WBLC Course Offerings

To receive the Wharton Business and Law Certificate, students must successfully complete 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.

Wharton Professor Mauro Guillén talks about the Wharton Business and Law Certificate.

Introductory Session

Overview of the Global Economy in the 21st Century

This session discusses the demographic, geopolitical, financial, and economic trends that are reshaping the 21st century. The session is eminently interactive, inviting students to reflect on the implications of trends such as population ageing, urbanization, the proliferation of failed states, global financial imbalances, and the rise of emerging economies and emerging-market multinationals for their respective industries.

Fall Semester Courses

Corporate Finance

This course provides students 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). Students 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, students 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

Spring Semester Courses

Topics in Finance: Risk Management Tools; International Finance

Corporations face many risks doing business in today’s globalized markets. The first part of this course examines the financial tools most commonly used by corporations to manage risk. The second part of the course addresses the unique opportunities and risks which corporations face when doing business across borders, incorporating insights from the discussion of risk management tools.

Risk Management Tools addresses how a corporation can assess the business and financial risks it faces and decide whether it should hedge those risks using forward and future contracts, swaps and options. These contracts, which are commonly referred to as derivatives, are used widely by corporations to manage risk and they frequently play a role in other contexts (e.g., joint ventures, acquisitions).

International Finance examines major sources of opportunity and risk for businesses operating in international markets — focusing on how corporations can maximize value in a global context. Topics include: managing foreign exchange risk; raising capital in international markets; valuing businesses and transactions when they cross borders; and developing strategies to mitigate political risk.

The course’s overall objective is to provide attorneys with insights that will enhance their ability to make value-added contributions when they participate in business decisions and transactions in today’s global markets. Emphasis throughout is placed on developing an intuitive understanding of the topics covered.

Mergers and Acquisitions

This course explores how mergers and acquisitions (M&A) can catalyze firm growth and change. The objective of this course is to develop a comprehensive framework for executing M&A, from initiation to implementation. As such, we will delve deeply into acquisition screening and deal making, as well as post-merger integration. The emphasis is on the strategic, operational, and relational aspects of these transactions over the financial considerations, though we will certainly consider both. In terms of its pedagogical approach, this course is interactive, applied, and case based, with accompanying conceptual readings to help structure your thinking. This means that thorough preparation and in-class participation will be expected in each session.

Private Equity in Emerging Markets

Students 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.