Program Foundation: The Core Business Disciplines


At Smith, our curriculum is based on a strong foundation in each business discipline. Throughout this coursework, we look for interactions, interdependencies, and systemic links between the disciplines and functions of a business. Foundation courses will include:


Financial Accounting & Managerial Accounting

Provides a user-oriented perspective of accounting centered on the necessity of top managers needing to know the vocabulary, perspectives, and biases that underlie accounting processes and reports. They need to know how to ask accountants for the data and information they want, and how to use accounting as a strategic tool. This course provides a basic understanding of the technical aspects of accounting, forming the necessary foundation for those skills.

Data Analysis and Decisions

Introduces participants to analytical techniques that establish the optimality of managerial decisions via empirical (“data models”) and logical (“decisions”) means. The course may be viewed as consisting of two integrated parts. In the first part, various methods of analyzing data, including regression analysis are studied. The second part covers models for making optimal decisions in situations characterized by either an absence of uncertainty or where the uncertainty arises from non-competitive sources. Techniques include optimization models, decision trees, and simulation.

Financial Management

Presents the main concepts and analytic methods of modern corporate finance. Students learn about the structure of financial markets, the techniques and language of finance, and the various responsibilities of the corporate financial manager. Topics addressed include objective of creating shareholder value; valuation of corporate securities, including stocks and bonds; risk-return relationship and its implications for finance; financial techniques for evaluating corporate investments; corporate financing alternatives and the design of a company’s capital structure; coordinating investment and financing; and basics of derivatives pricing


Leadership and Human Capital

Builds on students’ leadership experience to extend their theoretical knowledge and applied skills. Using assessment tools (via the Executive Coaching Program), exercises, films, cases, role plays, and other assignments, students gain a stronger understanding and skill set to excel in leadership positions today. Also provides an overview of the key issues related to managing human capital in organizations. Covers critical issues that every professional needs to know, regardless of functional area and examines them from both a strategic and a tactical level and should be relevant to all practicing managers and leaders.


Leadership Development

Leadership development is the process of enhancing your skills to influence and organize others to accomplish key goals. It goes beyond knowledge of leadership theories by building skills to inspire and organize people to achieve tangible results. The course approach is consistent with that used by world-class leadership development programs: comprehensive self-assessments, experiential exercises, and individual skill-improvement plans.


Leading and Managing with a Global Mindset

The main objective of this course is to provide managers a sound basis for developing such competencies. Specifically, we will develop an understanding of key cultural differences, and how these differences influence leading and managing individuals, groups, and organizations. The insights raised in this class should enable students to demonstrate keen sensitivity to how to manage teams and communications in general that involve internationally diverse employees and/or customers.


Global Economics

Provides managers with the tools necessary to intelligently interpret the national and international economic environment, including the impact of economic policies on the economy and the firm. The course develops basic macroeconomic theory to enable managers to critically evaluate economic forecasts and policy recommendations and then applies these concepts in a series of case studies.


Strategic Management

Explores the set of challenging decisions, tasks, frameworks, and tools involved in strategic management. Focus is on strategy as integrative and oriented to bottom-line performance, dynamic, and evolutionary. Competitive strategy adds the focus of positioning in markets vis a vis other companies trying to serve the same customer, maneuvering dynamically, and finding or creating open niches.


Operations Management

A firm has the opportunity to create competitive advantage through proficient management of its operations. To do so, the firm must first recognize and establish the strategic role of its operations within the organization. Then, at the more detailed operational level, the firm must execute effectively and efficiently. This course examines the strategic role that the operations function can play, and offers specific tools and techniques that the firm can use for strategy execution. We cover concepts of operations management applied to both manufacturing and services, including operations strategy, analysis of process flows and bottlenecks, waiting line models, total quality management, six–sigma, and revenue management.


Marketing Strategy

Covers marketing decisions, with an emphasis on strategic issues addressed in going to market. Discussion includes: the marketing concept, market orientation, contrast marketing strategy with corporate and business unit strategy. Students will explore the segmentation of markets and the selection of an appropriate target market, including an analysis of competitors already serving that targeted segment.


International Business

This course explores a firm’s opportunities and risks when extending their business beyond their home country’s borders, while establishing a strategic and competitive global presence. Today’s firms must think globally, so it is incumbent upon managers to do so as well. This course will explore globalization, the formulation of an international strategy and the quest for global value creation. This course will address the establishment of an international value proposition, global strategy and expansion into foreign markets, global branding, global supply chain management, financial considerations and the globalization of management.


Strategic Information Systems

Examines how to identify transformational technologies and develop strategies to take advantage of them, including case studies to illustrate managerial decisions about technology as well as lectures that help frame the issues. The course is focused on management issues and is suitable for the student with no IT experience, as well as for students with technical backgrounds who want to understand how to manage IT in the firm.