The Great Courses – Critical Business Skills for Success
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Our comprehensive five-part, 60-lecture course, Critical Business Skills for Success, is designed to give you just this kind of integrated, accessible introduction. Bringing together five prestigious and renowned business professors from some of America’s top business schools, each of this course’s five parts is a detailed look at a particular skill:
- finance and accounting,
- organizational behavior, and
Here in one place is an authoritative guide to the five essential disciplines that everyone, entry-level employees and CEOs alike, needs to master in order to reap rewards in today’s complex marketplace.
In each part, you’ll learn about everything from key terms and methodologies to research-backed strategies and case studies involving some of the world’s most influential companies.
This kind of well-rounded business education is useful to anyone who works in a company of any size. Whether you’re in a leadership position, just starting out, or somewhere in between, these skills will help you understand all of the functions of a business, not just your area of specialty. It’s also a great resource to have even if you already have an MBA, as you can return to this course again and again for advice and clarification.
Bringing the MBA experience right to you, Critical Business Skills for Success demystifies the secrets of business and gives you insights that will help you achieve your goals.
Part One: Strategy
Where, and with whom, will your business compete? What will you do, and not do, as a company? How will you create advantages that put you ahead of the competition? You can have the world’s greatest product and the most effective marketing for selling that product, but if you don’t have an effective strategy underlying your business or organization, a template for how it should run, you’ll find it hard to stay on top of the business world.
Why is a crystal-clear strategy an essential piece of the business puzzle? In the words of popular Great Courses Professor Michael A. Roberto of Bryant University, it’s because businesses can’t do everything. “And so you have to be very clear about how you’re going to use your resources in the most efficient way possible, both to serve the customers you intend to serve and to serve them better than anyone else.”
Now you can learn straight from an award-winning business instructor the secrets to developing, executing, and managing powerful business strategies with Critical Business Skills: Strategy. Award-winning Professor Roberto’s 12 lectures provide you with a research-based framework for understanding how strategy works and how to apply it.
Get Two Angles on Business Strategy
Business strategy is one of the business world’s most crucial activities. It’s the template for how your organization should run, and comes before anything else. Throughout these lectures, you’ll explore strategy from two fundamental angles:
- You’ll examine the world of business unit strategy, focusing on how particular companies use strategic frameworks to beat their rivals in a particular product market.
- You’ll also take a step back and explore the concept of corporate strategy, and how multi-business units and diversified companies strategically operate in a variety of product markets.
But most important are the many specific strategies you’ll learn how to formulate, wield, and apply to your own unique business situations.
Take On Tomorrow’s Business Challenges
Professor Roberto, using his years of experience in the business world and his piercing insights into business strategy, includes in each lecture of Critical Business Skills: Strategy stories of real-world successes (and failures) involving major companies of the past decade, including J.C. Penney, the Walt Disney Company, Target, and AOL Time Warner. An eight-time winner of Bryant University’s prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award, he knows how to make this subject, and the research behind it, undeniably captivating and essential for any well-rounded understanding of how great businesses succeed and how poor businesses fail.
Part Two: Operations
Some people think of operations as a specialized aspect of business, usually overshadowed by a focus on corporate strategy and marketing. But without effective operations, which work hand-in-hand with the other core business disciplines, you have no goods or services. In short, you can’t deliver on your promise to your customers, your employees, and your shareholders.
Professor Goldsby’s Critical Business Skills: Operations is your accessible guide to everything you need to understand—and utilize—operations and operations management. In 12 thorough lectures, you’ll explore a range of topics related to supply chains and logistics, including inventory management; performance measurement; new trends in, and research on, strategies to enhance agility and sustainability; internal and external resources companies use to mitigate risk and thrive; and much more. And with this course, you’ll be able to break through the intimidation of a specialized subject and start using operations to improve the functionality of your organization—wherever you stand in the hierarchy, in any kind of business.
Tying his operational insights to case studies of major national and international companies and corporations, Professor Goldsby makes Critical Business Skills: Operations an invaluable resource and reference for anyone interested in a thorough mastery of business administration.
An expert in Six Sigma techniques and logistics management, he delivers fascinating insights into why operations is the key (and often overlooked) component of success in business, and how it can help your company—whether you’re looking to eliminate waste from processes, measure your operational performance more effectively, or ensure that your business strategy covers the supply and demand requirements of your organization.
Part Three: Finance and Accounting
To succeed as a businessperson in today’s fast-paced, global marketplace, one of the essential business skills you need to master—whether you’re a top-level manager, an investor, or an entrepreneur—is a firm grasp of how finance and accounting work.
Accounting is the language in which organizations communicate their performance. Finance translates this language into smart, savvy business decisions. And no matter how honed your corporate strategy, how intricate your operations, or how ethical your organizational behavior, if you don’t know about the business side of money, you cannot dream of building or growing a business. Knowing the fundamentals of finance and accounting—key terms, concepts, methodologies, real-world examples, and applications—is knowledge that can make all the difference in making wise decisions, whether you’re looking to raise capital for a bold new venture, value once-in-a-lifetime stocks, or build a better investment portfolio.
These 12 informative lectures make a seemingly intimidating topic accessible to learners from all backgrounds, and will help you hone the critical skills you need to finally master the fundamentals of business. With the guidance of award-winning Professor Eric Sussman, a senior lecturer in accounting at the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a licensed CPA and business consultant, you’ll soon discover the confidence to understand, interpret, and learn from the vital financial data in your professional and personal life.
Part Four: Organizational Behavior
You have your product, you’ve developed your business plan for selling that product, and you’ve spent invaluable time and money securing the top talent to help you reach your goals. It’s all smooth sailing from here, right?
Unfortunately, it turns out that some of the costliest mistakes within an organization stem from a critical misunderstanding of how organizations work, and how to operate effectively within them. If you don’t have a workforce that’s operating smoothly to accomplish your organizational goals, there’s no way you’ll succeed in business.
- Why are some leaders more effective than others?
- What makes a team or department so productive?
- Why are some initiatives received enthusiastically, and others met with apathy?
Questions like these are at the heart of organizational behavior, a field that contains powerful strategies and best practices that everyone in the business world should learn. Professor Clinton O. Longenecker, an award-winning business instructor from The University of Toledo and an active business management coach, has created Critical Business Skills: Organizational Behavior to answer these questions and more. Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or an entry-level employee looking to climb the ranks, in these 12 engaging lectures, you’ll expand your understanding of business by exploring the key psychosocial and behavioral issues that impact our ability, as employees and leaders, to get work done. Tapping into the science of human behavior, along with numerous case studies and research from Professor Longenecker’s professional experience, you’ll come away from these lectures with refined skills and an essential list of tools, tips, and techniques for putting yourself in a position to succeed.
Professor Longenecker delivers powerful lectures that explore in depth what he calls “power factors” that can help you achieve better results for your organization.
- Effective leadership: Effective leaders can impact innovation and creativity, productivity and efficiency, workplace motivation and job satisfaction, and other important performance variables.
- Emotional intelligence: By recognizing your own emotions and those of others, you can better cultivate productive relationships in the workplace.
- Teamwork and cooperation: Failing to leverage cooperation in a business setting is essentially a failure to utilize a source of competitive advantage.
- Power and influence: Where does authority come from? What are the common mistakes people in authority positions make?
With Professor Longenecker, named by The Economist as one of the top 15 business professors in the world, you’re getting critical business school insights from a master of the subject.
Part Five: Marketing
Here’s a surprising truth about business: The best product doesn’t always win. It takes more than just a great idea or a clear-cut strategy to succeed in business; you have to know how to sell that idea to consumers, each with their own tastes and values.
True marketing, according to consumer psychologist and award-winning professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University, is a methodology; a series of skills that should be applied to every stage of business, from initial conception to product development to brand management. In his words, it’s “what turns something with the potential for creating value into something that actually creates value for the customer—and the company for selling it.” And it all revolves around being able to answer three fundamental questions:
- Who are my customers?
- What do they value?
- How can I give them what they value better than competitors?
Regardless of your professional role in an organization knowing the ins and outs of marketing is a surefire way to help your company create value, both for itself and for its customers.
In Critical Business Skills: Marketing, part of our comprehensive series on the five essential skills in business, Professor Hamilton has crafted an informative, accessible lecture series that introduces you to the fundamentals, the concepts, the tools, and the applications of effective marketing. Filled with intriguing case studies, expert insights, and helpful strategies, these twelve lectures are crucial for anyone looking to market a product or idea, develop lasting relationships with customers, and strengthen their business savvy.
Acclaimed by Emory University M.B.A. students for his award-winning teaching skills, Professor Hamilton makes the field of marketing fascinating and relevant to all audiences. At the end of this course, he leaves you with a packed toolbox of practical marketing tools for everything from expanding your business to diagnosing weak sales to building more effective relationships with your customers.
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