WBLC Course Description & Session Info

To receive the Wharton Business and Law Certificate, participants must successfully complete a summer session plus a total of three courses within the fall and spring semesters. Courses are of specific interest to attorneys and provide a rigorous preparation in professional business disciplines. The final list of courses for selection will be confirmed by June.

Summer Session

Introduction to Strategic Management

For leaders to be effective, they must understand the environment in which they are called to lead. In order to align their self-development with the company's mission and strategy, they must understand the key drivers of the company's competitive advantage. Given the rapidly-changing business environment, leaders must learn to reframe conventional views on developing strategy and achieving competitive advantage. This session takes an in-depth look at required changes and explores some new views on competitive advantage and strategy formation.

The Relationship between Finance and Strategy

This session focuses on the bottom-line implications of marketing, operating and financial strategies, and the request process of financial planning. It seeks to bridge the worlds of finance and companies' other functions to enhance shareholder value. Participants will learn how financial information can be used to assess the potential future profitability and risk of various strategies in a range of businesses.

Financial Measure of Business Performance

Participants will examine how companies create shareholder value and why traditional measures, such as earnings per share and cash flow, fail to measure value. Specifically, participants will learn how to:

  • Explicitly measure a company's key value drives, such as return on investment and revenue growth.
  • Prove why existing performance measures, such as earnings per share and cash flow, fail to measure value.
  • Link financial measures directly to corporate strategy.

Using Financial Information Intelligently

This session establishes the framework for evaluating financial performance by defining the components: profitability, liquidity, solvency, leverage and efficiency. It will also provide an introduction to the three key financial statements (income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flow).

Participants will learn how to use financial information to assess the potential profitability and risk of various strategies in a range of businesses, determine how the business is managed, and know what questions financial statements cannot answer. In the process, participants will become acquainted with the main financial rations that managers and outside analysts use to measure a company's financial condition and compare it with other companies.

Competitive Strategy

This session examines issues central to a company's long and short-term competitive position. The course develops a set of analytical frameworks that enable participants to explain performance differences among companies and that provide a structure for strategic decisions to enhance companies' future competitive positions.

Global Strategic Management

This session deals with the strategic and organizational management of multinational corporations (MNCs), focusing on the creation of competitive advantage in a global context.

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Fall Session

Corporate Finance

This course provides participants with an understanding of current corporate finance theory and practice, with a focus on what determines a company's value and how managers can maximize value. Emphasis is on developing the analytical skills needed for financial decision making and for understanding financial transactions (e.g., acquisitions and mergers). Topics include discounted cash flow analysis, the relationship between risk and return, cost of capital, capital budgeting (valuing business assets), corporate valuation, and capital structure (the choice between equity and debt financing). An important goal of the course is to enhance attorneys' ability to provide value-added contributions in the corporate and other settings in which value is at play (e.g., assessing an investment proposal or the purchase/sale of a business). Participants will develop a solid understanding of how businesses work financially and what the drivers of value are for shareholders and other investors.

Global Strategic Management

The decisions and central issues that affect the international expansion and sustainability of a company are neither obvious nor determined by the technological or economic forces generally associated with globalization. This course will explain the unexpected way in which international competition unfolds over time and across countries. By examining detailed case studies, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the decisions that multinational companies face when conducting business across borders.

Specifically, Global Strategic Management will explore the:

  • Emergence of new multinationals
  • Models for organizing and managing a multinational network of subsidiaries, including how to coordinate and to transfer knowledge across borders
  • Issues associated with managing human and social capital in the enterprise
  • Persistence of cross-national differences and the effect of these differences on corporate strategies, structures, and performance
  • Sequence and modes of international expansion

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Spring Session

Potential sessions are listed below. Final curriculum to be determined.

Part I & II:
Derivatives: Their Role in Corporate Finance
Responsible Business Practices

Part I — Derivatives: Their Role in Corporate Finance

Derivatives played a significant role in the collapse of Enron Corporation in 2001 and, more recently, the failure of Lehman Brothers and the financial crisis of 2007-2008. This course examines the principal derivatives available in today’s markets – options, forward and futures contracts, swaps, mortgage-backed securities, CDOs and CLOs – and how they can be used to hedge or speculate on risk. The course addresses how a corporation can assess the business and financial risks it faces and decide whether it should hedge those risks using derivatives.

Part II — Responsible Business Practices

Responsible Business Practices considers the ethical responsibilities of managers and corporations and others who play significant roles within business enterprises. It examines difficult ethical conflicts and dilemmas that arise in a business context and provide plausible frameworks for dealing with those conflicts. It is also designed to reveal common patterns of success and failure in managing ethics. Its objective is to help participants anticipate issues they will confront in their business careers and to develop skills to think more clearly how such issues can and should be resolved.

Private Equity in Emerging Markets

Participants will learn how to identify and manage special issues when investing or partnering with companies located in rapidly growing economies. They will also become familiar with methods of due diligence and valuation, as well as liquidity and investment terms. Additionally, this course will address the structuring of funds, compensation, and the calculation of returns, and will provide a review of past performance.

This course also provides an overview of the private equity industry, a discussion of the main players, the structure of private equity funds, the performance of private equity funds, and an outlook for the future of the industry Discussion will also cover the specifics of venture capital, one of several private equity options besides buy-outs, mezzanine debt, and distress.

This course is designed for individuals with a serious interest in building a career in private investment activity in countries with transitional or developing economies, either as part of a corporate development effort, or through venture capital or buyout fund activity. The course will also be of interest to those who expect to engage in entrepreneurial activity and who seek to understand the fundamental dynamics of venture funding as a way to build a company or considerations for buying a company.

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