Critical Business Skills for Success
Dr. Michael A. Roberto teaches leadership, managerial decision making, and business strategy as the Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. He joined the faculty at Bryant University after teaching at Harvard Business School for six years. Previously, Professor Roberto was a Visiting Associate Professor at New York University's Stern School of Business. Professor Roberto earned an M.B.A. with High Distinction and a D.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He brings real-world business skills to the classroom from his years of consulting at and teaching in the leadership development programs of a number of firms, including Apple, Walmart, Morgan Stanley, Coca-Cola, Federal Express, and Johnson & Johnson. Recognized for his research, writing, and teaching, Professor Roberto has earned several coveted teaching awards, including the Outstanding M.B.A. Teaching Award from Bryant University and Harvard University's Allyn A. Young Prize for Teaching in Economics. Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer, his book about cultivating constructive debate to help leaders make better decisions, was named one of the top 10 business books of 2005 by The Globe and Mail. His most recent book is Know What You Don't Know: How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen.
Professor Roberto participated in The Great Courses Professor Chat series. Read the chat to learn more about business strategy, decision-making, and leadership.
Professor Thomas J. Goldsby is the Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation Professor of Business and Professor of Logistics at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. in Marketing and Logistics from Michigan State University. Professor Goldsby is the coauthor of four books, including The Design and Management of Sustainable Supply Chains and Lean Six Sigma Logistics: Strategic Development to Operational Success. He is also coeditor in chief of Transportation Journal (the oldest academic journal in the field of business logistics), coeditor in chief elect of the Journal of Business Logistics, and co-executive editor of Logistics Quarterly magazine. His awards include the Best Paper Award at the Transportation Journal and the Accenture Award for Best Paper published in The International Journal of Logistics Management on two occasions. One of the most productive researchers in the field of logistics management, Professor Goldsby has supervised more than 100 Lean/Six Sigma supply chain projects with industry partners and served as an investigator on five federally funded research projects exceeding $2 million in grant proceeds.
Professor Ryan Hamilton is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Emory University's Goizueta Business School, where he has taught since 2008. He received his Ph.D. in Marketing from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
In 2013, he was recognized by the Marketing Science Institute as one of the most productive young scholars in his field. Professor Hamilton also has received multiple teaching excellence awards from his M.B.A. students at Emory and, in 2011, was named one of "The World's Best 40 B-School Profs under the Age of 40" by Poets & Quants, an online magazine covering the world of M.B.A. education.
Professor Hamilton is a consumer psychologist whose research investigates shopper decision making: how brands, prices, and choice architecture influence decision making at the point of purchase. His research findings have been published in prestigious peer-reviewed marketing and management journals, including the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Marketing, Management Science, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. His findings also have been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Financial Times, CNN Headline News and more.
Professor Clinton O. Longenecker is the Stranahan Professor of Leadership and Organizational Excellence in the College of Business and Innovation at The University of Toledo, where he has taught for over 30 years. He received a Ph.D. in Management from The Pennsylvania State University.
Recognized by The Economist as one of the top 15 business professors in the world, Professor Longenecker has received over 40 teaching and scholarly awards throughout his career. He is the only professor in the history of The University of Toledo to have received the university's Outstanding Teacher, Outstanding Researcher, and Outstanding Service awards.
Professor Longenecker is also an active management consultant, educator, and executive coach whose clients include a range of Fortune 500 firms and entrepreneurial organizations, including Harley-Davidson, ConAgra Foods, and Whirlpool Corporation.
He is a coauthor of the best-selling book, Getting Results: Five Absolutes for High Performance, and The Two-Minute Drill: Lessons for Rapid Organizational Improvement from America's Greatest Game, and has published more than 180 articles and papers in leading academic and professional journals including the MIT Sloan Management Review, The European Business Review, and Organizational Dynamics.
Professor Eric Sussman is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Real Estate at the University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management. A licensed CPA in California, he received his M.B.A. with honors from Stanford University.Professor Sussman is the winner of 13 Teaching Excellence Awards, voted on by Anderson's M.B.A. students, the Citibank Teaching Award, and the Neidorf "Decade" Teaching Award. In 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek recognized him as one of the 10 Most Popular Profs at Top Business Schools. A consultant for national and global firms, Professor Sussman is a frequent public lecturer on topics in finance and accounting, and has advised numerous M.B.A. field study teams. He is the creator of Insight FSA, an analytical software tool that evaluates and reports on the accounting and corporate reporting risk for public companies. He also serves as President of Amber Capital, Inc.; Manager of Fountain Management, LLC, and Clear Capital, LLC; Managing Partner of Sequoia Real Estate Partners, LLC, and the Pacific Value Opportunities Funds; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Causeway Capital Management's group of funds; and sits on the Board of Directors of Pacific Charter School Development and Bentley Forbes Group, LLC.
01: Strategy: Strategy Is Making Choices
What do we mean when we talk about business strategy? Start thinking more smartly about strategy with this introductory lecture that covers four key facts about competition and the two drivers of profitability: industry structure and competitive advantage.
02: Strategy: How Apple Raises Competitive Barriers
Five essential forces shape any business strategy, and together, they create a framework that can help you better make key strategic choices. Central to this discussion of these five strategic forces: Apple's meteoric rise to the top of the market.
03: Strategy: The Danger of Straddling
Professor Roberto introduces you to the three paths that lead to competitive advantage and four basic competitive strategies. Then, using case studies including JC Penney, IBM, and Dell, he explains both the dangers of straddling between competitive positions.
04: Strategy: What Trader Joe's Doesn't Do
Passionate customers, tremendous profits, happy employees-the Trader Joe's grocery chain is a powerful business success story. Discover how their secret for success lies in their use of trade-offs to make it hard for imitators and to mitigate the negative effects of the industry.
05: Strategy: First Movers versus Fast Followers
Discover the strengths-and drawbacks-of being a first mover who establishes a market position and fast followers, who can learn from first movers' mistakes. Along the way, you'll consider relevant examples from industries including video game systems and social media networks.
06: Strategy: When Netflix Met Blockbuster
Netflix's ultimate domination of the video rental market is a classic example of disruptive innovation: a serious threat to traditional business-and often the hardest to respond to.
07: Strategy: Anticipating Your Rival's Response
Get a stronger grip on competitive dynamics and the importance of understanding your competitor. Professor Roberto guides you through powerful lessons from three situations where new entrants did battle with incumbents: NutraSweet with Holland Sweetener Company; British Airways and Aer Lingus with Ryanair; and another perspective on Blockbuster versus Netflix.
08: Strategy: Why Did Disney Buy Pixar?
Turn now to corporate strategy, which involves determining where to compete, not how. Explore the corporate strategies of horizontal and vertical integration (and their two types) in the context of Disney's acquisition of Pixar animation studios. As a multi-business unit corporate, why build a particular portfolio of businesses?
09: Strategy: The Diversification Discount
What happens when the whole is worth less than the proposed sum of the parts? You've got a diversification discount, common for many unrelated diversifiers in the United States, and one that has led to many corporate breakups. If you're going to diversify, you need to do it the smart way. Learn how here.
10: Strategy: Forward and Backward Integration
Professor Roberto explains in more detail vertical integration and its two key directions: forward and backward. Does vertical integration make economic sense? Learn about vertical integration's rationales (and risks) by digging deep into interesting stories of vertical integration involving Disney's retail stores and Zara's "fast fashion" strategy.
11: Strategy: Mergers and Acquisitions-The Winner's Curse
Mergers and acquisitions are part of daily life in the business world. Why do some bad deals get done, leaving the acquirer in a trouble spot? When can a hostile takeover be the right strategy to take, and how does one work? What happens if a bidding war occurs? What are some alternatives to merging?
12: Strategy: Launching a Lean Start-Up
Professor Roberto concludes this course with a fascinating lecture on the challenges of launching your own business. You'll learn what makes entrepreneurship different from leading a complex, large organization; how the simple "marshmallow challenge" reveals different approaches to start-up strategies; and key questions any entrepreneur must answer before starting.
13: Operations: The Power of Superior Operations
What exactly is operations management, and how can you make it work to your advantage? Turn your attention to operational capabilities: the composite of processes, people, and technology that helps you execute your strategy. Observe a case study featuring both production operations and service operations.
14: Operations: Leaner, Meaner Production
Production operations are the greatest value-adding activity in all of business. Whether you're making the product yourself or through others, explore the decisions involved in successful production operations, and get a glimpse at developments to look for in the future, including 3-D printing and reshoring.
15: Operations: Refining Service Operations
Turn now to service operations, the successful management of which takes into account the psychology of winning customers through great experiences. From the Service Quality Scale to the details of process improvement, find out how to seize the movement where services are increasingly dominating the 21st-century business landscape.
16: Operations: Matching Supply and Demand
Sales and operations (S&OP) planning integrates a company's sales forecasts with the operations plans from the purchasing, production, and logistics departments. Learn how qualitative and quantitative forecasts are used to gather and share information; how the principles of S&OP can help you better match your supply and demand; and more.
17: Operations: Rightsizing Inventory
Master the fundamentals of right-sizing your inventory through inventory management. Specifically, focus on four basic strategies used to maintain just the right amount of inventory.
18: Operations: Managing Supply and Suppliers
Supply management is the one department that accounts for well over half of a company's total spend, and involves decisions that impact its long-term profitability. By examining fundamental questions about what to buy and how to select suppliers, you'll leverage effective supply management practices that can set you apart from the crowd.
19: Operations: The Long Reach of Logistics
Logistics are responsible for ensuring that the right products are available in the right quantities at the right time to meet customer expectations. Professor Goldsby introduces you to three key aspects of logistics, including its role in providing "reach" and the movement, storage, and technology used to meet customer requirements.
20: Operations: Rethinking Your Business Processes
Ways to improve business processes are indispensable to success. Gain simple tools and methods for improving the processes that matter to your organization. Learn how to create and use powerful, yet simple tools called process maps.
21: Operations: Measuring Operational Performance
Why is performance measurement so important to the health of an organization? How do the four dimensions of the "Balanced Scorecard" framework (financial performance, customer assessment, internal business process, and learning and growth) work independently and together? What is the "triple-bottom-line" approach, and how does it measure sustainable business performances?
22: Operations: Keeping an Eye on Your Margins
Obliterate the assumption that all business is good business. Instead, come up with more precise numbers that show how different customers affect your business by understanding the contribution margin.
23: Operations: Leveraging Your Supply Chain
Among the most pervasive developments in business organization over the past few decades is supply chain management. Learn how this discipline, a higher order of operations management, uses your network of suppliers and customers to achieve maximum effectiveness and help you better leverage your company's supply chain.
24: Operations: Reducing Risk, Building Resilience
Professor Goldsby introduces you to the hottest topic in modern business: risk management. How can you overcome perilous situations, or dampen their effects? What are common internal and external risks to an organization? And how will tools like the "Failure Mode and Effects Analysis" help you identify and prioritize them?
25: Finance and Accounting: Accounting and Finance-Decision-Making Tools
This introductory lecture unpacks some key concepts in accounting and finance; dispels some common myths about accounting; and gives you a helpful overview of three essential statements companies routinely prepare to communicate critical financial data to shareholders and owners.
26: Finance and Accounting: How to Interpret a Balance Sheet
Using a balance sheet from Intel as your case study, survey the significance of specific items that typically appear on balance sheets, including current assets and intangible assets. Also learn how to read balance sheets for clues about an organization's financial stability, risk, and liquidity.
27: Finance and Accounting: Why the Income Statement Matters
Income statements are the statements most widely cited in popular business news. First, learn how income is measured under general accounting principles. Then, explore how income statements are organized to reflect everything from revenue to operating expenses. Finally, examine four questions everyone reviewing an income statement should ask.
28: Finance and Accounting: How to Analyze a Cash Flow Statement
What makes statements of cash flows the most important financial statements you'll encounter? Professor Sussman explains the differences between revenues, profits, and cash flows; discusses the three separate sections of a statement of cash flows; and uses two intriguing anecdotes to highlight why analyzing these statements is so important.
29: Finance and Accounting: Common Size, Trend, and Ratio Analysis
Common size analysis. Trend analysis. Ratio analysis. Three financial tools every seasoned businessperson should be able to use. First, learn how each of these tools is used. Then, get a closer look at five key categories of ratios to keep in mind, including liquidity ratios and market ratios.
30: Finance and Accounting: Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis
How does breakeven analysis, or cost-volume-profit analysis, work-and how do businesspeople make it work for them? As you'll discover in looking at both the basic breakeven model and some more advanced variations, cost-volume-profit analysis has far-reaching applications in everything from marketing hotel rooms to pricing concert tickets.
31: Finance and Accounting: Understanding the Time Value of Money
Begin your focus on finance with an insightful look at the time value of money. Along with basic concepts and terminology (including risk and present/future value), you'll learn about the five types of cash flows that should be in the business student's toolkit, including lump sums, annuities, and perpetuities.
32: Finance and Accounting: The Trade-Off between Risk and Return
In this lecture on the trade-off between risk and return, Professor Sussman introduces you to several important financial models businesses use every day. These include the Nobel Prize-winning Capital Asset Pricing Model, which is a means for formally unifying an asset's expected return and risk by studying asset fluctuations.
33: Finance and Accounting: How Investors Use Net Present Value
What exactly do we mean by "value"? First, learn the true meaning of value and its overarching importance in finance. Then, investigate three different approaches for evaluating investment opportunities: the payback method; the book rate of return method; and the powerful investment decision-making tool known as Net Present Value.
34: Finance and Accounting: Alternatives to Net Present Value
What are some alternatives to evaluating investment opportunities beyond Net Present Value? Find out with this lecture on commonly used measures, including the Internal Rate of Return (the discount rate at which the Net Present Value equals zero); and the Equity Multiple (commonly used in venture capital investments).
35: Finance and Accounting: Weighing the Costs of Debt and Equity
Explore the world of trade-offs and learn why issuing debt instead of equity can actually increase the value of a firm; why you should always consider the Weighted Average Cost of Capital of your investments; and how convertible bonds attempt to capture the best of both debt and equity.
36: Finance and Accounting: How to Value a Company's Stock
All investors should know how to make value-creating decisions. Round out your introduction to accounting and finance with a recap of the fundamental tools of the trade. By applying these tools to specific examples involving major companies, you'll cement your ability to make smart and savvy investment decisions.
37: Organizational Behavior: Achieving Results in Your Organization
Start taking control of your professional organizational behavior with this introductory lecture on how to achieve lasting results. You'll explore how to use the S.T.O.P. ("sit, think, organize, perform") method to improve job satisfaction, reduce stress, and enhance your professional performance.
38: Organizational Behavior: The Value of Great Leadership
Professor Longenecker explains the most important things he's learned about leadership. Among these: the definition of effective leadership; the critical role of competency and character; and six leadership schools of thought.
39: Organizational Behavior: Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
What does it take to cultivate great working relationships? The answer: emotional intelligence. Learn how developing emotional intelligence can have a powerful impact on your ability to work well with others. Along the way, you'll learn about different types of workplace relationships, including strained working relationships and non-working relationships.
40: Organizational Behavior: The Art of Effective Communications
Cultivate stronger communication skills with this engaging lecture that covers three burning communication needs in an organization and introduces you to six critically important lessons every effective communicator should follow.
41: Organizational Behavior: The Motivation-Performance Connection
Motivation and performance improvement are two of the most researched subjects in the field of organizational behavior. Using an in-depth study of 60 high-performance organizations across a range of industries, discover what goes into a highly motivated organization and how the "performance equation" provides fascinating insights into improving workplace performance.
42: Organizational Behavior: Winning with Teamwork
You've known about teamwork since elementary school. Now, learn how to foster it in an organizational setting. First, find out what happens when organizations don't cooperate. Then, learn how people with conflicting interests can work together.
43: Organizational Behavior: Coaching-From Gridiron to Boardroom
To keep people in an organization more focused, engaged, and productive, you need to recognize the importance not just of coaching, but of tailor-made coaching. Discover how it works with a step-by-step analysis of a successful coaching scenario and a look at four sets of employees in need of different types of coaching.
44: Organizational Behavior: Understanding Power Relationships
Why is power such a potent aspect of business? What do we mean by "power" in an organizational setting, and what are some of its work-related sources? How can you cultivate personal power within your organization? What strategies can you use to upwardly manage a relationship with your boss?
45: Organizational Behavior: Handling Workplace Conflict
Much of one's success in an organization depends on how well one manages conflict with others. Professor Longenecker guides you through two primary types of conflict and three levels where they occur. Then, he offers ways to avoid or better handle conflict using a powerful management model involving cooperation and assertiveness.
46: Organizational Behavior: Ethics and the Bathsheba Syndrome
Learn why ethical standards and policies are so important within an organization; the specific steps involved in ethical decision making; and the Bathsheba Syndrome, which helps explain why successful people do wrongful things at work.
47: Organizational Behavior: Leading Real Organizational Change
The one unavoidable part of an organization: change. After investigating the three essential ingredients of organizational change, focus on the kind of practical steps you can take to achieve change in your organization. Among them: how to make it about problem solving and how to cultivate a sense of urgency and speed.
48: Organizational Behavior: Lifelong Learning for Career Success
Because the average worker changes jobs between seven and 10 times, workplace relevance and career success depends on lifelong learning and professional development. Finish out this course with a pointed, inspirational discussion on the barriers toward lifelong learning in an organization-and how to finally overcome them for good.
49: Marketing: What Is Marketing?
One of the core tenets of successful marketing is understanding your customer. But often times, you aren't the customer you're marketing to. What can you do instead? Find out in this introductory lecture on "Marketing 101", which also explores four types of value consumers seek: functional, monetary, social, and psychological.
50: Marketing: How to Segment a Market
The first question in developing a strong marketing strategy is figuring out who your customer is. That's where the tools of market segmentation come in. In this lecture, learn the basic principles that underlie solid segmentation analysis-whether you're working with the best market data available or (as can be the case) imperfect data.
51: Marketing: Targeting a Market Segment
Make better sense of targeting, the process of selecting the segment (or segments) your product will best serve. Throughout the lecture, you'll learn key rules of targeting. One rule is: Don't try to please customers outside your target. Another: Always pick a target segment that values what you offer.
52: Marketing: Positioning Your Offering
Many products fail because marketers fail to communicate their true value. Here, Professor Hamilton takes you step-by-step through the positioning process, designed to create and communicate value. Case studies you'll learn from include Volvo in the 1980s, the emergence of DVRs, and a Washington, D.C., bike-sharing program.
53: Marketing: Identifying Sources of Sales Growth
You've mastered segmentation, targeting, and positioning. Now learn how to grow and increase your sales using the 2x2 Ansoff matrix-one of the most powerful ideas in marketing. In the process, you'll learn piercing insights into the interactions between customers (current and new), product development, diversification, and more.
54: Marketing: Deriving Value from Your Customers
Look at some other sources of value that companies can get out of their transactions and start thinking more broadly about the sources of value a company should seek. The specific focus of this illuminating lecture is on three additional kinds of customer-related value: loyalty value, information value, and communication value.
55: Marketing: Creating Great Customer Experiences
Begin exploring the tactics involving in reaching marketing goals with a look at how to design products and services to provide the best possible customer experience. Along the way, you'll learn six rules for effectively managing customer experiences (including getting bad experiences out of the way and empowering employees).
56: Marketing: The Tactics of Successful Branding
What defines a brand? What rules should you follow when building your brand? How do brands create value for customers? With the insights and answers in this lecture, you'll learn how to create a brand that will connect you with consumers-and defend you from the competition.
57: Marketing: Customer-Focused Pricing
One of the most important decisions anyone in marketing will make is how to price your product and service. Here, Professor Hamilton reveals the information marketers use to settle on prices; how customers evaluate prices; and how price discrimination, price skimming, and price wars work.
58: Marketing: Marketing Communications That Work
Add to your "marketing toolkit" some of the principles and strategies of an effective communications plan, with a look at some successful (and unsuccessful) ad campaigns, including the California Milk Processor Board's famous "Got Milk" campaign. Also, get tips on how to command consumers' attentions without turning them off.
59: Marketing: The Promise and Perils of Social Media
Dig into the unique opportunities-and challenges-of social media and word-of-mouth communications. From Facebook pages to viral videos, you'll learn how to navigate today's marketing innovations and tap into their power, reach, and low cost. You'll also learn how to dodge common errors other companies make.
60: Marketing: Innovative Marketing Research Techniques
Research is undoubtedly essential for making responsible, effective marketing decisions. Professor Hamilton concludes his course with a lecture on the importance of marketing research methods whose data is often expressed in helpful qualitative terms: customer observations, focus groups, ethnographies, and projective techniques.