MBA@UNC Cross-University Courses
Please note that MBA@UNC is currently piloting this new initiative and while the program is in this trial phase it is subject to cancellation or revision. MBA@UNC has the following restrictions on enrollment for visiting students:
- Enrollment is limited to two students per visiting program per term (during course of pilot, subject to review).
- Enrollment is limited to one visiting student per section (across all visiting programs, subject to review).
- MBA@UNC students have priority registration for all courses.
- Prerequisites will not be waived for any course at MBA@UNC.
- MBA@UNC Global Immersions are not included.
The following courses are available from MBA@UNC, the online MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School:
Analytical Tools is a basic course in statistics, decision analysis, and simulation modeling. Course objectives are to learn the basic techniques of data analysis, sampling and estimation, hypothesis testing, multiple regression, decision analysis, and Monte Carlo simulation; to apply these techniques to practical managerial decision problems; to develop basic skills in the use of Excel; and to see how quantitative methods impact on the meaning of life. The course will be conducted using a combination of lecture and case discussion and will cover hypothesis testing, regression analysis, time series, risk, and decision analysis.
This course introduces you to best practices in business writing and business speaking that are exceedingly important to advancing your career. Course objectives are to organize and write informative, negative, and persuasive business messages; to design documents with a high "skim value"; to construct effective paragraphs and sentences that show rhetorical relationships; to apply style techniques that result in efficient prose; to punctuate for clarity; to structure presentations efficiently and effectively; to incorporate stories, visuals, logic, and emotion into business presentations; to integrate slides, handouts, notes, and questions; and to deliver information with a natural confidence.
The purpose of this course is to increase your ability to analyze the strategy of corporations. By strategy, we mean the distinctive approach that the executives within a corporation employ to win in their markets and against their competitors. We will discuss fundamental strategy theories and illustrate their use within a diverse set of corporations. Specifically, we will consider industry structure and generic strategies, the resource-based view of the corporation, and opportunity-driven strategies based on complexity theory. The ultimate intent of the course is to help you to work more effectively in your professional careers. Course objectives are to introduce the basic concepts of strategic management; to integrate functional knowledge, behavioral concepts, and analytical tools learned separately in more specialized courses; to examine the process through which competitive strategies are formulated and implemented within organizations to gain competitive advantages and to achieve their objectives; and to enhance individual and team analytical, communication and decision-making skills in addressing integrative, strategic issues.
Developing Management and Leadership Skills
This course will cover and apply a variety of core concepts and theories from sociology, psychology and organizational science which form the knowledge base for leadership and management skills. The focus of the course is on surveying key core skills and setting students up for continuous learning of these skills. Accordingly, students will be provided with: in-depth materials for every topic through soft-copies of recent significant articles on the topic, self-evaluation instruments, and specific suggestions for further learning and development of skills through activities available throughout the program. Course objectives are to improve your leadership & management skills, particularly those skills that will make you better able to cope with today's increasingly dynamic and complex business environment; to provide awareness of your strengths as a leader and a manager, and of areas where you need additional development; to build a professional development plan, a critical step in improving your ability to manage and lead yourself and others; and to enable study groups to apply course concepts to your own development through the program.
The Economics course explores basic economic principles (theories and applications) that are relevant to the business core in the MBA program. This course is about learning to think like an economist and amassing the tools necessary to do so, including the study of microeconomics and macroeconomics. Course objectives are to learn the determinants of market demand and supply and how economists model markets; to examine prediction markets and production and cost analysis; to learn how firms manage in competitive and monopolistic environments; to study strategic firm behavior, including basic game theory, entry and deterrence, collusion and cooperation, and bargaining; to develop an understanding of information, auctions, and incentives; to analyze gross domestic product and its components as well as monetary policy and the supply and demand for money; and to provide a strong foundation for understanding the business cycle.
Financial accounting is a crucial business tool. Course objectives are to become informed users of financial statement information; to learn how to analyze financial statements, footnotes, and other corporate disclosures, including interpreting articles from the Wall Street Journal and other business publications; to develop the skills to understand analyst reports; and to ensure that you are comfortable with the mechanics of financial accounting.
Financial markets are places where suppliers of capital ('investors') and consumers of capital ('firms') meet and trade. The first part of this course examines the techniques that both investors and firms use to deal with cash flows that occur at different points in time; we look at valuation problems across several types of capital markets. The second part of this course introduces the concepts of risk and uncertainty, which are central to an understanding of finance. We introduce a measure of risk, and develop a model of how this risk measure corresponds to a level of expected return on an asset or project. We integrate this model of risk and return with the valuation of cash flows through time, and consider the evidence on how prices in financial markets are related to value. Finally, we introduce options, discuss how they are valued, and consider applications of option valuation. Course objectives are to provide students with a good grounding in basic concepts of finance; to establish a "finance mindset" that views finance as applied microeconomics in a business context, with value creation as a central concept; to develop skills in financial analysis, planning, and decision-making; and to develop an appreciation for decision-making in a complex world.
Marketing Strategy, Analysis, and Development
The role of marketing management in organizations is to identify and measure the needs and wants of consumers, to determine which targets the business can serve, to decide on the appropriate offerings to serve these markets, and to determine the optimal methods of pricing, promoting, and distributing the firm's offerings. Successful organizations are those that integrate the objectives and resources of the organization with the needs and opportunities of the marketplace. Our goal in this course is to facilitate your achieving these goals regardless of your career path. Course objectives are to critically analyze the task of marketing and to examine the major functions that comprise the marketing task in organizations; and to develop an ability to apply marketing concepts to real-life marketing situations and to develop a deep understanding of the applicability of the marketing concepts within the context of any specific business problem.
Operations Management focuses on the activities necessary to utilize the resources of an organization to meet the needs of its customers. This class provides an understanding of the operations management function and its relationship to other functional areas within the firm. Operations Management provides tools, techniques, and strategies for making organizations work more effectively and efficiently, and for making you a better manager. The approach we will take in introducing the areas of Operations Management is twofold. First, we will cover some basic theory and frameworks in each area. Second, we will look at a variety of domestic and international cases that show applications (good and bad) of the theory. Course objectives are to provide an understanding of the operations management function, and its relationship to other functional areas within the firm; to develop a framework whereby the strengths and weaknesses of a firm's operations can be analyzed, and whereby the firm can develop viable alternatives in pursuing its goals and objectives; to examine the tradeoffs that managers face in emphasizing one goal (such as high capacity utilization) as compared to another goal (such as minimum throughput time); and to develop competence with specific tools and techniques used by practicing operations management personnel.
Business Innovation and Technology Management
Perhaps the most difficult task for organizations is to discover market opportunities that are "undiscoverable" for other firms in the industry. As evidenced in many industries, technology, innovation, and competitive advantage are a powerful trio. Yet, it is sometimes difficult to bring discipline to the process of innovation, R&D spending, and technology investment. Clearly, business leaders must be prepared to assess coming waves of technology, their impact on business process, and their impact on relationships with suppliers, customers, and competitors. This course provides a strategic perspective of technology/innovation management and its impact on the competitive positioning of the firm. We will examine tools and techniques that help leaders understand emerging trends and the opportunities/threats they may present to prevailing business models. We will also examine how organizations design and implement creative responses to the marketplace. You will use these techniques and become an active participant in the innovation process. No matter how creative or (non-creative) you may consider yourself, the techniques of this course will help you become a more effective manager of business innovation.
Corporate Finance is a more advanced course in corporate finance theory and policy. The aim of the course is to rigorously analyze the major issues affecting the financial policy of a modern corporation, such as the choice of its capital structure, dividend policy, share issuance and repurchase and corporate governance system. We will critically discuss costs and benefits of the strategies available to a firm's top management to address these issues effectively. The course will also examine private equity and venture capital, and the process of raising capital through IPOs and SEOs. The course will conclude with a discussion of the role of corporate financial risk management. Classroom presentation will be mainly theoretical, but will illustrate the main concepts with examples drawn from the real world. Exposition will be analytical, and a working knowledge of basic mathematics and statistics is assumed.
This course covers the fundamentals of corporate-level strategy as opposed to business-level strategy. "Business-level" (business) strategy deals with achieving and sustaining a competitive advantage in a discrete and identifiable business. "Corporate-level" (corporate) strategy deals with the way a company creates value through the selection of a portfolio of businesses and the configuration and coordination of these businesses. The primary way in which corporate strategy ultimately creates value is through increasing the ability of businesses in the portfolio to create and sustain a competitive advantage. For example, sharing manufacturing activities may reduce costs. Alternatively, sharing a strong brand may increase differentiation while reducing overall marketing costs. Hence there is a very close relationship between business and corporate strategy. The major topics we will cover are diversification (related and unrelated), vertical integration, restructuring, synergy, alliance strategy, and global strategy. We will be introducing a variety of tools to help us analyze these topics. The primary objective of the course is to introduce you to the primary decisions, tools, and concepts of corporate strategy. By the end of the course you should be able to understand how multi-business firms can create and destroy value; be able to engage in a thoughtful discussion of corporate strategy with senior executives; be able to identify opportunities to improve corporate strategy; understand and be able to analyze the major benefits and risks of various diversification strategies; understand the economic and organizational realities behind the term "synergy" and be able to identify and analyze synergy opportunities; understand the role alliances play in corporate strategy and be able to analyze the major tradeoffs between alliances and acquisitions; understand the role a particular business plays in a corporate strategy; and understand the nature and strategic implications of both regional/global rationalization and local responsiveness in global strategy.
In today's technology-enabled world, organizations collect a wealth of information as a part of their business operations. The past decade has seen an explosion in the amount of business data, their types, and their sources. For example, manufacturers track their production and shipments at stock-keeping-unit level, retailers record all customer transactions across different channels, grocery stores maintain scanner panel data, market research firms maintain representative household panels, content providers track DVR and Web usage, social media sites record user interactions in detail, service firms measure customer feedback, and online media stores and serves text, video, and audio data. Today firms are grappling with data overload while trying to extract valuable information, trends, and patterns from their terabytes of data. This course introduces tools, software, and approaches for harnessing this data and information to drive effective managerial decision making, specifically how to visualize data, how to understand patterns and relationships in data, how to fit and validate predictive models, how to analyze consumer choice behavior, how to market a new product, how to design experiments to acquire new data, and how to manage a data-driven organization. We will practice these skills with hands-on analyses of real datasets. We will draw from a multidisciplinary set of examples, although we will emphasize marketing examples due to the availability of interesting datasets in that domain.
Courses in entrepreneurship have gained popularity in business schools everywhere, but it is not clear just what should be taught and how. In contrast to accounting, for example, entrepreneurship lacks a defined technical base or discipline. Moreover, individuals and organizations ranging from street vendors to transnational corporations all espouse entrepreneurial activity, which suggests that the topic should permeate all of business education. What can the focus of a special course in entrepreneurship possibly be? The mission adopted for the course is to prepare MBA students to start and nurture their own businesses. The mission is based on the premise that student interests lie mainly in starting and building ventures in which they have a significant equity stake. Business schools admit students with great talent and high long-term expectations of responsibility, autonomy, and financial reward. Historically, some MBA students have had an innate desire to run their own businesses, but even those who didn't often turned to entrepreneurship after they confronted the realities of a pyramidal corporate world. Of the many that started in large corporations, only a few could rise to the top. The rest were subject to implicit or explicit up-or-out policies or shunted to positions that could not satisfy their natural ambition and drive. Today, many MBAs are skeptical of long-term careers in large corporations. They belong to a culture that celebrates entrepreneurial individuals. They are also older and more cognizant of the realities of corporate ladders, and they may have directly witnessed the effects of downsizing. Therefore, although only a handful of MBA students start businesses right out of school, a large proportion expects to do so some years later. The course seeks to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will support and enhance their entrepreneurial activity.
Financial Statement Analysis
Financial Statement Analysis is an applied perspective on analyzing financial statements. There are three main skills students will learn upon completion of this course:
- Earnings management – how and why managers can move earnings up and down using accounting tricks, and how to detect and adjust for this.
- Profitability analysis – how to decompose a firm's overall profitability into its key elements in order to tell whether the firm is really making money or losing money, where this is happening, and why it is happening.
- Statement analysis – how to pull apart a firm's financial statements and footnotes so that its major business activities and results are clearly visible.
Financial Statement Analysis is designed to be particularly useful for finance-oriented students looking at consulting, corporate finance, entrepreneurship, general management, and investment and marketing careers.
The objectives of this course are to describe important fixed income securities and markets and develop tools for valuing fixed income securities and managing interest rate risk. The course will cover traditional bonds, the term structure concepts, as well as more recently developed fixed income derivatives. The course is rigorous and quantitative. Students are expected to understand and apply quantitative methods. Examples illustrate important real-world applications of the theory.
This course examines specific issues involved in developing and executing marketing strategies on a global scale as opposed to a domestic scale. The course is intended to provide a thorough understanding of global marketing strategies, including:
- Fundamental trends underlying convergence of world markets.
- Pitfalls and challenges of entering other countries.
- Ways to design global marketing strategies.
- The impact of organization structure, management processes, culture, and people on global marketing strategy implementation.
- The important and unique role emerging markets play in global marketing strategies.
The course will help you achieve your career goals as you work – as virtually all of you will – in or with companies that are active in the international marketplace as well as domestic companies who face active international competitors.
Global Supply Chain
Increases in product variety and customization in the past few years have posed challenges to firms in terms of delivering products to customers faster and more efficiently. With the prevalence of the usage of the Internet for business, electronic business transformations are occurring in every business. One of the fundamental enablers for electronic commerce is effective supply chain management. Thus, supply chain management has become the focus of attention of senior management in the industry today. This course considers management of a supply chain in a global environment from a managerial perspective. The focus is on analysis, management and improvement of supply chain processes and their adaptation to the electronic business environment. The course is divided into six related modules, namely, Inventory and Information Management, Distribution and Transportation, Global Operations, Supplier Management, Management of Product Variety and Electronic Supply Chains. Several new concepts including Prognostic Supply Chains, Build-to-Order, Collaborative Forecasting, Delayed Differentiation, Cross Docking, Global Outsourcing and Efficient Consumer Response will be discussed. The course will focus on traditional supply chain concepts and also introduce students to changes in supply chain management practices due to the emergence of the Internet. Analytical and simulation approaches utilized in industry will also be introduced. At the end of the course, a student will have the necessary tools and metrics to evaluate a current supply chain and recommend design changes to supply chain processes.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Developing Economies
In this course, we explore how innovation and entrepreneurship (e.g. opportunity identification, evaluation, and exploitation) create individual and social wealth in developing country settings—while often simultaneously addressing major social problems. This course is about identifying opportunities and constraints that typify this context so that you can enter or return to a developing country to establish a venture—or lead and fund people who do so. It is also about using the power of business to fight poverty and other social problems. While many themes will surface, my objective is to help you learn more about business model variations and unique partnerships and how both play a critical role in venture success. Secondarily, we will discuss funding mechanisms. In an effort to innovate how we teach and present this course, we have filmed two cases and several guest speakers on location in Ethiopia. However, the topics in this course and the lessons from it absolutely relate to locations worldwide. We will work together to understand the similarities and differences between Ethiopia and other developing countries in Asia, Latin America, South America, Africa and elsewhere.
Leading from the Middle
MBA programs spend a great deal of time talking about and learning how senior leaders in the organization make decisions (both financial and strategic). This is a great and needed focus. But, rarely does one start out at the top. In fact, most MBA students will graduate and be placed right in the middle of the organization (either as an individual contributor or as a manager of others). The ability to effectively understand larger organizational dynamics and "get things done" in the middle – managing and aligning multiple stakeholders to make good decisions and implement these decisions without drama – is key to rising to the top. In other words, leading from (in) the middle is about "getting things done" (i.e. implementing decisions and initiatives) within the broader organizational context. In order to do this, it is critical to understand how organizations do "their work" so that you know how to effectively engage various systems and people to accomplish "your work." This course is about how things get done within organizations and how you can improve your ability to get things done as a middle manager. Broadly defined, organizations do "their work" using a combination of formal and informal processes or systems:
- The formal organizational structure which divides the work into jobs, teams, departments, units; attaches metrics/incentives of success to the different component tasks; manages the interface and coordination of these components; puts in place supporting systems such as information technology, etc.
- The informal system of comprised of a common vision, organizational culture (and subcultures) and the use of informal influence and power where individuals use their knowledge of the formal structure and culture to build networks, coalitions, allies and so forth to successfully implement decisions and strategic initiatives.
This course is designed to help you understand the broader organizational context in which you are operating and the influence of this context on decision-making, networks, and power and influence. The course is designed to have a mix of teaching methodologies including behavioral simulations/exercises, computer based simulations, cases, (some) lecture, and an ongoing integration of your experiences into the classroom.
Information for Decision Making, Incentives & Strategy
Information for Decision Making, Incentives & Strategy provides information for decision making, product–costing, and planning-control-evaluation activities. This course takes the perspective of both the user and the preparer of accounting information. The emphasis is on the fundamental concepts and the strategic importance of accounting data to managerial activity with special consideration given to the underlying accounting procedures and the underlying accounting processes. During this course, you should specifically: develop an appreciation for the role of accounting data in decision making, product-costing, and planning-control-evaluation activities; embrace an understanding of the data accumulation process in order to facilitate effective communication between managers and accountants; master specific techniques for using a myriad of accounting information in multiple situations; and internalize contemporary concerns with respect to U.S. productivity and the world economy along with implications for information systems.
This course is intended to introduce you to management models and make you think deeply about how to manage innovations in the 21st century organizations, especially in an economically challenging environment. The objective is to examine how the most innovative organizations around the globe excel at exploring, executing, and exploiting innovations with an eye towards superior performance. The major topics in the course include: cultivating a culture for innovation, instilling appropriate structures to foster innovation, leveraging creative human capital, and designing "open" innovation processes. We will look at innovation from both an intra- as well as extra-organizational perspective. The aim is to help you as managers lead your organizations and people within to continuously develop and commercialize innovations. The course is pertinent for general managers, consultants, marketing managers as well as operations managers.
The purpose of this course is to provide exposure to a number of different modeling techniques that are used in operations management, developing your skills both in building models and interpreting the output of these decision tools. Although the emphasis of this course is on operations, the tools that we will discuss have practical applications in a wide variety of functional areas, including marketing, finance and human resource management. The objective is not to create expert mathematicians; we will discuss the theoretical underpinnings of these techniques only as needed. Rather, the emphasis is on assessing the applicability of these tools in practical situations.
Negotiations offers a basic introduction to negotiation with a heavy emphasis on the development of practical skills. Among other things, this course seeks to develop student capabilities in (a) analyzing your negotiation style, (b) planning for negotiations, (c) dealing with strong emotions, (e) employing "principled" negotiation techniques, and (f) assessing negotiations.
New Ventures Discovery
The goal of this course is to introduce the important tools and skills necessary to create and grow a successful new venture. The course is designed to simulate the real life activities of entrepreneurs in the start-up stage of a new venture. Students will develop an understanding of the elements required to start a new business and hear from successful entrepreneurs about their journey and then evaluate real business plans for entrepreneurs who are just starting their journey.
Gain exposure to the general concepts and tools needed to manage a broad range of business projects (M&A integrations, new product launches, geographic expansions, outsourcing initiatives, IT projects, etc.). This course is designed for general managers; you will learn basic qualitative and quantitative skills you can apply throughout your career. Most MBA graduates will spend a significant portion of their career taking part in and leading projects. The use of projects in organizations is only increasing. In many areas, ranging from consulting and investment banking to product development and service delivery, organizations deliver their primary output through projects. In other organizations projects are used to implement strategic decisions. Also, projects provide an opportunity for high-potential individuals to hone and prove their capability prior to taking on the responsibility of managing a larger business. While every project has its unique components, in many ways projects in organizations are quite similar. It is these commonalities that permit us to explore project management generally. In this course we will examine a range of contexts – e.g., outsourcing, product development, geographic expansion, construction, merger integration – to help students become familiar with the tools and concepts of project management. The objective of this course is to prepare students so that they have the ability to effectively take part in and lead projects. The goal is to equip individuals across any career concentration, rather than extend the expertise of project-management specialists. Therefore, this class will be highly interactive consisting of active case discussions each day that will be supplemented with short lectures when appropriate. We will cover both quantitative and qualitative aspects of project management.
The Real Estate Process introduces students to the basic concepts of real estate. This course provides a background on the concepts of urban and spatial economics, analysis of markets, valuation, law, development, capital markets and investment analysis. It also familiarizes students with the vocabulary of real estate and exposes them to real-world decision making processes through a series of case studies. This course is designed to introduce students with an interest in real estate to the real estate asset class, as well as some important aspects of real estate analysis. In addition, the course is designed to incorporate current topics that are relevant to real estate decision makers in all aspects of the industry. During the course, we'll look at decisions commonly made by developers, lenders, investors and other market participants. As such, the course is a survey course that covers a broad range of real estate topics.
Services can be defined as deeds, processes, and performances provided by firms and individuals to create customer experiences. Services dominate the U.S. economy: with only 13% of the GDP in manufacturing and 6% in agriculture, services are critical to your future, to the United States' future, and to the success of world economies. Many of the most critical U.S. initiatives—overhauling the healthcare system, saving financial organizations, harnessing the speed of technology, and growing firms that depend on manufacturing—involve services. For this reason, services marketing is studied as a sub-discipline of marketing.
This course examines the origins, evolution, and current schools of thought around sustainable business practices. Study and discussion of sustainability as a theory of industrial development and accompanying models of commerce provides a context for understanding current models of business and its effects on other systems. The course also focuses on strategy, leadership, and innovation as applied to the Sustainable Enterprise. Through example as well as application of management theory, we will examine how today's leaders are creating programs of transformation for competition in the "next" generation of industry and commerce.
Taxes and Business Strategy
Most people feel that they would have an edge if they knew more about taxes, and they are right. Part of being financially savvy is understanding how taxation affects business decisions. When we examine real transactions and real companies in this class, you will see huge differences in taxes (and after-tax profits) depending on how things are structured. Most people also feel that taxes are incredibly complicated, and they are also right. That is one reason why tax knowledge gives you an edge, because most people are so afraid or baffled by taxes that they don't know where to begin. Our job is to make it more understandable, to help you see through the thicket of details to the essentials, and give you an understanding of the fundamental principles of taxation and tax planning – those principles that apply today, tomorrow, and no matter what country you are dealing with. This course will give you a fundamental understanding of tax planning over the life cycle of a firm: starting with deciding which organizational form to use, forming a company and raising capital, operating a company, compensating employees, making distributions to owners, engaging in mergers and acquisitions, expanding across states and countries, and finally liquidating a company or bequeathing it to one's heirs. We will make extensive use of real transactions to illustrate the impact of tax planning on earnings and cash flow.
All interested MPA@UNC students must speak with Director of Academic and Career Services, Heather Duhart, to determine if specific cross-university courses fit their curriculum plan.