Business Edge: Special Program

Business Edge


The program consists of four modules, career-related workshops and a case study over six weeks. Classes meet Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., and career events take place on Wednesdays starting at 6 p.m.

Modules & Topics


To understand the financial health of any company or build a profit and loss statement you need to master the fundamentals of accounting. This module is an introduction to the principles of financial accounting, designed to teach you how to read, understand, and interpret the financial statements of a business enterprise. You will learn how to evaluate a business’ performance, analyze its cash flows, and assess its financial position.

Introduction and Principles of Building Blocks of Accounting
  • Definition of a financial reporting system and the regulatory environment.
  • Fundamental questions and accounting concepts (e.g. entity, matching, conservatism).
  • The accounting equation, the double entry system, and the major financial statements (illustration via General Mills).
  • Cash versus income (case: Shemer).
Introduction and Principles of Building Blocks of Accounting
  • Alternative measurement systems.
  • Example: Income over life.
  • Revenue Recognition: Theory and actual disclosure.
  • Case: Frequent Flyer
Applying Accounting Principles
  • Revenue recognition and judgment – case: PriceLine (with applications to GroupOn).
  • Revenue recognition – special cases.
  • Matching and expense recognition – example: Boeing.
  • Capitalize or expense – case: CocaCola.
Applying Accounting Principles
  • Applying the theory to specific set of transactions.
  • Manipulation and red flags.

Leadership and Strategy

This module introduces you to major concepts of strategy and leadership concentrating on understanding human behavior in organizational contexts, with heavy emphasis on the application of concepts to solve managerial problems. Behavioral issues at the individual, group, and systems levels will be explored through lectures, discussions, case studies, simulations, and small group exercises.

Beyond intelligence and technical skills, what separates effective leaders from average managers is a combined set of individual skills and social skills. This course identifies these critical leadership skills and provides ideas and tools for improving them. The overarching theme of the course is self-awareness and empathy: our goal is to help you think about your leadership behaviors, other people’s perceptions of your behaviors, and the impacts of your behaviors on others.

Strategic Problem-Solving How do you take a complicated business problem and break it down into its critical components? How do you thoughtfully set business goals before jumping to action and analysis? How to derive insights from data and communicate them in a way to gain buy-in? This topic will provide you with a framework to approach business problems, as well as tools and questions to ask when working with and across teams.
Motivation In this session, we’ll highlight the distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and discuss how both can be used by managers and leaders. We’ll also discuss the importance of leaders understanding what motivates others as well as approaches for effective perception.
Leading Teams at Work Teamwork is sometimes maddening, sometimes amazing, but very nearly unavoidable. In this session, we’ll complete a group decision task and consider the results. We’ll discuss the ways in which teams can distort thinking and become dysfunctional as well as how teams can be used to achieve things the individual members can’t.
Persuasion and Influence In this class, we’ll extend our discussion of influence to consider a number of well-studied tactics of persuasion, such as authority, scarcity, liking, and consistency. We’ll discuss how these approaches can be put to work as a persuader as well as how to resist them as a target of persuasion.


Marketing provides the managerial focus for interfacing with customers and the source of intelligence about customers, competitors, and the general environment. Marketing focuses on the long-run relationship of a company to its customers as well as short-run sales and profits. Managers must identify and measure consumers’ needs and wants, assess the competitive environment, select the most appropriate customer targets, and then develop marketing programs that satisfy consumers’ needs better than the competition.

This course provides a hands-on introduction to marketing with a focus on getting students to generate new product ideas and come up with a creative way to position them in the selected target customer’s mind.

Customer Analysis We describe three fundamental ways in which a firm can provide value to a customer – economic value to customers (EVC), functional value and psychological value.
New Product Ideation Building on the notion of three types of value a firm can provide customers, this session focuses on how to come up with new product ideas. We define creativity and discuss different approaches to coming up with creative solutions to consumer problems. We focus on systematic approaches and provide hands-on training in the use of creativity templates.
Segmentation and Targeting Consumers have different preferences. This simple idea has led to a powerful concept of market segmentation. This session touches on the heart of marketing strategy – how to segment the market, size the different market segments, and decide which segment to target. Students can decide on customer targets for their new product idea developed in session 2.
Branding and Positioning In this class we discuss positioning – the space that your product occupies in the mind of your target customer. We also introduce the idea of branding as a positioning mechanism.
Messaging and Advertising The last session examines what to communicate in order to create a strong position in the target customer’s mind as well as how to communicate it. We discuss the difference between attribute and value and practice attribute-value mapping.


What is the difference between “Time is Money” and the Time Value of Money? In this module you will explore the fundamental principles of finance.

What Is Finance About?

Finance is about money and markets, but it is also about people. The secret is to increase value.
How Do We Determine Value? Valuation requires knowledge of computing cash flows, discounting, compounding, perpetuities, annuities, opportunity cost, net present value, and shareholder wealth maximization.
What are Bonds and How Do We Value Them? Understanding interest rates, valuing bonds/loans, and bond markets.
How Do I Trade Stock and How Can I Estimate Stock Value? Understanding stock markets and reading stock quotes, valuing common stock and preferred stock, dividend growth models, and valuing a business using DCF.
How Do Companies Create Value for Their Investors? Applying investment appraisal techniques in evaluating capital investment decisions.
Are Safer Investments More Desirable Than Riskier Ones? Defining risk and return, linking risk, return and the opportunity cost of capital, developing the principles of diversification, CAPM, beta estimation and estimating the cost of capital.