Course Descriptions

Semester 1: May-July (Summer 1)

Competitive Advantage and Profitability
This course introduces you to the tools and frameworks used in market evaluation and assessment of the competition. As you explore advanced business concepts and practices, you will learn what makes a particular business profitable and how it achieves competitive advantage in a given market. You will dig into real-world case studies and gain a more nuanced understanding of business and organizational mechanics. Your grasp of the essentials will prepare you think practically about developing a competitive, profit-driven business strategy.

Strategic Positioning in Markets
Central to your business strategy is identifying your strategic position. Strategic positioning is essentially how your firm “stacks up” to the competition and helps to define the scope and scale of your business. To survive and thrive you need accurate data-driven models for self-assessment and competition analysis. This course will cover product or service differentiation and help you stake your claim in a particular market segment. You will delve into fascinating case studies from fashion icon Gucci to jewelry giant Zales and review several of the greatest do’s and don’ts in the history of strategic positioning.

Understanding Financial Statements
Every company’s finance department keeps detailed records of the daily transactions involved in the running the organization. Periodically, they create reports that allow management, stakeholders and regulating authorities to have insight into the financial health of the firm. This course will develops the skills needed to understand both the metrics that are reported in income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, and how they relate to each other. You will also learn how comparing numbers across your company and the industry from year to year can help you assess the overall financial performance of the firm.

Aligning HR Strategy with Organizational Strategy
A thorough understanding of your organization's value creation model and ability to develop competencies through processes, technology, and people are essential to ensuring that the HR organization is aligned vertically and horizontally to produce superior results. With this understanding, HR will be able to articulate how it can improve processes, people and customer outcomes, and financial results. This course develops the skills needed to assess how organizations create value and to align the HR function to execute the organization's strategy. Participants analyze the Balanced Scorecard approach as a means of vertically aligning the HR system with organizational objectives. They learn how to create a vertical-alignment strategy and use it to improve HR decision-making, people outcomes, processes, customer outcomes, and financial results. And they learn the skills required to plan and assess horizontal alignment of HR systems and practices. Finally, the course discusses best practices related to workforce partitioning, performance variability, value identification, and employee impact.

Strategic Talent Analytics
More than ever, HR leaders are expected to be proficient in the use of HR data and analytics. However, figuring out where to start with analytics, how to evaluate and critique HR data, and how best to communicate and translate results to the broader organization remain key challenges. This course focuses on building analytical acumen and taking a strategic view of talent analytics. Using a framework presented in this course, students will examine outcomes and drivers throughout an organization to assess strategic needs. As they complete activities throughout the course, they will also fine tune their evaluative, presentation, and communication skills using critical thinking coupled with analytical best practices learned in class. This course is designed for HR professionals who want to build their organization’s HR analytics capabilities, derive meaning from metrics and results, and tell persuasive stories involving HR and organizational data. With these skills, students will have a stronger voice in using talent analytics to persuade others toward actions that best align with organizational goals.

Semester 2: August - December (Fall)

Residential Session #1 - Strategic Human Resource Management
The primary goal of this course is to help HR professionals better understand their business strategy, and to explore the ways that the management of human capital can help the company achieve its strategic objectives. The course provides a review of business strategy and HR strategy as well as how to analyze linkages among the two.  In addition, it examines metrics that can be used to evaluate the alignment and effectiveness of HR systems.  Finally, the course provides students with the insights and tools they need to work successfully as human resource management consultants, both as HR managers operating within a firm to improve organizational effectiveness and as external consultants providing project support to an internal HR organization.

Residential Session #1 - Labor Relations Strategy and High Performance Work Systems
This course is designed to introduce students to the development of a labor relations strategy at both national and workplace levels, with a particular focus on the restructuring of work. You will examine what an IR system is and how it functions, explore the basic considerations in developing labor relations strategy, and develop a framework to deal with typical IR issues, strikes, conflict resolution and re-structure.

Leading Strategic Change Initiatives
Effective change leaders do three things: they anticipate where things are moving, they facilitate the implementation of change, and they sustain momentum by taking charge and moving things ahead. Great change leaders know how to be both proactive and reactive. In this course, you will examine your own leadership style and practice skills that will help you translate ideas into organizational results, find ways to overcome organizational inertia, and examine strategies for overcoming individual resistance to change.  

Navigating Power Relationships
This course will provide you with the tools and concepts to develop and lead strategic organizational change. The emphasis is on cultivating your ability to assess the need for change, selecting from among viable change initiatives, motivating others to move forward, the process of transformation, and finally sustaining the change over time. 

Getting Results Through Talent Management
As the existing “war for talent” intensifies and becomes increasingly global, organizations must develop strong talent-management practices that are tightly aligned with business strategy. Successful organizations build talent management cultures to take advantage of their human capital. They focus on attracting top talent, identifying and developing future leaders, and retaining the best prospects in the high-potential talent pool. This course focuses on developing a strategic approach to managing core talent. Such an approach begins with the development of an employment brand in order to attract the best talent to the organization, promote the organization as a preferred employer, and produce superior recruiting outcomes. Organizations must then identify and implement an integrated marketing and communication strategy to build brand awareness. The complexity of managing employee retention and engagement includes understanding the root causes of talent-retention problems. The course identifies practices and solutions for increasing the likelihood of top talent remaining with the organization and becoming its future leaders. 

Strategic Engagement
Employee engagement can be broadly defined as employees consistently acting in the best interests of the organization. Linked to critical outcomes including absenteeism, turnover, customer satisfaction, operational performance, and financial performance, employee engagement is a vital driver of an organization’s bottom-line performance. This course focuses not only on why employee engagement is important and valuable, but also on how to foster and measure employee engagement and link it to key organizational metrics and outcomes. It examines the business case to pursue employee engagement as a strategic initiative and evolve beyond the transactional approach of traditional employee relations to a strategic approach focusing on relationship-oriented and emotional measurements of employee commitment. It also develops the competencies necessary to build employee engagement in your organization, the risks involved, and the implications for the HR professional in adopting this approach.

Total Rewards Compensation
The conversation around employee pay has changed from one of base salaries, bonuses, and cash compensation to a “total rewards” approach that seeks the right blend of monetary and non-monetary elements that will engage each employee and benefit the organization. This course equips students with the tools and insights they need to apply a total-rewards view to compensation that aligns with their organization’s strategic goals and operational realities. This includes the Compensation Calculator, offering a method of job comparison that incorporates the total rewards view.

Diversity and Inclusion in Practice
The management of diversity and inclusion has evolved from handling day-to-day compliance issues to leveraging diversity for competitive advantage. Organizations that no longer see diversity as a legal or moral requirement, but as a competitive advantage, have an opportunity to improve performance at the financial, employee, customer, and community levels. Diversity and inclusion practices must be embedded in an organizational culture to make a positive impact on performance. This course summarizes the evolution of diversity and inclusion management; outlines key management practices for improving performance, contextualizes diversity in terms of current challenges, and provides direct linkages between diversity and the bottom line at the organizational and functional levels.

Semester 3: January (Winter)

Designing Effective Teams
The traditional view of team management focuses on improving interactions within a set structure in order to improve the team’s performance. This course offers a different perspective: one founded on the premise that how you structure the team from the start is what simultaneously drives the team’s interactions and also its performance. This course is about teams, and thus course completion will require participation in two team-based activities in order to solidify your understanding of how to best run a team. Once you have a solid understanding of the fundamental challenges that every team faces, you’ll learn a set of simple, comprehensive checklists that will allow you to both design and run any team for maximum performance.

Semester 4: January - May (Spring)

Diversity and Cross Cultural Teams
Virtual teams are often also multicultural teams, which brings opportunities but also challenges that can easily derail teams. You will identify those opportunities and challenges and explore structural strategies for managing cultural issues. You will also examine recommended best practices for improving a team’s cultural intelligence. A heightened cultural understanding will give team members and leaders the opportunity to fully capitalize on your team’s opportunities.

Human Resource Leadership
Effective HR leaders look beyond managing the HR function. They don't stop at building the talent pool of the organization; they operate at the most senior levels and play a strategic role in the organization. They influence the strategic planning process to ensure alignment with the goals and values of the organization, while managing the process to ensure superior outcomes. This course introduces the SELF Model of Human Resources Leadership that defines the leadership and influencing competencies needed to balance the tradeoffs present in the formation of organizational strategy. The SELF Model focuses on HR's role in guiding strategy development to ensure that it will result in the expected Strategic, Ethical, Legal, and Financial outcomes for an organization. This course also introduces the Human Frailties framework, a tool for managing the interpersonal dynamics at the most senior levels of the organization in order to produce the most positive results.

Coaching Skills for Leaders
Coaching is about building relationships—and it’s essential in order for your organization to move forward together to achieve better results. Being an effective coach requires skills that can be practiced and mastered, including listening, building credibility and trust, and showing empathy. This course will help you distinguish between coaching and traditional supervision. You will identify the five functions of coaching and the rules for having coaching conversations. Finally, you will examine some of the classic coaching mistakes that people often make and identify how you can avoid repeating those mistakes yourself.

Residential Session #2 - Managing and Developing Talent
This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive view of how the HR system can be used to manage and develop talent. Consideration is given to both theories and practical applications involved in effectively managing and developing human capital. Topics covered include employment branding, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement and retention, identifying and developing high potential talent, executive compensation, and executive assessment and coaching.  Emphasis is placed on exploring these issues from both strategic and tactical levels to increase organizational effectiveness

Residential Session #2 - Organizational Behavior: Managing Change
This course addresses key issues for general management and organizational change efforts including:creating effective formal structures; managing organizational culture; and dealing with common problems of intergroup interaction.Its primary aims are to help students better understand aspects of organizations that are important drivers of individual and group behavior, and develop their ability to diagnose and manage common problems. In the first part, we consider the trade-offs associated with different structural configurations, and the relationship between formal structure and organizational culture.We discuss strategies managers can use to influence culture, and when different strategies are most likely to be effective. In the second part, we examine factors that affect how well subunits function, including sources of intergroup conflict, common biases in group decisions, and arrangements that affect individual and group-level creativity.

Strategic Decision Making
The ability to make effective and timely decisions is an essential skill for successful executives. Mastery of this skill influences all aspects of day-to-day operations as well as strategic planning. In this course you will hone your decision-making skills by following a methodology based on tested actions and sound organizational approaches. You will leave this course better equipped to confidently tackle any decision large or small, and you’ll do so in a way that creates the optimal conditions for success.

Negotiation Skills
Being able to negotiate is a practical, everyday skill that is critical for anyone working within an organization. The good news is it’s a skill you can practice and master. Negotiation skills are ones you can use in any context and, once you master the behaviors of effective negotiation, you will use all the time. In this course, you will develop an awareness that every conversation is a negotiation, and you will identify the critical components of effective negotiation.

Semester 5: June - July (Summer 2)

Using Design Thinking in Human Resources
This course brings the time proven benefits of design thinking to the field of employment. You will identify factors affecting the workplace and the personal experience of employees. You will then use a six-step approach to analyze employee issues and develop appropriate solutions. The goal is to enhance employees’ workplace experience and improve the ability of an organization to attract and retain a productive workforce.

Agile Project Management Approaches
In traditional project management, we tend to make assumptions: the customer knows precisely what they want, or the team’s workflow and tasks will go according to plan and in sequence. Practically speaking, this is rarely the case. Sometimes the customer doesn’t know what they need until they see an early iteration of your team’s work and can provide feedback. Because of this, work is usually done incrementally. We must build flexibility, even agility, into the model in order to succeed. This course is designed for project managers who want to get better practical results with adaptive approaches to projects. Students in this course will be most successful if they have a foundational understanding of traditional project management tools and processes including project networks, budgets and schedules.

Residential Session #3 - HR Leadership
This course focuses on developing the leadership and influencing competencies necessary to lead the HR function. You will develop a better understanding of the role of courage and influence in leading the HR function and making difficult decisions, explore the concept of Lean as applied to manufacturing and non-manufacturing organizations, and examine organizational design, specifically as applied to designing and managing matrix organizations.  Finally, the course will examine the business fundamentals associated with restructures and mergers and acquisitions and HR’s role in their successful execution and integration. 

Residential Session #3 - Global and Comparative Employment Relations
This course provides an understanding of global and cross-national variation in employment relations institutional features, how these features are changing or transforming as a result of globalization and economic integration, and these change inform the development of global labor relations strategies for corporations.  The course will also focus on evolving new forms of global private voluntary regulation that have become an important element of the global HR function.  Finally, the course will provide students with an in-depth political, historical, and economic analysis of China and India and examine associated implications for employment relations. 

Residential Session #3 - Negotiations
This course provides an understanding of basic principles of negotiation theory and their application to the practice of negotiating. Students will learn the different sub-processes involved in negotiations, apply principles of game theory to negotiations, examine the roles of power and tactics in negotiations, and learn interest-based approaches to negotiating.  Finally, the course will examine cross-cultural issues in negotiations.