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Curriculum and Courses

Krannert Executive Education Programs – Executive MBA

September 2014 – May 2016

 Introduction: The Krannert curriculum provides a mix of in-class and on-line learning that covers the core skills needed for MBA graduates.  The orientation week and subsequent first two residencies (of two weeks each) focus on foundational functional topics that the students take as a unified cohort. Residencies 3-5 allow for a more personalized curriculum to meet students’ individual needs. This personalization occurs through three types of courses:

Functional Electives

Functional electives are courses that will vary by year depending on the interests and needs of the cohort. Students are provided a list of approximately five courses (e.g., International Economics, Marketing in a Global Economy, Negotiation in Organizations, International Financial Management) and, as a group, they select the three courses of greatest interest. This approach allows for provision of electives with the greatest demand. It also allows for electives to be changed annually to reflect current business challenges.

Immersion ElectivesEMBA breakout.jpg

The immersion electives are courses that allow student teams to tackle a business problem or a topic of interest to a particular group.  For example, a group of 4-5 students may be interested in operational efficiency in the healthcare industry and may choose to do a project in that area, even if none of them work in healthcare.  In this approach, students develop proposals with faculty input and present the proposals to fellow students to organize a team.  The team then works together to refine the project, analyze the underlying issues, and develop recommendations and an implementation plan as appropriate.  The immersion electives allow students to address problems that they have identified and provide perspectives that are different from working with an external client.

Active Learning Projects

The Active Learning Projects (ALP) provide opportunities for students to combine prior knowledge and experience with classroom learning and apply it in an active business setting. In contrast to the immersion electives, the ALP client is provided to the student teams and the project focuses on helping a firm diagnose and resolve a critical business problem.  The teams are guided by a faculty member to provide the most beneficial hands-on experience possible. Experience in solving problems for clients provides students with insights and new skills to address challenges in their home company.

Program Launch (1 week): Purdue/Krannert Center in West Lafayette, IN

This intense “Welcome Week” covers all the information participants need to achieve success in the program.  Activities during this week include a welcome dinner, study team formation, team building exercises, meeting faculty and staff, and becoming familiar with the facilities and resources available.  In addition, students start on coursework for four topic areas: Accounting for Managers, Business Analytics, Managerial Economics, Managing Behavior in Organizations, and Marketing Management.

First Residency (2 weeks): Purdue/Krannert Center in West Lafayette, IN

Accounting for Managers

Accounting for Managers covers the basics of financial and managerial accounting. The course teaches participants how to record data in line with reporting requirements and how to analyze balance sheet information. The second part of the course will focus on how to interpret a company's internal methods of costing goods and services from a managerial perspective. A variety of manufacturing and service industries will be studied to provide insight into accounting systems that provide the best match for each company in terms of its field, competitive standing and multinational setting.

Business Analytics

Managers encounter data daily and regularly base their decisions on it. This course in business analytics develops important skills in data analysis, modeling, and decision making under uncertainty. It is designed to train students to use valid inferences data to inform their decisions. The topics covered in the course include exploratory data analysis, probability, decision analysis, estimation, simulation, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis. The course emphasizes applications of analytical techniques through its lectures, homework, case discussions, and computer exercises. Through this approach, students learn to translate statistical results into language understood by a non-technical audience.

Managerial Economics

This course, a synthesis of micro and macroeconomics, develops a high level of knowledge regarding the contribution competing economic theories make to understanding the strategic behavior and the nature of economic organizations. An understanding of the economic fundamentals that drive efficiency, effectiveness and competitive advantage is essential for managers, particularly in turbulent times. The macroeconomics portion seeks to understand and explain phenomena such as inflation, unemployment, interest rates and the balance of payments. It investigates the causes of macroeconomic fluctuations, their consequences and what role government should play in dealing with resulting problems. Special attention is given to monetary/fiscal policies, including government deficits and the effects of tax rates.

Managing Behavior in Organizations

This course provides a solid foundation in (and overview of) the area or Organizational Behavior (OB), with particular emphasis on what practicing managers need to know about managing human capital in organizations. Specific topics include (but are not limited to) the importance of strategic and evidence-based approaches to managing and making decisions about human capital, promoting effective group and team dynamics, understanding and developing leadership in organizations, understanding and managing organizational culture and ethics, and managing organizational change.

Marketing Management

Marketing has been defined as "a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering and exchanging products of value with others." It is a business function that identifies unfulfilled needs and wants, defines and measures their magnitude, determines which target markets the organization can best serve, decides on appropriate products, services, and programs to serve these markets, and calls upon everyone in the organization to "think and serve the customer." The course is designed to give the participant the maximum involvement in the broad sweep of marketing activities, functions, and problems. The main focus is on decision making within the context of marketing functions.

 Second Residency (2 weeks): Purdue/Krannert Center in West Lafayette, IN

Finance for Managers

The course addresses the management of the financial affairs of the non-financial firm. The overriding theme is the development of strategies aimed at the maximization of the market value of the enterprise. Managerial decision rules designed to serve this objective will be examined. While the course relies on a theoretical framework for the establishment of such rules, based on the discipline imposed by the external capital market, the intent throughout will be to take that theoretical framework to the point of application to specific business decision problems. Accordingly, there will be heavy emphasis on the use of "case" situations as the vehicles for the class discussions. Topics to be covered include: the nature of the firms cash flow cycle; cash forecasting and budgeting; working capital management; credit decisions; financial distress; long-term investment decision analysis; and the administration of a firm's capital expenditure program. Furthermore, longer-term investing and financing decisions will be discussed, including: capital structure design, measuring a firm's cost of capital, firm valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity transactions.

Management of Manufacturing and Service Operations

Operations and supply chains are responsible for the bulk of the assets of a company and their deployment has a significant impact on performance. The first segment of this course focuses on operational choices for a single company. It will focus on firm level choices of capacity, inventory and lead time to optimize performance. The goal is to understand the impact of these choices on the system and to anticipate the impact of making changes. Example: operations discussed will include manufacturing and service systems, ranging from automobile and appliances to call centers, health care and banking. The second segment of the course will focus on managing supply chains i.e., collections of firms who jointly generate the product or service. It will focus on understanding the impact of network structure, levels of capacity, impact of forecast error and lead time, approaches to manage global procurement etc. In summary, the course will develop the capability to enhance competitiveness by improving the management of the operation or supply chain.

 Strategic Management

Strategic management is taught from the perspective of the general manager who is involved with managing an entire business unit. One of the most important ideas which will be developed in this course is that of competitive advantage. Competitive advantage has complex origins and cannot be sustainable unless its sources can be protected from duplication and imitation. The course focuses on the fundamental conditions that permit a firm to conceive, develop and sustain a superior strategic position. The course provides an opportunity to develop approaches to general management based on an integration of multi-functional and administrative perspectives. As the course develops, participants will practice the application of concepts, tools, and approaches developed in the various readings and during the class discussions.

 Leadership in Organizations

Many leadership courses consider leadership to be a monolithic concept or simply a discernment between managers and leaders.  In contrast, this course examines different leadership tracks that reflect the unique needs of functional managers and the executive managers.  For the functional managers, we focus on relationship leadership which reflects their position and time demands in the organization. For executive managers, we also focus on strategic leadership which reflects their more senior position within the decision-making process.

Third Residency (1 week): Purdue/Krannert Center in West Lafayette, IN

Functional Elective 1: See description in Introduction.

Functional Elective 2: See description in Introduction.

Immersion Elective: See description in Introduction.

Fourth Residency (1 week): Purdue/Krannert Center in West Lafayette, IN

Functional Elective 3: See description in Introduction.

Immersion Elective: See description in Introduction.

Change Management

It is often said that change is one of the great constants of organizations.  That has never been more true than in our dynamic business environment. In this course, we consider how managers can address both the people-side and systems-side of implementing change in organizations.  Issues considered are selecting the order of change initiatives in organizations, choosing between faster or slower implementation, and considering the implications of top-down versus bottom-up approaches.

Fifth Residency (1 week): Purdue/Krannert Center in West Lafayette, IN

Risk Management

A key challenge for managers is dealing with risk, which means the probabilities related to success of different options.  The two types of risk most commonly faced by managers are operational and financial risk.  The course considers the different types of risk, ways to assess risk, and develop options to mitigate the impact of risk on the company.


This course examines entrepreneurship with a focus on the start-up process for high-growth new ventures. In this context, the unique challenges of starting a firm and managing growth are considered and juxtaposed with running a more established firm.  Cases will be used and students may conduct a feasibility analysis of a new venture concept.

Immersion Elective: See description in Introduction.

Active Learning Project: See description in Introduction.

Sixth Residency (2 weeks): This is an international residency, with China as the location in recent years.  

Legal and Ethical Environments

The purpose of the course is to provide the student with an understanding of the legal environment as it pertains to business organizations and of the ethical considerations and social and political influences that affect such organizations. Students will examine a wide range of substantive rules of public law that will provide a framework for a discussion of the ways in which managerial decision making affects and is affected by the legal environment.

 Developing a Global Management Strategy

This course provides an introduction regarding the business and strategy challenges faced by managers in our global economy, regardless of whether the firm is a small domestic company or a large multi-national firm. Major topics for the course include motivations and challenges of internationalization, international business fundamentals, foreign market entry strategies, organizing across countries, analyzing global industries, building competitive advantage in global industries, and the influence of culture and institutions. Given the link between geographic and product diversification, the course emphasizes mergers & acquisitions, alliances, and organic growth as venues for firm expansion.