Online Mini-MBA™: Business Essentials - Curriculum

Modules are selected from the following topics.  In addition to the interactive instructional modules, the program includes a Capstone project which allows students to complete a real-world assignment that synthesizes all of their learning.

Business Law

To be an effective manager in today’s complex business environment, a manager must have an understanding of how the law impacts the bottom line.  This module addresses legal areas in which every manager should have a level of familiarity, focusing especially on contract law, tort/consumer law, antitrust and competition law, corporate governance and governmental regulation.  Topics will include current trends in the law.  The intent of this module is to ensure that each participant understands the impact of these areas of the law on business decisions, and to be aware of, and manage risk associated with the legal aspects of his or her daily business dealings.

Business Strategy

Business strategy involves how a firm chooses to grow its business. Options include geographic expansion and new product offerings, among others. Where a firm grows and how it will win its customers in the future are critical strategic decisions.

This module focuses on such critical issues as understanding the business model that enables a firm to be successful with its targeted customers, the strategic capabilities and cultural requirements to deliver the strategy as intended, and the relationship between brand and organizational culture.

Leadership

As organizations constantly transform in an effort to maintain competitiveness in a dynamic and uncertain business environment, effective leadership often makes the distinguishing difference between success and failure.  This module explores the human dimension of work and considers both the theory and practice of leading and managing people in contemporary, successful organizations.

Marketing

Marketing plays a key strategic and tactical role for product and service companies.  The complexity of planning, managing and implementing marketing programs for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries to maximize profit, improve customer satisfaction, and generate brand loyalty will be examined.

Topics include marketing management, strategic planning, relationship marketing, competitive analysis, the marketing mix, customer satisfaction, consumer behavior, product development, branding, direct marketing, pricing strategy and marketing communication.

Brand Management and Crisis Communications

Over time, "social media" has evolved into “social business,” creating new opportunities, as well as challenges, in digital marketing and corporate communications.  This module will explore, from the perspective of digital marketers and business leaders, the development of best practices for social media governance, brand reputation management, regulatory compliance, and crisis communications preparedness and response.  Case studies using leading businesses will help participants develop best practices for robust, yet compliant, communications in the worlds of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Google+

Managing Strategic Transformations

The only constant is change. Change is everywhere. Organizations adapt to change or they fail. This module will address the multiple levels of change and apply the learning to a specific case of long-term organizational transformation.

In this module, we discuss what it is about organizations that makes some good companies lose their leadership positions, makes some promising companies miss the opportunities that they identified, and makes some new comers surprising stars in the marketplace.

International Business

For small companies, as well as for large multinationals, international expansion presents several strategic alternatives. Foreign customers can be served by shipping a good or service to that nation, or by setting up a subsidiary. Increasingly, these days, strategic alliances with a local firm (including licensing, franchising, joint ventures, supply chain arrangements, or long term contracts) are used as an alternative to fully-controlled operations.

Which is the best strategic choice, among these various alternatives? How is the choice affected by the size of your company, its international experience and by factors such as political or currency risk, and international tax issues? These concepts will be illustrated by discussing the case of a medium-sized company in the US that wishes to expand its business in Europe.

Project Management

Today’s organizations expect projects to be completed faster, cheaper, and with the highest level quality possible.  The most successful way to meet project objectives is utilization of practical and effective project processes and guidelines, led by a qualified manager with strong people skills, and an involved and committed project team.  It is critical that a functional set of project management guidelines is agreed upon and adapted as a way of conducting project business.  This module will serve as an overview of the project processes that support successful results.

Achieving Innovation

How do you move an innovation from idea to adoption? In this module, participants will explore two of the biggest impediments to achieving innovation: Habit and Risk. Participants will learn how to deconstruct and alter habits to effectuate change, while at the same time developing tools to analyze and mitigate the risks associated with that change.

Participants will also learn a framework, by which to evaluate an innovation, in order to determine if it will create long-term value for their organization. Key concepts in innovation such as disruptive innovation and open innovation, as well as lean and agile methodologies will also be covered. 

Supply Chain Management

In the global marketplace achieving a competitive edge is essential to survival and success. This module focuses on case study discussion and analysis of how Supply Chain Management (SCM), a business integrating process, can be used to create and sustain a competitive advantage. SCM holds the key to productivity and quality improvements, cost reduction and innovative customer servicing.

Financial Statement Analysis

Reading and analyzing financial statements and understanding the underlying story they tell is the focus of this module.

Topics include the balance sheet, the income and cash flow statements as well as fundamental financial analysis using net present value, time value of money, rate of return and other measures of investment attractiveness, trade-offs between risk and return and making effective capital budgeting decisions.  

Economics

Changes in policy variables such as tax rates, interest rates, and deficits influence employment, earnings and output and form the backdrop against which businesses need to formulate long-term strategy.

The objective of this module is to provide participants with the tools necessary to analyze the consequences of fiscal and monetary policies and, to some extent, to “demystify” the effects of macroeconomic policies while formulating strategy for periods of recession as well as recovery at the corporate (or personal) level.  Current and recent policies in the US, the EU, Japan, Argentina, China and India will be analyzed.

Sales

We are all in the business of sales. No matter what you were hired to do or what you think you do, you are in the business of marketing and selling your ideas, as well as your organization’s products and/or services.  Without salesmanship your brilliant idea may flounder instead of turning into a golden opportunity; same goes for your company’s latest innovation.  Unfortunately, many professionals do not fully understand how to influence others by encouraging decision makers and buyers to take action on their ideas, products, and services.  This module covers the fundamentals of business sales including effective strategies and tactics that work.