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Educator Resources

The Darden School of Business is regularly recognized as having one of the world’s premier teaching faculties within business education, and Darden’s programs are recognized as world class. Darden Business Publishing is pleased to provide current Darden course syllabi to verified faculty members. They provide instructors with context as to how cases used in a particular sequence achieve the learning outcomes of the teaching teams at the Darden School. Use the modules in these course syllabi as a reference for updating the case materials within your school’s programs. Click on the PDF icon next to the document titles below to download a complimentary copy. The Darden document titles within each course outline are hyperlinked to the product detail pages for your convenience. 

Giving Voice to Values

Giving Voice to Values (GVV) is an innovative approach to values-driven leadership development in business education and the workplace. Piloted in nearly 1,000 schools, companies and other organizations on all seven continents, the GVV curriculum offers practical exercises, cases, modules, scripts and teaching plans for handling a wide range of ethical conflicts in the workplace.

Books by Darden Authors

  • The authors of the pioneering Cutting-Edge Marketing Analytics return to the vital conversation of leveraging big data with Marketing Analytics: Essential Tools for Data-Driven Decisions, which updates and expands on the earlier book as we enter the 2020s. As they illustrate, big data analytics is the engine that drives marketing, providing a forward-looking, predictive perspective for marketing decision-making.

    The book presents actual cases and data, giving readers invaluable real-world instruction. The cases show how to identify relevant data, choose the best analytics technique, and investigate the link between marketing plans and customer behavior. These actual scenarios shed light on the most pressing marketing questions, such as setting the optimal price for one’s product or designing effective digital marketing campaigns.

    Big data is currently the most powerful resource to the marketing professional, and this book illustrates how to fully harness that power to effectively maximize marketing efforts.

    Preview or Purchase from UVA Press

  • Experimentation is an essential part of innovation. It is the link between generating new ideas and putting them into practice. We are constantly experimenting in our daily lives, and organizations place great value on testing new products, services, and strategies. Yet there is a shortage of actionable guidance on how to design and execute high-quality experiments for practical purposes.

    This book is a hands-on manual to crafting and conducting useful experiments in real-life settings. It guides readers from any background or discipline through the fundamentals of identifying testable ideas, selecting an evidence base, prototyping and testing, building users’ skill sets and channeling their creativity through an interactive, exercise-oriented format. The book details a step-by-step framework, with user-friendly instructions and a case study illustrating the process at work at each step, as well as templates for readers to customize in their own projects. It draws on design thinking as well as other practical business approaches. From the classroom to the practice world, The Experimentation Field Book is a vital tool kit for all problem solvers and innovators seeking to address today’s pressing challenges.

    Preview or Purchase at Amazon

    Preview or Purchase at Columbia University Press

  • An inspirational, practical, and research-based guide for standing up and speaking out skillfully at work.

    Have you ever wanted to disagree with your boss? Speak up about your company's lack of diversity or unequal pay practices? Make a tough decision you knew would be unpopular?

    We all have opportunities to be courageous at work. But since courage requires risk—to our reputations, our social standing, and, in some cases, our jobs—we often fail to act, which leaves us feeling powerless and regretful for not doing what we know is right. There's a better way to handle these crucial moments—and Choosing Courage provides the moral imperative and research-based tactics to help you become more competently courageous at work.

    Doing for courage what Angela Duckworth has done for grit and Brene Brown for vulnerability, Jim Detert, the world's foremost expert on workplace courage, explains that courage isn't a character trait that only a few possess; it's a virtue developed through practice. And with the right attitude and approach, you can learn to hone it like any other skill and incorporate it into your everyday life.

    Full of stories of ordinary people who've acted courageously, Choosing Courage will give you a fresh perspective on the power of voicing your authentic ideas and opinions. Whether you’re looking to make a mark, stay true to your values, act with more integrity, or simply grow as a professional, this is the guide you need to achieve greater impact at work.

    Preview or Purchase at Amazon

  • Positioning for Advantage is a comprehensive how-to guide for creating, building, and executing effective brand strategies. Professor Kimberly A. Whitler identifies essential marketing strategy techniques and moves through the major stages of positioning a brand to achieve in-market advantage. Introducing seven tools—from strategic positioning to strategy mapping to influencer maps—Whitler provides templates, frameworks, and step-by-step processes to build and manage growth brands that achieve positional advantage. This book presents real-world scenarios, helping readers activate the tools through practice to increase skill in creating brands that achieve positional advantage. Brimming with insights for students and professionals alike, Positioning for Advantage helps aspiring C-level leaders understand not only what superior branding looks like but also how to make it come to life. This title is available now from Columbia Business School Press.

    View Positioning for Advantage at Amazon

  • This book is about humanizing business. In contrast to the mainstream modern management and leadership literature, this book provides distinctly humane perspectives on business. The volume travels outside the world of business to explore what Humanities – such as Philosophy, History, Literature, Creative Arts, and Cultural Studies – can offer to business. Renowned scholars from different Humanities disciplines, as well as management researchers exploring the heritage of Humanities, convey what it actually means to make business more humane.

    The book strives to humanize business. It aims to show that it is not people who have to suppress their human feelings, aspirations, and beliefs when they are at their workplaces, but it is business itself that needs to be redefined by the human norms of human beings. Companies should care about their employees and other stakeholders letting them be themselves, i.e. be human, at work and beyond.

    The book will be of interest to management scholars across various business disciplines. It can also be used as teaching material in the classroom with MBA students, especially in Business Ethics, Business and Society, Sustainability, Organizational Behavior, Human Resource Management and other management courses. The volume will also be of interest to scholars that work in different Humanities fields and whose interests span organizations, management, and business. Finally, many practitioners in the business world, especially those in managerial and leadership positions, will find the book both thought-provoking and useful for them as well.

    Preview or Purchase from Springer Publishing

  • Giving Voice to Values, under the leadership of Mary Gentile, has fundamentally changed the way business ethics and values-driven leadership is taught and discussed in academic and corporate settings worldwide.

    This book shifts attention to the future of Giving Voice to Values (GVV) and provides thought pieces from practitioners and leading experts in business ethics and the professions on the possibilities for sustaining its growth and success. These include the creation of new teaching materials, reaching different audiences, and expanding the ways in which GVV is making a difference in classrooms and the workplace and acting as a catalyst for organizational and societal change. The book closes with a reflective chapter by Mary Gentile, looking back at where GVV has been and looking ahead to where GVV might go.

    Preview or Purchase from Routledge Publishing

  • College Athletes Need a Game Plan for Managing their Name, Image, & Likeness.

    Whether it is practice or a game, successful athletes have a strategy to make sure they achieve their goals. Preparing for NIL success by developing an athlete brand is no different—it requires a game plan to get the best results. This book provides a four-step process to help student-athletes (SAs) manage their brands like a pro. Short, easy-to-read chapters with real SA examples guide athletes through a series of exercises that enable you to set goals and then design, activate, and monetize your brand. Athlete Brands is the perfect resource for SAs to learn to make NIL decisions that serve their most important goals.

    Order Athlete Brands at Darden

    Athlete Brands at Amazon

  • There is no CEO task more significant than leading change in an organization whose old business model needs updating. Large-scale change involves rethinking how to engage customers, partners and suppliers with new technology and hard decisions about how to reorganize internal operations—plus the challenges of executing the transformation. The stakes are high, filled with risk and reward obvious to all...and it often fails. Why? Most organizations aren't built for change—they're designed for stability, scale, and repetition. Too many things can go wrong, from natural organizational resistance and inertia, to lack of strategic focus, to execution problems. And yet, organizations today must be more dynamic than ever before. Strategy is dynamic, not static, and requires agility, nimbleness, rapid resource deployment, and organizational change.

    This practical playbook helps CEOs and other key leaders reduce the risks and see through the overwhelming complexity of a major change in organizational strategy. Unlike many other books on leading change that focus narrowly on overcoming resistance, The CEO Playbook for Strategic Transformation offers a more comprehensive framework involving 4 major tasks for leaders: 1) Establish and Communicate the Urgent Need; 2) Engage Stakeholders; 3) Mobilize the Organization; and 4) Develop Organizational Agility. Leaders who guide their organizations through these stages are far more likely to succeed than those who lack a playbook. Professor Scott A. Snell shares insights based on years of experience working with organizations undergoing change. He provides a set of self-assessments, frameworks for action, and interventions to help senior leaders succeed at their most challenging and important task.

    Preview or order at Stanford University Press

  • Solving complex strategic problems is best achieved through obtaining a beginner’s mind which allows for emotional detachment from outcomes, abandonment of preconceived notions, and openness to learning as conditions unfold. With an open, unencumbered mindset, one can achieve the creative insights that provide novel, and potentially winning, courses of action. The Tao of Strategy combines Western analytical thinking with the Eastern path to agility, nimbleness, and opportunistic capturing of emergent strategy.

    The Tao of Strategy on Amazon

MBA Core

  • As the language of business and the cornerstone of our capital markets, accounting provides terminology, frameworks, and concepts with which to analyze and understand the financial consequences of business activities. As these activities have become increasingly complex and global, the task of presenting timely, relevant, and reliable financial information to interested internal and external users has become more challenging. The primary purpose of this course is to help students develop a high degree of financial statement, financial analysis, and financial management expertise in order to enhance their capabilities as informed managers and decision makers. This course covers both managerial and financial accounting, but to the extent practicable, it does so by taking a comprehensive and integrative approach. As a part of the course, we will also bring to the discussion the news of the day as it pertains to the world of financial reporting. This course is intended to be thought-provoking and managerially relevant; it is not designed as one predominantly focused on accounting mechanics or the memorization of accounting rules. Upon completion, students should have a working knowledge of essential managerial and financial accounting concepts and should be able to understand how they apply to complex business decisions. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials. —

  • This is a course in decision making. As such, the ultimate purpose of this course is to help students become more proficient and more effective at making decisions—something that could be said of any foundational core course at the Darden School. The particular focus of this course is on how managers should think about the role of values and ethics in decision making; as business leaders, some of the most challenging aspects of the decisions managers will make in the future are the aspects of those decisions that involve values and morality. As such, the course is designed to expose students to—and help them gain facility with—a set of ideas and concepts that can help students structure their thinking and more fully develop an approach to recognizing and incorporating a consideration of ethics into their own decision-making framework. This will enable students to reason more effectively about the role of ethics in a complex, dynamic, global business environment, and will ultimately further develop their sense of responsible judgment.

  • This course develops students’ ability to evaluate, design, and execute a firm’s strategy by analyzing the competitive and organizational factors essential to sustained success. The objective of the course is to develop students' strategic thinking skills by learning the concepts, models, and tools of strategic analysis as well as how to apply those tools to actual competitive situations. Taking an action-based orientation, the course reinforces and revitalizes the enterprise management perspective. Because of increasing global interdependence and a rapidly changing business environment, the course emphasizes both the dynamic and the global aspects of strategic management. The tools and skills developed in this course will be vital to those pursuing careers as consultants and general managers as well as those pursuing careers in finance and banking, marketing, and entrepreneurship. The course spans a wide range of topics, including developing and evaluating strategy, developing firm capabilities and sustaining competitive advantage, analyzing industry evolution and competitive dynamics, and linking strategy and execution. Course objectives are accomplished through exposure to cases from a range of industries and managerial settings. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • This course highlights the analytical methods that decision makers use to gain insight into risk and uncertainty to help students develop the skill and sophistication to artfully use them. Students will become better decision makers as they learn to proactively manage risk in creative ways.

     The course emphasizes the design of analyses to fit circumstances and interpretation of results; it does not emphasize the mastery of sophisticated mathematical techniques. It studies and integrates individual judgment and personal intuition in realistic business situations with the most widely applicable methodologies of decision and risk analysis, probability and statistics, competitive analysis, and management science. The goal is always the quality of the decisions made in light of better analysis and deeper thinking, rather than simply the analysis itself.

    The first half of this course focuses more on a general framework for thinking about and managing risk. Students use the language of probability distributions to describe the uncertainty they face and simulation as a tool to explore the impact of that uncertainty for the decisions they face. Situations involving uncertain future cash-flow streams and the role of the timing of those cash flows on the valuing of opportunities will be examined. The role data can play in shaping calibration of future uncertainties, specifically touching on the use of parametric probability distributions as a way to describe uncertainty, sampling as a source of data, and regression as a tool to capture the relationship between uncertain quantities to produce better forecasts are considered. Students will also gain skill in spreadsheet modeling.

    The second half of the course builds on the first by focusing more on ways to proactively manage risk, particularly through identifying and/or creating opportunities to add value and/or reduce risk through the sequencing of decisions. Students will consider the value of acquiring additional information before decisions have to be made, as well as the value of strategies to reduce (or eliminate) risk at the time of decision. Gaining experience with assessing uncertainties and forecasting probability distributions and learning ways to address competitive situations, where uncertainty includes not knowing how a competitor might behave, will be topics. Students will learn how to influence active competitors that are capable of anticipating their actions and responding to them (in part, via analysis of matrix games). Finally, the use of linear constrained optimization models (and Excel Solver) to aid decisions with a large number of decision variables and constraints will be studied.

    Objectives :

    • To develop a process for knowing when and how to do managerially relevant analysis under conditions of uncertainty, many decision variables, and unstructured contexts, using both data and personal judgment.
    • To develop a framework for understanding uncertainty, a language for describing uncertainty, and methodologies for making decisions in light of uncertainty, all through field-based case studies about practicing managers.
    • To provide the basic skills and conceptual understanding of the most widely applicable methodologies of decision and risk analysis, probability and statistics, competitive analysis, optimization, and management science.
    Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.
  • Financial Management and Policies (FMP) reflects three important features of the Darden School MBA program: (1) it is a general management program; (2) the program through its frequent use of the case method of instruction has a practical, pragmatic bias and a decision orientation; and (3) the first-year program provides the basic training on which students can build in their second-year. Consistent with the first-year program, this course provides:

    1. An Introduction: The course provides the basic framework necessary to pursue further study in finance in the second-year of the MBA program or individually thereafter. This framework is an orientation toward valuation.

    2. Basic Mastery: The course emphasizes essentials: the tools and concepts that every general manager, entrepreneur, or manager in other functional fields should know.

    3. A Corporate Perspective: Because we seek to understand the problems of general managers, this is a corporate finance course, rather than a course in investments, banking, or personal finance. While elements of these related topics must be brought to bear, the ultimate focus is corporate policy and tactics.

    4. An Underpinning for Addressing Broad and Challenging Questions: These key themes run throughout the course: (a) How can the firm create and sustain value for its investors? (b) How do managers communicate with investors and vice versa? (c) How should value be allocated among the firm’s stakeholders? (d) How does the firm’s competitive position affect its policy decisions? (e) What is “excellence”?

    Students with experience in finance will find this course an opportunity to broaden their understanding of the field to include a general management perspective. Students who are new to the field are urged to look beyond the mastery of terms, tools, and techniques toward the managerial insights that an understanding of finance helps develop. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • Why do marketers (and marketing) exist? And how do they impact firm outcomes, above and beyond experts from other functions? First-Year Marketing is designed to provide foundational understanding of the unique contribution marketers make to firm performance. While there is significant variance in how the marketing function is structured from firm to firm, we will introduce you to a general management marketing mindset – one in which marketers drive the strategic direction of the firm to identify, create, and deliver superior value for consumers, enabling firms to achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace. In short, general management marketing is a strategy course focused on creating sustainable firm value by understanding and delivering value to consumers.

    This course is designed to provide students with a framework for understanding marketing’s contribution to firm outcomes and a general overview of key concepts related to the value creation process. Each class session will focus on a different core marketing concept that transcends across industries to provide students with key, foundational knowledge.

    Key themes presented throughout this course:

    a. How can firms create and sustain superior value for their consumers?

    b. How can firms use segmentation and targeting strategies to better position their brands and products relative to rivals?

    c. How can firms identify a superior position in the marketplace?

    d. How can firms convert positioning decisions into superior marketing plans, including pricing, promotion, product, and place (i.e., distribution)?

    e. What are the tools marketers use to analyze, assess, and measure marketing?

    f. How do marketers integrate conceptual, strategic, and analytical thinking to develop and deliver superior marketing plans?

  • In this course, we will explore consumer and organizational decision processes that underlie choices of products and services. We will then use knowledge of these decision processes and competitive dynamics to determine how businesses should make profitable decisions about products, pricing, and promotional and distribution strategies. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • Darden's core operations course is intended to enable a manager in any area to leverage his or her individual performance, via an understanding of operations and how it integrates with other business functions to influence a firm's performance. Throughout the course, we focus on how to manage operations for superior firm performance. Achieving operational excellence requires a mindset of integration with marketing and the other functions of the firm so that improvement efforts throughout the firm reinforce each other and so that the functions work together to create and enhance value for customers. Having learned how operational effectiveness can be a powerful contributor to successful firm performance, we spend the remaining classes learning how to analyze and design processes. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

MBA Electives

  • This course is designed for students from any discipline who wish to understand how athletes can develop, activate, and monetize their brands to achieve their short- and long-term goals. The content sits at the intersection of sports management, brand management, and marketing and provides students with a toolkit that will help them create, support, and advocate for superior athlete brands. Specifically, they will accomplish the following objectives:
    1. Increase awareness and understanding of important issues in creating, activating, and monetizing athlete brands that help athletes achieve their goals.

    2. Understand the critical importance of aligning resources (e.g., time) with goals.

    3. Strengthen brand-assessment ability and gain proficiency in being able to critically assess brand essence statements.

    4. Understand the value of brand synergy—aligning a student athlete brand with that of the team and school/university to magnify impact.

    5. Develop skill managing social media strategically, identifying risks and creating “guardrails” that can protect an athlete brand.

    6. Learn how to craft superior athlete brand statements and develop “activation plans” that align behavior with a desired brand image.

    7. Develop skill in creating a monetization plan that supports goals and a desired athlete brand.

    8. Develop a complete athlete brand plan: Goals, brand essence statement, activation plan, resource-allocation plan, and monetization plan.

  • This course is designed primarily for students seeking a marketing career in organizations that market products and services to other organizations. While the course should be of special importance to individuals interested in business-to-business marketing (B2B), it is also appropriate for those seeking careers in consulting, manufacturing, and in nonmarketing functional areas of B2B firms. The course emphasizes the tactical aspects of business marketing as well as the conceptual and strategic elements. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • Corporate Financing focuses on capital raising and has as its ultimate goal greater understanding of the capital acquisition process. Corporate Financing emphasizes capital raising in the public markets—the public equity and debt markets and the quasi-public Rule144A market. Issuance in public security markets entails strict adherence to the rules and regulations that govern the marketplace. While these rules place more limitations on managers' actions than private placements, U.S. and developed world capital markets offer firms the broadest array of possible funding sources at the lowest cost. The course covers the institutional process of security issuance—both the formal rules and regulations as well as the informal norms and practices of the marketplace.

    In the first part of the course, students survey a number of commonly used financing arrangements, such as initial public offerings, follow-on equity issues, and several forms of straight and convertible debt. The range of securities covered is meant to accomplish two goals: Inform students of the terminology and basic features of these instruments and help them understand the appropriate context for when a particular security should be used. Financial strategy and the study of ways that firms ensure adequate funding and on-going access to capital markets are also examined. In the latter portion of the course, financial structure and how individual securities work together within a firm’s overall capitalization are the topics. Because firms typically rely on multiple providers of capital, well-designed financial structures must achieve compatibility among the interests of the individual capital providers. The extent to which the market perceives the potential for conflict affects both the availability and costs of external capital. All aspects of financing and this course as well require an understanding of the markets—the buyers, sellers, and institutional features.

    This class targets students with professional interest in corporate finance, commercial and investment banking, financial services, and management consulting in financial services. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • Corporate Financial Policies (CFP) extends the corporate finance topics that were introduced in the first-year "Financial Management and Policies" course (UVA-MOD-0123Y) and then enhanced in the Valuation course. The course is taught predominantly from the viewpoint of the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, and treasurer of a corporation. The objective of the course is to introduce students to the various aspects of a chief financial officer's job. Topics include: risk management, resource allocation, dividend policy, raising external funds, determination of the cost of capital, evaluating investment opportunities, and the design of management. The Valuation in Financial Markets course is a prerequisite for this class. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • This course is designed for students who want to be optimally prepared to perform quantitative analysis at a level consistent with (and exceeding) expectations for MBA interns in positions where quantitative sophistication is required. Its only prerequisite is the first-year Decision Analysis course; no additional quantitative experience or acumen is required. The course will focus primarily on data analysis used to both gain useful insights into relationships and make better, more useful forecasts. In addition to more advanced treatment of regression analysis (the goal being for students to be able to build and apply sophisticated regression models), students will be familiarized with other common approaches to forecasting, such as rudimentary time series analysis. Finally, the course will introduce students to the concepts of optimization using Excel Solver add-in to determine how to optimally allocate resources in situations involving complex trade-offs. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • The Derivatives course is designed for students interested in a career in investment banking or corporate finance. The primary purpose of the course is to teach students how to interpret and value the wide variety of derivatives products available. As such, the course examines a broad array of derivative products that range from basic futures contracts to the more specialized products developed for interest rate markets. The valuation tools considered begin with basic arbitrage relationships and from there students will develop the Black-Scholes model. The course will also introduce the binomial approach and use it as the primary valuation framework throughout the course. Students will also, through the use of assignments and problem sets, develop an intuitive understanding of why these products are used and the fundamental relationships that underlay all derivative products.

  • This course allows students to explore an approach to decision making called design thinking. Design thinking emphasizes deep user understanding, iteration, and a focus on possibilities as a way to enhance value creation for stakeholders. This collection of course materials includes three mutually exclusive case-based classroom simulations (UVA-S-0240, UVA-S-0241, and UVA-S-0248), a complete set of videos (contact DBP to preview and license video content), two books, posters for in-class exercises (contact DBP to license full sets of the ethnographic posters), and a supplemental tool kit containing downloadable PDFs for student assignments. The teaching note for each case is available to faculty members registered at Darden Business Publishing online

    The Design Thinking course employs one of the three available case-based simulations to create a hands-on and engaging experience for students, using a variety of design thinking tools, within the constraints of the classroom. In my class, I use a single case for the entire term, teaching the entire design thinking process over a 15-session course and usually devoting one 85-minute session to each tool. Any of the three individual case-based simulations can also be used to teach individual design skills—such as journey mapping, mining ethnographic data for deep insights, or ethnographic interviewing—rather than the full end-to-end process.

    What truly distinguishes the design of this course and these case-based simulations and makes them valuable for teaching design thinking is that instructors receive additional information in the form of a set of posters that summarize ethnographic interview findings for each story. Thus the design of the materials allows students to get a brief personal experience in ethnographic interviewing as a preassignment for class, but then data from multiple other interviews are supplemented on the posters. This additional information gives students a rich database with which to explore the full range of design thinking activities; it also allows for experiential exercises in class rather than case discussions alone. Students get to practice design thinking in a real organizational context. The case-based simulations allow students to see the scope of the project, create a design brief, conduct ethnographic interviews, mine research data for insights, generate ideas, and design marketplace experiments. The teaching plan is designed for a “flipped classroom” approach, which works well for this material.

    Academic Course Objectives

    ·         Introduce students to a new approach—design thinking—that enhances innovation activities in terms of market impact, value creation, and speed.

    ·         Expand students’ thinking about design and innovation beyond the design and development of new products to other fundamental sources of value creation.

    ·         Strengthen students’ individual and collaborative capabilities to identify customer needs, create sound concept hypotheses, collect appropriate data, and develop a prototype that allows for meaningful feedback in a real-world environment.

    ·         Teach students to translate broadly defined opportunities into actionable innovation possibilities and recommendations for client organizations.

  • Darden offers successful MBA electives on banking and financial institutions and on macroeconomics. This course complements these other courses by:
     Exploring the causes and consequences of financial crises.
     Contributing a historical view of the evolution of the financial sector in the United States. Currently, this is Darden’s only course in financial history or business history.
     Exercising various concepts and tools related to financial crises and systemic instability.
     Synthesizing and extending lessons of a range of fields including finance, macroeconomics, politics, law, history, data science, and psychology. This course offers a “capstone” experience for Darden’s MBA students, and is scheduled in the fourth quarter of the second-year elective curriculum.
    The course has no prerequisites and is open to Darden’s MBA students, as well as to graduate students in other divisions of the University of Virginia, including law, public policy, and economics, and to upper-level undergraduate students. The diversity of perspective these students bring has been energizing. This diversity also entails supplemental readings7 to help along those students who have had no prior exposure to certain concepts and tools. The course has been oversubscribed.

    The course follows a historical chronology, beginning in 1720 and ending in 2018, as opposed to a design around themes or theories. The modern financial system is vulnerable to episodes of instability. Despite reasoned (and sometimes heroic) efforts by leaders in the public and private sectors, financial crises will continue to occur. Therefore, the preparation of future leaders should entail learning in at least four areas:
     Definition and causes: What are “financial crises”? Why do they occur?
     Processes: How do crises begin, spread, and eventually end?
     Reaction: What are the various ways in which the civic sphere reacts? Why? How well have the civic reactions served the public?
     Implications: What should leaders do?

  • The Darden Digital Marketing course is designed to prepare students for the variety of ways interactive communication and positioning may impact them in their future careers, whether they are CMOs thinking strategically, CEOs asking the right questions of an ad agency, or two people with a new idea seeking social media buzz to crowdfund their project.

    Because interactive technology is driven by innovation, it is difficult to study one text or conclude that one static model works best. Instead, we will utilize news articles, case studies, and items that are topical today to draw conclusions about broader strategic marketing decisions. A specific technology from 2016 may not be as prevalent in 2026, but consumer behavior and the B2B relationships that made it happen likely will be.

    The term will cover consumer-focused segments, which each student can identify with: e-commerce and current trends in social media. We will also cover practical applications for managers and marketing executives: crowdfunding, digital design execution, media habits, and mobile marketing. With a better understanding of the tactical elements of Internet marketing, the class will be ready to consider the myriad opportunities to leverage technology in communicating with their audiences. We’ll complete the course by considering electronic media in a strategic fashion, culminating in a group project for an existing business. This team project is offered in lieu of an exam.


  • Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity (EFPE) focuses on a wide range of financial situations that arise in the private equity industry. We cover early (venture capital) to late stage enterprises (buyout) to provide perspective on how the risk of the firm (stage of development) affects the terms, structure, forms of financing, and valuation of the transaction. Over the past two decades there has been tremendous growth in private equity deal volume, from roughly $7.8 billion in 1993 to a peak of $880.1 billion in 2007. Since 2007, the industry has been recovering from the financial crisis, but still controls a sizable portion of corporate assets. As PE has grown it has become a more integral part of corporate finance and the financing options available to firms. Despite the overall growth in this industry, private equity remains a relatively small part of total invested dollars. For every dollar of private equity in the portfolio of U.S. institutional investors, there is approximately $40 of publicly traded equities. As a result, industry is generally less well known and understood to a wide range of professionals and EFPE is designed to familiarize students with the practices of this industry. EFPE focuses primarily on the investment phase of the private equity cycle and examines the investment strategy, management, valuation, and structure of enterprises at various stages of development before becoming public companies. The classes are sequenced to reflect the progression of investments from early to late stage. The sequencing of the course material from early stage to late stage is intended to provide a perspective on how financing and valuation change over the life-cycle of a firm. There are many judgments in finance that rely on an intuitive sense of the capability and maturity of an organization. How much uncertainty must be resolved before an investment moves from early stage to late stage in investors' minds? The rate of resolution of uncertainty plays a critical role in the value of enterprises, in the returns required by investors, in the type of financing available, and the structure of the deal. It is intended that this sequence and the class discussions will help identify the factors that are most influential in managing the development of enterprises. Valuation in Financial Markets (UVA-MOD-0162Y) is a prerequisite for the course. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • This course highlights the importance of institutions and markets in the context of 21st century financial technologies (fintech) and services. Markets do not exist in a vacuum; participants interact in organized markets that are set up to promote efficient exchange of funds from buyers to sellers. Institutions, such as banks, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, etc., are key players in the capital markets looking for arbitrage opportunities; with their insights and volume of trading, any arbitrage opportunities are usually eliminated quickly, pushing markets to become more efficient. Markets that have existed for some time are generally efficient but that may not always be true for newer markets, such as some emerging markets. Trading in the markets takes place in the form of instruments, the most common of which are stocks and bonds. Constant innovation on the part of banks has created a large number of alternative securities; to the extent that these new instruments facilitate trading (or help in the execution of arbitrage trading strategies), they can have a long life (e.g., stock options) and earn banks fees.

    Financial engineering (structured products) can provide a solution to clients' problems often in a cost-effective way. Arbitrage and financial engineering both entail risks; sometimes these risks are not clearly seen and evaluated properly, which can cause (and has caused) problems among banks and even for the entire market-based system (just think of the recent sub-prime mortgage crisis as one such example).

    Risk management is a key function firms use to understand their exposures and manage them. Recent moves by banks have elevated its stature; only time will tell whether these new measures will be sufficient to avert new crises. The government plays a big role in the creation and evolution of the markets, most commonly via regulation. Regulation can also change the rules of the game altogether and create a new class of winners and losers. Understanding its implications is therefore critical to continued innovation and growth on the part of market participants.

    This course is important for students pursuing careers in investment banking, private equity, sales and trading, hedge funds, investment management, and financial services. The course is also appropriate for those seeking careers in corporate treasuries or wanting to understand markets, as well as for financial consultants (such as asset management consultants). The course links with several courses in the MBA curriculum, such as Valuation, Investments, M&A, Financial Trading, and Fixed Income. With the exception of Valuation, none of the other courses listed here are requirements for taking or successfully completing this course. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • This course will explore and constructively evaluate recent efforts to direct private-sector capital to ideas, projects, and business that provide social benefits and financial returns. We will attempt to evaluate the domain based on finance fundamentals and form opinions on its current state and future development as an area of finance, examining questions such as: What is preventing private capital from addressing these efforts? And what role can creative financial contracting play in encouraging private capital towards these efforts? While some book titles include impact investing or social finance, the field needs more books and academic articles that that rigorously incorporate fundamental finance principles. Increasingly, professional financial managers must advise, decide, and defend complex financial decisions that may or may not fit into standard finance theory.

  • This course will provide students with an understanding of the theory and practice of investment decision making. The course is divided into three modules: asset allocation, manager selection, and market frictions. The first module examines the decision of how to allocate a portfolio across different asset classes (e.g., stocks, bonds, and real estate). Using the tools developed in modern portfolio theory, students will examine the tradeoff between risk and return, the optimization of the risk-return tradeoff for a portfolio, and the role of forecasting expected returns in designing an optimal portfolio. The second module explores the process of selecting portfolio managers for the different asset classes included in the portfolio. Students will use the CAPM and multifactor performance models to analyze manager performance and select the best managers. The third module examines market frictions that affect performance and that consequently should be considered in the asset-allocation and manager-selection decisions. These frictions include manager incentives and risk taking, market liquidity, trading costs, and taxes. While the course is designed for students whose career interests lie in the field of investment management, the topics covered and tools developed in the course will be useful for personal investment as well. “Valuation in Financial Markets” (MOD-0162Y) is a prerequisite for this course.  Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • This course will prepare students to act effectively and with integrity under pressure. The elective is based on a pioneering new approach—using pre-scripting and rehearsal—to prepare business managers/leaders for values-driven decision making and action. Rather than simply talking about these difficult decisions and conversations, students will have the opportunity to practice them.

    Students will come away from this course with an expanded toolkit, as well as having gained practice in a variety of methods and techniques for voicing and enacting their own values and principles in the workplace. Students will develop and practice leadership skills in “peer coaching” by facilitating sessions with other students. They will also have the opportunity to share student-developed cases with business schools and businesses around the world via the Giving Voice to Values (GVV) platform (,

    Drawing on both the actual experience of business practitioners as well as cutting-edge research, GVV fills a long-standing and critical gap in our understanding of how to enable emerging leaders to effectively enact their values. Rather than a focus on ethical analysis, GVV focuses on ethical action and asks the questions: “What if I were going to act on my values? What would I say and do? How could I be most effective?”

  • The strategic and tactical problems of managing the operations function in the service environment are examined in this course. Topics include capacity management and workforce planning, lean thinking, and the role of operations in defining and delivering a competitive advantage in services and service design thinking. Because the functional areas of business have high levels of interdependence in the service environment, this course also examines the interface between operations and other functional areas.

  • Marketing Analytics focuses on developing marketing strategies and resource allocation decisions driven by quantitative analysis. Topics covered include market segmentation, market response models, customer profitability, social media, paid search advertising, product recommendation systems, mobile geo-location analysis, media attribution models, and resource allocation. The course will draw on and extend students’ understanding of issues related to integrated marketing communications, pricing, digital marketing, and quantitative analysis. The course will use a combination of cases, lectures, and a hands-on project to develop these skills. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • This course will review and reinforce the basic concepts gained from the first year Decision Analysis course, such as spreadsheet construction, simulation, regression, and decision trees. The two primary objectives of the course are to improve students' basic analytical skills and to strengthen their ability to integrate quantitative analysis into their general decision-making process. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • Postmerger integration (PMI) is a relatively new field of practice as well as research. While PMI is a hot topic in executive suites and consulting practices, it is also an area that has only just started accumulating a body of knowledge, in terms of fundamental principles, best practices, and cornerstones of success. This is reflected in the low level of tangible success in an activity whose global transactions total more than $3.8 trillion annually.
    This course examines a number of transactions over a variety of circumstances in order to distill PMI principles and practices. Students are presented with a series of postmerger situations and are asked to not only solve the problems and dilemmas encountered, but also track the similarities and differences across them. From this, students develop a unique understanding of PMI relative to their individual experience. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • The purpose of this course is to provide students with practical information on the growing frontier of innovation and entrepreneurial activity at the nexus of business and natural systems. The term "sustainable business" refers to competitively advantageous strategies and practices firms adopt to grow revenues, cut costs, improve market share, enhance brands, and redesign products and processes to reduce or eliminate adverse environmental and health impacts. Students will study trends and science driving the growing demand for clean technology and life cycle product designs. Students will look at drivers of corporate innovation, strategic shifts, and new markets, learn skills to help identify market opportunities, and understand the tools, concepts, and frameworks used by companies currently pursuing sustainable business opportunities. Through the use of articles, technical notes, cases, and guests, the course examines company strategies and practices while providing history and frameworks for context and comprehension. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • Good strategies emerge from creative intellectual insight, and while such tools as the Five Forces and growth/share matrices can be powerful guides, they rarely produce unique strategies on their own. Austrian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz pointed out how “presence of mind” was necessary for a strategist to experience the “aha” of strategic discovery. As we will see, eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism focus on how to clear one’s mind, allowing those “ahas” to manifest.

    This course evolved from my experience as a strategist, in which I started with rational-linear western economics and ended with an appreciation for the role of intuition and insight in the creation and development of strategy. This led me to create this course, where we will read English translations of source materials from several significant eastern philosophers. We will also study such Asian military books as The Art of War (Sun Tzu) and the Book of Five Rings (Samurai method and philosophy) and learn the game of GO (eastern counterpart to chess) to investigate further the alternative ways of framing strategy. We will end with the classic text the Tao Te Ching and a familiar strategy case to bring the various philosophies together.

  • This course is targeted toward students from any discipline who wish to understand how to create competitive advantage and market share leadership through tools that enable marketers to drive growth. It sits at the intersection of general management, marketing, and consulting and is designed to provide you with a toolkit that will help you understand how to design brand strategies (brand essence statement tool), architect superior positions in the marketplace (concept positioning tool) implement (creative brief and MarTech blueprint tools), manage (strategic marketing plan tool), and sell (model development).

  • In “The Global Economics of Water,” students study water from an economic perspective. We link key macro and micro economic concepts to water use and water scarcity across the world. We argue that the global economy can provide answers to local water scarcity when it gives way to more efficient water use and when local solutions can be applied across the globe. Our economic perspective complements the prevailing engineering, environmental science, and hydrological approach to studying water and defines the environment within which firms operate. An alternative way to look at the course is to see it as an opportunity to learn more economics and to study key micro (and macro) economic concepts (comparative advantage, natural monopoly, Coase theorem, open access resource, tragedy of the commons, Green Solow Model, etc.) that will complement the economics you learned in first-year GEM courses and enhance your understanding of how markets function.

     The class has four modules. After the introduction, in which we link climate change to the water cycle, we focus on the global context of water and water use, anchoring our discussion with the case of Singapore. The second module is focused on public policy. We first tackle the open-access nature of water and the public supply of water before studying water markets as an increasingly popular tool to fight water scarcity. In the third module, we specifically put corporations and nongovernmental organizations at the center of the analysis and study how they try to curb water use. The fourth module consists of group projects, focusing on desalination, corporate social responsibility, and investing in water. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • "Corporate Financial Policies" (CFP) extends the corporate finance topics that were introduced in the first-year "Financial Management and Policies" course (UVA-MOD-0123Y) and then enhanced in the Valuation course. The course is taught predominantly from the viewpoint of the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, and treasurer of a corporation. The objective of the course is to introduce students to the various aspects of a chief financial officer's job. Topics include: risk management, resource allocation, dividend policy, raising external funds, determination of the cost of capital, evaluating investment opportunities, and the design of management. The Valuation in Financial Markets course is a prerequisite for this class.

    The course is organized into two modules. The first module, "Bond Pricing Basics & Advanced" (UVA-MOD-0162), concentrates on valuing traded financial assets in the fixed income, options, and currency markets. These assets have precisely defined payoffs and often involve complicated structures. In the second module, "Valuing Companies" (UVA-MOD-0163), the course focuses on valuing entire companies (i.e., enterprises) and the implication for stock prices and equity value. We pay particular attention to different ways to deal with the impact of both operating results and financial structure on market value. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • Seasoned leaders will tell you that there were defining moments—those instances in which their values and judgment were revealed—that played a disproportionate role in how they and others thought about their success. Some of these situations involve “right versus right” situations, which is how Joseph Badaracco described defining moments in his book by the same title. For example, according to the values of loyalty and honesty/transparency, it would be both right as a manager to keep quiet a company’s upcoming announcement about layoffs and it would be right to want to prevent soon-to-be-laid-off employees from making major new purchases like a house or car. Yet in collecting the experiences of thousands of practicing managers, I’m convinced this is too narrow a definition. Some defining moments involve what the person facing the situation believes is clearly a “wrong,” and the reason it’s a defining moment ‘is because the person has to decide whether they have the courage and the competence to execute a productive response. For instance, watching your hard-working team be publicly denigrated by a higher-up clearly feels wrong to people who have experienced that situation. For them, the defining moment comes in deciding if, and how, to respond to that senior leader who is unfairly abusing the team. And there is no other obvious “right” at play other than one’s own self-interests (be that protecting one’s status or lifestyle, longer-term career objectives, family’s well-being, and so on).

    My research over the past decade reveals that when people don’t respond in defining moments (out of fear, short-term self-interest, or unrecognized cognitive distortions) or don’t respond well (due to strong emotions or insufficient communication skills), they often feel regret and other negative emotions for a long time. For example, regret can linger for decades for people who “know they should have done something.” Other people are proud that they took action, but regret “how” they acted and wish they had had better skills to help them be more effective and/or avoid negative consequences. Thus in this course students have an opportunity to do two primary things: 1) consider their own (and others’) instinctive reactions to numerous defining moments as a vehicle for understanding both what’s most important to themselves (and others) as they go forward as a leader and what skills they need to hone to successfully face the challenges associated with those priorities, and 2) to practice using the kinds of tools and skills that can help them navigate the most difficult kinds of work experience with as much emotional and behavioral competence as possible.

Executive Education

  • This program provides nonfinancial managers with the essential financial terminology, concepts, and applications. With this knowledge, participants will be able to analyze and interpret commonly used financial information to help make business decisions and work more effectively with financial executives in their organizations. The program content is centered on the use of current annual reports of public corporations and the financial information that profiles real-world issues and organizations. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • This course is designed to give finance executives a tactical perspective on their businesses, with particular attention given to leading strategically in today's environment of rapid change and growing global opportunities. The program will also focus on mastering the latest developments in corporate finance. Upon completion, finance executives will have the capabilities to lead their organizations' growth activities with strong financial discipline and extensive strategic insight. Executives will learn to apply the latest finance and strategy concepts to issues that arise in the global business environment. They will return to the workplace with improved risk-management skills and the knowledge and tools to improve communication related to financial implications of strategies across their organizations. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

  • This course is designed for practicing managers and business leaders as a how-to guide for explaining research findings and presenting tools and processes to help each participant to create an internal aligned growth system, identify growth opportunities, launch growth experiments, and create and manage a diversified growth portfolio. The book and cases in this course attack the natural proclivity of organizations to be anti-growth. Using research examples of growth leaders and growth companies, this course presents a roadmap for growth that can be used to transform a business into a consistent growth company. Click on the PDF icon next to this course title to download the full syllabus which has links to the course materials.

Case Method and Pedagogy

  • This note describes the case method, its pros and cons, and its demands on both the instructor and the student. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • This note describes the process of case writing and offers suggestions and tips. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • This note introduces the concept of experiential methods in teaching. Intended primarily for a doctoral seminar on pedagogy, the note would also be appropriate for instructors wishing to examine their teaching style or to use experiential methods in their teaching. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • This note, an introductory conceptual framework for a doctoral seminar on pedagogy, outlines seven key contributors to effective learning and discusses the relationships among those elements. The seven elements are institutional culture, program culture, instructor, students, materials, setting, and methodology. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • This note offers suggestions and tips for participants of an executive education cohort. It serves as an introduction to the case method for managers and practitioners. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • This technical note, written for students, gives a first "how to do it" introduction to studying by the case method. The note argues that success follows from a combination of good attitude, good "infrastructure," and good execution. This could be distributed along with a course syllabus or advance materials and was written with the objective of helping students more quickly achieve levels of effective preparation and discussion. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • In this note, expectations and practices of learning teams at the Darden Business School are detailed, as well as some basic frameworks that will help learning teams to meet with continued success. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • This note is intended for college-level instructors as a description of "bridge" skills between lecturing and the case method. It describes both the benefits and the disadvantages of discussions, techniques for using discussions, and tips for starting and managing discussions. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • How does one know what makes a good case? Are there certain attributes that effective business school cases have? This technical note was intended to help writers who may or may not be business school professors write a case. The note includes material on objectives, finding leads, interview questions and interviewing techniques, and case structure. Although the idea of what constitutes a good case may be debatable, there are several characteristics that good case studies have in common. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • What material should be included in a teaching note, the instructional tool that accompanies your business school case study?and makes its use far more likely? All good teaching notes have several characteristics in common. This technical note can help any business school professor, case writer, or collaborator create a teaching note that helps an instructor use your case to its fullest potential. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • This note describes the characteristics of good case-method teaching notes. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • This note describes the characteristics of good case-method teaching notes. Click below to download a complimentary copy.

  • This note describes some of the characteristics of the case method and what is expected of the student for a successful experience. Click below to download a complimentary copy.