The CFO: Becoming a Strategic Partner

Oct 10, 2016 - Oct 14, 2016Philadelphia, PA$12,500
Apr 24, 2017 - Apr 28, 2017Philadelphia, PA$12,500

Program Overview

In today’s world, financial rigor and strategic insight must be tightly linked. Strategic financial leadership is in high demand. Increasingly, CFOs are playing a key role in developing and implementing strategy within their company, partnering with CEOs to creatively design growth opportunities for the future. Successful CFO leadership requires a deeper understanding of strategy, increased leadership skills, and an ability to effectively communicate financial acumen and knowledge to non-financial colleagues.

In The CFO: Becoming a Strategic Partner, you’ll not only learn and adopt those critical skills, but will use them effectively to transform your role for greater responsibilities and increased leadership.

In this strategic leadership program, you will:

  • Expand your leadership skills and increase your capacity as a trusted advisor
  • Develop more effective operational strategies for building value in and managing operational risk throughout your organization
  • Communicate and apply best practices for profitable growth
  • Think creatively and design opportunities to position your company for the future

Impact & Experience

Through The CFO: Becoming a Strategic Partner, you will broaden your business perspective to leverage your financial acumen in new ways and immediately increase your strategic contribution as CFO across the larger organization.

The program will help you think more strategically about the future of the business while positioning you to become a trusted advisor to division heads. You will learn to create analyses that are more meaningful to non-financial colleagues and further support their understanding of the financial implications of growth opportunities.

Wharton’s interdisciplinary team of faculty includes experts in finance, strategy, and leadership. They will lead you through classroom lectures, group activities and case studies developed to demonstrate real-time scenarios applicable to your growing role.

Among the nine focused program sessions, topics include:

  • The Link between Corporate Strategy and Value Creation
  • Creating and Sustaining Competitive Advantage
  • Growth and Flexibility Using Real Options
  • Influence and Persuasion
  • Critical Thinking

Who Attends This Program

This advanced-level program is designed for senior financial executives responsible for developing and implementing strategy as part of their leadership roles. Participants may include:

  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Vice Presidents and Controllers
  • Other senior financial executives with strategic and financial responsibilities

To further leverage the value and impact of The CFO: Becoming a Strategic Partner, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants to this program.


Program Logistics

Tuition for Philadelphia programs includes lodging and meals. Prices are subject to change. Contact a member of the Wharton Executive Education Client Relations team for more information on course specifics and to discuss how this program can meet your professional development needs. Please contact them by email or by phone at +1.215.898.1776.

Plan Your Stay


Organizational ROI: Capturing New Business

Brad Schneider, VP and CFO of MicroSat Systems, Inc., knew it wouldn't be easy for his startup company to land lucrative commercial contracts for its satellites. But within 6 months of implementing an evaluation system learned at Wharton's The CFO: Leveraging Strategic Partnerships, Schneider's company finalized a multimillion-dollar commercial contract, is in negotiations for international contracts, and is pursuing other international work with the federal government. "Through aggressive marketing, we were able to bring our business plan forward by about five years, relative to the commercial and international business sectors," Schneider said.

And while those contracts were under negotiation long before he attended Wharton, the knowledge he gained in the classroom served to reinforce and reinvigorate the company's strategic analysis process. "Brad came back from Wharton with some new ideas that we hadn't looked at before," said John Roth, President and COO. "He's gotten our whole management team thinking in new ways about the future of the company."

"Most of our employees at MicroSat Systems have years of experience with well-respected companies, but in this industry you have to earn your wings," Schneider said. "No one in the commercial sector wants to take risks with young companies. We knew the biggest barrier would be getting into commercial contracts."

Last summer, Schneider organized an offsite meeting with Roth, the company's CTO and director of marketing, where he implemented the scenario-planning techniques presented at Wharton by Roch Parayre. "I was able to take what we did in the classroom and help our management team narrow down the specifics of what we need to accomplish this year," Schneider said.

One of those methods was not discounting any ideas. "We got everything up on the board and then began isolating the key drivers of the business," Schneider said. "From that meeting, we opened up this process to our first-line managers — those who actually lead the engineering and manufacturing functions — and were able to get a more diverse understanding of what we're faced with in the competitive arena."

The company has now incorporated this process in its quarterly offsite planning sessions. "We've gained insights into how to better market our products and how to capture new business," said Roth.

It was Roth who encouraged his CFO to attend Wharton's leadership development program. "I'd attended a class at Wharton before and wanted my CFO, my right-hand man, to do the same," Roth said. The five days Schneider spent at Wharton has helped bridge the gap between his "day-to-day tactical issues, such as current projects and cash flow" and more long-range, strategic-level thinking, Roth said. "The CFO is the linchpin that makes sure your business' financial side grows along with your technical side."

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