Equipping you with the capabilities and connections to thrive across the arc of your career.
Home > MBA Program > Curriculum > Second Year Course List

Second Year Course List

Course offerings may vary from year to year.

Printable PDF version

Overview of courses offered during the second year of the Penn State Smeal MBA Program.
Course Name Course Title Overview
ACCTG 560 Accounting & Business Analysis This course prepares students to effectively extract and utilize the information in financial statements.  The relation between the financial statement representation and the underlying business activities is emphasized. Specific topics to be addressed include revenue recognition practices, obligation measurement, and the impact of organizational form on accounting measures of performance.
BA 523 Information Technology Strategy This course is designed for general managers who use information technology to achieve their business objectives; it is not particularly targeted at IT managers in the CIO's chain of command. As such, the course focuses on selected firm-level business implications of different aspects of IT, including strategic alignment, project management, data, off shoring/outsourcing, and information economics. The emphasis will consistently be on “what are the implications of this topic for business performance?” as opposed to “here’s how this technology works.”
BA 565 Strategic Leadership Seminar This course presents a CEO’s perspective on the key opportunities and challenges faced by business leaders as they seek to adapt themselves and their organizations to the evolving business environment.  Course content is based on extensive research and first hand consulting experience working with senior leaders from major corporations worldwide, including companies like 3M, Fujitsu, IBM, British Airways, Motorola, Samsung, BP Amoco, and many others.  The lessons learned from those benchmark companies and the evolving models of management they are helping to create, will form the backbone of a series of discussions on 21st century organizational forms and the new leadership competencies required to direct them.  This course provides an excellent overview of the leadership development challenges faced by MBA’s as they resume their corporate careers.
Note: Weekend Class; Sat/Sun; Sat/Sun - Dates TBD - Spring Semester
BA 575
Capstone Business Case
The Capstone Business Case course is designed to allow second-year MBA students the chance to integrate the knowledge they have gained to date in the program. True business problems are not narrow, functional area problems; rather they require teams of people to come together to jointly solve a problem that extends across many areas. For example, to assess the commercial viability for a new product requires contributions from economics, marketing, supply chain, finance, strategy, and corporate innovation. The more opportunities students have to work on real cross-functional problems, the better prepared they will be to solve them once they are actually on the job. In addition, working on a team and having to present the results gives students the ability to practice communication, teamwork, and leadership skills that are vital to success on the job.
BA 597E
Business and The Environment
To provide a greater context to understand how marketing strategies can or cannot be used to address key issues.  By understanding key environmental issues and how marketing relates to them, you will have a better understanding how to apply skills learned to issues of Corporate Social Responsibility.
BA 545

Business Government and International Economics
In this course, you will learn to understand and anticipate macroeconomic events. The course will cover the institutional focus of policy makers (ex., government leaders, central bankers) and the way they see the global economy and their nation’s place in it.  The class synthesizes institutional, historical and theoretical perspectives to study issues such as Federal Reserve policy, European economic integration, and the causes and consequences of business cycles and financial panics.  Class discussion and activities revolve around cases and data from real life episodes culled from various countries or regions including the EU, Asian, South and Central America, and the U.S. The class format is part case study, part lecture, and always a lot of discussion.
BLAW 525
Business Law for Innovation and Competition This course will teach students the basic nature of IP rights, as well as the process for obtaining and enforcing them.  Students will be prepared to more accurately value IP and manage it in the context of both small and large business ventures.  The course will also teach students to better appreciate when professional legal counsel is necessary, and how to manage those interactions more cost effectively.
ENTR 502 Starting & Managing A Small Business Intended for students planning at some time to start or join a young company, help spin-out a company from a major corporation or enter the private equity sector.  Students learn all the key phases of a start-up from opportunity identification, company formation, planning, raising different rounds of finance, recruiting and building a team, developing and executing a sales strategy and finally creating an exit strategy for investors.  The course provides students with knowledge and experience to increase the likelihood of success whether as a principal in a small company, a new business unit in a corporation or a manager of risk investments.
ENTR 503 Garber Venture Capital Practicum Enable students to gain practical experience in equity investments in small and start-up firms.  Students are exposed to the decision making process in actual deal participation using the Garber Venture Fund coupled with relationships with external investment groups.  This course exposes students to many complex business issues typical of the real world. At the end of the course, the students decide whether to make an investment from the fund and on what terms.
ENTR 504 Business Planning
Primary objectives of the course are to teach students the key elements required in a compelling business plan and provide students an opportunity to write a business plan.  The course will enable students to construct business plans that present the key points in a direct, clear and appealing way.  Five issues are addressed in detail including understanding the target audience, writing a powerful executive summary, key considerations in staffing and building a startup, planning key functional activities, and presenting financial information.  Students will hone their skills by writing and reviewing business plans.
ENTR 571 Applying Entrepreneurship Across Corporate Boundaries This course emphasizes innovation and the management of the entrepreneurial function as strategic tools.  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.  Four cases are analyzed: a biotech start-up, a large infrastructure start-up, a counter-cultural new corporate division, and a "green field" virtual company scenario.
ENTR 500 Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship In this course, you will explore "innovation" and "entrepreneurship" from the perspective of creativity.  Specifically you will study the determinants of creativity at the individual, group, organizational, and inter-organizational levels of analyses.  You will gain both practical and theoretical insights from the course.  Topics that will be covered include:  deframing, metaphors, dialectical inquiry, path creation and bisociation.  As a part of the course requirements, students, in groups, will track the genesis of novelty.  From this effort, you will put together a collection of short narratives chronicling successes and failures that entrepreneurs and firms encounter as they attempt to shape creative processes.
FIN 550 Financial Analysis & Valuation This course helps students develop skills in financial analysis and working capital management.  They will also be able to forecast financial needs in a variety of economic circumstances.  Finally they will be able to use their knowledge of financial statements to value securities using a variety of methodologies. 
FIN 571 Strategic Financial Management Designed to be a practical, comprehensive course in corporate finance and strategy.  Draws together the various topics in managerial finance and presents a unified, integrated view of the overall subject areas.  Requires 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 structure and 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.
FIN 577 Financial Engineering & Corporate Strategy Provides students with an understanding of how innovative financial strategies can be used to enhance real opportunities of the firm.  Students learn how basic derivative instruments can be used to re-engineer exposures to risk so as to create value and promote the firm’s strategic objectives.  Practical perspectives in a variety of investment and financing settings are provided.
FIN 581 Fundamentals of Financial Markets This course provides students with an understanding of the operation and structure of money and bond markets, and the concepts and techniques used in evaluating and managing fixed income portfolios.  It covers the determinants of asset prices and yields, the term structure of interest rates, and yield curve analysis.  It also deals with the concepts and techniques used to evaluate and manage exposures to interest rate, credit, and foreign exchange risk.
FIN 583 Modern Portfolio Management This course provides the rigorous theoretical foundations and vital tools needed to structure, manage and monitor the performance of an investment portfolio. Topics include portfolio theory, the risk-return relationship, asset allocation and security selection, style analysis and performance evaluation, mutual/hedge funds.
FIN 515 Nittany Lion Fund Capstone course in IMPA portfolio. Builds on concepts covered in previous IMPA portfolio courses.  Focuses on applied issues & topics in the management of investments. Outside lecturers from investment management world will play prominent role in delivery of course.  Topics include:  wealth management, asset allocation & portfolio management, security selection & trading, retirement planning, mutual & hedge funds, and tax issues in investment banking.  Participation in course is contingent upon interview process by Nittany Lion Fund Managers and Director.
FIN 570 Financial Modeling This course introduces and applies equity, debt, and derivative models and computational techniques using Excel and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).
FIN/IB 555 Global Finance The course 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? 
FIN 597I Merger Finance and Economics The purposes of the course are to provide the student with (1) a fundamental understanding of the finance and economics of the M&A marketplace, and (2) the basic skills needed to succeed in various professional capacities in the M&A marketplace, such as investment banker, management consultant, strategic planner, and lawyer. In this course the students will read significant portions of three books: Takeovers, Restructuring & Corporate Governance; Applied Mergers and Acquisitions; and Big Deal.  There also will be periodic supplemental materials. Thus, there will be a significant amount of reading, and students will have to make several presentations on assigned topics.
INS 575 Risk Management Corporate executives face a growing variety of risks that can interrupt their normal business operations and negatively impact the value of their firms.  Such recent events as the threat of corporate class action lawsuits (e.g., the 2007 class action suit filed against Mattel for its sale of toys painted with lead-based paint or Merck’s three-year legal battle with consumers over the health risks of the firm’s Vioxx drug), the increase in the price of commodities (e.g., petroleum or grains), the unraveling of corporate employee benefit programs among U.S. auto makers, and the increased liability exposure placed upon corporate executives by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act reflect the growing spectrum of risks that threatens today’s businesses and organizations.  INS 575: Risk Management examines the methods used by firms to protect their interests from these types of corporate risks.
MGMT 520 with MGMT 597B Lab Team Facilitation Provides students with an in-depth understanding of team dynamics and the opportunity to develop skills for facilitating teams to achieve effective performance through the facilitation of one or more first-year MBA teams.  Specific course topics include models of group development, diagnosing team problems, selecting effective intervention strategies, skills in giving and receiving feedback, conflict management, and working constructively with gender, race, and cultural differences within teams.
MGMT 521 Complex Negotiations Complex Negotiations is an elective course that is designed to help students develop understanding and competencies necessary for conducting complex multi-party negotiations.  Topics include: framing of negotiations, dealing with internal and external negotiations simultaneously, dealing with social dilemmas, mediation, negotiating across power differences, multiparty negotiations, and international business negotiations.
MGMT 531 Strategy Implementation & Change Provides students with key analytic ability 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.  Prerequisite: None;  Elective for SMAC, SCM (When Offered)
MGMT 551 Growth & Innovation Strategy Growth and Innovation Strategy (2) Identify opportunities for growth and profitability through technological and organizational innovations and market independently or with strategic partners.
MGMT 561 Global Strategy Course focuses on three major aspects of international business: competitive strategy, organization design, and management processes.
MGMT 534
Leadership & Change in Organizations This course is concerned with understanding yourself as a leader, particularly as a leader in organizations and especially a leader of organizations undergoing change. The course focuses on: 1) developing conceptual understanding of issues involved in leading people; 2) providing opportunities for direct or vicarious learning of leadership skills; 3) giving insight into your own attitudes beliefs, and leadership philosophy; 4) creating a stimulating forum for discussing leadership issues with colleagues. Recommended for ambitious students who expect to become business and organizational leaders and are looking for the personal knowledge and skills to help become an effective leader of others, organizations and of yourself.  (Available when offered)
MGMT 565 Power & Influence This course provides a pragmatic and ethical framework for analyzing the sources of power in organizations and the circumstances that lead to its attainment and effective use.  The goals of this course are to help you learn more about the nature and sources of power in organizations and increase your ability and confidence in diagnosing power situations, managing conflict, and using political strategies in pragmatic ways to get things done in the workplace and other organizations.  Topics covered include formal and informal sources of power, social exchange perspectives on power, network structures and their consequences, organizational culture and symbolic actions, the bases of interpersonal influence, and diagnostic tools and techniques to identify the "rules of the game."
MKTG 521 Scientific Marketing Analysis The overall objective of the course is to provide an introduction to and practice in the various marketing research techniques currently used, the tools associated with these techniques, and the reasoning behind the utilization of these practices and their respective methods of implementation.  
MKTG 532 Brand Management 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 internships or early careers in Brand Management. 
MKTG 533 Business Marketing (B2B) The creation, measurement and delivery of superior customer value in business markets is the focus of this course.  Successful market-focused business-to-business (B2B) organizations know the importance of linking customer needs to the development of high value products throughout the value chain in a global, electronic environment.  And those successful organizations require that marketing be viewed as an investment, with measurable results and not as an expense. Prerequisite: MKTG 521
MKTG 534 Integrated Marketing Communications This course is designed to help students to more effectively:  1) describe, manage and coach the concept and realities of “Brand”, and “Brand Equity” in an operational way with teams, agencies, and other supporting groups and their business; 2) implement and Coach an 8 step process for the development and execution of an Integrated Market Communications program, to build sales, build brand equity, and achieve financial objectives; and 3) get better, more effective, creative results from their advertising and support agencies, whether they are managing, influencing, or consulting to the process.
MKTG 542 New Product Development The course has two objectives. The first objective is to expose the students to the various tools needed in NPD and to familiarize the students with the NPD process (market opportunity identification, customer analysis, concept generation, selection and testing, prototyping, launch and product life cycle management). The capstone of this is a team project that gives the students an opportunity to practice these process/tools discussed in the classroom. The second aim is to help students understand and tackle some key NPD challenges facing senior management and management consultants. 
MKTG/EBIZ 543 e-Biz/Marketing Strategy Offers students the concepts and tools to design and deploy marketing strategies to help their organizations develop enduring relationships with their customers in a global, networked, and digital economy.  Covers such topics as emerging market mechanisms.
MKTG 571 Marketing Strategy This course is intended to help review and integrate concepts presented in other product and market development courses. It examines marketing related issues and solutions to problems arising from market and product development of products or services in competitive business environments. It focuses on business-level marketing strategy, not corporate strategy or business policy.
REST 560 Real Estate Financial Analysis This course provides a modern framework for the valuation and analysis of real property using both theoretical and empirical approaches.  Topics include valuation of land and improvements, real estate finance methods, real estate investment strategies, and special topics relating real property to corporate finance. 
REST 570 Institutional Real Estate Investment This course covers the convergence of real estate and the capital markets.  It is designed to expose students to the structure, analysis and valuation of a variety of real estate securities including: residential mortgage backed securities (MBS), collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS), and real estate investment trusts (REITs). The course is divided into two sections.  The first section covers the intersection of real estate debt financing and the capital markets (i.e. mortgage securitization). The second section concentrates on vehicles for public real estate investment analysis (REITs) and the place for real estate in modern investment portfolios.

SCM 540

Transportation in Supply Chains
Transportation in Supply Chains (2) Strategies and processes for design and implementation of transportation service links in supply chain networks.
SCM 546 Strategic Procurement This course explores leveraging the contributions of a supply strategy, e-procurement, supply segmentation, collaboration & relationship management, and global procurement for developing and executing sourcing strategies, with special emphasis on the strategic planning and use of information technology.  This is one of three foundation courses. 
SCM 556 Manufacturing Strategy Focuses on understanding the connections between manufacturing, inventory, and location decisions on customer-focused, multi-stage supply chains.  We will explore how strategic choices (such as information technology, facility location, and mass customization) tie in with planning decisions (such as forecasting and aggregate planning) to support synchronized supply chains.  This is one of three foundation courses.  Delivery is coordinated with BA 510.  Evaluation methods include a combination of class participation, exams, “hands-on” exercises, case studies, and reactions papers.
SCM 566 Supply Chain Processes and Methods Demand Fulfillment This course develops an understanding of the strategic framework, the managerial issues, and the best practices related to the planning and execution of the demand-fulfillment process.  Special attention is given to the e-enabled capabilities, relationships, and levers needed for responsive, flexible, and efficient demand fulfillment. 
SCM 570 Supply Chain Modeling Supply Chain Modeling focuses on mathematical modeling techniques used to design, analyze, execute and integrate supply chains.  Three primary methods will be studied: simulation, optimization and enterprise resource planning.  Key conceptual and theoretical methods will be reviewed, along with the use of complementary, contemporary software in each of the three major areas.
SCM 597B Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt Body of Knowledge (BOK) This course provides the industry-accepted Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt "Management" Body of Knowledge (BOK) necessary to achieve a Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt certification. SCM 597B along with the BA 597 Lean Six Sigma Black Belt "Statistics" course supports the knowledge required for systematic improvement of products, processes, and/or services within a business or operations environment. The focus of the course includes the tools, techniques, and strategies for improvement resulting in typically increased quality performance, effective cost-reductions, reduced cycle times and operational flexibility within a business.