Duke - The Fuqua School of Business



The world of business changes daily; you have 10 months to catch up. Beginning in July and running through early May, our Master of Management Studies: Foundations of Business (MMS: FOB) program is organized into 5 terms that are each 6 weeks long. You will take 3 courses in each term. We give you all the time you need to firmly grasp the information.

James W. Says:
Don't expect downtime on Wednesdays—between team meetings, career events, and outside engagement opportunities you’ll always find something new to experience.

Summer Term

  • Financial accounting develops your ability to read, understand, and use corporate financial reports. Discover the basics of bookkeeping, accounting terminology, and fundamental accounting concepts, including the definitions of financial statement elements. Explore the accounting treatments of key transactions (e.g., making sales on credit to customers, collecting cash from those customers, raising capital). Understand how financial reports portray the effects of underlying economic events and use this portrayal to draw inferences about future profitability. Learn the financial reporting process, because understanding the environment in which financial reporting takes place facilitates the evaluation of information provided by firms in published financial statements.

    Tyler L. Says:
    This is NOT your undergraduate accounting course. Even if you have a firm grasp of the core concepts, the cases you'll study illustrate how the real business world doesn't follow what you think you know from a textbook.
  • Strong communication skills are key to success in today's globally distributed business environment. The ability to communicate effectively, using the broad range of media available, is important across all aspects of work in a business setting. Whether it is an analyst conveying the results from an assigned project or a C-suite executive leading an organization, the ability to express oneself effectively is a key determinant of the impact and influence one is able to have within an organization. One typically thinks of communication skills as focusing solely on the written and spoken word. Given the central role financial analysis plays in a business setting, it is equally critical to have a strong skill set in expressing oneself through spreadsheet modeling and analytical tools. The ability to communicate effectively is also a primary determinant of one's ability to effectively develop, manage, and execute a job search strategy.

    To provide exposure to this broad range of communication skills needed for success as a Master of Management Studies student, Business Communication I is divided into three tracks: one dealing with classic communication skills, including oral, written, and presentation; Excel, particularly as it relates to effective communication in the role of an analyst-level position; and Career Management Center activities tied to the effective conduct of a job search and associated activities.

    Learn more about the Business Communication courses and how they'll help you in your job search.

  • Quantitative Business Analysis provides an introduction to the analytical foundations of decision making. It deals with topics that are important when structuring decision problems, when analyzing them, and when deciding. The course begins with an introduction to probability, random variables and their properties. Two special random variables, the binomial and the normal, are analyzed since they are used extensively in practical applications. These topics serve as the basis for examining how to use sample data to make informed decisions about entire populations, both with point estimates and with confidence intervals. The course then provides an overview of regression analysis as a way of finding associations between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables, for improved understanding and/or for prediction purposes. The course concludes with an examination of the use of functions to describe business problems and with the use of optimization as a way to find best solutions.

Fall Term I

  • Learn the fundamentals of supply and demand analysis, which is the basic tool for analyzing and understanding competition and the market determination of prices and quantities. Study the ideologies surrounding consumer choices and production and cost theory. Develop the tools for market structure analysis and apply them to monopoly and oligopoly markets as well as to price discrimination. Game theory tools are developed and applied to analyze strategic interactions.

    Scott G. Says:
    Be ahead of the game. Start paying attention to major economic indicators like the jobs reports, consumer prices, and what the Fed says.
  • Learn the principles, processes, and tools necessary to analyze markets and design optimal marketing programs. Assess marketing opportunities by analyzing the 3C'scustomers, competitors, and your own company. Design effective marketing programs by selecting appropriate strategies for pricing, promotion, place, and product, also known as the 4 P's.  Modern marketing philosophy holds that only those firms that provide high customer value can succeed in the long run. During this course, learn how to create that value. 

    Whitney D. Says:
    Learn to be the customer advocate. Put yourself in their shoes. How do they make choices and is the thing that you're selling actually providing value to them?
  • Examine important issues in corporate finance from the perspective of financial managers who are responsible for making investment and financing decisions. The concept of net present value, suitably adapted to account for taxes, uncertainty, and strategic concerns is used to analyze how investment and financing decisions interact to affect the value of the firm. Assess the coverage of capital budgeting, first without and then with uncertainty. Observe and track the interaction between taxes (corporate and personal) and the cost of capital. And study a treatment of dividend policy and capital market efficiency, as they relate to the value-maximization objective of the firm.

    The Career Management Center Says:
    This course is a must for those interested in working as a Financial Analyst.

Fall Term II

  • Identify business opportunities in dynamic competitive environments and, in turn, develop the skills necessary to be an effective strategy analyst as part of any business position. Tackle the complexity of analyzing competition in this era of globalization and changing firm boundaries, and assess strategy under increasing uncertainty. Develop strategic thinking by learning the concepts, models, and tools of strategic analysis and apply them to competitive situations. Develop the capability to assess a firm's strategic position with respect to rivals, the larger industry, and customers, given the firm's internal resources and capabilities.

    Tyler L. Says:
    Regardless of where you end up in your career, what you learn in this class will evolve how you think about and address problems.
  • The focus of this course is to build on the career management and communication skills acquired in Business Communication I. On the classic communication track, the course objective is developing the oral, written, and presentation skills needed for success in a team-based work environment, with an emphasis on creating team-based presentations and reports. On the Career Management Center track, the emphasis is on refining your job search plan, with an emphasis on networking, the off campus job search, and perfecting the skills introduced in Business Communication I.

    Learn more about the Business Communication courses and how they'll help you in your job search.

  • Explore the fundamental principles of asset valuation, investments, and investment management. Topics include time value of money and discounting, diversification and risk, arbitrage and hedging, asset allocation, asset pricing models (including the capital asset pricing model (CAPM), factor models, and consumption based asset pricing), active portfolio management, performance evaluation, and the interaction between capital markets and the macro economy.

    Tyler L. Says:
    Do yourself a favor and learn the lay of the land early. Start watching Bloomberg and reading Financial Times now.

Spring Term I

  • Gather, analyze, and interpret data about markets and customers. Learn to define decision problems and determine what information is needed. This includes engaging in "backward marketing research" by envisioning decisions that will be made based on the research. Examine how to acquire trustworthy and relevant data and judge its quality by utilizing secondary research such as internal customer databases or knowledge management systems. Analyze data relevant to classic marketing decisions by understanding state-of-the-art data analysis techniques. The context for learning these analysis skills will be common marketing decision problems, including target market selection, new product or service introduction, customer retention, and pricing.

    Whitney D. Says:
    Learn how to turn data into information and make educated marketing decisions.
  • Study the use of accounting information for internal decision-making and control purposes as opposed to the external disclosure focus of the financial accounting course. Integrate accounting principles with ideas from microeconomics, data analysis, decision analysis, finance, and operations management. The topical coverage of the course emphasizes the design of management accounting systems for analyzing costs in the context of the firm's business model, and the use of managerial accounting data in planning and controlling operations.
    Scott G. Says:
    This class will draw upon a lot of what you learn in other classes. Plus, you’ll learn how an internal accounting decision can reinforce bad employee behavior.
  • Successful management requires the ability to recognize a decision situation, understand its essential features, and make a smart choice; however in the business world the stakes may be too high to learn by experience. Use decision models—simplified representations of situations involving uncertainty and/or complex interactions to help you gain the necessary skills to make the best decision. Discover several commonly used modeling tools (decision trees, Monte Carlo simulation, and optimization) and learn the art of modeling in a Microsoft Excel environment. Familiarity with Excel, which you'll get during Business Communication I and II, is an important prerequisite for this course.

    James W. Says:
    If you believe Professor Dan Ariely, you probably make irrational decisions sometimes. This class will give you some great tools to add some quantitative logic to your decision-making process.

Spring Term II

  • Be an effective leader and manager of others, whatever your level in the organization. Examine practices that make teams more efficient and adaptable, and that help harness diversity and enhance innovation. Study the theory and practice of negotiation and get tools to improve your personal contribution to your team and firm. Discover how to lead others to respect and listen to your views and opinions.

    Tyler L. Says:
    You can be the brightest person in the room, but if you don’t know how to operate in a team, influence others, and navigate an organization, you simply won’t be successful in business.
  • Focus on financial analysis of a firm and on valuation of its shares. Analyze and interpret financial statements, with exposure to publicly available sources of financial information used in capital markets. Develop important Excel modeling skills pertaining to financial planning, analysis, and valuation. Build on your prior coursework in financial accounting, strategy, managerial accounting, investments, and corporate finance. Evaluate the financial implications of a firm's articulated strategy and use that information to project the firm's financial statements several years into the future by applying various valuation techniques to determine the forecasted or target prices of the firm's shares.

    James W. Says:
    This is an excellent capstone course! It draws on what you’ve learned in previous classes. Keep watching Bloomberg and reading Financial Times!
  • Study the basic facts and principles of supply chain processes and activities, from the extraction of raw materials, through transportation and processing, to the delivery of finished products to the customer. These activities typically involve numerous geographic locations and firms with different objectives. The crucial decisions include infrastructure investments, the quantities to produce and ship, the timing of shipments, where to hold inventories, and which firms should be responsible for which activities. The management of supply chains is difficult and complicated, but essential in the modern economy.

    Tyler L. Says:
    Hands-on learning just got more interesting. You’ll learn what the bullwhip effect is by distributing beer.