Finance for Senior Executives
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who is this program designed for?
Finance for Senior Executives (FSE) is designed to meet the needs of senior managers in large established companies who are not financial specialists, but are called upon to make decisions or formulate strategies based on important financial input or outcomes.
While executives who attend the program typically hold positions outside finance, the program also benefits financial executives who need to strengthen their understanding of underlying corporate finance principles and update their skills in a broader and more strategic context.
Q. How does the curriculum meet the needs of both nonfinance and finance executives?
Both groups of executives will learn to communicate more effectively as they engage in dynamic financial discussions with an accomplished group of peers who have diverse functional roles. For example, the FSE classroom provides a supportive environment for nonfinance executives to ask, "Can you explain that to me again?"—or for financial specialists to ask, "How can I explain this better to my nonfinance colleagues?" All participants will return to their organizations with a more solid foundation in finance, greater insight into the different concerns of their colleagues during financial discussions, and tools to communicate more effectively with everyone in the organization—regardless of their professional background—and improve the bottom line.
Q. In what specific ways will nonfinance managers benefit from attending FSE?
This leadership development program explores the complex financial challenges facing today's senior decision-makers. The comprehensive curriculum provides a clearer understanding of the flow and management of financial resources at divisional and corporate levels, enabling you to contribute more to your company's future success.
Specifically, you will improve your ability to:
- Understand the role of finance in supporting the functional areas of the firm
- Employ basic analytical skills and the principles of corporate finance
- Establish successful and realistic performance plans, incentives, and financial controls
- Employ proven forecasting methods to predict and monitor financial outcomes
- Balance profit, growth, and control in highly dynamic environments
- Delve into the fundamentals of capital budgeting, cash flow, valuation, and risk analysis
Q. In what specific ways will financial executives benefit from attending FSE?
The FSE classroom provides a rare opportunity for financial experts to understand the concerns of their nonfinance colleagues and practice communicating financial concepts more clearly and effectively. Becoming an approachable resource for your nonfinance colleagues will enable you to have more productive conversations and expand your organizational impact.
Specifically, you will improve your ability to:
- Establish and monitor executive compensation policies
- Manage corporate distributions within the context of redemptions and liquidations
- Examine the decision-making processes of corporate managers, stockholders, creditors, unions, financial advisers, investors, and turnaround specialists
- Restructure and strategically employ valuation and financial analysis
- Explore best practices in profit planning, strategic profitability analysis, resource allocation, residual income techniques, and performance scorecards
- Set performance goals and incentives and use control systems to achieve them
Q. Is this program a good fit for executives from outside of North America?
Yes, FSE is a truly global program. While North American executives account for about half of all FSE past participants, Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East are represented as well. Through our Global Research Centers in Shanghai, Hong Kong, California, Europe, India, Japan, and Latin America, we continue to support the development of new cases and research for this program. During Finance for Senior Executives, you will learn from world-renowned faculty who are deeply engaged with companies across the globe. As you explore new global case studies and engage in dynamic role-playing and discussions, the HBS faculty and your fellow participants will highlight the key country differences in financial practice.
Q. What makes this HBS Executive Education program unique?
Every facet of Finance for Senior Executives—from participant selection…to amphitheater classroom seating…to learning group design…to social activities—is carefully crafted to promote dynamic interchange and shared learning among accomplished peers from diverse companies, industries, and countries. To reinforce the School's extraordinary sense of community, FSE participants live on campus in suites of single, private rooms arranged around a common area, providing ready access to colleagues and fostering peer-to-peer engagement. The intellectual stimulation of learning in the company of peers is one of the most rewarding aspects of the program experience, and most participants establish a network of friendships and business contacts that lasts a lifetime.