Our Integrated Core Curriculum

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Our integrated core curriculum is unique in how it ties together the pieces of a business school education into a meaningful whole. Built around a series of stakeholder perspectives, courses traverse traditional business functions to explore the distinct points of view of multiple stakeholders across private and public realms. Core courses include: Customer, Competitor, Innovator, Employee, Investor, and State & Society. 

The core curriculum is carefully planned to cover all the business fundamentals, while expanding your understanding of the whole organization, eventually building to complex decisions at an organizational level. The core is followed by a set of advanced management courses and courses in your chosen area of focus. In addition, you complete an independent study project supervised by a Yale professor, making the program uniquely valuable to you and your organization.

Orientation To Management

  • Basics of Accounting

    Helps students acquire basic accounting knowledge that is extremely useful in the day-to-day practice of general management. This basic accounting knowledge is indispensable background for the work to follow in the Organizational Perspectives courses as well as for courses in finance, marketing, and strategy. Accounting systems provide important financial information for all types of organizations across the globe. Despite their many differences, all accounting systems are built on a common foundation. Economic concepts, such as assets, liabilities, and income, are used to organize information into a fairly standard set of financial statements. Bookkeeping mechanics compile financial information with the double entry system of debits and credits. Accounting conventions help guide the application of the concepts through the mechanics.

  • Basics of Economics

    Concentrates on the role of market processes in determining the opportunities facing individuals and business firms, the policy issues facing public officials, and the patterns of resource allocation in the economic system. It is intended to be accessible to students with little or no prior exposure to economics. The mathematical prerequisite is competence with basic algebra and calculus. The aim is to provide students with analytical tools to help them tackle economic problems, which arise whenever agents must make economic trade-offs or engage in trade. While we cover a range of topics in microeconomics, the emphasis throughout the course is on learning how to approach and tackle economic problems—a skill that will be useful in making managerial decisions. Topics include supply and demand, consumers, production, equilibrium, imperfect competition, competitive strategy

  • Introduction to Negotiation

    The course objective is to learn a conceptual framework for analyzing and shaping negotiation processes and outcomes. Negotiation can be broken down into two basic activities: creating value and capturing value. Creating value is about making the pie bigger, while capturing value is about getting the largest possible slice for yourself. The course presents strategies for achieving both of these objectives at the same time. The course also helps students to develop a repertoire of negotiation strategies and skills. There are several opportunities to negotiate with classmates in a stimulated environment.

  • Managing Groups and Teams

    This is a short course on the theory and practice of leading, managing and functioning in task-performing groups and teams. It has two primary goals: first, to provide students with a conceptual framework for analyzing group dynamics, diagnosing performance problems, and designing appropriate interventions, and second, to help students develop practical skills for building effective groups and teams. Both of these objectives are important to students’ effectiveness in study groups at SOM and in organizational teams they will join or lead after graduation. The design of the course is based on the belief that conceptual understanding of the principles of team effectiveness is of little use without a more direct experiential understanding of group dynamics (or process) and the behavioral skills required to implement this knowledge.

  • Modeling Managerial Decisions

    Students will learn how to approach, analyze and solve complex problems in a structured way.   Specifically students will learn to: i) View problems through multiple lenses and think across disciplines to clarify and define problems.  ii)  Extract important information from a complex situation.  iii) Develop the ability to model these problems in a quantitative manner using tools in Excel. iv) Learn linear programming optimization techniques for problems with multiple decisions and constraints. v) Find out how to examine assumptions and biases that often distort decisions and understand risk in uncertain decision making environments. vi) Learn how to use decision trees to inform the analysis of situations with uncertainty.

    The course will survey a variety of management decision problems arising from finance, marketing, microeconomics, and operations. A particular emphasis will be placed on examples involving setting up financial models of discounted cash flows.

  • Probability Modeling and Statistics

    The ability to understand and apply probability concepts and statistical methods is fundamental to management education. The concepts covered in this course include probability, simulation, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, and applied regression modeling. This course provides a foundation of basic statistical concepts that are essential for many other courses at SOM.

  • Power and Politics

    Organizations are fundamentally political entities, and power and influence are keys to getting things done. This course is designed for individuals interested in learning more about the art and science of influence in organizations. For aspiring leaders, it is important to be able to diagnose organizational politics in order to form and implement new strategies. An astute leader knows how to navigate critical conversations, anticipate moves that others will make, block or avoid others’ actions when they have undesirable consequences, and help those whose actions have beneficial outcomes. After taking this course, you will be able to: (1) diagnose the true distribution of power in organizations, (2) implement skills that build cooperative networks, influence others, and expand your sources of power, (3) understand your unique leadership strengths and points of improvement, and (4) contend with the fundamental ethical challenges of leadership. The knowledge and skills you build in this course will be invaluable throughout your career.

Core Courses: Organizational Perspectives

  • Competitor

    Enables students to be better managers by equipping them to (1) identify key players in the environment both from a competitive and a cooperative perspective, (2) identify the objectives and constraints of those players given the environment in which a manager’s own organization and competing organizations are embedded, (3) anticipate the likely actions that competitors will take given their objectives and constraints, and (4) recognize and deal with the feedback between their own actions and the actions of other agents. The course explicitly recognizes that relevant players in the environment include government and nonprofit organizations as well as corporations and that these players act both cooperatively and competitively. Thus an important premise of this course is that the environment within which organizations compete is multi-layered, encompassing not only the market but political, cultural and legal dimensions. Finally, the course explicitly draws attention to the fact that the objectives and constraints arise not only from the external faces of the environment but from internal features of the organization. The course draws from the disciplines of economics, marketing, organizational behavior, and politics.

  • Customer

    Takes the viewpoint that the best way to create and keep a customer is to develop a deep understanding of customer behavior, integrate that understanding across the organization, and align the organizational structure to both satisfy current customer needs and adapt to changes in customer needs better than competitors. To be truly customer-focused and market-driven, a company (profit or nonprofit) should develop the capability to sense and respond to the changing needs of customers in the market. An important element of the course is the idea that customer focus must extend to the entire organization across all its major functions for it to be successful. The course consists of two main modules: (1) Understanding Customers and Creating a Superior Value Proposition and (2) Creating and Maintaining a Customer-Aligned Organization. The first module focuses on understanding customer needs in consumer and industrial markets from a multidisciplinary perspective (economics, psychology, and sociology) to create a superior value proposition; the second highlights how creating a customer-aligned organization requires functional perspectives that span marketing, operations, accounting, finance, and human resource management.

  • Employee

    This course is about the strategic management of a workforce. On a daily basis, employees are confronted with opportunities to take (or not take) actions that support an organization’s goals and objectives. In this course, we study how an organization can get the most out of its workforce. This includes an in‐depth analysis of specific policies surrounding human resource management (hiring, performance management, compensation, and retention) but also how these policies interact with each other, with the general business strategy and environment, and with organizational change. A wise firm fosters an environment where workers choose to make the “right” choices, simply by following the incentives put before them.  

  • Executive

    Merges perspectives in a series of interdisciplinary cases structured to describe challenges faced by leaders of organizations of differing size, scope, and sector. This course asks students to bring together skills learned throughout the core curriculum by working through a series of cases about organizations of different scales. All of the cases involve current situations, and much of the class material is “raw,” consisting of financial filings, data sets, news reports, company material, and other primary source data. The course is organized in four parts. The first part focuses on organizations that are just beginning. Students examine how ideas are generated from existing holes in the market and how leaders think about positioning and developing their organizations to fill those holes. The second phase focuses on the leadership challenges associated with organizations in transition. Students examine how organizations handle the challenges of raising new capital, finding new partners, expanding geographically, and growing through acquisition. The third phase focuses on mature organizations and also gives students the opportunity to step back from the cases and think about the broader ways in which leadership styles and organizational challenges connect. The course concludes with high-level, modern management challenges bridging the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

  • Innovator

    This class studies issues of idea generation, idea evaluation and development, creative projects, and fostering and sustaining innovation in organizations. Students are exposed both to the ways of thinking of innovators and to the promises and perils of interacting with and managing innovators. Students generate ideas in a number of contexts, and evaluate ideas that they and others have generated in terms of customer adoption (the market) and feasibility. They analyze innovation in a set of companies across sectors. Students also engage in a role-playing exercise to get a sense for how the innovator’s perspective interacts with a managerial perspective.

  • Investor

    Investment Management is a broad, half-semester, course that covers the financial basics from the point of view of the investor, whether individual or institutional, taxable or non-taxable, domestic or global. Topics include valuation, returns, asset allocation, stocks and bonds. You will need a working knowledge of accounting, economics, statistics and spreadsheets.

  • Operations Engine

    This course focuses on key analytical methods that provide practical, managerial insights. It is designed to prepare managers for the challenges of the global marketplace where firms are under constant pressure to reduce cost, increase quality, and enhance flexibility. The course covers three main areas: process analysis, supply chain management, and quality management. In the process analysis section, we explore how work is organized to deliver goods and services, focusing on measuring capacity, identifying bottlenecks, and understanding the causes of delays. In the supply chain management segment, we cover topics that include inventory models for setting optimal stock levels, and coordination methods. We also have a module on quality, emphasizing both managerial issues and statistical methods.

  • Sourcing and Managing Funds

    This course considers groups within the firm tasked to raise money from different sources as well as manage different aspects of those funds within the organization. Many of these functions are concentrated within the office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), split between the Treasurer and the Controller. But many other functions are spread across the organization, principally in the hands of strategy groups and product managers. Topics include capital structure decisions (e.g., equity funding and debt funding); capital budgeting (e.g., cash flow analysis and incorporating risk and taxes); the planning process; inputs for decision making; performance evaluation; transfer pricing; and corporate risk management.

  • State and Society

    This course explores the complex two-way interactions of firms and a broad range of “nonmarket” actors in a variety of settings. Successful corporate strategy aligns the firm’s capabilities with the demands of both its market and nonmarket environment. Participants learn how to analyze and proactively manage the nonmarket environment through integrated market- and nonmarket strategies. Not only is effective nonmarket management conducive of business success (“doing well”), it also provides a solid foundation for deliberately enhancing the firm’s social and environmental contribution (“doing good”).

    The course is deliberately global in focus. There are significant differences across countries when it comes to the nonmarket environment, both in terms of the formal rules and laws governing competition and when it comes to expectations regarding the role and business in society. Successful managers must develop sensitivity for these differences. Successful leaders go even further and understand how to turn an understanding of social and political dynamics across countries into a source of competitive advantage. Our cases cover a number of jurisdictions and several sessions will deliberately examine cross-national dynamics.

  • The Global Macroeconomy

    Develops a framework for understanding the causes and consequences of macroeconomic events in real time, a useful input to the management of any enterprise, local or global, profit or non-profit. We begin by defining basic national accounting identities and using these identities to compare countries’ economic structure and performance over time. We then consider models in which the choices of private and public agents interact to produce aggregate outcomes in response to policy or economic shocks. In developing and using these models, we will rely on numerous historical and contemporary examples, paying particular attention to current events.

Advanced Management Courses

  • Business Ethics Meets Behavioral Economics

    SOM’s mission involves educating leaders for business and society. This class uses several lenses (e.g., business ethics, behavioral economics) to look critically at our obligations to society and our skewed perceptions of these obligations. We will start with a discussion on what the rich owe the poor, which will lead into a discussion of the ethics of corporate profit-maximization.

  • Competitive Strategy

    In this course, we will develop a broad approach for evaluating the prospects for firm profits.  We will look at many firms across a broad range of markets. We will spend some time on managerial and behavioral issues and/or institutional details – but keep in mind that the more granular we get, the more the information applies only in restrictive scenarios.  We will derive the principles we apply mainly from microeconomic theory.  As such, potential answers to questions posed in class will be subjected to the rigor of economic analysis to test their validity and applicability.

    It is important to recognize upfront that this class cannot be as perfectly organized as the outline suggests.  This is not accounting or statistics that begin with core, universally accepted principles, and then build to harder problems and applications.  Instead, strategy is “messy” throughout, and we will be applying new tools and concepts to answer questions that arise throughout the course.  A clean linear approach would deliver the false promise that this material works like a tool.  This material is a lens that improves your analytical reasoning skills – you will be able to describe business situations in a more comprehensive, logical and structured way.  However, in strategy, there is no equivalent of the option pricing formula.  Strategic analysis is ambiguous, and to present it any other way is disingenuous.

  • Corporate Finance

    This  course  focuses  on  financial  management  from  the  perspective  of  a  decision-maker inside the corporation or operating entity. It builds upon the concepts from the core finance course,  using  lectures  to  develop  the  theory  and  cases  to  provide  applications.  Topics  covered include: capital budgeting and valuation; capital structure; raising capital; mergers; and  corporate  restructuring.  The  course  focus  then  shifts  to  outside  of the  corporation  to  explore issues related to corporate governance.

  • Designing & Leading Organizations

    Organizations aggregate individual efforts towards a goal. Organizations may take multiple shapes and forms to coordinate and motivate individuals. In this course, we overview the major forms in which organizations are designed. Besides analyzing the classic forms of organization design, this course puts an emphasis on novel opportunities and challenges that have emerged due to recent processes such as globalization, network economies, the Internet, big data, or crowdsourcing. The class will be highly interactive, with case discussions, in-class debates, and organizational simulation games.

  • Entrepreneurship & New Ventures

    Class members learn to create, and manage new ventures in this foundational elective. The  course begins with an overview of entrepreneurship. Class members are introduced to emerging frameworks in entrepreneurship including “lean startup,” “customer discovery” and “design thinking.” These frameworks are used to identify and evaluate market opportunities for new products and services based on customer needs. The course also includes various practical aspects of new venture creation including financing, legalities, team building, and management.The classes consist of readings, case studies, activities, and interviews with experienced entrepreneurs and investors who visit the class.

  • Financial Reporting

    Financial Reporting builds on the basic accounting model and mechanics developed in MGT 402, Basics of Accounting.  It considers the recording and reporting of various transactions and events under GAAP.  The goal will be to recognize the underlying economics of the transaction, then understand the relevant accounting rules and the resulting reporting in the financial statements. We will also get a (very) brief introduction to financial statement analysis.

  • Managerial Controls

    Building on the concepts and material from several core courses, Managerial Controls focuses on the use of internal accounting information for planning, controlling, and evaluating firms' operational decisions and personnel. The course integrates accounting with ideas from microeconomics, data analysis, decision analysis, finance, operations management, and organizational behavior. The vocabulary and skills developed in the course are essential for managers (or their consultants) seeking to better understand organizations' internal operations. During the course, students will learn to identify and synthesize relevant information from internal accounting systems to make decisions and evaluate performance. These skills are valuable and applicable in many settings, including consulting, finance, marketing, operations, and strategy.

  • Marketing Strategy

    In this course, we will develop frameworks and conceptual tools for you to analyze problems to develop the optimal marketing strategy for products and services. The course is aimed at helping you look at the entire marketing mix in light of the strategy of the firm. The course builds on the foundation developed in core courses, and the basic framework rests on the recent development in economics and strategy – resource based view (RBV) of strategy. You will have a chance to illustrate your ability to apply this framework in this course through case discussion and an in-class final exam. It will be most helpful to students pursuing careers in which they need to look at the firm as a whole. Examples include consultants, investment analysts, entrepreneurs, and product managers.

  • Policy Design

    The purpose of this class is to teach you how to quantitatively evaluate public policies – we want to move beyond enumerating reasons why policies might be good or bad and learn how to measure costs and benefits and weigh them against one another. The course will emphasize two perspectives:
    • Cost-benefit analysis – how can we quantitatively determine the costs and benefits of a given policy by determining who is impacted and valuing those impacts in a consistent way?  What are the underlying normative assumptions being made?
    • Economic theory – when do markets work well?  When might public provision be better?

  • Faculty Directed Project

    This course provides an opportunity for students and faculty to work together on projects of mutual interest outside the structure of normal courses. Each faculty directed project must have a sponsor who is a member of the Yale full-time faculty. Students must submit a Petition for Faculty Directed Project that includes the project proposal and the faculty sponsor’s signature. The proposal must indicate the means by which the student’s performance is to be evaluated (e.g., weekly assignments, final paper, etc.), as well as the scope of the project. A project will be assigned a course number of MGT 690 and can be worth 2 or 4 units.

  • Leadership Development Practicum

    The purpose of this course is to deepen the capacity of SOM students to develop yourself and others as leaders.  Cultivating a developmental environment, the practice of leadership coaching, and overcoming barriers to development will serve as the foundation of the course.  These goals intend to help you understand factors that contribute to leadership development.  An important component to that development is coaching.  Each student will learn how to coach and be coached.  You will partner with both a peer and professional coach to work toward your development goals while simultaneously deepening your ability to be a coach to others.  Using this as a foundation, you will also explore ways in which you can cultivate deeper resilience to better support development in yourself and others.  This course will be filled with experiential practices that will ground class content, and serve as a foundation for your leadership development at SOM and beyond. 

Leadership Development

  • Leadership Fundamentals

    Strengthens SOM students as individuals—this course is about leading yourself. Content will be drawn from the field of applied social psychology and will include information on basic adult development, leader development processes, and the effect of major life events on development and leadership. Self-development, self-regulation, and goal setting comprise a major design element and focus of the course. The course will also lay a base of understanding about business ethics and about how to conduct ethical reviews and analyses, with a focus on behavior.

  • Advanced Leadership

    Strengthens SOM students as organizational leaders in a multicultural context—this course is about leading others. Content will be drawn from the field of applied social psychology and will include information on basic adult development, leader development processes and assessments, and the effect of leadership on the performance of organizations. Leading across cultures and in unique organizational circumstances (crisis, change) comprise major design elements of the course. Continuing where Leadership Fundamentals left off, this course will move deeper into the business ethics and about how to conduct ethical reviews and analyses, with continued focus on behavior.

This list represents current and planned program content. Exact course lineup and/or titles may change.