Rutgers EMBA curriculum upgrades

Rutgers Executive MBA program announces important upgrades to its curriculum

Welcome to the Powerhouse

Rutgers EMBA program has a well-deserved reputation of adapting quickly to changes in the business world. To ensure the applicability of our EMBA curriculum, we regularly invite seasoned veterans from industry to teach specialized courses. Our faculty also design stand-alone modules and lectures that meet the needs of business leaders right now.

1. Portfolio Management Strategy (Including SPACs, ETFs and Cybercurrencies)

Prof. Ronnee Ades

This is an advanced, modern finance course with the objective of studying indices and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and their application in investment management. The course is designed to be comprehensive in covering the economic space available to investors and the many investment objectives/strategies represented by indexes and ETFs. The contemporary and practical class content is enhanced by exposure to useful industry resources and participants. The course is divided into two major segments. The first provides a deep dive into the theories, methodologies and wide variety of products (covering all asset classes) that are the foundations of index-based investing. The second segment provides a thorough examination of ETFs from an investment strategy standpoint, including their anatomy, mechanics, application, availability, and the eco-system of industry participants. A semester project is required that involves working on either a current industry challenge or new investment opportunity that includes, portfolio design, calculation, backtesting and marketing. The class project includes working on teams, at times directly with industry experts, to practice the application of tools and material learned in class to actual real-world situations.

2. Managing Strategic Digital Transformations

Prof. Zeki Pagda

Change as a constant has never been more real than with digital transformations. Digital transformation is a hot topic--but what exactly is it, and what does it mean for 21st-century leaders? This course discusses the exponential rate at which technology changes and creates an imperative for organizations to deconstruct their value chain to gain a competitive advantage. This course will explore how four technologies—elastic cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things—are fundamentally changing how business and government will operate. While this profound and fast-moving transformation happens, today’s leaders should learn how to use change frameworks to survive and thrive in the new digital landscape. This course will explore emerging trends and technologies and possible future by covering vital external drivers of digital transformation. In this course, we will also cover approaches for change frameworks, planning and managing strategic transformations in the total enterprise, including leadership, processes, structures, and culture; exploring how forms of organizing change are linked to various competitive strategies and performance; and building skills for designing, implementing, and managing strategic transformations. High-level guest speakers from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc., will be key features of this newly designed course.

3. Digital Marketing Analytics

Professor Jing Suk

To survive and excel in today’s economy, executives need to focus on deploying their marketing and advertising dollars more effectively by validating the return of investment (ROI) of this spending. Digital marketing has proven to be a necessary and effective channel to showcase brands, to reach customers and to build loyalty. Executives need to navigate today’s complex and fragmented digital marketing concepts and regulations to ensure that their organizations upgrade and adapt to the age of digitalization. This course highlights how it is imperative that digital marketing be integrated with powerful digital marketing analytics, which through data acquisition, exploration, testing, and application, produce insights to drive continuous improvements in digital marketing programs and to maximize returns.

Professor Suk has led many large scaled analytics, data and AdTech/MarTech strategic initiatives across Enterprise clients, including CPG (P&G), Telecom (AT&T, Comcast), Financial Services (American Express, Barclays), Media (NY Times, Thomson Reuters), and Consulting (Accenture, CapGemini, Ernst & Young). She is passionate about utilizing data and technology to help transform the digital experience of large brands.

Professor Suk currently is the Marketing Technology Lead at Hearts & Science, the award-winning global marketing agency focused on data driving marketing in the Omnicom Media Group. She has deep expertise across key platforms utilized for marketing, including Adobe Marketing Cloud, Google Marketing Cloud, Data Management Platforms, Ad Verification partners (DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science), Syndicated Marketing Partners (Nielsen, ComScore), Audience Onboarding platforms (LiveRamp) and Customer Data Platforms and more.

This course provides a comprehensive look at various aspects of digital marketing. Starting with foundational concepts across all aspects of digital marketing, including owned, paid and earned media channels, participants then do deep dives into measurement strategy, metrics, framework, concepts, issues, tools, testing and best practices. This highly applied course adapts regularly to reflect current marketing industry changes, trends and updates. A key focus of the course is to ensure that executives can learn digital marketing analytics through real-world practice by using industry-leading digital marketing analytics tools.

Topics covered include:

  • How to link business objectives with digital marketing objectives and to develop measurement strategy?
  • How should executives manage vendor selection?
  • What are the key digital marketing metrics and key performance indicators for different types of organizations?
  • What are the owned, paid and earned media channels, and how to navigate through the complexity and measure marketing success?
  • What are the latest privacy and technology changes on audience and data, and how to ensure that your organization is adopting these changes?
  • How to utilize quantitative, qualitative and competitive tools to drive actionable insights?
  • How to optimize digital channels by incorporating testing and experimentation?
  • How to create and manage an analytics culture for your organization?

4. Executive Leadership

What is "Leadership" in the context of today's highly global and highly digital/virtual workplace? What is Change Management and how can you leverage Change in a rapidly evolving technological landscape? How do you motivate your team? Your company? Yourself? How do you assign accountability to high-powered teams that are in, say, four different time zones with four highly diverse business cultures? Do you know how to effectively plan for a negotiation, and how to make sure that your ideas get heard?

A recently added component on Innovation Management is designed to help students understand the importance of innovation to the performance, and indeed, the survival of their companies. Is there an Innovation Ecosystem? Or is Innovation endogenous? Or should Innovation be outsourced if it is not a Comparative Advantage for your company? Or does it pay to not be an Innovator---maybe it is best to focus on a standardized product? If Innovation is to be cultivated at work, then how do executives optimally manage an ongoing innovation system?

This course is taught by a team of veteran professors, with each one being a well-recognized subject matter expert in a particular aspect of Executive Leadership. The course deploys class discussions, role playing, case analyses, simulations and projects to give participants hands-on skills to be deployed at work right away. Many of the topics also synergize strongly with the Powerhouse Advantage courses in Presentation Skills since the REMBA program really emphasizes ultra-strong proficiency in verbal and written communication skills.

The following are brief synopses of the modules conducted by individual professors:

Art Certosimo: Crisis Leadership and Change management.

It is 9/14 three days after one of the darkest days in the history of the United States. Smoke still hangs in the air from the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. CEO of Broker Dealer Services and Executive VP at Bank of New York-Mellon, Art Certosimo, Rutgers grad and former Rutgers football player is in the meeting of his life. On the phone are General Colin Powell, Vice President of the US, Dick Cheney, and in the room with Art is Art's boss, President and CEO of BNY-Mellon, Tom Renyi (another Rutgers graduate). Also on the phone are the top generals of the US armed forces; the big brass are all there. The issue? The global market for US Treasuries---the safest investment on the planet---is about to melt down! The data is not moving from the safe-house in NJ to Wall Street. All normal data communications are down. And time is running out. If the market melts, so does American credibility, and so does our global financial standing. It is a terrifying prospect. Art 's job it is to fix this. Fast! What to say? What to do? How much to delegate? What comes first--family or country? How to operate without sleep for 3 days under intense global scrutiny? How to navigate the debris and chaos of 9/11.

Learn the Art of Crisis Management in its purest form from a true leader, a financial guru, a story-teller extraordinaire, and a true friend of the Rutgers EMBA program, in his session in Semester One in the Executive Leadership course in the REMBA program.

Art's session will be comprised of two parts: (i) Leadership in a Crisis situation, described above, and (ii) Change Management. In the latter section, Art will draw upon his extensive experience in the world of high finance to underscore real, practical techniques for enacting effective change. He will synthesize cutting-edge theory to his years of experience and allow participants to experience first-hand the art and science of Change Strategy.

Jerry Kim: Innovation Strategy for Senior Executives

Session 1 – DESIGN THINKING: Organizing Creativity and Avoiding Strategic Inertia

Fostering creativity throughout the organization is one of the most critically important jobs of an organizational leader. While our culture and society celebrate the heroic genius of the individual inventor (e.g., Steve Jobs, Elon Musk), research suggests that having the right organizational structures and processes has a far bigger impact on innovative outcomes. In this session, we will examine the team and organizational-level conditions that enable leaders to maximize organizational innovation and creativity. In particular, we will focus on “design thinking” as a methodology that can foster creativity and innovation. A deeper understanding of the core principles behind “design thinking” will further help us understand why organizations and leaders often fail to change despite disruptive threats and environmental changes, and provide a framework for how leaders can overcome strategic inertia.

Session 2 – Building Resilient and Innovative Organizations in Times of Crisis

In times of crisis, innovation may seem like a luxury for many organizations. Yet, crisis situations are exactly when the capability to generate new approaches and solutions are most valuable. Building on the notion that “crisis management is innovation on steroids”, the session will examine what leaders must do to navigate novel threats and highly uncertain environments by leveraging innovation within and across organizations. Using a case study on the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, we will explore the common mistakes leaders make in high-stakes crisis situations, and discuss how leaders can build organizational cultures that prevent large scale errors, and exhibit resilience in the face of challenges.

Terri Kurtzberg: Executive-Level Negotiations, and Managing Virtual Interaction

Associate Professor of Management and Global Business Terri R. Kurtzberg focuses on three areas of Executive Leadership in REMBA: (i) Executive Negotiations, (ii) Virtual Interactions, and (iii) Navigating Leadership Blind spots (this with Prof. Ameri described in the following blurb). In Executive Negotiations, Prof. Kurtzberg offers a glimpse into the methods of master negotiators, including the following: What must you do before you even walk into the room? What tactics and strategies will work for you, and how do you deflect those of others? How do you handle disputes? Can you effectively influence others?

The Virtual Interaction module aims to uncover blind spots in communicating with others to become more effective in both day-to-day and big-picture interactions, whether across the hall or around the globe. In this module, Prof. Kurtzberg will focus on helping each EMBA student become more effective at leading and participating in virtual team interactions. Both common virtual team problems and realistic solutions will be discussed. Topics will range from early team interactions and building trust, to coordination difficulties and leadership challenges over global supply chains. Problems created by electronic communication will also be addressed.

Terri Kurtzberg/Mason Ameri: Navigating Leadership Blindspots

How does an organization communicate with its employees? How do you, as a leader, signal to your direct subordinates? When something goes awry, can you identify the causes and address them at different levels? Each of these issues stems from the culture of an organization. The saying “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” by management expert Peter Drucker describes the idea that a leader needs analytical skills to realize the organization’s vision and strategic goals, as well as an understanding of the psychology of the workplace to create and enact a prosperous culture. Disconnecting the two may put an organization’s success at risk. The goal of this session, conducted by Professors Kurtzberg and Mason Ameri, is to help you understand how an organization’s culture can be a source of competitive advantage and can influence outcomes at the individual, group, and organizational levels (e.g., employee attitudes, innovation, market share, and more).

Farrokh Langdana: The Cycle of One. Unconventional Leadership for a Conventional World

The Rutgers Executive MBA program abides by a philosophy called the "Cycle of One," originally developed by Prof. Langdana. It is embedded into your learning experiences here. More than ensuring that you acquire the necessary business and management tools, we are committed to growing you as “unconventional” leaders so that you can apply what you've learned in the classroom to the decisions you make in the boardroom.

What is the Cycle of One?

Managers often begin their careers as lonely interns and then power through their mid-career by mostly working in teams. But at the end, when they make it to the corner office at the C-level, they often have to make hard decisions alone—it is indeed “lonely at the top”. This progression—the lonely intern, then the team player and then finally the CEO making difficult and poignant decisions alone—is our “Cycle of One.”

How it works

Rutgers Executive MBAs are trained to think on their feet—to think fast and to be bold enough to make rapid-fire decisions alone, if and when they have to. Often these decisions involve leaning towards more humanistic and compassionate (and unconventional) choices, and to “throwing away the rule book”.

To foster this, throughout the program, students participate in short Cycle of One exercises where an urgent situation demanding a quick decision, is presented to the participants. Many of these situations are embedded in historical context; there is a huge emphasis on Leadership in History in this program.You play the part of the CEO, and are given moments to quickly respond. There is no team discussion, no coach, no mentor, no “break out” session, no internet—this critical decision must be yours and yours alone, and must be made expeditiously.

Welcome to the Cycle of One, a concept that will be continuously developed by multiple professors right through your four-semester EMBA experience.

Jessica Methot: Leveraging Organizational Networks

While managing human capital is a critical competency for leaders, it is no longer effective to simply manage individual employees.Leaders operating in dynamic and boundary-less environments must manage webs of connected assets in order to find, utilize, and coordinate employees’ knowledge, skills, and expertise.This “networked” approach has implications for the way individuals share knowledge, generate ideas, and collaborate.In this session, Prof. Methot will focus on an array of topics related to how leaders can best leverage organizational network analysis (ONA) tools to achieve strategic outcomes. Topics will include:

(i) identifying critical relationships that should exist to ease workflow and support strategic objectives, (ii) pinpointing central players and key opinion leaders to alleviate collaborative overload and effectively distribute resources, (iii) coordinating employee expertise and bridging silos, and (iv) building agile and resilient organizational networks.

Jim Smith, Jr.: Ultra-Powerful Presentation Skills

Dr. Jim Smith, Jr., CSP, a highly sought-after presentations skills specialist, speaker, author, and coach, comes on board to ensure that Rutgers EMBAs learn the art of making exceptional, high impact business presentations. Professor Farrokh Langdana had been searching for a veritable superstar to train the EMBAs to make memorable presentations, and he finally found him, thanks to Brian Warrick (Metlife Executive, EMBA 2008).

In this session, Dr. Jim focuses on voice projection, eye communication, audience engagement, storytelling, modulation and optimal PowerPoint presentations (i.e., bringing out the story in each slide so that your audience members can hear, see and feel what you’re saying). Additionally, there is a session in which he will teach Executive MBAs how to open, close and structure business communications to diverse audiences such as potential investors, boards of directors and hostile audiences. Dr. Jim’s exposure to EMBA has recently been increased to give students greater opportunities to present in class. If you are transitioning from a world of Research, Medicine, Finance, IT, etc., to another world in which you will be client-facing, or moving to the C-level and making high-level presentations to your stockholders, your Boards, the Media, and so on, then this module will be transformative! Dr. Jim has presented to both national and international audiences of all sizes.

John Tintera: The Art of Strategic Writing

One of the less glamorous but absolutely necessary areas of “heavy lifting” in the business world—or any world, for that matter—is really effective writing. Beyond the speeches, the schmoozing, the PPT presentations and the conference calls, is the real written report. And this simply must be perfect; it has to draw readers to the main points, and then reinforce them by making precise, concise, and convincing arguments. The written document has to ensure that readers with limited time and often limited attention are “getting your point”.

Prof. John Tintera, writer, publicist, publishing executive extraordinaire, and Rutgers EMBA alum, will lead this 3-hour intensive session. “What’s the best way for executives to sell their proposals internally when they’re competing with other proposals for limited funds? How should executives communicate news that might not be very good, to their Boards of Directors, or to the Media? What do you write to the head of HR who is threatening to shrink the size of your staff?

The perfect memo, report or even email can and does make all the difference, and conversely, we all know what a badly worded email can do---thud! We have all been there!” This intensive seminar will be completely hands-on. You will be guided through a series of writing exercises and given on-the-spot feedback. Grow your writing muscles and learn to say what you mean—and say it well, and say it fast—every time.

Dr. Bershad: Leadership Lessons from the Frontline

It all began with an EMBA class Project in Prof. Rosa Oppenheim's Analytic Techniques course; the course is really Data-driven Strategy, and Rosa teaches two courses in The Powerhouse.

In a remarkable display of adaptability and creativity, Dr. Josh Bershad, then CMO at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in NJ, had deployed Prof. Oppenheim's Queuing Theory models to Healthcare! Instead of minimizing assembly and procurement time for components in an engineering process, Josh had now re-engineered the models to minimize patient waiting time, to shorten reimbursement time form insurance companies, to cut waiting time in the inner office after seeing the nurse, to optimize the follow-up scheduling, and so on. It was fascinating! It takes a lot for Rosa to be impressed---and she was impressed!

Fast forward to the present. Dr. Josh Bershad has created a C-level position at RWJBarnabas, the mega-hospital conglomerate in NJ, to run operations systems based on his original Rutgers EMBA project. Currently he is the Executive Vice President of Physician Services and also the Chief Medical Officer of the Rutgers Athletic Program, along with too many other activities and Board memberships to include here.

Josh has addressed the Powerhouse several times in the past, but now he will be featured on a regular basis in the newly engineered "Executive Leadership" course. Josh will conduct a session, "Leadership Lessons from the Frontline", based on his experiences in Healthcare from physician to CMO to EVP. The session, while embedded in Healthcare, will have Leadership lessons for every discipline. Furthermore, participants will connect with one of our all-star alums, and will also observe Josh's Presentations Skills, at the C-level.

5. Finance for the C-Suite

Financial acumen is a key driver of the strategic decision-making process. Regardless of industry or function, high-level executives must fully understand areas such as Budgeting, Valuation, Cash Flow Maximization, Real Estate Finance, Implications of recent Fed policy and changes in Banking Regulations, Relationship Building and Hedge Fund Strategy. This elective deploys an optimal mix of distinguished in-house professors and veteran industry experts to present a finely balanced and constantly updated array of topics to our Executive MBA students.

The highly-experienced industry leaders include:

Lisa Kaplowitz: Assistant Professor of Professional Practice – Finance and Founding Director of the Center for Women in Business. Professor Kaplowitz is a former investment banker, Treasurer of Bed Bath & Beyond and CFO of various private equity backed retail and consumer products companies. She continues to advise executives, at all stages of growth, by using finance to help direct corporate strategy and decision making.

Dr. John Longo: Dr. Longo is Professor of Professional Practice, and Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager for Beacon Trust, a registered investment advisor with $3 billion under management. Dr. Longo is also a Visiting Professor of Finance at EMBA Global – the joint international Executive MBA Program of Columbia University, London Business School and The University of Hong Kong. He is the bestselling author of The Art of Investing: Lessons from History’s Greatest Traders, published by He has won a total of four awards for teaching and research excellence at Rutgers Business School. He has led the RBS student team to four research case competition championships organized by the CFA Society of New York. He has also led Rutgers to personal visits with Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska on four separate occasions.

Fred Hoffman: Professor Hoffman was previously a Managing Director and the Head of Corporate Credit Strategies at Napier Park Global Capital (“Napier Park”).  Professor Hoffman has managed almost all sectors of the fixed-income marketplace including ABS/MBS, Municipal Bonds, Interest Rate Products and Credit. Between 2004 and 2006, he was Deputy Chief Investment Officer of Northstar Financial Services of Hamilton, Bermuda. Professor Hoffman holds an MA in Econometrics from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a BA in Economics and Computer Science from Rutgers College, Rutgers University.

A student looking at 4 stacked monitors with analytic informationAlso included in this elective is extensive on-line training and familiarity with the Bloomberg Terminal. Bloomberg terminals are one of the main product offerings from Bloomberg L.P. They are one of the most heavily used and highly regarded professional investment systems to be created for the financial marketplace. You will find a Bloomberg terminal on almost every institutional financial professional's desk. Many EMBA students have Bloomberg at their desks already and find Professor Hoffman's usage and knowledge of the terminal to be exceptionally  helpful.

6. Strategic Data Driven Management – Data Analytics at the Executive Level

Professor Ronak Parikh

As an executive, your success will be determined by your choices and decisions. Prior to the ubiquitous nature of data, decisions were made by borrowing learnings from experience. The probability of the decision being correct was based on similarity of the current situation and previous experience.

In today’s world, where data is being generated and stored by every business process, data can guide your decision making with certainty. You can run experiments to collect and analyze data to inform your strategy, thus fulfilling your business vision. The most successful companies make this a repeatable process and by doing so,  they learn from data faster than their competition.

This powerhouse session will develop your data driven competency. It will empower you to build and lead teams to identify opportunities of strategic importance and will equip you with tools and techniques to transform organization data assets into insights and knowledge. By the end of this session, you will develop an analytical mindset to make decisions with confidence.

7. Business Strategy

Professor Jerry Kim

This course develops a general management approach to strategic management. Integrating ideas and concepts from all across the EMBA program, the course has two broad goals.

  1. To understand how managers can devise a set of actions (“the strategy”) and design processes that allow their company to obtain a financial advantage over competitors.
  2. To gain a broader understanding of how new technologies and business models are changing the competitive dynamics of markets, and how firms’ strategies must evolve to sustain competitive advantage in the new (digital) environment. To ground the concepts and analytic tools in real-world settings, we will study the decisions and strategies of companies in many different industries, including media (e.g., Disney), shipping (e.g., Maersk), life-sciences (e.g., Gilead Sciences), toy (e.g., LEGO), and technology (e.g., Uber, eHarmony) firms. To further hone the communication and persuasion skills critical to strategy-making leadership positions, the class will rely on intense, real-time debate and role-playing.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • What are the key factors that differentiate financially successful firms and others that fail to sustain profits?
  • How should an incumbent firm respond to “disruptive” innovations from new entrants?
  • When does it make sense to acquire, partner with, or compete against other industry players?
  • How do new technologies re-organize existing markets (i.e., network externalities), and what are the different capabilities necessary to execute business models (e.g., multi-sided platforms) that are suited for these markets?
  • How will Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning alter competitive positioning and the strategic decision-making process? Can strategy formulation be digitized (i.e., “Strategy-in-a-box”), and what does this mean for future leaders?

8. Global Trade, Stage 3: Leading in a Nationalist-Protectionist World

Professor Farrokh Langdana

“Back in the day, virtually all economists would be for ‘free trade,” writes, Professor Farrokh Langdana who also is the Director of Rutgers EMBA. He calls this Global Trade Stage 1. “Then we had the globally connected economy, and the outsourcing thing happened, and virtual global workers started appearing in our living rooms via the internet--that’s Global Trade Stage 2,” explains Prof. Langdana. 

This new course is a highly applied cutting-edge course that focuses on the fact that global trade is now on retreat everywhere. Global Nationalism-Protectionism (NP) is the order of the day, and certainly rampant here in Trump-USA, and with Brexit in the UK, in France, in Germany and India, and certainly in China. This Nationalist-Protectionist (NP) world is Global Trade Stage 3, according to Langdana.  

The new course will explore: How should executives run global supply chains in this environment? What really should be offshored or outsourced? Or in-shored now that the US is making it more attractive to produce here by trying to level the tax field and by trimming government regulation? How will cryptocurrencies affect the pre-eminence of the dollar in global capital flows? Was Ricardian Trade theory misapplied? Is this why we have so many globally-disillusioned Americans, Brits, French, etc.?

9. Digital Transformation, Disruption & Design Thinking: D3

Prof. Mukesh M. Patel

It is becoming increasingly clear-- if mature economies like the US, Japan, and Western Europe do not, or cannot, relentlessly innovate, they will be run over, displaced or disrupted by the juggernauts emerging from the most unexpected places from all parts of the world. But what drives innovation? Is it the Eco-system? Genetics? Supply- chains? Regulation? Technology? And once we identify the drivers, how can we leverage them? How can we strengthen our peripheral vision? How do we unleash human capital through the lenses of innovative and creative thinking?

Prof. Mukesh M. Patel, serial entrepreneur of the highest order, and star professor at Rutgers (Business School, Law School as well as Director of Innovation at the Honors College), has built this course that is truly unique to The Powerhouse. This highly anticipated course delivers interdisciplinary perspectives on breakthrough ideas, innovation concepts, and the phenomena of creativity. It is a visual experience of entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial insights through use cases and case studies spanning more than 15 industries and 50+ companies. Concepts include new business models and frameworks, agile structures and processes, and transference of ideas across industries.

This course includes a special workshop on Design-Thinking where EMBA students will explore, work through and analyze specific use cases. This course integrates the Professor's research and learnings from his personal interviews of Chief Digital / Technology / Innovation Officers from iconic public and private corporations, non-profits, governments and academia. This is a fast paced, immersion experience incorporating insights regarding entrepreneurial mindsets, game-changers, technology trends, social networks, disruption, innovation for corporate enterprises, experiments, and future-casting. “This course sits firmly at the crossroads of Technology, Social Media, Innovation, Strategy, Leadership, and Psychometrics,” writes Prof. Patel.

07 Nov
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