Core Courses

The first-year core curriculum is a hallmark of the Tuck academic experience and essential to our mission of educating wise leaders to better the world of business.


Courses are carefully integrated and complement each other. Students who have extensive background in a particular discipline and receive an exemption from one of the core courses take an elective course in its place.

Analytics I & II

This two-course sequence provides students with an analytical approach for solving managerial problems and making decisions.  We begin the process by describing and interpreting data, as well as by developing a rigorous description of the problem.  This descriptive analytics stage includes the development of summary statistics, data visualization, and robust mathematical models.  A fundamental goal of our analytical process is to separate the ‘signal’ from the ‘noise,’ and we will see how the fundamental principles of probability can be applied both directly to making decisions as well as how they are linked to more advanced data analytics techniques. 

Many decisions then require predictive analytics for making decisions.  Here we will use sophisticated statistical and predictive analytics tools to understand and anticipate how the world will change if we take certain actions.  These include hypothesis testing, A/B testing, linear and logistic regression, simulation analysis, and machine learning.  We will employ cutting-edge methods for fitting models and testing their sensitivity to assumptions.

Some problems require a more formal process for recommending actions.  For this prescriptive analytics stage of our process, we will employ mathematical optimization techniques and see how analytics may be used to solve large-scale business problems.

We will apply our analytical process to problems from all organizational functions (e.g., marketing, operations, finance, management, economics) and to a variety of industries (e.g., on-line promotion and advertising, airlines, manufacturing, and health care).  There will be hands-on experience using Excel, Excel plug-ins, and the R statistical programming language.

Capital Markets

This course provides a detailed overview of the world’s debt, equity, and derivatives markets. We start with the fundamentals of how the markets function and then move on to more advanced topics such as the determinants of interest rates, the trade-off between risk and return, the behavior of stock prices, and the pricing and uses of futures and options contracts. We illustrate how and why capital markets are important to investors and managers using real-world problems.

Corporate Finance

This course discusses basic principles of corporate finance and provides practical tools for financial decisions and valuation. The course consists of five sections. The first, Capital Budgeting Decisions, shows optimal project acceptance criteria consistent with the objective of maximizing the market value of the firm. The second section, Estimating the Cost of Capital, extends the analysis from the Capital Markets course to the practice of estimating a project’s expected return, using factor models. The third part of the course, Valuation Techniques, develops several valuation methods used in practice, including WACC, APV, multiples, and real options. Part four, Capital Structure and Dividend Policies, involves a discussion of how capital structure and dividend decisions affect firm value and survey industry practice. Finally, part five of the course, Investment Banking, develops key principles and practices for raising capital, mergers and acquisitions, and modern restructuring techniques.

Crafting Strategy

This course offers the “essential” tool-kit of the executive involved in the strategy process—the key ideas, concepts, and tools that are necessary to properly exercise strategic leadership. The course is divided into two parts. The first focuses on the strategy problem at the business unit level. It is at the business unit level that many key strategic choices and actions are formulated and undertaken. This part of the course starts by proposing a vocabulary and an analytical structure that help define competitive advantage precisely. It then tackles the question of how a strategic leader can locate opportunities to achieve sustained competitive advantage. This part of the course concludes with a discussion of why strategic leaders should be not only competent “practitioner economists”––the ability to read market forces is the traditional focus of competitive strategy analysis and tools––but also competent “practitioner psychologists,” and what developing such competence entails. The second part of the course focuses on the challenge of managing multiple business units. In particular, it focuses on how a strategic leader can determine the ideal horizontal and vertical scope for her firm and what that implies for mergers, acquisitions, and various typologies of alliances.

Financial Accounting

This course develops the fundamental concepts and procedures underlying corporate financial statements (including the income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flows) that are prepared under generally accepted accounting principles. The course introduces tools for analyzing profitability and risk and for preparing projected financial statements, addresses the impact on corporate financial statements of alternative accounting choices available under generally accepted accounting principles, and explores the faithfulness with which a firm's financial reports represents its underlying economic circumstances.

First-Year Project

The First-Year Project (FYP) course challenges students, working on teams of five, to apply classroom learning, and utilize skills from their prior work experience, to solve complex business challenges for real clients, or for their own entrepreneurial endeavor. This experiential learning class is unique in that it allows individual students the opportunity to tailor the curriculum to their own interests and career goals. Under the guidelines of the course students can source their own project or select a project from the project portfolio, and join a team of their choice.

Projects come from all industries; are local, national and global; are for non- and for-profit organizations; are with companies at all levels of business development, from early-stage to Fortune 100. Past project teams have analyzed new businesses, created launch strategies for new product or service offerings from an existing company, developed marketing strategies and implementation plans, and assessed the market potential for expansion into entirely new markets.

Qualifying FYP projects can be used to fulfill the global experience requirement.  Annually, 10-12 projects provide the opportunity for a student to spend one week immersed with their client in country, and then work with the client for the remainder of the spring term.  In the past teams have travelled to Nepal, Greenland, Armenia, London, Paris, Brazil, Japan, Germany and Haiti, among other global locations.

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Global Economics for Managers

Global Economics for Managers will expand students' knowledge of economics in two directions. First, we expand the scope of inquiry to cover the economics of the nation in a global economy. This portion of the course will cover international economics and macroeconomics. We will study the larger economic forces that shape production, trade flows, capital flows, interest rates, exchange rates, and other variables that create the global economic landscape. The second direction is international microeconomics, which will apply the tools of microeconomics and international economics to illustrate how globalization influences performance, strategy, and policy within firms. Our ultimate objective is to help students develop a framework for analyzing both opportunities and risks in a global economic environment.

Management Communication

This course is designed to provide Tuck students with immediately applicable skills for professional communication. You will complete the course with an understanding of and demonstrated improvements in overall communication, delivery and presentation skills. In addition, you will learn and practice effective techniques for delivering feedback. This mini-course is during the second half of Fall B to allow you to immediately apply your ManComm skills – during winter recruiting, your FYP and summer internship.

Managerial Economics

This course applies the ideas and methodology of economics to analysis of the firm, key decisions within the firm, and the industry. Topics covered include costs, pricing, competition, economic efficiency, and industry equilibrium and change. Particular attention is paid to behavior of the firm and industries when uncertainty and transaction costs exist. The course combines lectures/discussions of principles, with cases covering both current and classic firm and industry dilemmas. Issues of public policy, especially regarding pollution, are also covered.

Managing Organizations

Organizations are complex social systems that blend practices, culture, structures, processes, and people in order to achieve certain strategic goals. This course helps students better understand the principles and frameworks to develop and adapt organizations so that they can deliver on these goals. We examine key organizational decisions such as how to structure and design an organization; how to develop a high-performance organizational culture, how to attract and retain key talent needed in the organization, and how to build informal power without fostering resistance, including managing with empathy and credibility. We address these topics by engaging in case studies and experiential approaches, such as simulations and role plays, as well as discuss contemporary organizational challenges.

Managing People

This course will provide students with conceptual frameworks for increasing individual and team performance. Topics include: managing individual motivation, dealing with interpersonal relations, individual and group decision-making, designing and structuring teams, managing team dynamics, and how to build and leverage social networks.

Marketing

The marketing course prepares general managers and brand managers to understand the strategic role of marketing and how to apply it in their organizations. The course teaches how to grow a business by thoroughly understanding its current and prospective customers, the only source of a firm's revenue. Companies with high or increasing market capitalizations know how to create, communicate and deliver value to their customers. Students will learn how to create such value by applying a set of frameworks and analytical tools in three areas: identifying market opportunities, setting a marketing strategy, and formulating the marketing mix. Case studies and a competitive simulation exercise are used to develop experience in implementing these frameworks and analytical tools in order to grow a business. Specific course topics include market research, consumer decision making, market segmentation, targeting, positioning, product development, advertising, pricing, and distribution.

Operations Management

Operations Management is the systematic design, management and control of the resources and processes that transform inputs into finished goods or services. This course provides an introduction to the concepts and analytic methods that are useful in understanding the management of a firm's operations; both in service and manufacturing settings. The level of analysis varies considerably, from operations strategy through to daily execution, and from single locations through to global supply chains.