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Course Specifics

Objectives
Course Content
Learning Activities

Objectives

TCNJ Business Institute’s six – week course of study was specifically designed to help you meet these learning objectives:

  1. Comprehending strategy, accounting, finance, marketing, operations and management
  2. Understanding the complex links between how firms serve markets and their internal operations
  3. Recognizing ways in which business sub-disciplines help problem-solving and decision-making
  4. Developing data-analytical and presentation skills
  5. Learning about what motivates human behavior and how to lead human endeavor of all kinds

Course Content

The Institute consists of five themes—a different theme for each week.

Introduction to the business world

Case study: Walmart (Ranked #1 among the Fortune 500, 2002–present)

Theme question: What does the success of Walmart tell us about the evolution of U.S. business?

  1. What is business?
    1. Brief business history—since the Industrial Revolution; industrial entrepreneurs; era of mass-production, era of mass consumption and consumer-marketing strategy; digitalization, innovation and the advent of e-commerce; deregulation, free trade and entry of firms into global markets.
  2. What makes a company successful?
    1. A tour of different aspects of success—profitability, sales growth, returns to owners, managing risk, complying with laws, worker safety, high-quality products and services, engaging in ethical practices, and being responsible to society; stakeholder view of a corporation

Developing a strategic perspective (economics, marketing, and innovation)

Theme question: How should a company compete in the market?

  1. How do markets work?
    1. Basic economics concepts—factors driving market demand, supply, and price levels (microeconomics)
    2. General concepts of financial and economic systems—monetary policy and fiscal policy (macroeconomics); links between output and employment
    3. Why do nations trade?
    4. General international business concepts—absolute and comparative advantage, exports, imports, exchange rates, etc.
    5. Foreign direct investment, multinationals, licensing, franchising, joint venture.
  2.  How do firms compete and position their products and services in the marketplace?
    1. Strategic and innovative thinking—what is marketing?
    2. Consumer behavior, market research, market segmentation, product management, and distribution.

Measuring and evaluating financial performance (accounting and finance)

Theme questions: How is a company’s financial performance evaluated? How does one participate in the financial market as an informed investor?

  1. How to evaluate company’s financial performance from a financial perspective?
    1. Basic accounting and reporting systems
    2. Financial-statement analysis
    3. Managerial accounting information for decision making
  2. How do financial markets work?
    1. Understanding the financial market (financial market regulations, Federal Reserve System, primary markets, secondary markets, types of securities, etc.)
    2. Understanding financial market (exchanges as information-intermediaries; e-trading)
    3. Corporate finance and financial management
    4. Investment decisions: Investor (individuals &institution) participation in financial markets
    5. Basic personal finance: Financial literacy; financial planning; retirement planning

Strategic management, organization, and leadership (management and leadership)

Theme question: What are 21st-century management and leadership principles and practices?

  1. Developing a strategic perspective—machine, biological, ecological, and systems perspectives.
  2. Organizational evolution—from rigid, hierarchical structures to fluid, agile, lateral networks.
    1. Changes in today’s workforce: skills, diversity, outsourcing, flexibility, and mobility
    2. Teamwork and communication—basic principles and the roles technology plays
  3. The 21st-century manager—the importance of vision, critical thinking, creativity, and the ability to face challenges, manage time and stress, and adapt to change and complexity
  4. Developing a mindful understanding of the self and building a foundation for leadership.

Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Emerging Business Trends

Theme question: Who are long-term survivors? What are other business opportunities? How can you start your own business?

  1. The contemporary ethical environment and common business ethical challenges—conflict of interest, honesty and integrity, loyalty verses truth, principal and agent relationships.
  2.  How does the corporate culture of organizations shape ethical conduct?
  3. Ethical awareness, professional codes of conduct, ethical reasoning, tone at the top, whistle-blowing, major business laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley laws, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform, and the Consumer Finance Protection Act.
  4. Social responsibility—safe working environment, equal opportunity, protecting the environment, corporate philanthropy, consumer rights, responsibility to customers, and ethical responsibility to the general public.
  5. Government regulation and business relationships with stakeholders.
  6. Business entrepreneurship, small business (Small Business Development Center)—the environment for entrepreneurs, the process of starting a new venture, characteristics of successful entrepreneurs, and developing a business plan.
  7. Social innovation and social entrepreneurship—applying the principles, methods and practices of business entrepreneurship to the design and delivery of social services and public goods.

Learning Activities

Areas/disciplines covered
Hands-on learning
Out-of-classroom activities
Team project

Areas/disciplines covered

  1. Business historical background and introduction; case study that provides a rich context for discussion on market competition, strategic innovation, e-commerce, global market, business ethics, and corporate social responsibility
  2. Accounting and corporate finance, financial analysis, financial statement analysis and performance evaluation, capital markets
  3. Organization behavior, management, leadership
  4. Marketing, competition, innovation, and strategy
  5. Business ethics and corporate social responsibilities.
  6. Other business opportunities, entrepreneurship, and nonprofit management

Hands-on learning

  1. Team project: market analysis, strategic, financial, and competitive analysis
  2. Materials and lectures delivered based on case study

Out-of-classroom activities

  1. Site/company visits
  2. Skill building workshops
    1. Excel data manipulation, analysis, and report-generation skills
    2. Business writing, report writing, and presentation skills
    3. Résumé and cover letter preparation, getting attention, differentiation
    4. Interview techniques, role-play with career center staff as recruiters
  3. Speakers/guest lectures

Team project

Choose two very different companies that your team is interested in for potential investment purposes. Conduct market, strategic, financial, and competitive analysis for both companies. Examine the companies’ business model and sustainability, financial strength and long-term growth, and social responsibility, ethics, and compliance with laws and regulations. Compare and contrast your findings from analyzing these companies, and present these in a compelling way to a business and non-business audience.

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