Mergers and Acquisitions

Program Overview

Managing a merger or acquisition can be one of the greatest challenges faced by an organization. To reap maximum value, leaders must consider multiple factors, balance short- and long-term needs, and guide well-planned execution — often under the watchful eye of their boards and investors.

In Mergers and Acquisitions, an interdisciplinary team of Wharton professors makes sense of the complexities of this topic and helps you develop and implement successful strategies to support your company's mergers and acquisitions activity.

Mergers and Acquisition helps executives navigate a complex minefield, says Academic Director Bob Holthausen.

Program Experience

Program Highlights & Benefits

In Mergers and Acquisitions, you will:

  • Determine a rationale, select and value acquisition targets, and evaluate the long-term potential of a partnership
  • Understand how to manage the complexities of the merger process
  • Identify acquisition strategies, execute and close deals, and integrate acquisitions successfully
  • Learn from faculty experts, Wharton alumni with extensive M&A involvement, and a cross-section of experienced senior leaders from different industries

Kent Matsumoto, Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Glatfelter discusses program highlights.

Experience & Impact

Despite the fact that 8 out of 10 mergers and acquisitions fail, the rate of M&A activity worldwide continues to break records. As businesses flush with cash look to consolidate to become more competitive, they view mergers as a way to reduce their costs of doing business while increasing their revenue from greater market share.

Through Wharton’s Mergers and Acquisitions program, you will learn how to integrate the strategic, managerial, economic, and financial decisions that affect the execution of mergers and acquisitions. You and your peers will gain new insight into why acquisition strategy is related to all elements of the process, including valuation, negotiation, deal structure, due diligence, and integration.

Wharton faculty — led by Robert Holthausen, an expert on corporate evaluation who serves as editor of the Journal of Accounting and Economics — apply their field-based research and the latest strategic insights to help you navigate the complex minefield of M&A activity.

Faculty will facilitate discussions and case studies, and several real-world M&A simulations, enabling you to gain experience in successfully navigating a transaction while dealing with a wide array of issues, from taxation to due diligence to anti-trust questions. Because the program attracts global finance leaders and because its faculty work with organizations based around the world, the program provides insights and perspectives into the growing number of cross-border acquisitions. Developed to improve your odds for success, Mergers and Acquisitions will teach you strategies you can hone and execute quickly for measurable results.

Session topics include:

  • Strategic Assessment
  • Integration
  • Valuation
  • Negotiation Workshop
  • Due Diligence
  • Structuring Acquisitions
  • Managing Strategic Alliances
  • M&A Computer Simulation
  • Investment Banker Perspectives
  • Anti-Trust Issues

Overall, Mergers and Acquisitions will help you learn how to:

  • Think from an investment banker's perspective
  • Evaluate strategic acquisitions using a number of tools and frameworks
  • Effectively negotiate and manage strategic alliances
  • Gain more expertise in conducting due diligence and other steps in M&A activity

This program complements Driving Growth through Strategic Partnerships, which focuses on how to identify, develop, and sustain successful partnerships. Driving Growth through Strategic Partnerships will also help you evaluate partnerships over time to assess their long-term potential for success.

Who Should Attend

Mergers and Acquisitions is designed for executives involved in devising and/or executing mergers and acquisitions, including business development officers, CFOs and executive directors of finance, senior business analysts, division and unit heads pursuing acquisitions, and lawyers seeking to better understand the business side of M&A activity.

The program attracts a diverse group of strategy leaders from varied industries, backgrounds, and geographies who share their biggest challenges with the class. Faculty tailor content to address these issues, so participants enjoy a unique learning experience that resonates with them and meets their real-world needs. They leave Mergers and Acquisitions with tools and frameworks they can use to make a meaningful strategic impact within their companies or organizations.

While this program assumes no previous experience in mergers and acquisitions, many participants have such experience and also come away with more extensive insights and strategies. requires a basic knowledge of accounting — i.e., familiarity with balance sheets, income and cash flow statements, and finance. A refresher on these topics is offered on the Sunday afternoon before the program begins.

Fluency in English, written and spoken, is required for participation in Wharton Executive Education programs unless otherwise indicated.

Participant Profile

Participants by Industry

Mergers and Acquisitions participants by industry

Participants by Job Function

Mergers and Acquisitions participants by job function

Participants by Region

Mergers and Acquisitions participants by region

Group Enrollment

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


Robert Holthausen

Robert Holthausen, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

The Nomura Securities Co. Professor; Professor of Accounting; Professor of Finance, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Effects of organizational structure on financial performance, management compensation issues, valuation

Jennifer Blouin

Jennifer Blouin, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Professor of Accounting, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Effects of taxes on asset pricing, taxes and corporate payout behavior

Gordon Bodnar

Gordon Bodnar, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Director, International Economics Program, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University

Research Interests: International finance, corporate finance

Emilie Feldman

Emilie Feldman, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Corporate governance, corporate strategy, diversification, divestitures, firm scope, spinoffs

Michael Knoll

Michael Knoll, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Theodore K. Warner Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania; Professor of Real Estate, Wharton; Co-Director, Center for Tax Law and Policy; Deputy Dean, Penn Law

Richard Shell

G. Richard Shell, JDSee Faculty Bio

Thomas Gerrity Professor; Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics; Professor of Management; Chairperson, Legal Studies & Business Ethics Department, The Wharton School

Harbir Singh

Harbir Singh, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Mack Professor; Professor of Management; Co-Director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management; Wharton School Faculty Director for the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Corporate governance, corporate restructuring, management buyouts, strategies for corporate acquisitions

David Wessels

David Wessels, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Adjunct Professor of Finance, The Wharton School


I am an equity partner at Harbourfront Wealth Management. I own a practice here as well and run a team out of Vancouver. For finance and business, Wharton is known as one of the best schools in the world. Both Warren Buffet and Elon Musk studied there. The reputation of the school and the quality of the professors really drew me to the Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) program.

What resonated with me the most was Professor Richard Shell’s negotiation workshop. The tools and awareness have already made me a much more potent business leader. They say that you learn 20 percent from reading information and 80 percent from actually doing — Professor Shell has a great combination of classroom lectures and hands-on learning, simulations, and real-life case studies. The whole M&A program was like that. That’s such a better way to learn from a retention standpoint. Even though the material is advanced, you’re immersed in it.

In the negotiation workshop I was able to bring back a growth mindset and much more collaborative approach to how I do business deals. We’re in a very client-focused, client-centric business. It’s important to focus on both your client's bottom line and your business's bottom line as well. There’s so much potential for conflict of interest, so you definitely want to go in with a growth mindset, and I now understand the unlimited potential of having one. Sometimes in negotiation, people think win-lose, but having that collaborative growth mindset really showed me that there’s a better way to grow the pie for everyone. I would recommend Wharton’s M&A program, and I’m also planning to attend another course at Wharton, Professor Shell’s full-week Executive Negotiation Workshop."

Jeremy Reinbolt, CIMChartered Investment Manager and Investment Advisor, Harbourfront Wealth Management

Kent MatsumotoVice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary

Participant Kent Matsumoto on peer diversity

I lead a strategy and market intelligence consulting firm that serves the energy market in Calgary, Alberta. My focus is on helping my clients achieve their growth goals and targets. While I have been involved in helping to identify potential acquisition activity, my role hasn’t been as hands-on as I would like.

Wharton’s program was very helpful in helping me establish my own frameworks for how I might go about doing the integration of a merger or acquisition. It’s a very complex process — Wharton helped to simplify the complexity of this process using actual cases of M&A transactions. The value of Wharton’s program comes from the thought process, frameworks, and research provided on each of the M&A elements — strategic intent, valuation and modeling, negotiation, due diligence, and integration.

There is a healthy M&A market for the energy sector right now. And it will always be one of the ways companies choose to grow. Wharton has given me a much better grounding into this important growth strategy."

Nevine BoothPresident, OnPoint Research Group, a management consulting firm in Canada

I’m a lawyer by training, so taking Wharton’s Mergers and Acquisitions program gave me a refresher on business issues such as valuation of companies, which has served me well in my role managing a family office, which includes 20 family members. The most relevant part of the program for me was the full-day negotiation workshop — it gave me insights that I could apply right away since negotiation is a big part of my job. Sometimes you have to find common ground among family members and sometimes you have to negotiate with other advisers. It can be stressful if you don’t have a method to follow. I have recommended Wharton to other managers and financial advisers for family offices because I believe they can get a lot out of these programs."

Rafael EscalanteDirector of Batis Corporation Family Office Services, Mexico City

This is without question one of the best programs I have participated in during my career. I left Wharton with a totally new perspective on how to grow our organization and create value through M&A activities. I acquired a template on how to differentiate long-term ‘strategic’ growth from ‘value-destroying’ activities. I strongly recommend this program to any senior executive responsible for business development, as well as mergers and acquisitions, in any business enterprise."

John WamugiCEO and President, Finmetrics Technologies

I have already recommended this program to others because: 1) the combination of ‘strategy’ and ‘finance’ spans breadth of issues, 2) the focus on integration is crucial, 3) fellow classmates add a lot of value.”

Financial Analyst, Defense Agency

The course content is terrific. The faculty is extremely knowledgeable. The administration and day-to-day management of the course is very well done. The students come from all over the world; their knowledge and expertise level was very good. There were no bad sessions. In fact, making a choice of electives was difficult. I felt I missed out on ones which I did not attend.”

Director, Corporate Development, Industrial Gasses Distributor

Dates, Cost, & Location

June 9 - 14, 2019Philadelphia, PA$13,950

Download the program schedule, including session details.

Download MaterialsApply Now

Logistics Information

Tuition for this program includes lodging and most meals. Prices are subject to change.

International Travel Information »

Plan Your Stay »

Contact Us

Schedule a personalized consultation to discuss your professional goals:


Still considering your options? View programs within Finance & Wealth Management, Strategy & Innovation or use our Program Finder.