No matter what their area of interest and expertise, anyone who is progressing into a more senior management position in a corporation needs a level of financial acumen and skill, says Professor Paolo Fulghieri

“In large companies, managers often come from non-finance disciplines, like operations or marketing or engineering. As they reach higher levels within the corporation, they find that they need to have a more precise appreciation of the tools they can use in the finance function, and better knowledge and exposure to finance and especially budgeting techniques,” he says. 

This is the basis of the Foundations of Finance program that Fulghieri will be presenting at the Amsterdam Institute of Finance in June 2020. The intensive five-day course is designed to help non-financial managers understand the principles of corporate finance and develop the tools to make financial decisions. 

“Even if they don’t do the financial analysis themselves, they will be able to understand what other people do when they do financial analysis, so they can be educated consumers and critically evaluate proposals developed by the financial team and participate more actively in the process.” 

The course is also appropriate for anyone interested in developing a career in finance or entrepreneurs. It will allow these attendees to consolidate their knowledge of finance and to achieve a deeper understanding of the finance toolbox. “Entrepreneurs typically start with a business idea, a product or technology. They generally know how to run the operations side but they have little knowledge of the financial implications. This course gives them the tools they need.”

Real-world application

Participants learn the main principles underlying corporate finance, gaining a solid foundation of financial insight and understanding. The program is geared to real-world application, using case studies and spreadsheet exercises to give participants the tools and experience to make financial decisions that help create value.

Paolo has taught corporate finance for decades at leading institutions including Columbia University, the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, University of Chicago, and at INSEAD, where he has been Dean of the PhD Program. “I say that the questions are always the same but the answers change,” he says. This course incorporates up-to-date approaches to financial decision making. 

“I say that the questions are always the same but the answers change.”

Professor Paolo Fulghieri

While the Foundations of Finance program covers the fundamentals, it has evolved over the years to keep up with the issues and demands of the day, says Paolo Fulghieri. “In the last 10 years, since the financial crash of 2008, there is a better appreciation of the importance of finance and the direct consequences that come from the misapplication of finance. There’s also been a worldwide shift of focus from Wall Street to Main Streets, from finance being something that concerns institutions in big money centers, to an increased appreciation of the importance of finance within every corporation.” 

He adds, “Risk management has become a more important component of the governance of the corporation, as management have come to recognize that the failure of proper risk management can jeopardize the entire corporation. That’s one of the areas we focus on in the course – how to set up a system to make sure the company is not exposed.”

Another area that has become more central to corporations and to finance is social responsibility and sustainability. “Economics and finance have to integrate environmental and social concerns in our discussion, and the impact that these can have on corporate value drivers.”

Foundations of Finance is taught using a blended learning approach, combining traditional face-to-face classroom teaching with web-based learning. Approximately 80% of the program is taught in a classic classroom, with an additional 20% being incorporated in web-based learning materials. Participants complete an online self-study part before coming together as a group to the face-to-face course, getting maximum value and exposure with less time away from the office and home. 

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