Start a management program at American Public University.
By Dr. Kathleen Shriver
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Public University
When students enroll in a managerial analysis course at American Public University, the question most often asked is, “What should I expect in class?” The answer is that to be successful, you should expect to spend more than a few hours each week reading the assigned materials, participating in the discussion forums and completing the homework assignments on time.
Global Management Perspective (BUSN601) is usually the first course students take in the MBA program. It is a research-based course with writing assignments each week and a final project.
The course focuses on managerial decisions that are driven by cultural factors and made by business managers in a global setting.
In Managerial Analysis (BUSN602), the managerial decision-making process is based on quantitative financial analysis. This is a core course for all the concentration offerings.
Managerial Analysis introduces students to a practical application of many of the concepts and topics they will learn in greater detail in subsequent business and finance courses. Interwoven throughout the course is the concept of the time value of money, such as:
- Financial statement reviews
- Valuation of future cash flow, bonds and stocks
- Capital budgeting
- Financial planning
- Capital structure
Starting the Managerial Analysis Course
The first order of business for the class is to read the instructor’s welcome message and the homepage. The next steps should be:
- Registering for the Connect Lab
- Completing a few of the reading assignments from the syllabus and the Lessons area of the online classroom
- Reading the first section in Lessons on course materials and evaluation
- Becoming familiar with the navigation panel options on the left side of the classroom
Introductory Forum Post Allows Students to Share Their Educational and Professional Background
The introduction forum is the first written assignment, where students can share their educational and professional backgrounds. The forum is also where many students will express their fears of working in the Connect Lab, due to the math and Excel homework. But by the end of the course, most students are well prepared to meet the academic challenges in this course.
The forum posts require in-depth research. Graduate students are expected to do research and to share their findings with their fellow students in a minimum 300-word content post. They also post 150-word responses to a minimum of two other classmates. A grading rubric outlines the various grading categories.
Learning the APA Citation Style
In Week Five, students turn in a formal writing assignment. A template and a PowerPoint presentation are included in the course to help students learn the American Psychological Association (APA) 6th edition citation format. A grading rubric is provided and it is helpful to review the rubric’s grading categories before submitting a paper.
Using the Connect Lab
The Connect Lab requires an access code that is included in the online course text or custom book if it is purchased from the APUS Bookstore. Students who decide to buy or rent the textbook from another provider will need to purchase the code separately, using the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) from the APUS Bookstore.
Other Expectations for the Managerial Analysis Course
The lab contains all required readings and assignments outlined by week. Students have the entire week and three attempts to complete each homework assignment. Students have a week to complete the midterm and final exams; both of these tests are in an open book format with multiple choice questions. Some questions will include calculations.
The weekly chapters contain practice questions and problems to help foster understanding of the concepts. The practice problems are not graded. There are also resources on the textbook website that show step-by-step solutions for many of the problems and video hints for many of the homework problems, as well as a “check my work” option.
PowerPoint examples are included in the lessons each week. For students who are not familiar with using Excel or a financial calculator, the homework may take longer to complete.
However, there is no need to purchase a financial calculator. Several websites offer free financial calculators and many students complete the course using them. Students also can ask questions in the open forum in the classroom and receive tips on completing the problem.
The eight-week course goes by quickly, even with a great deal of material to cover. Effective time management is very important, especially for students who may feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that is required.
Taking time each day or every other day to participate in the forums and work on the homework assignments helps reduce stress. Working on the homework problems while reading the chapters also works well for many students. What does not work is waiting until Sunday to complete an assignment due on Monday.
This course provides an overview of financial and economic concepts that are important to business managers and while it will take some hard work, you should find the lessons worthwhile. Many of the topics covered in this course will be presented in greater detail in your next classes. At the conclusion of BUSN602, you should have a better understanding of how managerial analysis theory translates into practice in the decision-making process.
About the Author
Dr. Kathleen Shriver is an associate professor in the School of Business at American Public University. She holds an M.B.A. in management with a minor in computer information systems from Baker College and a D.B.A. in financial management from Northcentral University.