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First-Year Curriculum

Course Name Course Description
Autumn Quarter: General Management Perspectives
Critical Analytical Thinking (CAT) This course addresses issues that transcend any single discipline or function of management. In 18-person seminars, you will analyze, write about, and debate fundamental issues, questions, and phenomena that arise in management. CAT will enhance your ability to identify critical questions when exploring a new business issue, to parse issues, to develop reasoned positions, and to make compelling arguments.
Ethics in Management This course emphasizes frameworks for conducting ethical analysis (on what basis can you say that a course of action is or is not ethical), the analysis of ethical dilemmas (how do you think about situations in which different ethical precepts collide), and how to deal on a day-to-day basis with the practical issues of ethical behavior in organizations.
Financial Accounting Business leaders must read, understand, and use corporate financial statements. The base-level and accelerated courses in this area are broad courses in how financial accounting information is produced and used. The advanced applications option assumes knowledge of most of the information in the base-level courses and covers advanced financial reporting topics, including consolidation, derivatives, hedging, leases, revenue recognition, variable interest entities, and equity compensation.
Leadership Labs

This experiential course focuses on questions such as: How do we maximize the performance of the teams we become a part of? What interpersonal skills give us influence? Which interpersonal strengths can propel us to our next promotion? What development areas might prevent our ascension to the executive suite?

Leadership Labs foster deep self-reflection about what behaviors we choose to use, the consequences of those behaviors, and given choices, how we might be even more productive. Each Lab session includes progressively more difficult business simulations facilitated initially by Arbuckle Leadership Fellows, then faculty, and then finally, the most challenging cases are facilitated by experienced senior Stanford GSB alumni in our final exam — the Executive Challenge.

Managerial Skills In the Managerial Skills Labs, we examine several common managerial challenges faced by executives. Together with faculty, students explore these topics using four case examples, each asking students to evaluate a series of situations, develop alternatives for their resolution, and ultimately recommend and implement a course of action from the point of view of the company’s owner/manager. We have selected small to midsized businesses as the context for these discussions to highlight the impact that key decisions and their implementation can have on the broader organization. Students should come to class prepared to role-play important conversations between management and other key individuals.
Global Strategy The economies of the world are ever more closely linked. International trade and investment achieve record levels every year. Cross-border mergers and acquisitions are booming. The foreign exchange markets handle trillions of dollars of volume daily. Offshore provision of services has grown immensely. Host governments and non-governmental organizations operating internationally affect how companies do business far from their home bases and close to home. Nearly all businesses today are connected to the world economy, and it is likely that globalization will continue apace. To succeed as a leader in your career, you will need to be able to think systematically about the challenges and opportunities brought about by globalization. This course is designed to help you develop as a leader in this international environment. Our objectives are to help you: 1. To develop an analytic framework that you can use to understand how countries are different or similar in ways that matter to the globalization of business. 2. To understand how corporate strategies can deal with these differences and similarities, resulting in competitive advantage.
Managing Groups and Teams This course introduces you to the structures and processes that affect group performance and highlights some of the common pitfalls associated with working in teams. Topics include team culture, fostering creativity and coordination, making group decisions, and dealing with a variety of personalities. You will participate in a number of group exercises to illustrate principles of teamwork and to give you practice not only diagnosing team problems but also taking action to improve total team performance.
Organizational Behavior Building on the discipline of social psychology, this course helps you cultivate mindsets and build skills to understand the ways in which organizations and their members affect each other. You will learn frameworks for diagnosing and resolving problems in organizational settings. The course relates theory and research to organizational problems by reviewing basic concepts such as individual motivation and behavior; decision making; interpersonal communication and influence; small group behavior; and dyadic, individual, and inter-group conflict and cooperation.
Strategic Leadership This course examines fundamental issues of general management and leadership within an organization. You will learn about setting an organization’s strategic direction, aligning structure to implement strategy, and leading individuals within the firm. You will study the interplay among formal structure, informal networks, and culture in shaping organizational performance.
Winter/Spring Quarters: General Management Foundations
Corporate Finance Designed to be the natural follow-up to the Managerial Finance courses in winter, the Corporate Finance courses will develop and extend standard tools and techniques of financial analysis, valuation, and model-building, and apply these methods to a wide range of cases. Case topics will include capital structure, valuation, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital, international finance, hostile takeovers and leveraged buyouts, financial distress and bankruptcy.
Data Analysis and Decision Making General managers require a sophisticated understanding of what one can (and cannot) infer from data, and how to use those inferences to make good decisions. Our courses in data analysis provide the analytical techniques for using data to make appropriate inferences and good decisions.
Human Resource Management The human resources of an organization are often the most valuable assets of the organization, and the assets that are most difficult to manage. Drawing on the disciplines of economics, social psychology, and organizational sociology, the course offerings in Human Resource Management give you frameworks and concepts that help you manage your organization’s personnel.
Information Management Knowledge of technology (computing, networks, software applications, etc.) is a prerequisite for a successful manager. Understanding the implications of technology for management, strategy, and organization is even more important. So rather than just look at a snapshot of the current status of different technologies (which will obviously change over time), the Information Management courses focus on management issues such as: How do information technologies create value? How do you implement them? How do they affect the structure of competition?
Managerial Accounting To evaluate business strategies and outcomes, you must understand the many ways that firms account for, control, and manage costs. Courses in this area explore alternative costing methods and how the resulting cost information can be used for decision-making, planning, and performance measurement.
Managerial Finance This course covers the foundations of finance with an emphasis on applications that are vital for corporate managers. We begin with an overview of accounting fundamentals, including basic financial statement analysis. With this background, we will then consider the major financial decisions made by corporate managers both within the firm and in their interactions with investors. Essential in most of these decisions is the process of valuation, which will be an important emphasis of the course. Topics include criteria for making investment decisions, valuation of financial assets and liabilities, relationships between risk and return, market efficiency, capital structure choice, payout policy, the effective use and valuation of derivative securities, and risk management.
Marketing These courses introduce you to the substantive and procedural aspects of marketing management. You’ll learn about analyzing the needs and wants of potential customers, and creating and delivering goods and services profitably.
Microeconomics The discipline of microeconomics is the foundation of much of what you study in business school, as well as being a tool of analysis of specific market and non-market interactions. The base-level course provides you with the essential frameworks and concepts to study market equilibrium, firm and consumer behavior, and competitive interactions through the lens of microeconomics. The advanced applications option spends less time on the basics and instead applies those basics to specific contexts, such as auctions, price discrimination, and business strategy.
Operations This area addresses basic managerial issues arising in the operations of both manufacturing and service industries. You will learn about the problems and issues confronting operations managers and gain language, conceptual models, and analytical techniques that are broadly applicable in confronting such problems.
Optimization & Simulation Modeling Disciplined thought is often based on analytical models: simplified, quantitative depictions of a complex reality that allow you to focus your attention on a few key issues. Management runs on numbers and models. Whatever is your current level of modeling skills, improving those skills is a key to success. Even if you never construct models yourself, as a manager you will be a consumer of them; to be an intelligent consumer, you must know from experience the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative models.
Strategy Beyond Markets Markets and the business environment are increasingly interrelated; conversely, the profit-maximizing activities of firms often give rise to issues that involve governments and the public. As a business leader, you will need to participate in complex decision-making involving the legal, political, and social environments of business. This area considers the strategic interactions of firms with important constituents, organizations, and institutions outside of markets.
Last Updated 31 Jul 2013