Business and Financial Analytics

The Business and Financial Analytics Concentration prepares you to be a partner in creating value for your chosen organization. For many organizations the most important assets it controls are people and information. Yet these organizations have more information than they can successfully utilize, while global competition makes their future appear more uncertain.

The emerging area of Analytics is focused on using business data to examine what already happened, to determine or predict what will happen, and to explore or model what should happen. Large amounts of data are increasingly available in organizations and effective leaders are able to harness that data, transfer it into information and ultimately, meaningful action.

Organizations truly need principled leaders who will first listen to stakeholders and then use analysis to find opportunities for value enhancing change. It is not enough to create reports. Leaders also need to take the next step to communicate their proposals, and persuade the acceptance of these opportunities based on carefully crafted forecasts of future performance goals and the needs of stakeholders. Forecasting these improved outcomes requires critical assumptions about both people and strategies the organization needs to achieve their principled goals.

The Business and Finance Analytics concentration is analysis and leadership with a purpose: the skills to find and persuade opportunities for your organization and then lead teams and strategies to achieve higher value for all stakeholders.

  •  Do you like to find solutions to problems?
  •  Do you enjoy working in mixed-discipline teams?
  •  Do you want the visibility and appreciation that comes from proposing goals and finding ways to achieve them?

If so, then consider the Business and Financial Analytics Concentration.

Academic Objectives
The concentration in Business and Financial Analytics will increase your analytical and leadership capabilities, and is a powerful complement to the core Simmons MBA curriculum. The Concentration will give you the knowledge and skills to more fully understand the needs of the organization, find opportunities for improvement, propose enhanced goals, and partner with senior management to craft people and financial strategies to increase the value of the organization.

Concentration in Business and Financial Analytics (3 courses: 1 required, 2 electives)

  • Financial Modeling (GSM 535 — requirement option 1)
  • Strategic Performance Measures (GSM 520 — requirement option 2)
  • Sustainability Analysis and Reporting (GSM 516 — elective)
  • Research Design & Analysis (GSM 526 — elective)
  • Financial Statement Analysis (GSM 524 — elective)
  • Investments (GSM 536 — elective)
  • International Finance (GSM 537 — elective)
  • Internship (GSM 501 — elective: must meet specific criteria, requires advance advisor approval)

MBA Concentration in Business Analytics (3 courses: 1 required, 2 electives)

Financial Modeling (GSM 535 — required option 1)
Financial Modeling is an applied practitioner's course that will hone skills for spreadsheet modeling of present decisions of forecasted financial performance. By the end of the class the student will be able to fully understand a future financial opportunity, model it with multiple decision measures, and discuss/professionally write about the modeling and potential outcomes. The student will become more confident about making financial decisions involving risk. Financial modeling will be done on future Income Statements, Balance Sheets, Cash Flow Statements, Cash Budgets, capital budgeting opportunities, short-term and long-term loans, stock options for hedging and speculations, dividend policy and company valuation. The class will include lecture to review financial concepts and issues, practice work with fully-prepared spreadsheet models, and small group/individual work to create financial models on a chosen company's financial opportunities. Prerequisites: Finance GSM 435

Strategic Performance Measures (GSM 520 — required option 2)
This case-based course focuses on the measures an organization develops to achieve its stated strategic, financial and operational goals in a business climate that emphasizes achieving ever increasing levels of corporate performance. A significant portion of the course will be devoted to both the elements and the applications of the Balanced Scorecard as an integrative tool to evaluate organizational performance in a variety of settings. Besides the Balanced Scorecard, we will briefly examine other ways to measure organizational success through risk assessment and other performance measures. Because the antecedents of many of these concepts lie with some fundamental management accounting concepts and their link to strategy, marketing, operations, organization behavior and finance, this course will focus on the whole organization. Prerequisites: GSM 420, GSM 421

Sustainability Analysis and Reporting (GSM 516 — elective)
This MBA elective course introduces students to best practices in sustainability analysis, evaluation and reporting in corporate and non-profit settings. As discussed in this course, sustainability includes environmental, economic and social considerations. The course reading includes a cutting edge book on sustainability practices. Teaching and learning is heavily project-based and involves surveying best practices in a particular industry/non-profit sector, evaluating feasibility in a specific organizational context and designing a data-collection, evaluation, reporting and communication plan. Prerequisite: none

Research Design and Analysis (GSM 526 — elective)
Effective strategic planning and decision making relies on management's ability to acquire and interpret relevant market-related information and have the skills to carry out sound research. This course will provide MBA students with an in-depth understanding of the research methods used by management researchers to obtain information to guide decision making. The goal is to provide students with sufficient knowledge about research methods to allow them to become sophisticated users and clients of marketing research services. Emphasis will be on how to: (1) specify information needs and design a research study to meet those needs; (2) collect, analyze, and use research data to make effective strategic and managerial decisions; (3) communicate the research findings and their implications to various stakeholders. Pre/Co-requisites: GSM 425

Internship (GSM 501 — elective. Must meet specific criteria, requires advance advisor approval)
An internship may be used as one of the 2 electives by advisor approval. The internship must be very application oriented for business analysis work, and the student has the appropriate course work/skills/background to fully engage in the analysis work of the internship.