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

    Leadership influence on employees is at least threefold: an impact on the employees who are brought into and retained in the organization; a strong role in shaping the context in which employees act (culture, rewards, etc.); and a personal relationship with those whom you manage, which can profoundly influence subordinates’ values, beliefs, and behaviors. The purpose of this course is to enhance the student’s capability as a manager and leader to take actions that align employees’ actions with organizational goals and objectives. The course is organized into four parts. It begins by placing the manager’s relationship with employees in the broader context of the organization’s human resource strategy. Then it examines in closer detail some of the main levers that managers and organizations can use, paying attention to four factors: recruitment and selection; employee evaluation and development; extrinsic rewards, compensation systems, and job design; and the connection between the employee’s identity and organizational objectives. The third portion of the course briefly considers the challenges of transforming employment relations. The course concludes by discussing how employment relationships are shaped by values and ethics—those of the manager, as well as those of the larger organization.

  • 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

    This course is about investors: what they do, how they think, and what they care about. The course is, in places, quantitative. It makes use of basic concepts in probability, statistics, and regression analysis. Course topics include returns, risk, and prices; asset allocation; efficient markets; valuation and fundamentals-based investing; the capital asset pricing model (CAPM); quantitative equity investing; bond markets; evaluating money manager performance; futures and options; and investment errors and human psychology.

  • Operations Engine

    Broadens the traditional operations management course by including and emphasizing linkages to organizational behavior and workforce management, strategy, accounting, finance, and marketing. The framework for this course is simple: First, we focus on how work is organized and how processes are improved. At the next higher level, we consider the relationship among work centers, suppliers, and customers: the design and improvement of the supply chain. Finally, operations analysis influences and is influenced by the organization’s competitive strategy. While carrying out these activities, organizations need to continually improve manufacturing and service quality.

  • 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 has five objectives. First, it aims to provide students with insight into the motives driving a diverse array of nonmarket constituencies. These constituencies include elected and unelected public officials, leaders of NGOs, interest-group advocates, and representatives of multinational organizations, as well as organized (and sometimes unorganized) movements that arise in a society. Second, the course examines underlying societal trends that can have a significant impact on the opportunities and risks faced by business management. Third, it provides insight into some of the systematic sources of variation across the nation-states that can impact managerial and investment decisions. Fourth, the course helps students read the institutional environment of the firm—legal and regulatory frameworks, media market structures, religious organizations, and many other factors. Finally, the course repeatedly asks students to reflect on the differences between what is legal and what is right, what is customary and what is legal, what is customary and what is right.

  • 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

    This course uses microeconomic concepts to analyze strategic decisions facing an organization. Although the primary emphasis is on strategy at the individual business level, and the primary source of analytical methods is economics, other application areas and other analytical perspectives are considered. The course provides the tools to balance the objectives, characteristics, and resources of the organization on the one hand, and the opportunities presented by the environment on the other. We will also focus on understanding competitive interaction between firms, both in theory and in a variety of industry settings. The range of organizations studied includes nonprofits as well as for-profits. Class sessions are a mixture of case discussions and lectures. Written presentations of cases and participation are the classroom responsibilities of those taking the course. Assignments include case write-ups, analytical exercises, an exam, and a substantial project.

  • Corporate Finance

    This course focuses on financial management from the perspective inside the corporation or operating entity. It builds upon the concepts from the core finance courses, using lectures to develop the theory, and cases and problem sets to provide applications. Topics covered include capital structure, bankruptcy and restructuring, capital budgeting, the cost of capital, mergers and acquisitions, leasing, dividend policy, applications of option pricing to corporate finance, and risk management.

  • 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

    Students learn to create, and manage new ventures across the public, private, and non-profit sectors in this foundational elective. Through this course, students are introduced to emerging frameworks in entrepreneurship including “lean start-up”, “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 legalities, financing, team building, and management.

  • Financial Reporting

    This course builds on the basic accounting model and mechanics developed in MGT 402 and extends our understanding of financial statements and footnotes. It considers the recording and reporting of various transactions and events under US GAAP through the process of first recognizing the underlying economics of the transaction and then understanding the relevant accounting rules. The course contains numerous examples of both hypothetical transactions and actual financial statements reporting. It highlights how accounting treatment impacts the reported numbers and includes a comprehensive investigation of one firm’s 10-K report.

  • Managerial Controls

    This course introduces concepts of using financial information for operational decisions and internal control. The first part of the course explores cost behavior and alternative costing methods, and illustrates how the resulting cost information can be used to guide strategic decisions such as product-mix decisions and to analyze the profitability of individual products and customers. The second part of the course focuses on the role of internal accounting systems in evaluating managerial performance and in coordinating the activities among departments and divisions within a firm.

  • Marketing Strategy

    The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding, the skill, and experience in formulating and planning marketing strategies. The course builds on the marketing framework developed in customer core: A successful firm delivers value to customers better than its competitors. The first marketing core course focuses on introducing the basic elements which underlie the practice of marketing - segmentation, targeting, positioning, 4 Ps. In contrast, this course emphasizes how to do marketing: how to put these basic elements into practice in a strategic way.  The general idea behind marketing may be simple “make profit by meeting a need of a customer” but the art of putting it into practice is complex. A marketer always operates in an environment with constraints, where information is incomplete, and both competitors and customers act unpredictably. The objective of this course is (1) to introduce participants to concepts and tools that enable marketers to manage and understand this complexity and (2) to provide participants with “hands on” experience in designing and implementing a marketing strategy in a competitive environment. Central concepts include competitive and buyer analyses, problem identification, the design of marketing strategies for existing and new product markets, and the allocation of resources across marketing mix elements and products.

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.