This list is representative of the nature and number of electives offered each year.
FINANCIAL REPORTING AND STATEMENT ANALYSIS (FRSA)
Professor Thomas Porter
A firm’s financial statements are often the only source of information available to outside stakeholders. This course teaches you how to understand and use financial statements to learn about a firm, its current operations, its value drivers, and expected future performance. We will develop the following competencies: understanding a firm’s underlying economics and its value drivers, understanding the accounting nuances used to summarize a firm’s transactions, projecting a firm’s future performance in the form of well-articulated pro-forma financial statements, and estimating firm value. This course will enhance your overall financial literacy by integrating much of the material covered at Tuck, particularly in accounting, finance, economics and strategy.
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 regarding 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. This course is designed with this objective in mind and emphasizes: (1) communicating past, current, and expectations of future financial performance to investors, and (2) the CFO’s role in corporate finance and operational decisions, with particular attention paid to the financial reporting implications of these decisions. Adopting a framework from information economics, we conceptualize the CFO as someone whose role is to mitigate agency problems arising from information asymmetries 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.
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.
MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING (MA)
Professor Richard Sansing
This course provides a comprehensive, graduate level exploration of managerial accounting. The course focuses on the use of accounting data in the management of an organization. Naturally, what accounting data are interesting and how they might be used depend on what the manager is seeking to accomplish and what other information is available. This course uses 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 both a textbook and case discussions.
MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING (MAM)
Professor Joseph J. Gerakos D'90
This course focuses on the internal use of accounting information to make decisions as opposed to the preparation and evaluation of financial statements, which were covered in FMAR. The course's targeted audience includes students intending to become management consultants, entrepreneurs, product managers, brand managers, line managers, and non-profit managers.
The course uses accounting data to implement concepts from economics, operations, finance, strategy, and marketing. The overarching course framework is based on the concept of opportunity costs. Topics covered include breakeven analysis, keep versus replace decisions, inventory accounting, overhead allocation, activity-based costing, the opportunity cost of excess capacity, and transfer pricing.
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.
Our learning environment will be in-person, although we will incorporate remote discussions into the term. Overall, best practices for giving in-person presentations hold in a remote world. The skills you practice in this class will help you navigate a variety of work situations.
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.
COOPERATION AND COMPETITION IN THE 21ST CENTURY GLOBAL ECONOMY (CCCGE)
Professor Emily Blanchard
The 21st-century global economy will be defined by how government and business leaders respond to today’s complex policy challenges. This mini-course centers on a handful of critical economic policy issues, organized around the central theme of cooperation and competition. Topics include the rise of global value chains, national security, and the innovation race; rising market power and international data security; the deterioration of global governance rules and norms; and the challenges of sustainable and inclusive globalization, including the coming battles over carbon taxes. The course will leverage economic tools and data to inform and refine our understanding of market outcomes, market failures, and the scope for policy. These economic principles will be balanced with an emphasis on the interplay between firms, governments, and international institutions and agreements in practice.
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.
ENERGY ECONOMICS (EECON)
Professor Erin T. Mansur
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.
This minicourse focuses on the finance aspects of the clean energy economy. The course examines renewable energy generation—as mass electrification using cleaner generation sources is necessary to sustain our energy-dependent lives and economies—as well as energy efficiency. In each case, and throughout the course, finance will be analyzed as a barrier to, or enabler of, greater adoption of clean energy. Specific learning objectives include:
In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and Communism in Eastern Europe imploded from within, followed two years later by the collapse of the Soviet Union. These events made liberalism – democracy and free markets – look triumphant. Francis Fukuyama called it “the end of history,” since history seemed to have reached its goal. The debate over political and economic systems was over: we had figured out the best way to organize a society’s politics and the economy.
Things look different now. Many today look at growing inequality, environmental catastrophes, and political polarization, and are more likely to say they do not endorse democracy or free markets. For many, the promise of socialism is more satisfying than the reality of capitalism. Even capitalism’s strongest proponents often feel that it is due for an overhaul. This course aims to give you a sense for the current debate over capitalism and its alternatives, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches.
This course will examine the following core questions:
GROWTH ECONOMICS (GE)
Professor Davin Chor
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 BRICS 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.
LEADERSHIP IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY: CONTEMPORARY ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS (LGE)
Dean Matthew J. Slaughter
Here in 2022, over the past two years the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global economy, with the world overall suffering the sharpest contraction in demand, output, and incomes – and commensurate rise in unemployment – since the Great Depression. In addition to the historic aggregate damages of the pandemic, within many countries pre-existing inequalities have been aggravated: by skills, by gender, and by race, to name three important dimensions. To try to ameliorate all this harm, many countries have marshalled unprecedented expansions of monetary and fiscal policy.
The pandemic arrived about a decade beyond the trough of the World Financial Crisis. It also arrived at a time where the fusion of digital, global, and social forces continues to create immense business and economic opportunities—and yet serious pressures and anxieties as well. Perhaps most prominent among these anxieties among citizens of many countries is the fading belief in the dynamic forces of globalization and innovation. Much of this ambivalence and related anxiety stems from workers and their families not seeing sufficient growth in their income, wealth, and sense of opportunity: sufficient relative to earlier decades, relative to those at the top, and relative to their hopes and expectations. We live in a time where many nations are fractious and fractured, with far less consensus about the proper balance among for-profit businesses, sovereign governments, and civil society.
Several business-policy questions await the rest of 2022 and beyond. Will central banks continue with their historic stimulus of printing trillions of dollars? Will fiscal authorities create additional supports for workers, families, and communities? Will the U.S.-China trade war—and broader disagreements—deepen or improve? What sort of post-pandemic policies will be pursued in the emerging markets across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. What about global warming and climate change? More generally, will leaders craft leadership stories that lead to action to bring the potentially vast gains of globalization and digital innovation to more workers, communities, and families?
LGE provides us a chance to engage with all these contemporary business and policy issues that are top of mind around the world in C-suites, boardrooms, and halls of government power—for newly founded unicorns and for generations-old companies alike.
This minicourse examines how China has grown into the second largest economy in the world, and the challenges and opportunities along the way. It delineates the complexity of contemporary China with respect to economic, technological, political, environmental, and social issues and how it influences corporations in a wide range of industries. Based on in-depth discussions of empirical studies and business cases, it aims to provide students with analytical frameworks to navigate the China business environment and address the challenges and threats.
Topics include the roles of government and state-owned enterprises in the economy system and the implications for multinational corporations and entrepreneurial firms, the liberalization of the factor and output markets, the driving forces and the consequences of China’s technology advancement, the environmental degradation and unprecedented regulatory changes in recent years, the protection of intellectual property rights, culture factors embedded in business practices, and China-US economic tension.
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 to guide managerial decisions on where to locate production, whether to outsource or integrate fragmented production, and when to adopt new technologies. We will also analyze how firm-level responses to globalization affect industry and country-level outcomes, such as employment, wages, productivity, and innovation. The focus will be on recent empirical approaches and evidence so that students can: a) evaluate an empirical analysis and its credibility, and b) develop a data-driven approach to making managerial decisions.
This practicum allows Tuck students to deeply understand the intersection of diversity, entrepreneurship, and company growth. This practicum partners with Tuck’s Executive Education’s 40-year-old program for diverse entrepreneurs. Students will:
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, Design Thinking, 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 Venture Learning Lab in their second year.
Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA)
Professor Mark Anderegg; Professor Jim Feuille
Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (“ETA”) is an increasingly popular career path to general management via small business ownership. The discipline is distinct from customary interpretations of entrepreneurship insofar as the company is not started from the ground up. Rather, in ETA the entrepreneur purchases a business as a going concern – typically at a stage in its evolution when consistent positive cash flow is already being generated – and assumes the CEO role immediately after the acquisition is consummated. The most common manifestation of ETA is a search fund, although many variants of that model are becoming similarly prominent.
This course provides an introduction to the various pathways to ETA, as well as a detailed exploration of the various phases of an entrepreneur’s journey. The first half of the course covers background about different ETA models, raising investor capital, conducting a search for a suitable company and closing a private equity buyout transaction. The second half addresses relevant topics pertinent to being a first-time CEO and considerations related to operating a microcap company. Industry participants will join the majority of sessions to bolster the content and add unique personal perspective to the discussion. Background reading will often include case studies wherein these practitioners are the case protagonists.
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.
Through of series of readings, cases, guests and student presentations the course will explore:
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
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
As we move forward in the 21st century, an era marked by unprecedented affluence and wide-reaching crises, the markets at the base of the global income pyramid have become a meeting place of global corporations and development advocates alike. Business leaders, with aims to do well and do good, seek opportunities in unmet demand, innovating to overcome challenges of access and serving new markets. Pulled by the promise of new markets in emerging economies 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.
In keeping with the Ethics and Social Responsibility core requirement, this mini-course offers a course on ethics, situated in the practical challenge facing business leaders that aim to overcome barriers to access, in pursuit of new markets. The case studies that we read throughout the course serve as the context for a broader inquiry into questions of corporate responsibility and ethics. The cases feature the pursuit of profit, against a backdrop of disparity between have and have-nots, and allow us to consider the role of business leaders, and reflect on corporate responsibility, ethics, as well as risk.
This course aims to create an opportunity for students to hone their analytical skills around questions of ethics and social responsibility, and to practice their ethical voice. Core background readings in Philosophical Ethics are introduced at the beginning of the course and we use these ethical arguments and dialogues as a vital resource for understanding and navigating the value-laden debates that may frame markets. Cases are selected with the aim to highlight the socially and politically charged contexts that business leaders may encounter, including health care delivery, infrastructure, humanitarian relief, and environmental sustainability. Business models, innovated to overcome challenges of access, may test traditional assumptions about business-society-government relations, and spark debate over broader questions of risk and corporate responsibility.
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. The very nature and purpose of “capitalism” are being questioned. 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.
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 goodwill 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.
Twenty years ago, few people except social scientists evaluating the results of large-scale development programs talked about social impact. Google the term now, and millions of hits pop up—an explosion of interest that is both promising and problematic.
On the one hand, its currency attests to the growing number of organizations and individuals who recognize—and want to help remedy—the enormous social, economic, and environmental problems facing our planet. On the other hand, it’s hard to know what the term actually means other than doing something good for society.
If social impact were simply a buzzword this sort of broad generalization wouldn’t matter. But social impact is a real phenomenon. And while there are undoubtedly people who’ve seized on the term simply because it’s the new-new thing, most of those who are talking about it do so with genuinely good intentions. The problem, in the words of inventor Thomas A. Edison, is that “a good intention, with a bad approach, often leads to poor results.”
MSI’s overarching goal is to help you appreciate what it takes to turn good intentions into good results for society. To this end, the class will require you to consider a number of fundamental questions, including:
These questions are particularly pointed for the charitable nonprofits, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and philanthropic foundations that constitute the nonprofit (or social) sector. Why? Because these are the only organizations that exist solely for the purpose of bettering society. If they are unable to deliver on the statement of purpose (or mission) that is their reason for being, it doesn’t matter how big, or well-known, or well-intentioned they are: they have failed. So, using them as a primary lens for discussing these questions allows us to explore the challenges of managing for social impact in their most demanding form.
That said, every organization has a social impact (as does every individual), even if its decision makers choose not to acknowledge that, let alone manage for it. This is why we will also use our time together to consider where questions of social impact might appear in the context of business decisions or government policies, and what some of the key trade-offs in these contexts might involve. You will also have time and space to develop your own perspective on social impact and to reflect on how it might affect your decisions and choices going forward. Guests who have wrestled with these issues themselves will share their experiences and lessons learned, as will your professor.
As MBAs. your skills will be in high demand. MSI will be useful whether you decide to apply them professionally or privately. This course 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:
SUSTAINABLE MARKETING (SUSM)
Professor Liana L. Frey
To use Philip Kotler’s definition, “sustainable marketing holds that an organization should meet the needs of its present consumers without compromising the ability of future generations to fulfill their own needs.” To do this well, marketers need to expand their traditional scope and leverage new tools and frameworks. There has been a shift in consumer expectations around transparency and responsibility of a company’s environmental impact. Consumers are seeking out and buying more sustainable products. Consumers expectations are changing and they now expect companies to not only be responsible for their environmental impact while making a product, but also in the sourcing, use, and disposal. Many companies have struggled to communicate on these topics which has led to marketing that is often inadvertently misleading. Marketers want to leverage this interest in sustainability, but they struggle with what, where, when to communicate during the customer journey.
Most organizations start their sustainability journey by exploring the topic of purpose and goals, which is where the course will begin. The class will learn how sustainable marketing differs from regular marketing and how to adapt the 3C’s and 4P’s for sustainability. Then, the class will review how to leverage systems thinking and stakeholder engagement to create programs with maximum impact. The class will also explore the opportunities and challenges with sustainable product design and marketing. Through research, cases, and real-world examples, students will learn sustainable marketing strategies and what sets the winners and losers apart.
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
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. The course starts with research and practice in the areas of corporate governance, shareholder activism and executive compensation. It then continues with investment banking and the capital acquisition process, and it 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. Moreover, in addition to debating core topics, students run their own regressions to verify some of the large-sample results discussed in class.
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.
EARLY STAGE VENTURE CAPITAL WORKSHOP PRACTICUM
Professor Jim Feuille
The goal of the Early Stage Venture Capital Workshop Practicum is to engage students in an in-depth, hands-on, team-oriented exploration of real-world early stage venture capital (VC) deal making, first by giving students an intensive grounding in the core elements of early stage venture capital—venture capital fund portfolio construction, deal sourcing, deal screening and selection, due diligence, valuation of early stage companies, convertible notes, capitalization tables, term sheets, the elements of an investment memorandum and negotiations with entrepreneurs—then by engaging students in a series of “deal workshops” whereby students will work on analyzing and conducting “due diligence” on nine “live” venture capital deals, three at a time, meeting with the founders or CEOs of companies that are then active in the marketplace raising Seed, Series A and Series B rounds of venture capital to hear their pitches and ask due diligence questions, and selecting three of those deals (one per set of three) to recommend to their “partnership”, consisting of practicing venture capitalists from around the US, by writing a full investment memorandum for each of the three deals and presenting and defending the investment thesis for the deal in a meeting with the venture capital partners. Unlike interns or associates in venture capital firms, who support the partners in their work, in this workshop, students will take on the role of the partners in a venture capital firm who are leading deals for their firms. In the final week, the deals phase of the workshop concludes with mock negotiation sessions where the teams will negotiate an investment term sheet with three of the nine entrepreneurs, one per team.
ENTREPRENEURIAL FINANCE (ENTFN)
Professor Morten Sorensen
This course is designed to help prospective entrepreneurs and investors understand the corporate finance issues and financing decisions that arise in an entrepreneurial context. We first cover the three fundamental topics in entrepreneurial finance: (1) start-up valuation, (2) deal terms, and (3) staged investing. We then apply those tools to address questions about how to determine an appropriate valuation of a start-up, how much capital to raise and from whom, the mechanics of term sheets and cap tables, economics of milestones, subsequent financing rounds and exits. The course is taught though a combination of lectures, case studies, and guest speakers.
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 which will cover 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 will include a challenging research problem. Homework assignments in some courses 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 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 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 generally relevant to private equity investing in private companies.
FINANCIAL REPORTING AND STATEMENT ANALYSIS (FRSA)
Professor Phil Stocken
Financial Reporting and Statement Analysis (FRSA) is designed to prepare you to analyze, interpret and use financial statements effectively, both from a general manager and investor perspective. The primary focus will be on developing your ability to engage in accounting analysis, which is the process of assessing how the financial metrics reflect the firm’s underlying economic constructs, as well as your ability to use financial data to gain insight into a firm’s business strategy, economic performance, and outlook.
FinTech Topics: Blockchain, Crypto Currencies, and Decentralized Finance (BCCDF)
Professor Evgeny Lyandres
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.
Professor Brian Mezler
Households allocate nearly one-quarter of their assets to owner-occupied housing and spend more on housing services than on any other expenditure category. Over the last decade, housing transactions have been the focus of many innovative firms that use technology to transform old ways of doing business. 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, 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 delves into home financing decisions. The fourth and final module studies investments in rental housing, including vacation and other short-term rentals facilitated by person-to-person rental platforms.
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 (e.g., mutual funds and hedge funds) and personal investment decisions. The topics covered include portfolio theory, performance evaluation, analysis of trading strategies, and the role of taxes in investment decisions.
RESEARCH TO PRACTICE SEMINAR: QUANTITATIVE PRIVATE EQUITY(RTPQP)
Professor Morten Sorensen
The seminar covers recent academic studies of private equity and venture capital investments, although the material applies broadly to other alternative assets organized in similar fund structures (e.g., growth equity, mezzanine, infrastructure, and real estate funds). The course is divided into two parts: The first part covers the relationship between private equity funds and the companies they acquire, i.e., their portfolio companies. Topics covered in this part include the impact of private equity on corporate governance and operations as well as the consequences for employees and other stakeholders in portfolio companies. The second part takes the perspective of institutional investors (LPs) that allocate capital to private equity funds. Topics include the organization and economics of the private equity partnership, performance evaluation of private equity funds, and portfolio choice considerations for LPs allocating capital across asset classes that include private equity.
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 $20 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.
SMALL BUYOUTS PRIVATE EQUITY PRACTICUM (PRPEP)
Professor Nicholas Russell
Small Buyouts Private Equity Practicum (“PEP”) is intended to engage Tuck students in a hands-on learning experience to apply what they have learned in other Tuck classes as well as from their pre-Tuck careers and internships developing their private markets investment fluency, pattern recognition and judgement applied in the real-world context of actual small and middle market buyout acquisitions.
The overarching practical learning objective of the class is to enhance the students’ effectiveness in the private investment industry, whether that involvement comes through becoming an investor, becoming a manager of a private institutionally owned business, or as one of the many other participants (consultants, bankers, etc.) in the industry, through relevant, actionable, “real-world” experiential learning.
The class is delivered through two curricular elements: a) Deal Review Lab: the review, preparation, presentation and group discussion/evaluation of a series of current and/or recent, real middle market buyout opportunity “cases” led by students to simulate an investment committee setting and b) Investment Thesis development: individual student research into an industry sub-segment or other theme to develop and deliver a potentially actionable private equity investment targeting thesis.
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
The course covers the entire private equity sector (including venture capital, growth equity, and buyouts as well as institutional investors in the sector) of the economy. The course will focus on the basics of venture capital and private equity industries for students with less experience in finance and/or investing. The course will study VC/PE industry participants and explore their various perspectives, models, strategies, objectives, and challenges. Through cases and quantitative exercises, we will introduce the basic analysis and quantitative and qualitative factors involved in venture capital investing, growth equity financing, leveraged buyout (LBO) transactions. Class will incorporate quantitative exercises, cases and models but there will be fewer cases than the regular session of VCPE and we will examine them in greater depth over multiple class periods. We will also have more in class exercises. 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 is about health analytics in action. With epidemiology as our key tour guide, we will introduce and apply timeless scientific concepts to timely case studies. Examples include the commercialization of patient data; the unintended consequences of tying physician payments to statistical algorithms; and the promise and perils of digital disease detection. Students will be provided with a series of practical data diligence tools speaking to descriptive, predictive, and evaluative applications of health analytics. By the end of the course students will be able to recognize and apply key frameworks critical for wise, data-driven leadership across the health sector.
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).
AI FOR MANAGERS (AIM)
Professor Dean Alderucci
In this minicourse, students will learn about a wide range of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques and how they can be applied to the challenges and opportunities that firms face. AI is delivering impressive results across a growing number of industries and business functions, including marketing, strategy, operations, and finance. A firm’s competitive advantages increasingly rely on its ability to make superior decisions using AI technologies. This in turn requires managers to become conversant with a growing number of AI capabilities in order to assess and oversee the opportunities that AI provides.
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.
CREATING WINNING NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES (CWNPS)
Professor Peter Golder
New products and services are vital to companies’ success. In fact, creativity and innovation are the key drivers of market success and shareholder value for most of today’s leading companies. Indeed, a culture of creativity, innovation, and design is commonly recognized as the only sustainable competitive advantage. To win (and hopefully dominate) markets, companies must often create entire new markets and move beyond a product’s functional capabilities to connect with customers on an emotional and relational basis. However, innovation is risky and most new products fail. This course teaches a process for identifying market opportunities, creating new product/service ideas, and turning those ideas into valuable new products and services. We focus on the tools and techniques for analyzing market opportunities, creative thinking for generating new ideas, and then designing, testing, and launching new products and services. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches are covered. More specifically, this course covers the new product development process, including idea generation, concept testing, product design and development, mapping customer perceptions, product positioning, market sizing, and market entry strategies. The course emphasizes how to incorporate customers and competitors into all aspects of new product development. Students will solidify their learning by putting these tools and techniques into practice by forming teams to conceive and develop a new market offering and then present their idea to classmates and external judges. The goal of each presentation is to convince others that your idea satisfies criteria for winning in the marketplace. The course is intended for students who are interested in creating and developing innovations, both in entrepreneurial firms and in established companies; and for students interested in enhancing their creativity more broadly. The course structure is flexible in terms of case write-ups and project selection, so you can tailor the course to meet your personal goals.
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, 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, marketing attribution, and multichannel customer management. Industries examined include subscription services, software, retailing, financial services, consumer electronics, telecom, and travel. Software used includes Excel, a commercial predictive modeling package, 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 Customer Management (RTPMM)
Professor Scott Neslin
The proliferation of channels through which consumers and firms interact has revolutionized the marketing landscape. A basic distinction is between online and offline channels, but there are many variations under these headings. The challenge for firms is to adopt strategies that maximize customer value in this environment – this is the bailiwick of multichannel customer management. Successful multichannel customer management requires an in-depth understanding of how consumers respond to the multichannel environment. The purpose of this seminar is to provide the conceptual insights required and how to translate them into successful strategies. Topics include multichannel customer profitability, cross-channel sales and marketing effects, the impact of adding and deleting channels, coordinating marketing across channels, customer channel choice, multichannel customer segmentation, customer acquisition, marketing attribution, and research shopping (“webrooming” and “showrooming”).
Students will read academic papers on these topics, prepare presentations, and lead in-class discussions. Additional significant assignments include statistical assessment of the impact of adding a channel on sales in other channels, a case analysis of how to manage customer showrooming, and a final project requiring students to either conduct a customer survey or implement a multichannel campaign on Facebook or Google AdWords.
This course targets students who are highly interested in multichannel customer management and eager to take a “deep dive” into learning about it.
MULTICHANNEL ROUTE-TO-MARKET STRATEGY (MCRTM)
Professor Kusum 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 others in-between (Brooks Running, tgin, and Natura & Co.).
PRICING STRATEGY AND ANALYTICS (PSA)
Professor Samuel Engel
In this course, we will study pricing strategies and approaches to achieve profitability, including questions such as: How do I measure what my product should be worth to customers? Should I invest in product improvements or advertising to raise prices? How can I expand into price-sensitive markets without diluting existing high-value sales? How do I avoid a price war?
This is a practical course that will equip you with the tools to manage pricing decisions in B2B and B2C environments. The course builds hard analytical skills that enable you to apply the full range of marketing principles in real-world situations. You will learn the techniques of strategic analysis necessary to price more profitably by evaluating the price sensitivity of buyers, determining the relevant costs and anticipating and influencing competitors’ pricing moves.
We will also link pricing theory to the practice of marketing strategy via the consulting engagements of the professor, who has led global innovation and aviation practices at a large consulting firm. This course is valuable to anyone who will be directly or indirectly involved in pricing decisions; it will be especially relevant for those who intend to work in general management, marketing, and consulting.
PRODUCT MANAGEMENT FOR TECHNOLOGY(PM)
Professor Sara Torti
A Product Manager is obsessed with the problem their product tries to solve and works to both define the product’s functional requirements and lead cross-functional teams to develop, launch and improve their product over time. Taught by an experienced former Google product executive, this minicourse aims to provide an introduction to Product Management in Tech and expose students to key product development and growth strategies so they can build, optimize and scale products following graduation.
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.
As climate change becomes more urgent, consumers are becoming aware that the choices that they make impact our planet’s health. Critics argue that marketing is part of the problem by encouraging our overconsumption of resources. Marketing has a vital and unique role in creating a more sustainable society. Marketing can be force for good by communicating and educating people on the value of a different way. To use Philip Kotler’s definition, “sustainable marketing holds that an organization should meet the needs of its present consumers without compromising the ability of future generations to fulfill their own needs.”
Through this course, students will gain an understanding of sustainability on business from a marketing lens. This course aims to provide a broad range of tools and framework for understanding how businesses can interact with issues related to sustainability. The first module of this course will focus on the fundamentals of sustainability. We’ll review sustainability frameworks, learn how to use systems thinking to approach business sustainability, and utilize a stakeholder analysis approach for business solutions. Then in module two, we’ll focus on the role of business and marketing. We’ll analyze marketing strategies around sustainability and what sets the winners and losers apart. We’ll review how sustainable marketing differs from regular marketing and how sustainability can be a competitive differentiator. We’ll explore the opportunities and challenges with sustainable product design and measuring impact.
This course meets the Ethics & Social Responsibility (ESR) requirement.
DATA-DRIVEN ANALYTICS FOR INNOVATIVE OPERATING MODELS (DDA)
Professor Lauren Lu
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen the ever-increasing importance of data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), which have found their latest uses in a wide range of business and public settings, from predicting shifting consumer demand patterns to mitigating supply chain disruptions to developing evidence-based public health policies. Whether you will work in a traditional enterprise or a technology-driven startup, it is essential to acquire the basic concepts and tools to navigate today’s data-rich environment.
This minicourse is designed to expose students to a wide spectrum of operations and supply chain settings where data analytics and AI transform the business model and the decision-making process. The course will give students an opportunity to apply the analytics tools they have learned from the core Analytics courses to real-world data and operational problems. While covering latest data-driven analytics and operating model innovations in a range of industries, the course intends to focus on nascent startups and technology companies that have emerged in recent years. The final project of the course requires student teams to develop a data-driven innovative operating model prototype.
DATA MINING FOR BUSINESS ANALYTICS (DMBA)
Professor Stephen G. Powell
Data mining is a group of analytics methods that primarily deal with prediction and classification. This course will cover the following topics: data cleaning, exploration and visualization, logistic regression, classification and prediction trees, naive Bayes estimation, and ensemble methods. These methods are applicable in many industries. Datasets used for class assignments come from industries such as healthcare, transportation, finance, and criminal justice.
This course builds on the core Analytics 1 & 2 courses. Class time will generally include 1) discussion of the homework, 2) presentation and discussion of new material, 3) “lab time” where students will be working individually or in small groups on assignments, and 4) discussing the lab assignment.
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
The service sector dominates the economies of most developed nations. Worldwide, services account for 64% of GDP and 40% of employment, and in the United States the service sector accounts for 76% of GDP and 85% of employment. In addition to the “pure” service sector, the delivery and support of many goods involves a signiﬁcant service component. The challenges involved in managing services have been complicated by globalization, for many services are now delivered by service supply chains that involve multiple ﬁrms and cross national boundaries.
In this class we will develop both quantitative tools and qualitative models that will help us to manage in this complex environment. The class focuses on three topics: (i) managing variability in services, (ii) demand and revenue management and (iii) management of employees and customers.
Topics related to the impact and management of variability in services should be familiar to students who have taken/are taking Tuck’s core operations course, and we will see how management lessons from the manufacturing sector can sometimes be useful, and sometimes inadequate, when managing services. Service ﬁrms are faced with additional sources of variability that we discuss in this course. Concepts and tools in the course will be applied to examples from health care, retail, contact centers, food services, 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.
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 parties involved, directly or indirectly, in fulfilling a customer demand. The integrated management of this network is a critical determinant of success in today’s competitive environment. Companies like Amazon, Inditex, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Lenovo, 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, supply chain contracting, and supply chain disruptions. 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.
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.
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 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. Tuck offers several outstanding leadership electives. This course is different in two key ways:
a. While other courses rely on self-reflection and the study of well-known leaders, in this course students gain a deeper understanding of who they are as leaders by relying on the evaluations of people who have had extensive interactions with them. This is important because our self-assessments are often inaccurate (see reading by Wilson and Dunn assigned for session 1). Especially early in one’s career, errors of self-assessment go in both directions: underestimation and overestimation of strengths. 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 use is the Inventory of Leadership Styles (ILS). 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.
b. While other leadership courses help you reflect on how you carve your leadership journey over the course of your career or life, the temporal horizon of this course is narrower. The objective of the course is to help you become a better leader in the short term. Based on an analysis of your current strengths and weaknesses, you will formulate an action plan to help you become a more effective leader while you are completing your MBA and in preparation for your first job after Tuck. In formulating the action plan, you will learn about skills and strategies to maximize your chances of achieving personal change.
In keeping with the emphasis on your short term leadership development needs, the theoretical framework underlying the 360-degree feedback highlights the relationship between leadership styles and the demands on leaders in different work settings. What is required to be an effective leader in a Wall Street firm likely differs from what it takes to be a leader in a consumer goods company or a start-up. Using this theoretical framework, we will assess how students’ unique leadership profiles match the demands of their jobs, focusing on both the jobs they held prior to joining Tuck and their likely jobs after they leave Tuck. Based on a gap analysis, we will identify development needs and actions for improvement. Students will discuss cases and will take part in structured role-play exercises that identify effective behavioral approaches to leading others. In addition, to create an environment conducive to learning and personal growth, we will use peer coaching for the analysis of 360-degree feedback and for action planning.
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 Disruptive Change describes a set of lenses, tools, and mindsets to confront 21st-century challenges such as building cultures that spur diversity, equity, and inclusion, addressing sustainability and related issues, and transforming organizations in the face of disruptive change. These kinds of adaptive problems present unique challenges. They place leaders in a thick fog. Data to justify making a decision comes in when it is too late to make a decision. Conflicting demands bind them in seeming paradoxes. Pursue purpose by embracing sustainability and maximize profits by extracting and exploiting resources. Enable empowerment and autonomy and decisively lead in new directions. Build a high-performance meritocracy that provides equitable opportunities and outcomes. Be comfortable with discomfort. Calmly confront predictable unpredictability. Resting at the unique intersection of the disciplines of strategy, innovation, leadership, behavioral psychology, and systems psychodynamics, Leading Disruptive Change integrates academic research and practitioner-oriented tools and frameworks to give students practical ways to act wisely and decisively through the fog of disruptive change. Students will specifically learn how to:
Professor Aram M. Donigian T’08
Negotiation is the art and science of securing agreements between two or more interdependent parties. This course focuses on the theory and processes of negotiation as it is practiced in a variety of settings. It is designed to complement the technical and diagnostic skills learned in other Tuck courses. A basic premise of the course is that while wise, decisive leaders need strong analytical skills to better the world through business, negotiation skills are essential for today’s business leader to ensure adoption and implementation of proposals. This course will highlight the components of an effective negotiation and teach you to analyze your own behavior in negotiations. The course will be largely experiential, providing you with an opportunity to develop your skills by participating in role-play simulations and integrating your experiences with the principles presented in the lectures, course discussions, and assigned readings.
Students may not take both Negotiations and the Negotiations Accelerated (NEGOX) minicourse course for credit.
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.
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.
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 and why do different people network (or benefit from their networks) differently? 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.
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.
Digital Change Strategies (DCS)
Professor Alva H. Taylor
Digital technologies have changed 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, and this change has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Managing strategic change is a required key skill of any manager. Companies must build business strategies that are dynamic and address 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.
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.
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, disruption, volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, and diversity (D-VUCAD) increase 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 to proactively develop and deliver foreign market entry strategies that effectively 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.
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.
STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP (SLEAD)
Professor Sydney Finkelstein
This minicourse focuses on senior executives and how they choose to run their organizations. That means the good stuff they do, and the not so good. How CEOs, boards, and other top managers make decisions, guide strategy, and even get their jobs in the first place are all core topics in the minicourse. Course topics include: executive selection and succession, executive leadership, top management team composition and dynamics, and board-management relations. Though the course will be helpful for students who wish to strengthen their managerial talents, it is more focused on improving students’ ability to diagnose, critically evaluate, and enhance executive capabilities in organizations.
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 forefront 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.
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.
The frameworks and tools learned in the course will enable you to:
1. Define a problem clearly
2. Structure the problem-solving process
3. Collect and synthesize relevant quantitative and qualitative data
4. Design valuable recommendations and an implementation plan
5. Present effectively
Course methodology will include discussions, in-class exercises, outside guests, and a single case (based on an actual client 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 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.
CURRENT ISSUES IN THE GLOBAL FOOD SYSTEMS (CIGFS)
Professor Jose Alvarez
The global food system consists of a multitude of players connected through local and global networks. The ability of these networks to feed the planet are under threat from a variety of challenges. The population of the planet will likely reach 10 billion by 2050, an increase of almost 30% from current numbers. Agriculture contributes at least 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) annually at a time when the catastrophic impacts of climate change are starting to be realized in agricultural production. Drought, water scarcity, and war in key growing areas are exacerbating the problems at hand. These are enormous challenges that require innovative management practices, new technologies, and visionary public policies. This course will provide insight into the challenges faced by the food system globally and argue the merits of some potential solutions. Students will be exposed to the language, concepts, and tools industry players use to deal with these issues.
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.
GLOBAL INSIGHT EXPEDITION (GIX)
Global Insight Expeditions (GIXs) bring together students and faculty in experiential courses that take place around the world. The aim of GIXs is to prepare students to lead effectively outside their home countries and in multicultural environments. Each GIX begins with classroom sessions on Tuck’s campus. Students then spend March break (first- or second-years) or December break (second-years only) 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 and participate in cultural activities. Along the way, there is ample opportunity for structured reflection about their experiences.
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 and senior management 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.
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.
TERM EXCHANGE (TEX)
Term Exchange allows second-year Tuck students to spend a term abroad studying at a partner institution, pursuing coursework traditionally not offered at Tuck and interacting with diverse faculty and students. Spending a term overseas allows students to gain knowledge of a different culture’s educational and business environment while enhancing their understanding of global business issues. Our exchange partners are selected based on their reputations for excellence and for the opportunities for expanded academic learning.
AVOIDING AND EXPLOITING DECISION BIASES IN THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Professor Dan Feiler
Behavioral scientists, including the professor of this course, have identified a set of decision traps that managers sometimes fall into. In this micro-course we will apply what we know about these decision biases to a specific industry: personnel evaluation and decision-making for NBA teams, which are multi-billion-dollar organizations. This micro-course will build on the introduction to these concepts in Managing People and Analytics. Discussion will be informed by an ongoing research project that the professor is conducting with executives in four NBA organizations.
HORIZON SCANNING (SP001)
Professor Scott Anthony
The science fiction writer William Gibson famously noted that “the future is already here, it is just not very evenly distributed.” While it’s possible to “experience tomorrow today” by spending time in the right places and with the right people, spotting, interpreting, and aligning a group around what often show up as faint signals of future change presents a number of challenges. For example, what sources provide the most reliable signals of future change? How can you determine which signals actually are material? How can you get a group to develop enough of a shared perspective to make decisions in the face of significant uncertainty? How do you handle the inevitable tension that comes when individuals interpret early-stage developments in different ways?
Capabilities around horizon scanning are a key component of the toolkit of a wise, decisive leader. Properly deployed, they allow an organization to be more agile and adaptable, creating significant sources of competitive advantage. The blend of case-based discussion and experiential activities in this sprint course will help students to build these capabilities.
MANAGING INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS UNDER SANCTIONS (SP005)
Professor Andrew Vorkink
Sanctions imposed by G7 countries due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine have created unparalleled challenges for management of international companies who must navigate constantly changing requirements, not only from legal and financial regulations, but due to public pressure and retaliatory actions by countries being sanctioned. This microcourse will examine how international economic sanctions, such as against Russia by the US, the EU and the G7, affect business decisions and the risks which companies face in trying to comply with sanctions, the failure to do which can result in criminal prosecutions and hefty civil fines plus reputation damage. Global financial institutions alone have paid $17 billion in sanctions fines over the past decade. The course will examine the difference between primary and secondary economic sanctions, the mechanisms management need to have in place to avoid violation of sanctions and the difficult choices companies have to make to comply with sanctions which may require curtailing business in certain markets which may result in retaliatory action by governments or customers. Understanding these risks is critical for entities to safely operate internationally and for managers to make sound decisions.
INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS AT COP27 (SP003)
International Climate Negotiations at COP27 provides Tuck students a front-row seat to this year’s climate negotiations in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Although COPs were intended to be national government treaty venues, they now also serve as the international meeting space of subnational governments, companies and investors, civil society, and media. COP27 will focus international cooperation on the rapid implementation of the Paris Agreement through mitigation and adaptation actions, climate and carbon financing, recognition of loss and damage, and holding countries accountable via the global stocktake and private entities via the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCA). Its location at the crossroads of the Middle East and Africa provides a platform for centering climate change in the broader context of sustainable development and the diverging priorities of developing and developed economies.
MENTORSHIP, SPONSORSHIP AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTAL RELATIONSHIPS (SP002)
Professor Stacy Blake-Beard
Mentoring has been connected to many different organizational and personal outcomes, including satisfaction, retention, salary, and advancement. While mentoring is often discussed and frequently suggested, there is not enough attention given to this critical topic. Mentoring, Sponsorship and Other Developmental Relationships (SP002) is a sprint course dedicated to learning from research, popular practice and personal experiences on mentoring. In this course, there is a commitment to understanding how accessing mentoring can strengthen a powerful competence that is beneficial for creating developmental relationships connected to both career enhancement and personal well‐being.