Graduate Certificate in Strategic Growth
Today, businesses and industries are experiencing high demand for strategic planning that leads to sustained growth, either through external strategies (merger and acquisition, alliances, joint ventures) or through innovation. If you are in charge of business development, manage a product line or division within a large corporation, or are part of a small company looking to grow, you will benefit from the financial acumen, strategic thinking, and business model expertise developed through this certificate.
Part-time graduate certificate program
- Evening courses designed for working professionals
- Complete at your own pace taking one or more courses per term
Graduate Certificate in Strategic Growth
The Graduate Certificate in Strategic Growth provides:
- A program developed in partnership with industry experts and employers
- Advanced, intensive curriculum building financial acumen, strategic thinking, and professional effectiveness
- Courses that count towards graduate certificate credits within a St. Thomas MBA degree
- Designed for current St. Thomas MBA students or graduates of a regionally accredited (or international equivalent) MBA program.
Curriculum and Course Descriptions
15 - 16.5 credits total
Required Courses (7.5 credits)
Managers tasked with growing a business face several dilemmas: When should the business grow? Should that growth take place internally or via an external path? How would I answer the same questions if the growth opportunity is international?
In this course, you will be introduced to the concepts of corporate strategy and the pitfalls and benefits that firms face in their quest to ethically grow. We will study the issues and analytical arguments behind these questions, drawing on recent advances in corporate strategy, organizational economics and organizational behavior. Although it incorporates various theoretical perspectives, the course ultimately is designed to focus on the essential issues and problems of corporate strategy and business growth as experienced by managers. You will investigate the reasons for or against firms expanding from several perspectives, paying particular attention to the link between expansion and value creation at the business-unit and corporate levels. We will also examine the various pathways that firms can grow and the rationale for selecting one mode of growth over another.
Develop your ability to interpret and understand financial statements of publicly held firms prepared according to generally accepted accounting principles. This course builds on knowledge of the structure and content of financial statements necessary to enable you to begin financial analysis for professional or personal purposes.
An introduction to the latest concepts in corporate finance and a reinforcement of the material learned in earlier financial management and accounting courses. Topics covered will include: financial analysis, cash flows, capital budgeting, forecasting, valuation, cost of capital, capital structure, risk management, EVA, leasing, and mergers and acquisitions.
Elective Courses (4.5 - 6 credits)
You will develop an understanding of how to build successful new product by mastering the key marketing principles that often distinguish winners from losers. The new product development process is presented through a series of lectures and case studies. The course may also require concept development and presentation for a local corporation seeking new product ideas.
Designed for entrepreneurs, managers, and consultants interested in creating and reinforcing entrepreneurial responses within established organizations. You will examine how managers affect the nature and rate of innovation through organizational culture, structure, communication, reward and control systems. Emphasis is placed on how individuals initiate, launch and manage ventures within corporate settings. The course integrates theory and practice through the use of readings, discussions, cases, field work and projects.
You will gain an understanding of how cost information is used in planning, decision making, and performance evaluation. Topics include: cost allocation including activity-based costing, contribution margin analysis, budgeting, performance evaluation and ethical aspects of managerial accounting.
An overview of the concepts and tools required to understand and evaluate market opportunities in specific global environments. In addition to readings, cases and lectures, the primary project for the course is the development of a plan for international expansion, based primarily on the analysis and use of secondary sources.
This is a specialized graduate-level finance course in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). The topics covered include: an introduction to the M&A environment; valuation techniques; modeling of cash flows, synergies and offer price; analysis and valuation of privately held companies; analysis of financial implications of various deal structures and anti-takeover techniques; and financing M&A transactions, including leveraged buyouts.
The present economic crisis, along with a range of other looming challenges (climate change, unrest in the Middle East, health and food security concerns, changing consumer preferences, and social mobility), have presented global organizations with the most daunting array of risks in at least 60 years. Broadly, this situation presents organizations with the challenge of developing more comprehensive approaches to the management of risk, which has come to be called enterprise risk management (ERM). Key to the ERM concept is the view that all managers are expected to act as risk managers within the scope of their duties. Key subjects of investigation include the following: The specific challenge of engaging Boards and Executive Management in order to get risk management onto their agendas. The difficulties in translating risk policy into risk management systems and structures. The particular processes necessary to knit together the existing technical specialist infrastructure. The development of sufficient risk management competence among the entire organization (and especially non-risk management specialists). The problems of communicating relevant risk information to external stakeholders.
Improve your ability to determine whether, when and how to execute collaborative strategies as part of your firm’s overall growth strategy. The last two decades have seen an explosion in collaborative activity between firms. As a result, it is likely that, regardless of your chosen career path, you will at some point either work for, help to establish or compete with collaborative ventures. Managers considering collaborative activity face a range of issues: When should an interaction be structured as a joint venture, a contractual alliance or simply as an arm’s-length contract? When should I collaborate with an external partner rather than doing the project entirely in-house? How can I best structure and manage this partnership? What can I do to prevent competition between partners? How do I evaluate whether a prospective partner is best for me?
You will study the issues and analytical arguments behind these questions, drawing on recent advances in competitive strategy, organizational economics and organizational behavior. Although it incorporates various theoretical perspectives, the course is ultimately designed to focus on the essential issues and problems of collaborative strategy as experienced by managers.
Professional Effectiveness Courses (3 credits)
This course explores the major concepts of negotiation inherent in any business or personal situation. The focus will be on interpersonal and inter-group conflict and its resolution. Through the analysis of bargaining and conflict situations, students will be able to learn their own individual "negotiating styles." Some of the major elements of the course include distributive (win-lose) negotiations, integrative (win-win) negotiations, the use of power in negotiations and negotiation ethics. Negotiation cases will be used extensively in the course to allow students to improve their negotiation skills through "hands on" scenarios. Beginning with relatively simple one-on-one negotiations, the course will progress to complex, multi-party negotiations where class members will assume different roles.
Businesses increasingly use teams to get work done at all levels of the organization, but often teams are not managed effectively. This course examines when teams are the right choice (and when they are not), how to be an effective team member and leader, and how to diagnose and solve common team problems. You will also examine how teams operate under special circumstances, e.g., cross-functional, temporary, global, and distributed (or virtual).
Prepare to communicate competently in both a graduate business program and a leadership role in the workplace. You will learn and practice communication skills for the full range of workplace contexts: formal to informal; short form and long; crafting, delivering and responding to messages; and creating single message opportunities versus communicating with multiple audiences using spoken, written, visual, person-to-person, electronic and virtual methods. You will explore the importance of purpose and being purposeful, identity and role management, and the spectrum of single, primary audiences to multiple, tertiary ones.
Our business culture demands concise and meaningful communications that can both inform and influence decision makers. This course serves as an introduction to principles that effectively link storytelling and successful business outcomes using a variety of communication channels and skills. You will explore the meaning of information and its effect on organizational strategy and culture; be able to build a structured thinking process or informational dashboard to tell a compelling story; and gain confidence in understanding and using information to influence outcomes.
The two core purposes for the course are to: (1) learn the principles of presenting information that makes an emotional connection to the listener framed by organization strategy and culture; and (2) refine your storytelling capabilities.