
This minicourse starts with the premise that corporate social responsibility is good for business and focuses on how leaders can balance the needs of their organizations with responsibilities to key constituencies. Through cases focusing on the social, reputational, and environmental consequences of corporate activities, students will learn how to make difficult choices, promote responsible behavior within their organizations, and understand the role personal values play in developing effective leadership skills.
This course meets the Ethics and Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING (EDM)
Professor Alexander H. Jordan
Are ethical judgments influenced more by emotion or by reason? Is ethical behavior a product more of the environment or of the individual? How does acquiring power affect people’s moral choices? What leads people to discriminate unfairly? How can managers and organizations promote more ethical employee behavior?
These and other questions will be investigated in this discussion-based mini-course. Recent behavioral research has had much to say about the determinants of people’s moral judgments and actions. This course aims to familiarize students with this research and to thus increase their awareness of the psychological dynamics governing everyday morality and immorality. As in more traditional business ethics courses, students will also learn to identify, analyze, and respond thoughtfully to ethical challenges in professional life, and, through dialogue with their classmates, will learn to articulate their own positions coherently and persuasively to diverse audiences. Readings will describe empirical research in addition to business cases.
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
ETHICS IN ACTION (ETHAC)
Professor Aine Donovan
This mini-course will involve students in an exploration of the ethical challenges and opportunities in the business world today. Integrity is the foundation of any successful business, and how that notion is fostered and cultivated will be highlighted throughout the course. Faculty members from diverse disciplines will lead discussions of ethical issues in cases involving their particular areas of expertise.
Ethics does not provide black and white answers to the complex issues of the business world. Rather, it provides a framework for decision-making that will guide business leaders in their professional roles. The questions we will address are controversial. Often, thoughtful people of good will can have strongly held opposing views on the issues. We will have the opportunity to review the positions of representative advocates of one side or the other, but, ultimately, you are expected to engage the issue and form your own opinions. The learning in this course will come from your willingness to internalize the issues and from the effort you put into formulating your own views so that you can express them clearly and convincingly in class discussion.
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
Impact Investing: Capital for Social Impact (IICSI)
Professor Curt Welling D'71, T'77
The concepts of “impact investing” and “social impact capital” have exploded on the marketplace in recent years. The last decade has seen the dramatic acceleration of attempts to find new ways to harness capital and capitalism in the search for solutions to intractable social problems and concerns about corporate accountability. New organizational paradigms and new investment perspectives have emerged, and the volume of capital seeking social impact has grown exponentially.
A critical component of this dynamic has been the exploration of new approaches to creating, allocating and evaluating investment capital. Whether in new approaches to philanthropy (Venture Philanthropy), corporate philanthropy (Corporate Cause Marketing), venture capital (Social Entrepreneurship), shared-value capital (double bottom line investing), private and public market values-based investing (Impact Investing and public market ESG investing)--virtually every major aggregator of investment capital—Black Rock, Vanguard, Bain Capital, Goldman Sachs, etc) has allocated significant resources to developing investment products or financing approaches which respond to these trends.
Through a series of readings, lectures, and speakers this course will examine the sources, markets, costs, risk and return tradeoffs, and accountability mechanisms in the emerging markets for Social Impact Capital.
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
MANAGING FOR SOCIAL IMPACT (MSI)
Professor Nan Stone, Professor Bob Searle T'96
Twenty years ago, few people talked about “social impact.” Google the term now, and in less than a second, you’ll get nearly 112 million results – and not a great deal of insight into what it is beyond a general impression that it’s about doing something good for the world.
In light of the growing number of individuals and organizations who are genuinely trying to help solve the social, economic and environmental challenges our world faces, it would be helpful if social impact were more than a buzzword. But for all its ubiquity, this is a concept with at least as many questions as answers, including:
These questions are particularly pointed for nonprofits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which are explicitly created to serve the common good. Are these the only enterprises that have an impact on society? Certainly not. But they are the only ones that exist solely for the purpose of having a social impact; and if they don’t deliver on that purpose their reason for being is compromised. So by using them as our lens, you will be able to explore the concept – and the challenges inherent in creating it – in its most demanding form. Where and how business concepts and frameworks can be useful in managing nonprofits, and where their application can have problematic consequences will be a recurring discussion topic.
You will also have an opportunity to develop a perspective you can apply more broadly: to assess the social impact of other forms of enterprise, and to think about your own social impact and contribution to the common good. Guests who themselves have wrestled with these questions, will share their experiences and lessons learned.
As MBAs, your skills will be in high demand. Managing for Social Impact (MSI) will be useful should you decide to apply them professionally, as a social entrepreneur or impact investor, or privately, as a donor, volunteer, and/or board member. It will be particularly relevant if you are currently serving on the board of a nonprofit or NGO or plan on joining one hereafter.
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
Professor Curt Welling D'71, T'77
Social Entrepreneurship (SESHP) seeks to inform students who are interested in understanding the theoretical and practical elements of Social Entrepreneurship, and in addition equip those who wish to explore the possibility of defining or starting a social enterprise.
Thorough of series of readings, cases, guests and student presentations the course will explore:
GLOBAL FIRST-YEAR PROJECT (FYPGO)
Designated First-Year Projects—FYPGO—allow students to fulfill their global graduation requirement by immersion in a culture new to them through intense, real world business analysis based on the client’s need, and five days of travel to work onsite with the client. The client and required travel are traditionally outside the US, but some pre-approved US based clients may qualify to fulfil the global requirement. FYPGO teams begin working on their project in the winter term, travel during the March break, and then resume work on the project for the remainder of the academic year, following the course syllabus for the spring term FYP course.
Participation in an FYPGO project will earn minicourse credit for those students using the course to fulfill their global requirement. Deliverables intended to support the learning objectives of the global requirement will be required.
Global Insight Expeditions (GIXs) bring together students and faculty in experiential courses that take place around the world. The aim of GIXs is to help prepare students to lead across cultures by immersing them in a new country. Each begins with classroom sessions on Tuck’s campus. Students then spend March break traveling with a faculty member in a country outside the U.S. During travel, students interact with corporations, entrepreneurial ventures, non-profits, governments, and local people from different walks of life. After the travel period, students complete a course project. Students enrolled in GIX earn credit equivalent to a minicourse.
Destinations in 2019:
OnSite Global Consulting (OnSite) is a second year MBA elective course offering students with the opportunity to lead, plan, and execute a real-world consulting engagement. Consulting projects are carried out by teams of students working under the supervision of advisors with extensive consulting and project management experience. Projects include an immersive, full-time fieldwork component, typically outside of the U.S. As students strengthen their consulting and project management skills, they also learn to successfully navigate new business environments and cultures.
TUCK INTEGRATIVE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING (INTEL)
Professor Praveen K. Kopalle
TuckINTEL stands for Tuck’s Integrative Experiential Learning. It is a customized, immersive, integrative, and competitive exercise. The purpose of this minicourse is to help students integrate the key insights of Tuck’s first-year core curriculum. The idea here is to add integrative experiences in our MBA program that will help our students connect the dots across our core curriculum. This intensive, four-day course incorporates key elements of finance & accounting, marketing, communications, statistics, economics, decision science, strategy and management, and operations. During the course, teams of four or five students run a company in a next generation wind turbine market for a multi-year timeframe. Each year constitutes a year of decision making about such areas as marketing and communication, strategic priorities, timely production, economic analysis, cash requirements and funding, presentations to the board, and team excellence and personal leadership impacts.
ADVANCED CORPORATE FINANCE AND GOVERNANCE (ACFG)
Professor B. Espen Eckbo
This course, which targets corporate consultants as well as members of the financial industry, develops critical thinking about corporate financial decisions and governance. Corporate financial contracts, such as early-stage preferred shares and later-stage debt contracts have governance implications because they limit managerial discretion. The course starts with research and practice in the area of shareholder activism and executive compensation, continues with investment banking and the capital acquisition process, and ends with capital structure choice and the resolution of financial distress. The readings contain a mix of academic articles and cases. Working in groups, students are responsible for several class presentations and a final term project.
THE ARRHYTHMIA OF FINANCE (ARFIN)
Professor Peter R. Fisher
The objective of this course is to help you develop and practice analytical skills (principally non-quantitative) that can help you understand the sources of volatility in financial asset prices: why the heartbeat of finance appears to be irregular. I see five important reasons why we are surprised by financial outcomes each of which reflect conceptual limitations on our part that can be overcome with effort to reduce the frequency and severity of our surprises. (1) We need to recognize the role of chance. (2) We need to understand the central but elusive idea of risk. (3) We need to recognize the difference between the intrinsic and the exchange (or market) value of an asset and to do this we need to estimate intrinsic value through the lens of double-entry bookkeeping. (4) We need to recognize the range of likely, unlikely and uncertain outcomes reflected in the value of all assets and liabilities and, thus, recognize the resulting volatility mismatches within our economic balance sheets. (5) In order to overcome cognitive bias and the possibility that we are rationalizing not reasoning, we need to apply reason and doubt to our perceptions and choices, especially when we are taking risk. This is not a quantitative course; we will not address technical aspects of volatility. We will work with numbers and tackle a famous formula expressing conditional probability. The challenge of this course is not in numbers but in concepts – concepts that are accessible to anyone with a basic knowledge of economics and corporate finance. Learning requires effort and it is my intention that the course will require effort on your part – so that you learn. Reading assignments are “lumpy” with 100 pages for a few class sessions and less than 20 pages for some others. There will be frequent, brief written assignments throughout the course, some to be prepared by individual students and some by study groups. All of these written assignments are in the spirit of word problems or problem sets and are intended to give you the opportunity to practice analytic skills and to focus class discussion. Much of the learning will take place in the class room so attendance, engagement and participation in the classroom are vital. There will also be a final paper required of each student, consisting of two questions each to be answered in approximately one page (for a total of two pages).
RESEARCH TO PRACTICE SEMINAR: CORPORATE TAKEOVERS (RTPCT)
Professor B. Espen Eckbo
We discuss the results of large-scale empirical investigations into the economic effects of corporate takeovers. The literature address questions such as how firms are sold, who buys who and why, shareholder gains and their sources, bidding strategies and takeover premiums, merger arbitrage, and antitrust policy towards mergers. The course develops the basic empirical methodologies required to understand the course readings. Active student involvement in both the presentation and class discussion of the scientific papers is required.
CORPORATE VALUATION (CV)
Professor Anant Sundaram
The goal of this course is to enable you to answer the question, "what is a real asset worth"? You will define, derive, and estimate cash flows, discount rates, and terminal values to establish intrinsic values for projects, divisions, and firms domestically and across borders using well-known valuation methods. In addition to discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, you will examine alternative approaches such as real options valuation and relative valuation. The course will explore valuation approaches in such career-relevant settings as mature cash flow businesses, IPOs of rapidly-growing businesses, subscription revenue-based business models, LBOs, mergers & acquisitions (M&A), and project financing. We will also explore the links between corporate valuation and corporate financial decisions regarding capital structure, corporate performance evaluation, exchange rates, and country risk. The course will use a mixture of lectures, cases, projects, and guest speakers. Prerequisite: Corporate Finance or its equivalent.
ENTREPRENEURIAL FINANCE (ENTFN)
Professor Morten Sorensen
This course is designed to help entrepreneurs and investors understand financing the issues and decisions that arise in and entrepreneurial context. We cover the foundation of entrepreneurial finance, including: (1) start-up valuation, (2) deal terms, and (3) staged investing. The questions we discuss along the way include: how to determine an appropriate valuation of a start-up, how much capital to raise, and when, how, and from whom to raise it; the economics of termsheets and capitalization tables; real option value of milestones; and the economics of subsequent financing rounds. The course is taught though a combination of lectures, case studies, and guest speakers.
Derivatives and Risk Management (DRM)
Professor Juhani Linnainmaa
Derivatives markets are some of the largest in the world and an essential feature of the modern global financial system. The goal of this course is to understand how these markets function, what opportunities and risks they afford, how derivatives and other instruments are used for risk management, and how understanding derivatives helps us understand financial instruments more broadly.
The core material will cover how and why firms and investors trade derivatives, the pricing of derivatives using the concept of no-arbitrage, and risk management.
Empirical Evidence in Finance: Asset Pricing and Factor Investing (RTPEF)
Professor Kenneth French
Finance is fundamentally about moving resources through time. Because the future value of the resources is rarely known, uncertainty is central to most financial decisions. Fortunately, most finance problems are quantifiable and we usually have access to much relevant data, so there are many opportunities for intelligent data analysis. Unfortunately, there seem to be even more opportunities for bad data analysis.
Academics have been analyzing large collections of financial data since at least the early 1960s. The modern fields of asset pricing and corporate finance are based on the results of that work. Researchers who study the ever-expanding databases available today continue to improve our understanding of financial markets and corporate behavior. The papers they produce provide a great opportunity for us to study data analysis and statistical inference – and to learn some finance along the way.
I’m passionate about doing empirical research and teaching finance. This course allows me to do both. My goal is to help you make better financial decisions by improving your empirical skills, both your ability to produce and analyze your own research and perhaps more important, your ability to analyze evidence produced by others. We will spend much of the course considering the empirical procedures and evidence in academic papers. We will typically focus on the decisions the researchers make, why they make them, and how their decisions affect the conclusions. But we will also talk about the finance – what we learn from a paper, how the information fits in a broader framework, how it is useful, and where it might be wrong. I helped write many of the papers we will read, some long ago and some more recently. In fact, one or two may not be finished yet. The papers we will consider are in the general area of asset pricing.
This is a highly interactive, discussion-based course. I expect you to prepare for every class and to participate in every discussion. I will lead the discussions in the first part of the course, with discursions on a variety of topics, such as the advantage of a Bayesian perspective, the central role of volatility in financial analysis, the temptation to overfit, the importance of accurately estimated standard errors, the value of a well-framed model, and techniques for interpreting other people’s research. In the second part of the course, a team of two students will present the papers and lead the class discussions each week.
Preparation for some of the classes I lead will include a challenging research problem. Homework assignments often read like cookbooks, with a step-by-step recipe to follow. Few real research problems come with such recipes. In fact, one of the biggest and most important challenges in research is figuring out the best procedure. Thus, my research assignments do not have recipes. After you have thought deeply about possible approaches for an assignment, I will be happy to discuss your ideas with you. We will also have detailed discussions in class about the different approaches you and your colleagues developed and the conclusions you reached. Some students will be frustrated by the open-ended nature of these assignments, but I think it is the best way for you to develop a real understanding of the research process in finance and the importance of the decisions a researcher makes.
The success of this course will depend on a high level of engagement from all students. Obviously, preparing for and leading your week of classes is a big commitment. You must also prepare for and participate in the discussions in every other class. Attendance is mandatory. If you expect to miss one or more classes, please don’t take the course. If an emergency prevents you from attending class during the quarter, please let me know immediately.
Your grade in the course will be determined by your preparation for and execution in the classes you lead, your preparation for classes more generally (including the research assignments), and your overall contribution to class discussions.
FIELD STUDIES IN VENTURE CAPITAL (FSVC)
Professor Philip J. Ferneau D'84, T'96
This course is designed to provide a practitioner’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities of venture investing in private, entrepreneurial companies (or entrepreneurs seeking such investment). While there is no substitute for hands-on investing experience, the course is designed to introduce you to venture capital best-practice frameworks and the challenges of applying them using “real world” examples. The first portion of the course will focus on evaluating and structuring early-stage investments, using a combination of case discussion, classroom exercises, and “live” deals. The remainder of the course will feature guest speakers, case discussions and readings that expose students to venture capital practitioners and the practical challenges they encounter, including post-investment. Throughout the term, the course will emphasize active discussion and experiential learning. Note that the readings and situations discussed in class will focus on venture capital investing, but many of the concepts covered are also relevant to private equity investing in private companies.
FINANCING STRATEGY FOR PUBLIC COMPANIES (FSPC)
Professor Richard J. Rogalski
Managers of public companies have many responsibilities. A critical one is to ensure that the company makes appropriate financing decisions. The main objective of this course is determining how a manager can make “good” financing decisions. Another objective is to understand the offering process that is used to issue securities. CFOs will visit the class to share their thought process when making financing decisions. The course begins with firm’s going public and then examines financing decisions by “seasoned” public companies including FinTech firms. In the modern financial era, the financing decision has become more complicated because there is a huge diversity of securities that can be issued. The course will introduce some of the basic securities used to raise capital, examine the thought process behind the choice of one type of financing versus another and identify the manner in which behavioral biases impact the decisions that managers make about capital structure and financing. The course is intended to educate anyone who will be working in management consulting or in finance at a corporation (or investment bank). In order to highlight the importance of the securities examined in this course, we will make heavy use of case studies and prospectuses from actual transactions.
FUTURES AND OPTIONS MARKETS (FOM)
Professor Ing-Haw Cheng
Derivatives markets are some of the largest in the world and an essential feature of the modern global financial system. The goal of this course is to understand how these markets function, what opportunities and risks they afford, and how understanding derivatives helps us understand financial instruments more broadly. The core material will cover how and why firms and investors trade derivatives, the pricing of derivatives using the concept of no-arbitrage, and risk management. Topical applications, such as the rise of speculation in commodity markets, and applications to corporate finance, will be presented alongside core material.
Professor Brian Mezler
Households allocate nearly one-quarter of their assets to owner-occupied housing and spend more on housing services than any other expenditure category. This course examines the housing market from occupants’, investors’, entrepreneurs’ and policymakers’ perspectives. The course is divided into four modules. The first module explores the economics of owning vs. renting, optimal mortgage financing, asset valuation and supply-demand dynamics. The second module focuses on the housing search process, with a particular emphasis on fintech innovations that disintermediate real estate brokerage. The third module studies investments in rental housing, including vacation and other short-term rentals facilitated by person-to-person rental platforms. The final module takes up economic and social policy questions pertinent to housing, such as housing affordability and discrimination, the role of housing in monetary policy, and the optimal response to housing market crashes.
Professor Juhani Linnainmaa
The goal of this course is to help students develop a framework for thinking about investment problems. The course examines financial theory and empirical evidence that is useful when making both professional and personal investment decisions. The topics covered include portfolio theory, equilibrium models of security prices, behavioral finance, the empirical behavior of security prices, performance evaluation, and the limits of arbitrage. Many of the class discussions and homework assignments focus on issues related to personal finance, such as saving for retirement and purchasing a home.
Private equity transactions have the potential to go sideways – affecting communities, employees, a firm’s reputation and its “license to operate”. This mini course will explore issues and strategies for engaging with various stakeholders in private equity transactions – limited partners, government agencies, management teams, employees, communities, unions, the press and the public. Taught by a former senior executive at a global private equity firm, this course will focus on case studies and strategies to proactively and positively engage with various stakeholders in order to improve returns, protect a firm’s reputation and maintain the confidence of a private equity firm’s various stakeholders. We will explore several case studies including the recent bankruptcy of iconic brand Toys-R-Us; we will study how private equity investors are incorporating environmental, social and governance issues into their investment decisions; and we will examine how CEOs and management teams can effectively communicate with and engage various stakeholders. We will include guest speakers who are or have been CEOs or senior executives at portfolio companies and private equity firms. The assignments will include several short presentations modeled on those given to an investment committee. This course will help give an edge to students wishing to explore career opportunities in private equity, better enabling them to issue spot potential pitfalls and risks in private equity investing.
RESEARCH TO PRACTICE SEMINAR: MANAGEMENT OF INVESTMENT PORTFOLIOS (RTPIP)
Professor Richard J. Rogalski
This course will study the primary decisions made by those who manage large investment portfolios such as pension funds, endowments, foundations and family offices. Consideration will be given to the perspective of different types of investors that varies along such dimensions as risk preference, investment horizon, tolerance for liquidity, tax status, social objectives, etc. The emphasis of the course will be strategic and tactical asset allocation in investment portfolios, specific asset and manager selection issues and the measurement of investment performance. The course covers how the industry is organized, how managerial skill is assessed, how compensation is determined, and how economic rents are shared by managers and investors. More specifically, we will consider the tradeoffs between seeking diversification to control risks, and making concentrated bets; tradeoffs between passive investment and active investment; distinctions between investing as principals and delegating to managers; the importance of liquidity in driving the pricing, risk and expected returns to various asset classes; and the importance of pricing and tax considerations in setting asset allocation, selecting investment managers and monitoring performance. To reinforce the research aspect of the course students will be required to lead class discussions of assigned research articles and effectively handle the resulting Q&A. To reinforce the practical aspect of the course students will be required to critically engage class visitors.
REAL ESTATE (RE)
Professor Brian Melzer
This course provides an overview of the real estate industry and the basic analytic techniques used for investing in this $17 trillion asset class. Students will take a hands-on approach, building a practical knowledge of real estate through case studies, and class discussions. The study of multi-faceted real estate projects allows students to: 1) enhance their understanding of valuation, financing and portfolio management; and 2) analyze a broader set of management problems, such as how to recognize and describe value creation opportunities, how to evaluate and manage risk, how to structure partnerships and business contracts, and how to use real estate optimally within an operating business. A highlight of the course is the opportunity to interact with industry leaders and learn about the latest techniques and trends in the industry.
STRUCTURING MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS (SMA)
Professor Karin S. Thorburn
This is a minicourse on corporate mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Students will develop the skills necessary to structure a deal or form an opinion about a proposed transaction. Topics include value creation in mergers; choice of payment method; valuation of contingent payments; deal protection devices; incentive effects of deal financing; merger arbitrage; bidding strategies; hostile takeovers; and defensive tactics. We also touch on key elements of the legal and regulatory framework for takeovers, such as filing requirements, fiduciary duties of the target board of directors, and antitrust regulation. The course relies primarily on case analysis, providing ample opportunity to perform merger analysis and practice various corporate valuation techniques.
VENTURE CAPITAL AND PRIVATE EQUITY (VCPE)
Professor Gordon M. Phillips
The purpose of this class is to examine and understand the full spectrum of private equity investing including venture capital, growth equity, and buyouts as well as the limited partners that invest in the asset class (focusing on asset allocation) and the general partners who are the investment managers. Starting with asset allocation and the role of private equity as an asset class, the course will also consider general and limited partners, and the motivations and goals of investors in this asset class as well as their opportunities and choices among managers. The class will then study in detail the venture capital, buyouts and growth equity segments of the private equity industry with the goal of understanding the process of selecting investments in these spaces. This course is recommended for students interested in a career as 1) an investment profession in a venture capital/growth equity/buyout firm; 2) as a service provider to the private equity industry especially including consulting but also including banking, fundraising, executive search, and wealth management; 3) as a member of senior management of a venture-backed or PE-backed company; and 4.) as an investment professional interested in allocating money to the private equity asset class.
VENTURE CAPITAL AND PRIVATE EQUITY BASICS (VCPEB)
Professor Gordon M. Phillips
Basics of venture capital and private equity industries for students with less experience in financing and/or investing. Target audience will be students wishing to have a broad exposure to the venture capital and private equity industry as well as students entering consulting or management. The course will study the VC/PE industry participants and explore their various perspectives, strategies, objectives, and challenges. We will introduce the basic mechanics and quantitative as well as qualitative factors involved in venture capital investing, growth equity financing, leveraged buyout (LBO) transactions. There will be fewer cases than VCPE, but we will examine them in greater depth over multiple class periods. Guest speakers will be an integral part of the course when we have cases.
In this minicourse, students will gain an appreciation for the biotechnology industry, with its significant impact on society, its premise and continued promise and what is required for biotechnology entrepreneurs in the 21st century to attract investment capital. Areas ripe for investment and development will be explored as will lessons learned over the past three decades.
This minicourse focuses on our belief that for healthcare startups, great organizations are built with substantial planning and an intentional approach to defining a unique business solution and building a founding team. Health care startups are challenged moving from seed to scale due to regulatory, scalability, and business model concerns. Our goal is to teach students in the class about building great teams that can execute against precise strategy to improve likelihood of success. We will be joined by startup founders and venture capital investors focused on health care services and technology. Students will get time with these executives and will have an opportunity to help them solve some of these critical elements related to building teams and startup strategy.
Health Care Analytics & Society (HCAS)
Professor Lindsey Leininger
This course explores the innovative potential and ethical challenges associated with the unabated rise of Big Data and advanced analytics applications across the health care ecosystem. We will introduce the technical fundamentals of descriptive, predictive, and evaluative analytics using a series of leading-edge applications drawn from industry. We will concurrently discuss the ethical and managerial dilemmas that inexorably emerge along these innovative frontiers. Possible applications include the role of machine learning in diagnostic medicine; the strategic implications of “blockbuster” clinical trials; the impacts of tying physician payments to statistical algorithms on physician behavior; and the rise of digital disease detection. Through these applications we will introduce and discuss ethical issues such as algorithmic fairness and transparency; the trade-offs between protecting data security and encouraging analytic innovation; human subjects protections in clinical trials; and privacy concerns associated with emerging genomic and patient-generated data sources. By the end of the course students will be able to recognize and apply the key statistical and ethical frameworks critical for wise, data-driven leadership across the health care sector.
HEALTH ECONOMICS (HCE)
Professor Robert Hansen
This mini-course will focus on the pricing of health care services and products. The main objective is to help students understand the special nature of pricing in health care markets to enable better decision-making in both business and public policy; a secondary objective is to further develop students’ ability to apply economics.
Prices play a huge role in health care markets, driving decisions by physicians, hospitals, insurers, drug and device developers, governments, and of course patients. Pricing in health care is particularly complicated and interesting for a variety of reasons, including the prevalence of market power and inelastic demands; the impact of insurance; the role of non-profit providers; informational problems; and poor understanding of costs. There is a fair amount of pricing innovation today, with the possibility that new pricing models will solve some perennial health care issues. Possible topics to be covered include: Interaction of hospital pricing and insurer networks; impacts of both vertical and horizontal mergers on hospital, physician and insurance prices; special issues of pharmaceutical pricing including the complex role of pharmacy benefit managers; bundled pricing; value-based pricing; reference pricing; auction markets in health care; and price transparency. The course will use cases, articles from the academic and practitioner literature, and visitors.
This minicourse looks at the complexities and inner workings of the health care ecosystem, providing a practitioner's point of view on the players, how they interact, partner and transact. Students are introduced to health services, medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals and health IT. The path for venture capital and private equity-backed companies from creation to exit is explored, including the goals and incentives of various stakeholders. The course covers different types of investing and deal making transactions as well as strategies, tactics, and analytical tools.
MANAGEMENT OF HEALTH CARE ORGANIZATIONS (MHCO)
Professor Paul B. Gardent T'76
This minicourse provides students with the knowledge and understanding of key leadership and strategic challenges within health services organizations. It covers important functions of health services management, including strategy, finance, and operations and introduces students to leadership issues in performance improvement, change management, organizational leadership and strategic alliances.
This course is focused on the health services sector of the health industry. It will be relevant to those interested in health services leadership and management, and will be particularly valuable to anyone who will be working in companies serving health care service organizations including consulting, banking, and medical products. Some basic knowledge of the healthcare industry will be helpful. Contact Professor Gardent with questions relating to the course and course topics.
This course examines the critical issues facing business leaders as they approach and finance health benefits for employees, manage cost, and choose the best strategy for recruiting and retaining a productive workforce. Students will build an understanding of the structure, economics and dynamics of the employer based health care system from the perspective of corporate leaders, learn how the ACA has fundamentally changed the strategic landscape and comprehend alternative approaches to help businesses cope with these strategic issues.
By introducing the structure, organization and financing of health care in relationship to business and the economy, this course provides students with a fundamental understanding of the health care industry and critical issues in health care today. It will provide an industry-wide view from the differing perspectives within the health care value chain, including providers, suppliers, payers and consumers, and examine the market dynamics among these players. Impacts and learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic will be integrated into the course.
This course is appropriate for students who are contemplating careers in companies serving the health care industry such as consulting, private equity or banking, or who have an interest in careers in health care (pharma, medical devices, biotech, or health delivery).
BUSINESS APPLICATIONS OF NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING (NLP)
Professor Dean Alderucci
Natural language processing (NLP) is the field of artificial intelligence that allows computers to understand human languages such as English. NLP has made astonishing strides in the past decade, and is increasingly used by businesses to extract and understand useful information from large amounts of unstructured text, found in sources such as customer correspondence, online product reviews, Twitter feeds, social media posts, press releases, SEC filings, news feeds, contract repositories, web pages, and organization document caches. NLP techniques allow businesses to gain insights into customers, competitors, and industries.
In this minicourse, students will gain knowledge of state-of-the-art NLP techniques and will learn to apply those techniques to a range of marketing and other business problems. Students will become able to critically read the NLP literature, converse with NLP experts, and understand what new NLP capabilities are expected in the future. Students will also develop custom NLP software tools to solve concrete business problems, and will retain these tools to use after the course ends.
Basic programming experience is required. You should be able to understand simple programs and you should be comfortable writing simple programs in a language such as R or Python. If you have taken the Quantitative Digital Marketing course in the Winter term, you will have the comfort level needed. If not, resources will be made available for you to get to that comfort level.
CONSUMER INSIGHTS (CI)
Professor Eesha Sharma
Every organization exists to address customer needs and wants. Thus, organizational success depends critically on having insights into how consumers think, feel, and behave. The Consumer Insights course is designed to help you understand why consumers behave the way they do, and to use those insights to develop tactics that are rooted in psychological principles.
The structure of this course is carefully crafted around the consumer buying process: need awareness, preference formation, information search, choice, consumption, and post-consumption. Using Sharma’s WISE Framework, you will learn key psychological, peer-to-peer, and environmental forces that influence consumers at each stage of the buying process. Using this approach will give you an important competitive advantage: the ability to make insightful decisions that integrate a deeper understanding of consumer psychology. Equally important, you will gain deeper understanding of yourself as a target of marketing influences, and gain insights into your own decisions and behaviors.
To provide you with both depth and breadth, the course incorporates a variety of formats (i.e., lectures, cases, speakers, student presentations). The course readings include classic research articles, cutting-edge research articles, cases, and recent news events that cut across various behavioral sciences, including consumer research, behavioral economics, decision research, and social and cognitive psychology. The culminating experience will be a group project in which you will develop a testable research question, conduct consumer research (e.g., interviews, surveys, A/B tests), extract key behavioral insights from that research, and use those insights to make psychologically-informed recommendations. Please note that experiential learning is fundamental to this course. Thus, class attendance and participation are critical to your class performance, experience, and learning.
CUSTOMER ANALYTICS (CA)
Professor Scott A. Neslin
This course introduces students to the concepts and methods of customer analytics – leveraging customer data to increase marketing productivity. Methods covered include lifetime value of the customer (CLV), predictive modeling (using regression, logistic regression, matching, neural nets, text mining, and random forests), and experimentation/testing. Students will work on real applications and databases. Applications include customer acquisition, acquisition and retention management, cross-selling, up-selling, churn management, targeting online advertising, loyalty program evaluation, and multichannel customer management. Industries examined include subscription services, software, retailing, financial services, consumer electronics, telecom, and hospitality. Software used includes Excel, a commercial predictive modeling package, SPSS, and R. Upon completing this course, should have a working knowledge of customer analytics, its application potential, and limitations.
Digital and Social Media Marketing (DSMM)
Professor Lauren Grewal
Digital platforms, particularly various forms of social media, continue to dramatically change how business is done. These changes are pervasive, and extend beyond changing how companies communicate with customers and how employees communicate with each other. For example, digital/social platforms have a role to play in how marketers generate demand for products, how product development teams create new innovations, how customer service is carried out, how risks are assessed, and how companies learn about competitors and market trends.
Digital/social platforms present firms with enormous opportunities for creating and enhancing value for both themselves and customers. How these communications technologies can – and should – be used for strategic value-generating purposes, however, is not straightforward. This course grapples with this challenge, with the primary aim being to help students understand how to unlock the value in digital/social platforms across a variety of business contexts and for several markedly different purposes. Thus, students should leave the course knowing the basics of digital marketing jargon and with the underlying knowledge to become proficient in digital marketing. Within this course, students will learn how to developing appropriate digital marketing strategies, additionally understanding the tools necessary to analyze and guide strategy. An ancillary goal of this course is to gain practical experience in fielding digital marketing campaigns.
MARKETING IN THE NETWORK ECONOMY (IMKTG)
Professor John F. Marshall T'92
This minicourse looks at the significant evolution of marketing function in the context of the network economy. Attention focuses on the challenges and opportunities that organizations face in applying traditional marketing skills in the electronic marketplace. Guest speakers and case studies will be used to illustrate the key issues in developing effective marketing and media strategies. The major objectives of this course are to provide students with (1) an understanding of the role of marketing in the context of the network economy; (2) a sound conceptual and theoretical “tool kit” for analyzing marketing problems faced by organizations in the network economy; and (3) a forum for presenting and defending their recommendations and for critically examining and discussing the recommendations of others.
MARKETING RESEARCH (MR)
Professor Scott Swain
Most decisions in marketing are characterized by significant levels of uncertainty. The primary role of marketing research is to engage in activities that reduce this uncertainty as much as is possible and practical. Done properly, marketing research not only supports but also inspires the decision maker.
This course is a managerial introduction to marketing research and provides opportunities to learn how to:
Students will gain expertise by studying best practices and by doing marketing research. Cases and activities include examples from established firms, start-ups, and non-profits who operate in both consumer and business-to-business markets. As such, this course is particularly useful for those interested in research, marketing consulting, and entrepreneurship. A basic foundation in statistics and spreadsheets is assumed.
MULTICHANNEL ROUTE-TO-MARKET STRATEGY (MCRTM)
Professor Kusum L. Ailawadi
Managing the route and intermediaries through which a firm’s products and services reach end customers was never easy but it has never been more challenging than it is today. At the same time as suppliers of products ranging from packaged foods and sporting goods to hotels and cars are bypassing middlemen and going directly to end consumers, others are inserting themselves between suppliers and their end customers to perform narrow functions and take slices from an-often shrinking profit pie. This course is about managing route-to-market in today’s multichannel ecosystem and is structured in four modules. The first module will lay out the issues involved in designing the channel, as well as the role of power dynamics and regulation in effectively coordinating it. The second module will examine the firm’s choice of channel types and individual channel members, and the challenge of acquiring and retaining those channel members. Module three will transition into the challenges and opportunities facing all parties as the market environment evolves and new channel options emerge. Here, we will cover topics such as the role and challenges of platform-based intermediaries, and how to manage conflict particularly between online and offline and between a supplier’s direct-to-consumer channel and its independent resellers. Even when a supplier has the right type and intensity of distribution coverage, ongoing channel management is necessary. The final module will illustrate how a can firm influence the actions of its channel members and reduce conflict through its product line, pricing, promotion, and other channel incentives. Throughout the course, we will analyze cases ranging from the classic (durable goods manufacturers like Stainmaster and CPG marketers like Snapple Beverages) to the new (marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart and meta-search sites like Trip Advisor) and others in-between (Brooks Running and Natura & Co.).
QUANTITATIVE DIGITAL MARKETING (QDM)
Professor Prasad Vana
We now live in an immersive world of digital engagement with every aspect of our lives, from personal to professional to social aspects all sharing some digital platform. Marketing in this new paradigm has rightfully taken on a life of its own. In this course, you will receive an overview of the current landscape of digital marketing: the key players, the different elements, the strategies, and some hands-on experience in data-driven decision making in digital marketing. We will make use of lectures, cases, and learn to code, run, and interpret quantitative models of analytics commonly used in digital marketing. For coding, our language of choice will be (Monty) Python. Monty Python is an iconic British surreal comedy group popularly known as the Beatles of comedy. Python, on the other hand, is the Beatles of programming languages since it is popular, versatile, and relatively easy to understand. I can Python and so should you. This course is designed keeping in mind someone who has some familiarity with a programming language and has gone skydiving before. According to a recent study, over one hundred percent of American adults not living under a rock own a smartphone and use the internet. Let’s learn how to market to them.
RETAIL PRICING ANALYTICS (RPA)
Professor Praveen K. Kopalle
In this course, we will study key pricing strategies and important approaches for implementing the pricing strategies, particularly for retail products and services. In this regard, we will cover the “how to” of pricing new and existing products (or services) as well as fixed and dynamic prices. This course is quantitative in nature, qualifies for Tuck’s STEM track, and takes into consideration the role of analytics, economics, and marketing in determining pricing policies. In class, we will use real-world retail data to estimate different classes of demand models and conduct price optimization to arrive at pricing strategies and tactics. In the final examination, students will set weekday and weekend prices, monthly for twelve months, in an engaging retail pricing exercise in a competitive, car rental market. This course is applicable to anyone who will be directly or indirectly involved in pricing decisions and will be particularly valuable to those who intend to work in general management, marketing, and consulting.
We will also link pricing theory to the practice of retail pricing via the consulting engagements of the professor across many companies in the retailing, pharmaceutical, and automobile industries. The course deals with different levels of competition and product differentiation and focuses on pricing structure through time, across product lines, and over customer segments.
SELLING AND SALES LEADERSHIP (SSLE)
Professor Howard M. Anderson
Today's business-to-business selling environment is very complex due to globalization, a rapid infusion of technologies, and more competition. This minicourse covers professional selling from the perspective of business development in major accounts under hypercompetitive business conditions. It is targeted toward those who are interested in the strategies and activities associated with key account management; i.e. the process of formulating selling strategies, implementing, and evaluating a sales program. Communication, selling, and negotiating techniques will be included. Sales itself is undergoing violent management change - “freemium” upsets the model. The Cost of Customer Acquisition must be a major factor as well as the use of Alternative Distribution to supplement a direct salesforce.
STRATEGIC BRAND MANAGEMENT (SBM)
Professor Kevin Lane Keller
The brands developed and invested in by a company over time are one of its most valuable assets. In branding, however, there is no doubt that the rules of the game are changing dramatically. Companies must opt for new branding practices and fresh thinking on how to operate and compete. Those that don't make the right adjustments will be left behind. Marketers must decide which practices they need to adopt, which they should stop, and which they should continue. What is essential in building and managing brands for long-term success in the new marketing world? Composed of lectures, exercises, case discussions, and guest speakers, this advanced marketing minicourse offers the latest and most detailed thinking and practical insights into the art and science of branding.
RESEARCH TO PRACTICE SEMINAR: TIME IN THE CONSUMER MIND (RTPCO)
Professor Ellie J. Kyung
Time is a critical factor that affects consumer decision-making, and while it typically treated as an objective function in quantitative models, it is experienced quite subjectively by the human mind. In this Research to Practice Seminar, we will examine the psychology of how human beings experience time and the effect that the malleability of time perception has on a range of important consumer decision-making issues. Some of the topics explored will include:
This seminar is an extension of the topics briefly explored in the “Consumer Decision Making” session of the Marketing core. Through student-led discussions, we will explore these topics by reading academic research papers in consumer psychology from journals such as Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, and Psychological Science. The course will focus not only on how to bring a consumer psychology perspective to important customer-related issues, but also on how to formulate testable hypothesis which can be explored through experimentation in practice.
DATA MINING FOR BUSINESS ANALYTICS (DMBA)
Professor Stephen G. Powell
Data mining is a group of analytics methods that primarily deal with classification and prediction. This course will cover the following topics: data exploration and visualization, data cleaning and preparation, logistic regression, classification and prediction trees, neural networks, and ensembles. This course builds on the core Analytics 1 & 2 courses, and it builds the student’s background in data analysis by adding methods from the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data exploration.
This course will be taught with minimal use of lectures and maximal use of hands-on experiences. Homework for most classes will consist of studying short videos on the methods themselves and on the use of software, followed by working out a homework problem. Class time will be devoted to additional practice, answering student questions, and deepening understanding through short lectures. Challenging and realistic business cases will be used at intervals to allow students to apply data mining methods to practical problems.
FUNDAMENTALS OF WEB PROGRAMMING (FWP)
Professor Devin Balkcom
This hands-on minicourse will teach the basics of web programming. During the course, you will build both a web-based financial planner and a basic business networking application. By the end of the course you will be able to reason effectively about designs for and potential capabilities of web applications. There are no prerequisites for the course.
MANAGEMENT OF SERVICE OPERATIONS (SOPS)
Professor Laurens Debo
In this class we will develop both quantitative tools and qualitative models that will help us to manage service operations. The class focuses on four topics: (i) the operations/marketing interface, (ii) managing variability in services, (iii) demand and revenue management, and (iv) service quality improvement. The first two topics run throughout the course. For topic (i), we will focus on the importance of aligning the design and management of services with the marketing strategy of the firm. For (ii), we will see that service firms experience the types of variability seen in manufacturing (variability in customer demand and service times), but are also faced with sources of variability that are unique to services, including customers’ expectations, subjective preferences, and their willingness or ability to participate in elements of the service process. This makes the management of variability particularly challenging, and important, in services. Concepts and tools in the course will be applied to examples from health care, retail, car rental firms, airlines, and others.
OPERATIONS STRATEGY (OPS)
Professor Brian T. Tomlin
Business success depends on the industry in which a firm competes (what do we do?) and on its business model (how do we do it?). Operations strategy is critical to a firm’s business model, as it determines how the firm’s operational assets (e.g., plants and technologies) and processes are configured and managed to achieve business success. By definition, operations strategy is not concerned with the daily or weekly execution decisions of operations. Rather, it is concerned with the executive-level operations decisions that dictate the operational footprint, capabilities, and investment needs for years to come. This minicourse will cover three major themes:
The focus of the course is on product companies rather than service companies and, for the most part, on established (relatively large) companies rather than start ups. With that in mind, cases, articles and assignments will draw from the following types of industries: technology, pharmaceutical, energy, automotive, industrial products, aviation, and consumer goods.
PRESCRIPTIVE ANALYTICS: APPLICATIONS OF OPTIMIZATION (AO)
Professor Kenneth R. Baker
Building on the optimization coverage in the core Decision Science course, this course provides advanced tools that are useful in many industries and functions. After reviewing and extending the formulation and interpretation of linear programming models, the course introduces data envelopment analysis, a sophisticated approach for evaluating the efficiency of similar businesses or business units. The course touches briefly on the solution of nonlinear optimization models and covers formulation and solution of integer programs, with emphasis on marketing and logistics applications. The coverage then moves on to heuristic programming for solving problems that do not fit easily into the traditional optimization frameworks.
PROFESSIONAL DECISION MODELING (PDM)
Professor Peter J. Regan D'85
This minicourse extends core Analytics with a series of weekly case assignments using Excel and (to a limited extent) Tableau. The first case blends data analysis and spreadsheet modeling to examine global energy and development. The second case evaluates a Tuck alum’s investment several years ago, subsequent development, and recent sale of a small hydropower generation asset in Scotland. The third case builds a structured finance cash flow waterfall to generate insight into mortgage asset securitization risk. The fourth case builds an investment banking valuation model for a real mixed-use London commercial real estate property. Students choose most weeks whether to work as individuals or in teams (but with intermediate, individual deliverables) to design and build spreadsheet models, analyze results, and advise management.
SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT (SCHM)
Professor Lauren Lu
A supply chain is comprised of all the parties involved in fulfilling a customer request. The integrated management of this network is a critical determinant of success in today’s competitive environment. Companies like Amazon, Dell, Toyota, and Walmart are proof that excellence in supply chain management is a must for financial strength and industry leadership.
With increasing competition around the globe, supply chain management is both a challenge and an opportunity for companies. Hence a strong understanding of supply chain management concepts and the ability to recommend improvements should be in the toolbox of all managers. The objective of this course is to introduce you to the key concepts and techniques that will allow you to analyze, manage and improve supply chain processes for different industries and markets. At completion of this course, you will have the skills to assess supply chain performance and make recommendations to increase supply chain competitiveness.
The course covers a wide range of supply chain topics including supply chain network design, inventory management, strategic sourcing, and supply chain contracting. Each topic will be discussed using a combination of models, case discussions, and readings. We will use a data-driven approach where tools and analysis start with realistic data. Students are expected to have taken the Core Operations course before taking this elective.
SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT MINI (SCMM)
Professor Nicole DeHoratius
Students will learn how to examine and improve the flow of materials and information through the network of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in order to match supply with demand (i.e., to get the right products to the right customers in the right amount and at the right time). Key topics include inter- and intra-firm coordination, incentive design, the impact of uncertainty, and the role of information technology. Special emphasis is given to understanding how the business context shapes managerial decisions regarding the strategic design and management of the supply chain.
This minicourse covers frameworks and tools designed to enhance operations performance. (The definition of operations used in this course is very broad: operations is fundamentally about execution in all types of contexts, from launching a new product to managing an evolving emergency situation.) The objectives are to equip future general managers, consultants, and operations managers with the perspectives and skills to effectively use operations as a competitive weapon and to develop facility with simple technical tools and frameworks which apply directly to operational decisions and can be useful in adding value to manufacturing and service organizations.
This minicourse teaches the fundamentals of computer programming using MS Excel's macro language, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), as the language of instruction. The course starts by teaching students to simplify and extend code generated by Excel's macro recorder, and then builds on that base toward developing applications that analyze information and enhance decision making. Special attention will be given to mastering good programming style and building a solid base to continue learning.
THE CEO EXPERIENCE (CEOE)
Professor John H. Lynch
This course will examine the similarities and differences between being CEO in the private sector versus the public sector. Too often leaders from one sector think they are well-equipped to lead in the other without appreciating some critical differences.
Case studies will be used to direct class discussion. Students will discuss strategies for leading and accomplishing defined goals. Topics will include an examination of the customer, defining quality, developing financial strategies, managing multiple constituencies, and leading turnarounds. The class will also discuss leadership qualities and the decision-making process.
The focus will be on general management and understanding the interrelationships among all of the disciplines. Students will leave the course with a better understanding of the challenges, constraints, and opportunities, existing in both the private and public sector, and an appreciation of the job of CEO.
COMPARATIVE MODELS OF LEADERSHIP (CLDSH)
Professor Elizabeth J. Winslow
Tuck strives to teach students to become better leaders; yet leadership is a multi-facet and often controversial topic. The purpose of this minicourse is to give students a better understanding of leadership from multiple angles and perspectives. We will examine proven leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Orit Gadiesh, Coach Bobby Knight, Charlotte Beers, and the famed artic explorer Ernest Shackleton. The course will explore the different ways leadership has been studied and defined over the last century, the similarities and differences between the most common leadership theories, and the way leadership has been demonstrated in business, military and, athletic sectors. Students will read about leadership theory, read cases portraying leaders who exemplify these theories, benefit from visitors who are proven leaders, and explore through case studies, class discussions, written assignments, and role-plays the relevance of leadership theory to the work they will do as business leaders The first three class sessions will be devoted to a review of the history of leadership theory. Through case studies examining actual leaders, students will learn about the progression from Trait, Skill and Style Theories to Situational and Contingency Theory, to the more current theories that define leadership as a relationship. Two classes will be devoted to the study and discussion of leaders in the military and athletic arena. By reading about and discussing such leaders, students will gain an appreciation for the lessons they can learn that can be applied to leadership in a business or professional organization. Three classes will then cover a set of leadership tasks frequently encountered by all leaders. We will examine and discuss cases where individuals have to lead change efforts, manage employee performance, and deal with conflict. Students will analyze the actions of leaders in these situations, and pose and defend possible solutions. The last class will be devoted to a discussion of the leadership accomplishments of Earnest Shackleton. We will examine the ways in which Shackleton did (or did not) lead effectively using the theories developed throughout the course.
LEADERSHIP OUT OF THE BOX (LOB)
Professor Ella L.J. Bell Smith
Exceeding performance expectations is not enough in today's business climate if an executive is to succeed. Executives must find ways for developing their employees in order to get the very best productivity. Wise leaders recognize that people are a source of corporate wealth. A potent leader co-creates with his or her people to push the company ahead of the competition. But before a leader can assume this role and responsibility, they must be willing to engage in their own developmental journey. In this course, we take leadership out of the box by studying the lives of extraordinary leaders while engaging in our own self-exploration. Our intent is to appreciate the strengths and frailties all leaders possess, and to understand the learning edges we all experience. This course creates the space to study, reflect on and discuss principles of leadership, such as self-awareness, identity, faith, vision, courage, passion, mindfulness, and commitment. By studying the lives of others, we learn how the context shapes the experiences and choices of leaders over the course of their lives. We also recognize the power of the historical moment that enables certain men and women to come to the forefront at critical times.
LEADING INDIVIDUALS IN TEAMS (LIIT)
Professor Jen Dannals
In most organizations today, employees are required to work at least some of the time in groups, teams, and social networks. To be successful, managers and team leaders must create an atmosphere in which these conglomerates of people produce high-quality decisions, generate creative or innovative solutions to problems, and complete their projects in a timely, efficient, and productive fashion. Moreover, they must do all of this in a way that develops and enhances the capabilities of the team and its members for future assignments. This course provides tools that can help you successfully lead individuals, groups, and organizations. One can consider this a bookend to the Tuck Launch experience in the first year, or a continuation of the topics in Managing People for those wishing for more practice or more advanced material. To explain key concepts, we will draw on social science research. We will explore topics will include coordinating groups with independent incentives, managing virtual team interactions, resolving intrateam conflicts, influencing others to support your ideas, and managing inter-team interactions using in-class exercises, readings, lectures, and discussions.
Negotiation is the process by which multiple parties come to an agreement through discussion and consent. In these classes, we will examine the underlying structure of negotiations and explore strategies that can help you negotiate effectively. While a manager needs analytical skills to develop optimal solutions to problems, a manager needs negotiation skills to (i) achieve beneficial agreements with parties outside one’s organization and (ii) effectively lead those within one’s organization.
The course will highlight the principles of effective negotiation and teach you to analyze your behavior in negotiations. The course will be partially experiential. You will first learn by doing and then subsequently engage with the relevant theory to provide a framework for understanding your experiential lessons. The course touches on topics related to social psychology, cognitive psychology, and behavioral economics.
POWER AND INFLUENCE (PWINF)
Professor Pino G. Audia
The purpose of this elective is to give students a head start on building the power skills essential for a successful career. Managers who do not understand political dynamics in their organization will often fail, regardless of the quality of their initiatives. Indeed, many human resource professionals and talent officers inside companies say that power and influence issues are important causes of career derailment. Effective managers therefore need to be able to correctly diagnose the political landscape of the organizations in which they work and to develop and manage their own power.
This course is designed so that students will learn concepts useful for understanding power and ways of analyzing power dynamics in organizations. Even more importantly, the course encourages students to think about and develop their own personal path to power. In addition to case discussions and role-plays, students will learn about how power concepts apply to their personal development through self-reflections and sharing of experiences with other students attending the course.
After taking this course, students will be able to: (1) diagnose the distribution of power in organizations, (2) identify strategies for building sources of power, (3) develop techniques for influencing others, (4) understand the role of power in building cooperation and leading change in organizations, and (5) identify the particular approach to power and influence that represents the strongest fit for them.
Reconceiving Representation: Gender Equity in Management and Society (RRG)
Professor Ella L.J. Bell Smith
This course works to deeply explore ways women can advance in the workplace and how the roles of both women and men must evolve in order to do so. According to CNBC (2018), the number of women CEO’s leading Fortune 500 Companies was just 24. The numbers on this list grew by only 9 women in 2019, making the total number of female CEO’s 33 running Fortune 500 Companies. The numbers for women of color are even lower. Though women and men enter the workforce in equal numbers, representation of women consistently drop throughout career advancement. But we also know that companies with more diverse leadership representation have more effective teams and productivity. For women to achieve equality in the workplace, the roles of women and men must change, not only in the workplace, but in society as well.
Additionally, the lessons built through this class aspire to help women and men leaders in their quest to design and lead organizations so that all employees, regardless of gender, are able to reach their full potential. The topics covered include, but are not limited to intersectionality at work, stereotypes, bias & barriers, building allies, sexual harassment & building effective networks, and women/men having it all. We will rely on a variety of learning methods, including discussions and critiques of readings & films, experiential exercises, case studies and connections with leaders.
RESEARCH TO PRACTICE SEMINAR: SOCIAL NETWORKS IN ORGANIZATIONS (RTPSN)
Professor Adam M. Kleinbaum
“It’s not what you know, but who you know.” This old adage may be an overstatement, but few people who have worked in organizations need to be convinced that social relations are important for getting things done in firms. And yet, beyond the basic intuition that networks matter, most of us give little thought to exactly how, why or for what networks matter for our work and professional advancement. This seminar examines scholarly research about social networks in organizations. The research papers develop theory and empirical evidence to address questions such as: How and why do social networks matter? How do networks take shape and evolve in organizations and careers? What can managers to do influence the formation and dissolution of networks? How does geography affect networks, particularly in the post-COVID, work-from-home world? How do personality and, even more fundamentally, brain structure and function, affect our networking behaviors? How and why does networking differ across cultures? And how can we use this knowledge to maximize network advantage? Intense student involvement in both the presentation and the class discussion of the scientific papers is required. Like all RTP seminars, there will be a focus on using academic research to help you learn the analytical rigor to be an effective manager in an increasingly complex world.
ADVANCED COMPETITIVE STRATEGY (ACS)
Professor Richard A. D'Aveni
This course presents an overview of competitive strategy. A central goal of this course is to develop students’ intuition into where, why and how rivals choose to compete. The course will expose students to a range of competitive philosophies and give them a chance to apply these philosophies in case studies and a group project. The course draws on concepts from the fields of business strategy, military science and international relations. The course aims to give students a diverse and holistic view of competitive strategy. The frameworks presented are sometimes alternatives, extensions or contradictory to the economic based strategies typically presented in business schools. Among the topics covered will be Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Guerrilla strategies, Spheres of Influence, Hypercompetition, oligopoly theory, mutually assured destruction and brinkmanship, maneuver warfare and others. This class will have a number of CEO visitors (5 are currently scheduled), providing students with ample opportunity to glean practical insights into how CEOs think about the question of competition within their industries.
RESEARCH TO PRACTICE SEMINAR: DECONSTRUCTING APPLE (RTPDA)
Professor Constance E. Helfat
This is a Research to Practice small seminar course that uses academic research to understand the strategy of a company. The course uses the small group format to take a deep dive into a company’s history and evolution – in this case, for Apple Inc. The course will cover Apple from its inception to the present day, including its initial business strategy in personal computers, its corporate strategy expansion to other product-markets, its international expansion, its marketing strategy, and the role of its chief executive officer. It presents an opportunity to apply everything that you have learned from your strategy-related courses thus far at Tuck, to learn and apply new concepts, and to learn from academic research.
DESIGN THINKING FOR STRATEGIC INNOVATION (DT)
Professor Alva H. Taylor
Design thinking started as a process to aid product design, but many companies are now using the concepts for broader and more strategic efforts. Companies such as GE, Lowes Hardware, Lego, Mass Mutual, IBM, and Capital One are all increasingly embracing design thinking as a methodology for cutting through the complexity of operations, confusion about consumer needs, and the inertia of true-and-tried business models. This is a strategic management course about how organizations can use the methods and processes of design thinking to innovate their strategies, business models, and environments. It is designed for the strategist and the general manager —no technical background is assumed. It is intended to provide an introduction to the application of the tools and techniques of design thinking for the purpose of developing innovative strategies and business models.
The minicourse combines theory and practice to provide you with a toolkit for creative thinking and action. The course engages students in the creative processes for opportunity discovery, ideation, problem-solving, and solution development. It is not a product design course (Thayer Engineering offers a great complementary course that focuses on product design). It is intended to provide students with a foundation to conduct designing thinking in business development, consulting, and entrepreneurial activities.
Ecosystem Strategy (ES)
Professor Ron Adner
Over the past 20 years, the term “ecosystem” has become pervasive in discussions of strategy, both scholarly and applied. Its rise has mirrored an increasing interest and concern with interdependence across organizations and activities. In this course we will develop a ‘Wide Lens’ perspective on the challenges of innovation, with a particular focus on the context of innovation ecosystems.
We will explore these questions using a set of analytic lenses that will help us assess the potential of new opportunities and to strategize about how to best exploit them. We will apply these tools using a combination of cases, exercises, and reflection essays.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION STRATEGY (EIS)
Professor Ron Adner
The essence of entrepreneurship is new combinations – combinations of ideas, resources, partners, customers – in the effort to create new market space. The entrepreneurial challenge is one of selecting among the many potential combinations that you see, and then organizing the venture, whether startup, corporate, or non-profit, that will allow you to realize your ambition for the opportunity.
In this course we will develop a ‘Wide Lens’ perspective on the challenges of innovation, with a particular focus on the context of innovation ecosystems. How should we approach the challenge of picking the right opportunity, aligning the right partners, and targeting the right market and, perhaps most importantly, setting the right expectations for a new venture.
We will explore a set of analytic lenses that will help us assess the potential of new opportunities and to strategize about how to best exploit them. We will apply these tools using a combination of cases, exercises and projects.
The course will tend to take a strategic, view on the entrepreneurial challenge. It will not focus on to foster the creativity that is necessary to generate the entrepreneurial ideas in the first place. Hence, we will start our analyses after at the point where the business plan for a venture is already well articulated and proceed to conduct our analyses from there. (Of course, these analyses may then lead us to modify the original plans).
Three Memos for the Modern Leader (3MML)
Professor Giovanni Gavetti
The idea for this course came as a result of conversations I have had over the years with colleagues that often ended with: “Oh, I wish I could teach our students this insight.” I do not have a monopoly over these insights or topics: some of them are introduced in other classes, whether in the Core or in the Elective Curriculum. What defines my approach, for each of them, are two things:
First, students will be exposed to a unique perspective that, as in my research, applies concepts from cognitive science to strategic leadership. Second, for each topic, a parsimonious set of robust theoretical principles will be introduced to form the basis for an applied group-based experience. A key pedagogical premise of the course is that, especially for what concerns psychological insights, much of the most valuable learning is experiential: it comes from applying a principle or a set of principles to a relevant real-life problem.
The course is organized around three interconnected “memos” -- written reflections that students will be asked to articulate to capture the insights they learned on each topic discussed in class. The memos will touch upon the following topics:
How to Become an Expert Strategist (EXPST)
Professor Giovanni Gavetti
This minicourse uses insights from the modern science of expertise to address the question of how an aspiring strategist can develop world-class expertise and achieve mastery.
The modern science of expertise has been generating (and is still generating) robust evidence suggesting that reliably superior performers approach their professional development in ways that are strikingly similar across a variety of professions or domains of expertise. Stated differently, whether you are, say, a musician, a lawyer, a doctor, or a chess player, you are especially likely to achieve mastery if you subject yourself to a discipline that has well-defined characteristics. The body of research that uncovered these patterns has a long and noble tradition in cognitive science. It started, several decades ago, with careful experimental studies of chess masters pioneered by Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon. But it is the contemporary incarnation of this research program – a large body of empirical work orchestrated by a student of Simon’s, Anders Ericsson – that returned the clearest practical implications in the form of an approach to practice that goes under the rubric of “deliberate practice.” In essence, deliberate practice argues that the 10,000-hour rule – the idea that mastery only comes after one has practiced a particular skill for at least 10,000 hours – is misleading. To be sure, deliberate practice strongly supports the proposition that a lot of practice is a necessary condition to achieve mastery. But its critical push is that what truly distinguishes masters from average performers is how they channel such practice efforts. In caricature, deliberate practice paints a picture of superior performers as obsessive “experimenters” – individuals who constantly experiment, in ways that somewhat mirror scientists’ modus operandi.
This course focuses on what deliberate practice means for the strategist of a firm who aspires to achieve mastery in the formulation of her firm’s strategies. A critical insight is that a sophisticated grasp of the foundational principles of strategy formulation is a necessary but not sufficient condition. What is also required is that the strategist also develops superior (i.e., broader and deeper) knowledge of what drives the performance of her firm and why. Such context-specific knowledge cannot be acquired easily or overnight. It requires painstaking, constant, and disciplined experimentation – a scientific mindset. The modern science of expertise helps us define with some precision the traits of such experimental process. Importantly, we will see that the fundamental principles of strategy formulation play a critical role to guide this experimental process. In this sense, this class and the core Strategy class complement each other.
This course does not aspire to offer a sheer conceptual understanding of how an aspiring strategist can become a master. Its aspiration is to affect students’ practice and learning habits as they return to their professional lives. Affecting one’s habits, routines, or modus operandi requires a nonstandard pedagogy, one that allows the student to experience first-hand what the recommended shift in habit involves and why. For this reason, the course has a strong experiential flavor. Its pedagogy combines group exercises and their interpretation based relevant conceptual material. The central group exercise is based on the strategy principles introduced in the core Strategy class, and involves the actual development of a strategy for a new venture, the coordinates of which will be introduced in class.
IMPLEMENTING STRATEGY (IMPST)
Professor Vijay Govindarajan
The central focus of this minicourse is strategy implementation. The importance of the subject matter covered in this course is captured in the widely accepted “truism” that over 90 percent of businesses (as well as nonprofit organizations) founder on the rocks of implementation; either the strategies never come into being or get distorted, or the implementation is much more costly and time consuming than anticipated. However laudable strategic intentions may be, if they do not become a reality, they usually are not worth the paper on which they are written. Conversely, high-performing companies excel at execution. This course will provide you with concepts, frameworks, and tools to help you gain that “execution advantage.”
INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY (INTST)
Professor Thomas C. Lawton
When a company’s activities and interests’ cross national borders, volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) increases exponentially. Managers and leaders often struggle to make balanced and informed strategic choices as they encounter new stakeholders and multifarious issues and influences. In particular, they are challenged by heterogeneity across markets (countries are fundamentally different), the scale and complexity of global operations (you need to comprehend and manage a lot more), and the unpredictability of economic and political conditions between countries (the volatility of exogenous global events). Each factor has profound implications, both for the type of competitive advantage or scope economy that justifies geographical expansion, and for critical decisions concerning how the company is configured and positioned to compete internationally. The crux of this elective is to understand how the foreign market entry strategies of companies can anticipate and respond to these overarching influences.
Through a set of internationally diverse case studies, we consider international strategy from a variety of industry perspectives and country contexts. We take an integrated perspective, designed to answer three simple but crucial questions: Where do we go? An answer requires an analysis of global industries and markets, institutions and government policies, political risk and competitive landscapes. How do we do it? This necessitates an evaluation and selection of alternative internationalization and market entry strategies and structures and competitive positions, as well as an alignment of customer value propositions. What do we do once we are there? Here we consider complexities that were unanticipated or underestimated before market entry and the cultural, regulatory, and social challenges managers face in implementing international strategy in different countries.
Leadership Development: Self-Awareness, Skills & Strategies (LDSAS)
Professor Pino Audia
Effective leadership requires acquiring knowledge about how effective organizations function as well as knowledge about oneself. While the MBA curricula of top business schools offer countless opportunities to acquire knowledge about organizations, there are relatively fewer courses dedicated to acquiring and learning how to use knowledge about oneself. Yet knowledge about oneself is critical to leadership effectiveness because it enables leaders to choose the settings in which they can capitalize on their strengths and it helps them to identify areas of their leadership profile that require improvement. This course focuses on knowledge about oneself. We will use 360-degree feedback collected before the course begins to identify each student’s unique strengths and opportunities to improve as a leader. The 360 tool we will use is the Inventory of Leadership Styles (ILS) which builds on and complements the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) used during the first year of the Tuck MBA. Korn Ferry licenses both tools. ILS is generally regarded as the tool appropriate for people leading teams, business units, and up to C-level positions. Taking this course will expose you to a leadership development tool that you may otherwise encounter five to ten years after the Tuck MBA.
Professor Ariel Blair T'89
Leading large and small organizational changes has become a critical skill. The ability of organizations to gain and maintain a competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing environmental context, given the evolving needs of the workforce, relies on the capability to adapt. As a result, leaders must have a working knowledge of change models and practices. In this course, we will look at theoretical perspectives on the factors that facilitate and inhibit organizational change. Additionally, we will explore tools used to conduct organizational diagnosis, and design, and develop strategic change programs/interventions.
Negotiations Accelerated (NEGOX)
Professor Dan Feiler
Negotiation is the process by which multiple parties come to an agreement through discussion and consent. In this minicourse, we will examine the underlying structure of negotiations and explore strategies that can help you negotiate effectively. While a manager needs analytical skills to develop optimal solutions to problems, a manager needs negotiation skills to (i) achieve beneficial agreements with parties outside one’s organization and (ii) effectively lead those within one’s organization. This accelerated course will highlight the principles of effective negotiation and teach you to analyze your behavior in negotiations. The course will also be partially experiential. You will first learn by doing and then subsequently engage with the relevant theory to provide a framework for understanding your experiential lessons. The course touches on topics related to social psychology, cognitive psychology, game theory, and behavioral economics.
Digital Change Strategies (DCS)
Professor Alva H. Taylor
Digital technologies are impacting the core of how companies develop and implement strategies. Adding to the challenge faced by companies is the increasing pace of change—whether technological, demographic, financial shifts, governmental intervention, or unforeseen crises, Change has become the norm in today’s business environments, managing strategic change will be a key skill of any manager. Companies must build business strategies that are dynamic and address the need to be developed under situations of high uncertainty. In this course, we will explore how successful managers can meet these challenges, and incorporate the ability to anticipate, use, and respond to the impact of digital technologies into their business models. Students will have the opportunity to explore these ideas in a variety of industry and company size situations, with the focus on how existing companies are transforming and adapting in the digital age. In this class, students will also have the opportunity to conduct a group project that explores in issues concerning strategic transformation, and discuss current business changes and events through the lens of the class.
STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP (SLEAD)
Professor Sydney Finkelstein
This minicourse examines the effects of senior executives on company strategy, performance, and vitality. How can we better understand, predict, and improve organizational outcomes by paying greater attention to top management capabilities and behaviors? Course topics include: executive selection and succession, executive compensation, top management team composition and dynamics, and board-management relations. Though the course is relevant for students who wish to strengthen their managerial talents, it is not a skills-based "leadership" course; rather, it is intended to improve the student's ability to diagnose, critically evaluate, and enhance executive capabilities in a firm.
STRATEGIC PRINCIPLES FOR INTERNET BUSINESSES (SPIB)
Professor Constance E. Helfat
The minicourse is designed as an introduction to economic, social, and psychology-based strategic principles, concepts, and frameworks that are relevant to businesses provided via the Internet and mobile technology. The strategic principles covered in the course are not unique to Internet businesses, but are especially applicable to them. Topics include business models, social networks and social strategy, network externalities, pricing in two-sided markets, new areas of business, and diversification. This is a discussion-based course, and strong student involvement during class sessions is an integral part of the course.
Strategy in Emerging Markets (SEM)
Professor Ramon Lecuona
Why are multinationals from developed markets, such as Amazon or Google, no longer leaders in emerging markets? Are there scalable entrepreneurial ventures in countries like Cuba and Myanmar? These are the types of questions that we ask in Strategy in Emerging Markets (SEM). A vast portion of the world’s population and growth opportunities are located in ‘emerging markets’ and ‘frontier markets’ (i.e. nations with rapid economic growth but commercial infrastructure that is not fully developed). Can you use what you learned in your Core Strategy class to design strategies for companies operating in these environments? Certainly. However, there are other important elements that need to be considered, which are at the center of SEM. For example: 1) consumers’ willingness to pay for a product may be high, but their capacity to pay may be low due to income constraints; 2) limitations in the supply of basic inputs -such as capital or labor, or public goods -such as roads and electricity, may overly burden cost structures; and 3) on top of all of that, the legal system and courts may not function well, making it difficult to establish long-term contracts with buyers or suppliers. SEM is designed to give you an overarching perspective of strategy in emerging/frontier markets. We cover traditional sectors, such as mining and telecommunications, as well as those at the fore-front of technology, such as AI and Fintech. We take the perspective of managers of large companies, as well as that of entrepreneurs who are starting or growing new ventures. We also travel the world, covering business activity in large (popular) emerging markets, including Brazil, China, and India, as well as in nations that are not traditionally covered by the business press, including Liberia and North Korea. SEM is an applied course, which provides an opportunity to put to practice robust academic principles in the context of case discussions and group exercises. We complement academic rigor with the latest from the world of practice by bringing subject matter experts as guest speakers to our class.
RESEARCH TO PRACTICE SEMINAR: STRATEGY IN INNOVATION ECOSYSTEMS (RTPSE)
Professor Ron Adner
In this seminar we will continue to develop the theme of ecosystems that we covered in ES, and explore whether and how strategy making needs to change when value creation requires multiple participants to interact.
The course itself will be an exercise in joint value creation (with all the risks that that entails). The session formats will vary. Some sessions will be devoted to discussing academic articles. Others will focus on deep-dive analyses of selected topics and contexts. Depending on student interest and speaker availability, we may also engage with external visitors (think of these more as interviews than presentations).
A subset of topics to be covered includes:
Student deep dive projects will be the focus of the closing session.
SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS (SUSTM)
Professor Andrew A. King
Companies now face challenges and opportunities created by concerns about their environmental and social impact. This course will evaluate how firms are responding to these challenges. It will also explore how firms are strategically influencing the regulatory and competitive context in which they operate.
This class is designed to be somewhere between an RTP and a typical elective. It will use a combination of analytical tools: simulation, case examples, empirical evidence, and historical study. The class will emphasize critical consideration of existing proposals for corporate support of sustainability.
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
The course introduces the theory and practice of transforming public interest organizations. Public interest organizations are defined where profit is not the primary objective of the organization and where other factors such as public good are key. This can include: large government departments; not-for-profits; foundations; and academic institutions. Some appropriate learning will also come from private sector organizations. Prepares students for advising leaders, and those leading organizational transformations. As a by-product, students will explore how consultants frame and analyze problems.
Organizations need to adopt new strategies and policies as their environment changes. This minicourse focuses less on developing those strategies and policies, but more on how to drive change through the organization, in order to more successfully implement that strategy. The course will be structured around a set of integrated levers and tools that are used to transform organizations, and supplemented with case studies that exhibit various combinations of levers. These will be explored in the context of changing public interest organizations, and how they differ from for profit organizations. These differences include: making tradeoffs when profit is not the primary objective; managing highly complex and powerful stakeholders and; and where there are often greater restrictions in people management practices such as incentives and ability to terminate or significantly change roles. The levers that will be focused on include: organizational design and governance; leadership and talent; culture; capabilities; HR practices and work and technology. And the tools include developing a Transformation plan and performing effective change and implementation management.
BUSINESS OF INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (BID)
Professor Andrew Vorkink
Because international development is an enormous topic, this mini-course will focus by necessity on a selection of topics at the intersection of development and business, largely from the top down, focusing on the risks of operating in developing markets. (Professor Hanson’s course on Business & Ethics at the Base of the Pyramid is complementary to BID as it mostly focuses on development from the bottom up.) BID topics include the international framework supporting development, the key public institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the International Finance Corporation which underpin the business environment, financing of development through public institutions by loans, grants and equity investments (alone or with private financial institutions in public-private partnerships). Also examined will be how the policies of international public institutions affect commerce and create, or impede, business opportunities in developing countries and internationally. The course will discuss development and corruption, strategies and impediments to doing business in developing countries and cover controversies on human rights and development and corporate social responsibility, including the impact on the business community of national public policy decisions which have an adverse impact on segments within a country. Class discussions cover such topics as whether an international organization should improve the business climate of a developing country if this means driving up poverty in the short to medium term, whether a particular public works project supported by foreign investors should meet international or local safeguards, was a decision by an multinational corporation to pay bribes to speed up or obtain government approvals justified and worth the reputational and financial cost and why does development succeed or fail in different countries. Also examined is whether development institutions in developing countries such as China and elsewhere offer new approaches from traditionally Western-oriented institutions.
CLIENT PROJECT MANAGEMENT (CPM)
Professor Amy Florentino T'10
Client Project Management is a minicourse designed to provide Tuck students with immediately applicable tools for team problem solving situations. The course is designed for students considering a career in a project-oriented field including consulting, general management, marketing, M&A, business development. The course is also highly recommended for first year students who are interested in leading their team's First Year Project during the Spring term or are considering a Tuck OnSite Global Consulting project as a second year elective.
The frameworks and tools learned in the course will enable you to:
Course methodology will include discussions, in-class exercises, outside guests, and a single case (based on an actual consulting engagement) that spans the length of the course. All homework and the final client discussion will be completed in self-selected pairs. This course draws on frameworks and skills that have been developed by top-tier consulting firms in the business of delivering practical solutions to complex issues. Developing these skills to analyze and resolve business problems is a valuable leadership capability.
DOING BUSINESS IN THE ARAB GULF STATES (DBGS)
Professor Diederik Vandewalle
This minicourse provides students with an introduction to the business, financial, legal, cultural, and social world of the Arab Gulf states (the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman), a major oil-exporting and fast-growing area within the world economy. The course is meant to provide the necessary background as well as an introduction to a variety of practical issues that foreign executives and managers will likely encounter while working within the Arab Gulf. The Gulf countries, for example, represent a set of fast-growing emerging economies that have substantial assets in Sovereign Wealth Funds but are also marked by unique political configurations that make regulation and management strategies unique.
The course has a dual focus. The first is to provide students with the knowledge necessary to understand and function effectively within the different business systems of the area. The second is to make clear and help understand the more specific and unique aspects that underlie these systems: for example, how to deal effectively with informal arrangements, brokerage arrangements, and patronage; how to successfully negotiate gender issues in a business environment that has traditionally eschewed public roles for women; how to navigate within countries that have unique mixtures of state-owned and private enterprises; how to understand the scope and role of Islamic finance; and how to comprehend the dilemmas and strategies in dealing with the large presence of expatriate labor.
In order to anchor the readings and discussions within a real life perspective, guest speakers who either live in the area or who have extensive experience in its business environment and can provide an insightful perspective on these issues will be invited to participate in the course.
DOING BUSINESS IN CHINA (DBC)
Professor Giles Chance
China’s emergence has already reshaped the global economy. The country’s size, growth rate and expanding interaction with other economies will further deepen China’s global footprint in the years to come, as affluent Chinese consumers become a globally significant force, Chinese investment overseas expands, and Chinese imports grow.
China’s continued development will be one of the most important features of our century, and will offer many Western companies great scope for profitable expansion. No Western business leader can afford to ignore the opportunities offered by China’s continuing evolution. An understanding of China's potential, and an appreciation of the Chinese environment will provide business leaders with a significant advantage.
This course provides an opportunity to understand better how to take advantage of China's arrival on the world stage.
China’s ancient civilization, huge size and regional diversity all shape the way that Chinese business is done. Business success in China, and with Chinese enterprises depends on developing a feel for the way the Chinese see and do things, and on understanding the cultural and practical factors which inspire and constrain Chinese business people.
Well-directed study offers particular value in preparing the ground for business success in China. This mini-course “Doing Business in China” uses original case studies, discussions with expert visitors (both Chinese and Western), a team project, and classroom teaching to provide future business executives and leaders with the main elements which underpin success in doing China business:
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS LAW: MANAGING RISKS ABROAD (IBL)
Professor Andrew Vorkink
The risks of doing business internationally are substantially greater than operating solely in one’s home country because laws and standards differ across countries. The course focuses on the major subject areas where companies need to assess risks and establish compliance mechanisms. For financial entities this means reducing opportunities for money laundering, tax evasion, or transnational organized crime by customers and by inadequately supervised employees. For commercial companies, that means avoiding political corruption where governments or government officials may expect payments or donations in return for government approvals or procurement and aligning one’s corporate conduct with prevailing local conditions while still complying with home country legal requirements. Competition policy also differs across countries and behavior in one country may be permitted but may be criminally or civilly prohibited in another jurisdiction. For non-profits entities differing standards may mean that what is considered in the public interest in one country may be illegal lobbying in another nation.
MANAGERS AND THE LAW (ML)
Professor Paul J. Barbadoro
This course is designed to help students manage legal risk and take advantage of the business opportunities that law provides. The course will introduce students to areas of law that directly affect business operations such as contract, agency, torts, employment, intellectual property, corporate governance, and securities. Students will undertake in-depth analysis of select legal problems that regularly challenge business leaders such as trade secret protection, insider trading, and compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The class has a hands-on, interactive atmosphere, and several topics are led by distinguished speakers who have attained top positions in their fields and acquired extensive specialized knowledge and experience.