Business Essentials for Managers Specialization

Starts Jun 12

Business Essentials for Managers Specialization

Build Essential Management Skills

Receive a University Credential from the Executive Development Institute at Vanderbilt University

About This Specialization

Earn a Professional Certificate from Vanderbilt University, similar to the Certificate awarded to on-campus students. This curriculum is designed to help you to be more effective in your current assignment and to accelerate your career trajectory. When you enroll, you will receive high-touch services including: individualized career coaching culminating in a personal career development plan, online webinars targeting career search networking and salary negotiations and access to world-renowned Vanderbilt faculty. Each course concludes with a real world application project that will demonstrate value and skill to your current employer and provide you with the tools that senior management seeks in the identification of high-potential employees and the awarding of promotions and other growth opportunities. Upon completion, you will be entitled to claim 4 CEU’s (Continuing Education Units). To learn more about the Certificate, visit

Created by:

4 courses

Follow the suggested order or choose your own.


Designed to help you practice and apply the skills you learn.


Highlight your new skills on your resume or LinkedIn.

Projects Overview

Intermediate Specialization.
Some related experience required.
  1. COURSE 1

    Strategic Innovation Toolkit for Working Professionals

    Upcoming session: Jun 12 — Jul 17.
    3-4 hours/week

    About the Course

    Does your business culture nurture innovation—or stifle it? Are you looking for ways to build your business creatively but find daunting constraints at every turn? Innovation is too important to your success to be left to chance. This course is designed to help you understand the forces that limit innovation, identify those barriers in your own business culture, and break free of them in order to realize the full value of your imagination. You’ll learn the six most common constraints on innovation in organizations—that is, the six ways that creative thinking is usually sabotaged before it can produce results. You’ll learn the barriers to creativity in both individual and group settings, plus discover which stakeholders are actively invested in stopping your ideas in their tracks. Finally, we’ll teach you the societal and technical constraints to overcome in fostering a forward-thinking culture. You’ll explore case studies and participate in interactive exercises that illuminate the keys to building a culture of innovation. You’ll leave this course with an understanding of how to . . . • Generate, assess, and implement great ideas in your organization • Build your organization’s capacity for innovation • Lead innovation projects, processes, and teams • Recognize big issues lurking on the horizon before they become constraints • Drive adoption of great ideas • Develop and manage an innovation portfolio This course will help you overcome the major barriers to innovation everywhere you find them.
  2. COURSE 2

    Accounting and Finance Toolkit for Working Professionals

    Current session: May 22 — Jun 26.
    4 weeks of study, 4-5 hours/week

    About the Course

    What constitutes the value of an asset, and how do you measure it? How do you evaluate your firm’s performance financially? Those are some of the fundamental questions we’ll explore in this course, which offers a basic introduction to financial theory and principles of financial accounting. We’ll introduce you to a mix of theory, applications, and empirical research that will help you make smarter financial decisions for your organization. The course will show you how to determine the value of an asset by the level and the riskiness of its expected after-tax cash flows. We’ll teach you the techniques used to discount cash flows and determine the value implications of investment decisions, as well as the guidelines used to construct after-tax cash flow forecasts. We’ll teach you to estimate risk in the context of modern portfolio theory and talk about the impact of capital structure (your firm’s mix of debt and equity) on the riskiness of financial instruments issued by your firm. In the accounting portion of the course, we’ll give you a basic introduction to financial accounting, including overviews of financial statements, income statements, balance sheets, and statements of cash flows. You’ll learn about LIFO vs. FIFO accounting, accounting for inventory, and the valuation of long-term assets. When you complete this course, you’ll understand how to . . . • Identify and measure the riskiness of assets • Move cash flows through time • Make more informed investment decisions by applying finance principles to valuing capital investments, applying decision-making criteria for multi-period cash flows, and constructing cash flow forecasts • Evaluate your firm’s performance by recognizing the characteristics of three main types of financial statements, how each of these statements is developed over time, and how these statements are interrelated • Evaluate your firm’s performance by ratio analysis This course gives you a firm grounding in both the theory and practical application of finance and accounting and broad exposure to some of the most important principles of financial decision-making.
  3. COURSE 3

    Operations Management and Strategy Toolkit for Working Professionals

    Current session: May 22 — Jun 26.

    About the Course

    Are you looking for a deeper understanding of the basic elements of business strategy, from design through execution? This four-part course covers the fundamentals of designing a business strategy, executing that strategy and measuring results, managing operations and improving processes, and running successful projects that support your business goals. You’ll learn how to . . . • Plan and implement a business strategy from start to finish • Analyze both the external and internal context of your firm using established analytical frameworks • Identify sources of competitive advantage • Align functional strategies with corporate strategies • Measure success—and distinguish good metrics from bad metrics • Analyze and improve manufacturing and service processes • Use time-tested tools such as process flow diagrams and queuing theory • Design and lead successful projects that support your organizational strategy • Create a work breakdown structure, uncertainty assessment, network diagram, Gantt chart schedule, and communication plan for your project • Close your project effectively This course gives you the confidence to make smarter business decisions using time-tested processes and tools.
  4. COURSE 4

    Leadership Toolkit for Working Professionals

    Current session: May 22 — Jun 26.

    About the Course

    Personal branding is critical for today’s executive—it distinguishes you as a competent authority, of course, but it also helps you establish your own goals for continuous improvement and develop your strengths as a business leader. If you’re looking to establish yourself more effectively in a leadership role and align your actions and behaviors with how you want to be perceived, this course is for you. This course is composed of three modules about managing self, managing others, and leading efforts for change. You’ll complete a capstone project on organizational change that tests your skills in a variety of simulated situations, and you’ll receive detailed feedback about your efforts. You’ll leave with a thorough understanding of how your leadership can make an impact on your organization—and a set of sharpened skills to help you accomplish your goals. You’ll learn how to . . . • Master the art of self-management • Develop and manage your executive personal brand • Improve your executive presence online, in email and on voice mail • Become a more persuasive presenter • Use body language effectively and overcome stage fright • Manage your reputation effectively • Manage teams and foster good decision-making • Create and communicate a vision for workplace change • Build coalitions that work Most of all, you’ll learn to develop your own unique strengths—and make more meaningful, authentic connections with others.


  • Vanderbilt University

    With a combination of cutting-edge research, liberal arts education, nationally recognized schools of law, business, medicine, nursing and divinity, and one of the nation's top-ranked graduate schools of education, Vanderbilt University creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to address the complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tenn., is a private research university and medical center offering a full-range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

  • Nancy Lea Hyer

    Nancy Lea Hyer

    Associate Professor of Operations Management, and Associate Dean MBA Programs
  • David  A. Owens, PhD, PE

    David A. Owens, PhD, PE

  • Ray Friedman

    Ray Friedman

    Brownlee O. Currey Professor of Management
  • Mumin Kurtulus

    Mumin Kurtulus

    Associate Professor of Operations Management
  • Paul Chaney

    Paul Chaney

    E. Bronson Ingram Professor in Accounting
  • William G. Christie

    William G. Christie

    Frances Hampton Currey Professor of Management in Finance and Professor of Law
  • M. Eric Johnson

    M. Eric Johnson

    Ralph Owen Dean and Bruce D. Henderson Professor of Strategy
  • Brian McCann

    Brian McCann

    Associate Professor of Strategic Management
  • Rangaraj Ramanujam, Ph.D.

    Rangaraj Ramanujam, Ph.D.

    Professor of Management
  • Kimberly Pace

    Kimberly Pace

    Professor for the Practice of Communication


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