Sample Business Acumen Training Programs

The Center for Executive Development offers courses in business acumen to develop your skills in key areas. Below is a sample of our Business Acumen offerings.


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Financial Acumen

  • Review the financial statements, including the balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows and how they are used in assessing financial strength.
  • Using case studies, evaluate the financial performance of representative firms.
  • Discuss basic cost accounting measures used in determining break-even and profitability.
  • Develop an understanding of the contribution margin and its use in project analysis.
  • Identify the components of capital budgeting, including the time value of money and how to solve capital replacement problems.

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Financial Acumen II

  • Examine the organization’s annual and quarterly financial statements using key financial ratios with comparisons to peer firms.
  • Evaluate the financial performance of a representative firm using customer case studies.
  • Determine the impact of inventory and accounts receivable management on maximizing returns on investment using case studies.
  • Develop an understanding of the contribution margin principle and its use in the organization’s project analysis.
  • Determine optimal investment decisions using case studies and capital replacement decision models.
  • Discuss mergers and acquisition criteria, and evaluate a proposed peer acquisition.

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Financial Evaluation of Business Opportunities

  • Review key concepts level 1 and 2 programs and continue to enhance student comfort level in working with financial statements.
  • Understand additional evaluative measures (Enterprise Value, EBITDA, and Free Cash Flow) in financial analysis.
  • Use discounted cash flow techniques in valuation.
  • Identify the importance of estimates and earnings management techniques.
  • Understand the importance of disclosures to understand financial statements and potential acquisition risks.

Executive Course Business Acumen IconForeign Exchange Rates and Risk Management

  • The International Parity Conditions; which mathematically link inflation rates, interest rates and forward rates with expected spot exchange rates.
  • How violation of the Parity Conditions results in optimal arbitrage, speculation and hedging in the foreign exchange market.
  • How to measure transaction and economic foreign exchange risk exposure of an organization and how to hedge it.

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Long-Term Investment Decisions and Value Creation

  • Be able to project pro-forma financial statements using a percent-of-sales model and plan for external financing requirements.
  • Understand the interactions among dividend policy; financing policy and growth strategies and the impact of those interactions on the firm’s external financing requirements.
  • Understand the economic determinants of bond values and the associated mathematics.
  • Evaluate the risk of bonds and how bond characteristics are related to their risk.
  • Understand the economic characteristics of the organization’s long-term debt.
  • Apply the discounted cash flow (DCF) model to the valuation of the organization’s stock.
  • Understand alternatives to DCF valuation of the organization’s stock.

Executive Course Business Acumen IconIntellectual Property (IP) Rights

  • Provide participants with a workday understanding of the four primary systems for protection of proprietary ideas.
  • Enable participants to identify workplace behaviors, which may compromise the organization’s intellectual property (IP) interests.
  • Enable participants to recognize opportunities to increase the organization’s revenue by “capturing” IP, which may be undervalued.
  • Alert participants to major “gotcha” IP problem areas which tend to spawn litigation and loss.
  • Provide each participant with concrete IP “takeaway” action items applicable within his/her individual sphere of influence.

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International Business

  • Identify and analyze the forces underlying the globalization of economic activity.
  • Appreciate and assess the competitive implications of structural and demographic changes in the world economy.
  • Analyze the impact of national culture on the organization’s business practices and risk exposures.
  • Identify an organization’s corporate social responsibility and appreciate the complexities of CSR implementation across multiple political jurisdictions.

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Marketing Strategy and Marketing Management

  • Strategic Analysis of Market Opportunities: including analysis of company, industry, competitors and customers, segmentation analysis, target market selection, branding, and product positioning/value proposition.
  • Marketing Mix Strategy: elements included in the marketing mix, including core strategies for product and price.
  • Marketing Decision-Making Process: systematically organize the relevant issues to make appropriate decisions about marketing strategies and programs, based on analysis of the marketing situation. Financial analysis of marketing decisions is stressed.
  • International Issues: marketing strategy in the global environment.

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Supply Chain Management

  • Learn the fundamental concepts of integrated supply chain management.
  • Experience through computer simulation how information can become distorted in the supply chain and lead to erratic system performance.
  • Discover how the actions taken to optimize one component/function of the supply chain can have an adverse impact on system performance.
  • Examine the major drivers of supply chain performance.
  • Identify the impact of supply chain execution on project cost, schedule and quality.
  • Examine how leading companies use organizational relationship and information technology to enable efficient and effective supply chain execution.