EMBA – Penn State U.
The Smeal Executive MBA Program admits a class in August each year. The program is divided
into four segments over a 22-month period, with each segment about 20 weeks in length.
Classes meet on alternating weekends (Friday overnight to Saturday) at the Ace Conference
Center in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania.
Each of the first three segments contains a five-day residence at Penn State's University Park
Campus. The final segment includes an global immersion experience, exploring business
strategy and economic issues across countries, customs, currencies and cultures.
First Year Curriculum
Strategic Analysis Leadership Managing Money
• Business • Working in • Financial
Strategy Teams Accounting
• Strategic • Ethical • Managerial
Assessment Leadership Accounting
Project • Managing People • Financial
• Marketing Management
Management • Strategic • Economics for
• Supply Chain Leadership Managers
• Business Decision Making
• Leadership • Leadership • Leadership
Communication Communications Communications
s and Coaching and Coaching and Coaching
Defining Your Own Agenda—The Second Year
The first year gives you the fundamentals. In the second year, you get to explore the nuances
of those areas. But this isn't an attempt to get you to specialize in a narrow field; the program
will help you learn advanced tools that will make you a more effective manager.
The program is not fixed. At the end of the first year we'll discuss what courses your class
would find most interesting and useful. We'll then design your second year around that input.
A partial list of courses students have requested include: Strategy Implementation, Advanced
Negotiations, Risk Management, and Entrepreneurship.
The program is also specifically designed for executives. There are many opportunities to take
on projects from your firm. Problems that you bring to class can be ones that you need to
solve at work. You'll get the benefit of working with your project team and getting guidance
from an expert teacher. This can provide consulting advice to your firm, save it hundreds of
thousands of dollars, and boost your reputation as a problem solver.
Our courses were developed in partnership with some of the world's leading companies and
senior executives. They are continually subject to the continuous thinking of the industry
councils that advise each of the functional areas such as marketing, finance and supply chain.
This ensures our courses always reflect the skills businesses demand.
The purpose of this course is to develop the communication skills required for management;
the aims of the course are:
• To illustrate that managerial communication is a complex rhetorical task dependent
upon analysis of audience, situation, and communication goals;
• To understand the constraints imposed by audience and situation and to develop
strategies for communicating effectively within these constraints;
• To develop rhetorical skills of exposition, persuasion, and argument for use in oral
and written presentation;
• To develop evaluation and coaching skills;
• To support team development and team management skills.
Managing People in Organizations
Managing People in Organizations is a course concerned with understanding and managing the
behavior of people in organizations (including yourself). By the time you are finished, you will
have exposure to many of the concepts and skills that will help you become a more effective
manager and organizational leader. The course includes tools that help you diagnose,
understand, and develop solutions to management problems. We will draw upon both the
academic and practitioner literature to understand many facets of the thoughts, feelings, and
actions of people at work. We will focus on: 1) developing your conceptual understanding of
issues involved in managing people; 2) providing opportunities for direct or vicarious learning
of managerial skills that have been identified by practicing managers as being most important
to their performance; 3) giving you insight into your own attitudes, beliefs, and management
philosophy; 4) creating a forum for discussing management issues with your colleagues.
In this course we will stress the development of your ability to apply concepts. Class time will
be devoted primarily to case analyses, experiential learning and vicarious or visual learning.
We will try to maintain a dual perspective on management— "managing" and "being
managed". Both perspectives are important. It is important to understand the managerial
perspective because the members of this class are in a position that entails the management
of other employees. The "being managed" perspective is important because, first, few of us
ever join an organization at the top. Thus, our first experiences in organizations have to do
with others managing us, so it is important to understand what they are (or should be) trying
to do with us. Secondly, once you are in the ranks of management, it helps to understand and
remember what it is like to be a subordinate. Ultimately, you should better understand the
forces that influence the behavior of people in organizations—especially your own.
Accounting is system for measuring and communicating the outcomes of business activities.
The focus of this course will be primarily on financial accounting. The course takes an
integrative approach to the role of accounting information in the investment decision process
and implementation of a firm's strategy. The purposes of this course are to
• provide the student with a basic understanding of the concepts and principles (i.e.
the jargon) underlying financial accounting practices
• make the student comfortable with financial data (in particular, a 10K or annual
• make the student aware of the care that must be taken when using accounting
data as a source of information for making decisions
• provide the student with the technical tools and references to analyze how a
particular transaction affects a firm's financial statements.
Working in Teams
Teamwork is increasingly critical to performance at all levels of organizations. Top
management teams must craft judicious strategies for their firms and effectively coordinate
their implementation. Project teams must weave requirements from different functional areas
into one seamless process. Reengineering teams must find ways to streamline business
operations and improve productivity. Transnational teams must not only coordinate activities
in different parts of the world, but they must also transcend cultural and language barriers to
do so. Additionally, organizational members are increasingly asked to represent their
organizations in alliances that involve collaboration among multiple firms. Even day-to-day
office operations depend on teamwork to be successful.
The challenges associated with the management of intra- and inter-organizational teams can
appear daunting and often discouraging—particularly for those who have suffered through
unsuccessful team experiences. While successful teams occasionally just "click," more often
creating a successful team experience requires knowledge, persistence, and skill. It requires
knowledge of group dynamics and how teams evolve. It requires skill in diagnosing team
problems and selecting appropriate intervention. It requires persistent efforts to keep both the
task and process work of the team on track. Finally, working effectively in teams requires
people skills like responding to strong emotions, empathy, assertiveness, and managing
conflicts. Few of us are born with these skills—they need to be learned and refined throughout
The overall objective of Ethical Leadership is to raise your awareness of the key role you will
play as a manager and leader in creating and maintaining responsible business conduct and to
enhance your ability to deal with the complexities of ethical decision making in today's
dynamic business environment. Readings will provide an introduction to the important
concepts. Cases will help you apply these concepts to organizational life. Assignments will help
you to apply the concepts and to conduct an introspective evaluation of your own experience
based upon learning in the course.
Ethical leadership and corporate reputation are becoming increasingly important as
organizations restructure internally to remove bureaucracy, as they rely more on teams and
cross-functional peer interaction, as they join with other organizations in strategic alliances
and joint ventures, and as they compete in the global arena. The ability to trust peers and
business partners and to operate in an environment where laws are taken seriously is
essential for business to be conducted effectively. Further, to be effective, business leaders
must think broadly about how they can satisfy multiple stakeholders, all of whom have an
interest in the organization and its actions. This requires thinking beyond the short-term
bottom line to include the value of the reputation of the firm with external stakeholders such
as customers and suppliers and the firm's ability to attract and keep the best employees.
This course emphasizes the use of accounting information for internal purposes as opposed to
the external disclosure which is the focus of most financial accounting courses. We shall cover
the vocabulary and mechanics of cost accounting and the design of management accounting
systems for planning and controlling operations, and for motivating personnel. The course
integrates accounting with ideas from data analysis, decision analysis, finance,
microeconomics, and operations management. There are four themes we shall stress
throughout the course: 1) information is costly; 2) allocations arise because markets are
absent; 3) different costs apply for different purposes; and 4) what gets measured gets
Quantitative Analysis for Managerial Decision Making
The job of the manager is making decisions. Over a career, you will no doubt decide on a
variety of matters: pricing, hiring, production, and so on. Each decision will be unique in
detail, but the broad features will tend to be the same: It will always be important to have
clear goals. You need to gather and evaluate information, and develop viable options. You
then need to consider expected outcomes. And because business decisions tend to have their
consequences in the uncertain future, risk assessment will be critical to your success.
One objective of this course is to sharpen your business decision-making skills. We start with a
practical framework for thinking about options, outcomes, and risk management. We then turn
the focus to information. Along the way, we discuss common pitfalls involving human nature
and its limitations. Because business problems often arrive ill-structured (sometimes it is not
even clear what the problem is), we study cases, a learning method that builds problem
structuring as well as problem solving skills.
The bottom line is written in numbers, and so there is necessarily a quantitative dimension to
business decision-making. A second objective of the course is to familiarize you with the basic
quantitative tools used in business analysis, many of which involve the spreadsheet. The
necessary technical skills rarely go beyond college algebra or elementary statistics.
Interpreting the numbers is what makes business quantitative analysis tricky, and this will be
the subject of a lot of our discussion.
This course has two primary objectives: 1) to familiarize you with concepts and issues in the
domain of marketing; and 2) to teach you a structured business decision making process that
will help you respond to the vast majority of problems and opportunities that you will face.
Also, contributing to Smeal's emphasis on teamwork and communications, you will do most of
your work in teams, and how you communicate your solutions will be a significant part of the
This course constitutes your introduction to finance. The objective of the course is to
demonstrate to you some of the methods and techniques of finance; learning these techniques
should help you to think more logically about corporate problems. Thus our objective is not to
turn you into a corporate financial manager, but rather, to show you that basic financial
principles can be useful no matter what kind of job you are doing.
We cover the material from the perspective of the firm, i.e., how can managers use financial
techniques to help them do their job and how does the firm interact with the financial
markets. Thus we cover material from corporate finance as well as material from capital
markets. Under the rubric of corporate finance, we cover the firm's major financial decisions:
what assets to purchase and how to finance the acquisition of those assets. Along the way, we
analyze the time value of money, criteria for asset selection, understanding risk in capital
budgeting, issuing securities, deciding what to issue, and how to calculate the firm's resulting
cost of capital. The capital markets are the arena in which the firm interacts with investors. An
understanding of capital markets is essential not only for sensible personal investing, but also
for rational corporate financial policy. We cover the operation of security markets, the
historical record of returns, and portfolio theory and asset pricing.
The operations group of any organization is where the actual product or service is created.
Typically, "operations" manages the majority of the assets owned by the firm and employs
more people than any other function. Managers in the operations area are concerned, most
basically, with the efficient acquisition and utilization of production resources. The effect of
these choices is reflected directly in the costs of doing business and therefore the net profit for
a profit-seeking firm (or the efficiency of a non-profit organization).
This course is designed to introduce you to the role of operations in the organization, the kinds
of decisions operations managers make, and the impact of operations decisions on the
strategic and tactical position of the firm. You will find that these decisions range from
qualitative assessment of the firm's overall competitive environment to detailed examination
of specific, day-to-day operations problems.
We will make management of the supply chain a particular focus of the course. The interaction
of production, distribution and information resources plays a critical role in developing and
sustaining a firm's competitive advantage.
This course offers you an opportunity to analyze companies from a strategic perspective.
Typically, the term "strategic perspective" refers to seeing the big picture (e.g., analyzing the
entire company and its environment) as well as considering long-run decisions and their
impact (e.g., diversifying into a new business or changing the company's strategy). The
purpose of strategy is to set (or change) the direction of the company, and the core
methodology for formulating a sound strategy is a series of key analyses. We will refer to this
methodology as the "10-Box Strategy Model," and you will learn how to use the model to form
strategies, take action, and measure results.
Generally speaking, firms pursue both market and non-market strategies. Market strategies
are focused on the market and competitive environments, and they are heavily based on
analyses of the industry, competitors, and the firm's resources and capabilities. Non-market
strategies address the institutional environment, and they are developed from legal, political,
regulatory, and ethical analyses. Both market and non-market strategies rely on a conception
of the future. We will examine several future scenarios, trying to identify major areas of
convergence in the global economy, and discuss the implications of convergence for effectively
managing today's firms.
Prices & Markets
This course is intended to act as an introduction to the analysis of economic systems from a
managerial perspective. Topics will include firm profit maximization, industrial organization,
game theory, price discrimination, information economics, auctions, and externalities. After
completing the class, students should have a strong understanding of how individuals, firms
and markets behave. Also, they should be able to apply the general principles of economic
analysis in order to study business decisions in the everyday world.
This course is intended to help you both review and integrate marketing concepts presented in
other marketing courses. More importantly, it is an examination of the marketing related
issues and solutions to problems arising from trying to market products or services in
competitive business environments. The course focuses on business-level marketing strategy,
rather than corporate strategy or business policy. It is intended to help you develop new
perspectives for developing innovative marketing strategies. This is done by exposing you to a
variety of old (tried and true), new, and sometimes crazy ideas about marketing strategy. As
part of the course requirements you will relate course concepts to current business practice via
case analyses, complete an industry profile, and develop a strategic marketing plan. These are
integrative experiences that require you to draw on the marketing knowledge gained in earlier
courses. As a consequence, and depending on your background, you may meet relatively few
new concepts and theories in the course; rather you will be forced to integrate and apply the
ones you have learned in your other business courses. You will do some course components in
teams. This will build your skills in this area and teach you how to avoid teamwork pitfalls in
Global Strategy is an advanced course that focuses on the company in its international
environment—its global strategy and the organizational and managerial arrangements it uses
to pursue that strategy. Students will study how companies internationalize by analyzing a
series of key corporate decisions: the decision to go international, whether to enter a
particular market, how to enter a market, how to use expatriates and teams, how to integrate
a cross-border acquisition, etc. They will also develop a global perspective that emphasizes
broad, systemic thinking at four "levels" of analysis: the global economy as a whole,
industries, national governments, and firms.
Strategic Financial Management
Strategic Financial Management is designed to be a practical, comprehensive course in
corporate finance and strategy. As such, the objective is to draw together the various topics in
managerial finance and present a unified, integrated view of the overall subject areas. The
course will require the student to deal with case applications and to consider recent empirical
and theoretical findings in the field. The topics covered include capital expenditure analysis,
capital structure and dividend policies, corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions,
insider trading, and international corporate finance. Integrated throughout the course will be
issues of managerial compensation and potential management-shareholder conflicts.
Global Finance deals with the analysis of problems in international business finance and the
impact of evolving international payment systems on business. The focus will be on how
decisions about financial management are and should be made in the modern multinational
enterprise. The impact that these decisions have on the worldwide allocation of economic
resources and distribution of wealth will be assessed. Other topics of discussion include: what
are the financial risks inherent in these decisions? What role can new financial instruments
play in the management of these risks?
Strategy Implementation and Organizational Change
Strategy Implementation and Organizational Change provides students with key analytic
abilities to assess the gap between the current status of the organization and the need to
implement a new strategy or execute change, and then identify a strategy for closing the gap.
Students will develop facility with two essential frameworks: a model of organizational
alignment and a model for managing the change process. The topics covered include
alignment of organizational structure, information and decision processes, rewards, people,
and symbols; persuasion, resource, time and pacing, and leadership by the top team in the
change process; implementation of an innovation strategy, a turnaround strategy, a
transnational strategy, or an acquisition integration strategy.
This course is designed to 1) examine and understand the processes of building, designing,
measuring, and maintaining brand equity; 2) discuss actual applications of Brand Management
strategies and methodologies presented in class, together with cases and exercises; and 3)
provide MBA students with the analytic and strategic skills necessary for Brand Management.
Supply Chain Management
This course is designed to integrate course topics covered in foundation courses and engage
students in probing discussions of critical supply chain leadership issues. Special emphasis is
given to supply chain technology adoption, change management, shareholder value
assessment, capability assessment, relationship management, and performance metrics.
Evaluation methods include class participation, an intensive case project in the field, and a
case competition judged by a panel of senior executives.
New Product Development
The course has two objectives. The first objective is to expose the students to the various
tools needed in new product development and to familiarize the students with the new product
development process (market opportunity identification, customer analysis, concept
generation, selection and testing, prototyping, launch and product life cycle management).
The capstone of the course is a team project that gives students an opportunity to practice the
process and tools discussed in the classroom. The second aim is to help students understand
and tackle some key new product development challenges facing their firms.
This course emphasizes innovation and the management of the entrepreneurial function as
strategic tools. Recent surveys indicate that a principal topic of concern to CEOs is making
their organizations more innovative while dealing with disruptive entrepreneurs within their
corporations. This course examines this issue and provides many of the answers to this
seeming paradox. It examines in detail the commonalities and differences between
entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and enterpriseursTM. The latter term describes a new breed of
managers that create innovative business models transcending conventional corporate
boundaries eroded by information technology, deregulation, and globalization. From a practical
standpoint, the course relies heavily on case histories and exercises using recently developed
innovation management tools.
Corporate Growth and Innovation Strategy
The course provides students with concepts and tools that start-up and mature companies can
use to create and sustain competitive advantage through technological and organizational
innovation. Among the topics covered are: the relationship between technology strategy and
corporate strategy; market demands for disruptive and sustaining innovations; evolution of
standards and dominant designs; value and management of strategic alliances; innovation-
Global Immersion Experience
This course takes place during the global immersion. The global immersion is a ten day
examination of best practices in another economic region. The immersion will involve meetings
with executives at companies in the economic region being visited in order to investigate best
practices at those firms. There will also be discussions with government officials to gain a
better understanding of economic, legal, regulatory, and social systems in the region. Groups
of students may tie an action learning project to international companies being visited, further
enhancing the immersion experience.
Tuition for the class entering in August of 2006 is $84,000. This fee covers tuition, textbooks,
basic supplies, specialized course software, as well as meals and lodging for overnight stays
associated with the three University Park residence weeks, the alternating weekends at the
ACE Conference Center, and the Global Immersion experience. Air travel for the Global
Immersion is not included in this price. Students will also need to supply a laptop computer
with spreadsheet and word processing software and a wireless internet connection.