MB107 has long been called the cornerstone course of the Management and Business Department here at Skidmore College. In one semester, students move through a survey of business topics (business strategy, financial analysis and forecasting, industry and environmental analysis, company analysis, marketing, ethics and social responsibility, sustainability issues, organizational behavior/human resource issues) using real-world cases to explore workplace situations with various theoretical and analytical tools. By the end of the semester, students have gained a fundamental competence in the inner-workings of a business/organizational enterprise.
More Information about the course
The course is case-based such that students explore business cases in class discussions, write several case analysis papers, and present an in-depth analysis of one company to select business executives from across the country. This last element of the course, called the “Executive Presentation,” puts students in teams of four to six students and challenges them to assimilate the knowledge that they’ve gained about the business environment as they research the assigned company (in past years, companies such as Amazon.com, Tiffany & Co., Gucci Group, Whole Foods, Gap Inc., JetBlue, and Research in Motion (Blackberry) have been studied). Then, role-playing junior executives working for the firm, students have 25 minutes to present an informed analysis and set of strategic recommendations to the panel of invited real-world executives who evaluate their work. In sum, students must convince the executives that they are experts in the firm and its respective industry, that they have successfully identified the key issues facing the firm, and that their strategic plan is the right course of action for the firm to pursue over the next three to five years.
Overall, MB107 is the gateway to studying business in Skidmore’s liberal arts environment. Studying private, public, for-profit, not-for-profit, high-tech, entrepreneurial, and sometimes arts or educational organizational forms, students develop an appreciation for the challenges that face organizations in their competitive environments every day and fine-tune ways to address those challenges. A lasting and influential academic experience, MB107 pushes students to conduct a rigorous and well-informed analysis of a business organization, to think creatively, and to communicate effectively in serious and professional ways.
MB107 Learning Objectives
Along with quizzes of course material and a rich, engaging discussion format in class, students leave the course with the ability to:
- Explain the basic principles of key business functions (e.g., marketing, accounting, finance, human resources)
- Identify an organization’s internal, environmental, and competitive challenges
- Successfully research and analyze a company and its respective industry
- Understand business strategies in diverse competitive arenas
- Develop strategic recommendations that consider not only what a company should do, but why and how
- Utilize ethical decision-making frameworks
- Understand how organizational decisions impact various financial outcomes, social issues, and the natural environment (i.e., the Triple Bottom Line)
- Work effectively in team environments—with an appreciation for interpersonal skills, motivational issues, group dynamics, and factors that can contribute to workgroup failure in a work-setting
- Present clear, concise, logical, well-written strategic analyses and recommendations
- Offer strategic analyses/recommendations in a professional presentation format with public speaking skills that enable them to communicate effectively