Business Strategy and Financial Performance

INSEAD Business School

How long?

  • 7 weeks
  • online

What are the topics?

INSEAD Business School


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Who should attend

Driving Value through Business Acumen is designed for:

  • High potentials looking to accelerate their development as business leaders
  • Executives in functions such as HR and IT looking to improve their ability to act as business partners within their organisations
  • Those responsible for B2B client relationships looking to deepen their customer understanding and to position themselves as strategic partners

About the course

Building strategic thinking and financial acumen

Thinking strategically is no longer a skill confined to senior leaders; it is now crucial for professional success across a wide range of roles and responsibilities. The greater executives understand business strategy and financial performance, the better they are able to develop strategic agility in the face of disruption and make faster and smarter decisions. They will also be better equipped to help their organisations stay ahead of emerging opportunities, and drive the innovation initiatives needed to succeed in today’s more challenging markets.

Are you an executive – in any function, from production to IT – who is now being called upon to provide a strategic perspective on your organisation? Developing your ability to do so will allow you to better understand the drivers behind any organisation’s financial performance, and how to leverage that knowledge in your own specific areas of responsibility.

Do you work in corporate sales and advisory and need to understand your clients’ evolving business challenges? Developing a strategic mindset will improve your ability to act as a more effective partner for your clients, tailor your recommendations and clearly communicate your organisation’s distinctive value.

Business Strategy and Financial Performance is designed to give you the key tools and perspectives from strategy and finance to achieve these objectives. The programme will help you understand how a company’s strategic agenda can evolve, and how you can use that understanding to better identify opportunities for profitable differentiation. You will then learn how to use those opportunities to formulate an execution plan, drive organisational alignment and ultimately improve financial performance.

How you benefit

  • Develop your ability to think strategically and see the big picture so that you can align an organisation’s internal resource and capabilities with its evolving external environment
  • Learn to take a value approach to navigating business decisions and driving sustainable competitive advantage
  • Understand the impact of management choices on company financials to develop a strategy execution plan for superior financial performance

Content Overview

Business Strategy and Financial Performance is an online programme delivered over 7 weeks that requires you to work on multiple levels. Each week develops one part of the strategy and finance framework, addressing overall the three following topics.

The big picture perspective

  • Understand the key external forces creating opportunities and threats for a business by transforming the industry value chain, patterns of demand and competitive pressures
  • Explore the challenge of strategically positioning a business to create and sustain competitive advantage in a dynamic market
  • Meet the challenge of strategy execution by learning to align key activities and resources across an organisation with the desired position in the market

The value approach to managing a business

  • Understand the requirement for a business to create value for society by delivering products and services where the customers’ willingness to pay exceeds the underlying resource costs
  • Learn how to ensure a business captures value by selecting attractive positions in the industry value chain and pursuing a distinctive value proposition
  • Ensure your decision making supports sustainable value creation

The financial perspective on strategy execution

  • Develop an understanding of key financial statements to appreciate how company strategy affects these financials
  • Take a deep dive into financial metrics to learn how to drive value for the customer and what it takes to deliver this value
  • Learn how different management choices influence numbers for better decision making and superior performance

Action Learning Project

Strategic thinking abilities and a grasp of key financial tools are critical to understanding the strategic agenda of any organisation in today’s shifting competitive landscape. Thinking critically and skilfully applying this understanding to your own business context will help you make powerful strategic recommendations and drive value for your organisation.

With this in mind, the Action Learning Project (ALP) will give you the opportunity to practise applying your learning to your own business context. The ALP will take you on a step-by-step journey to develop a big picture strategic view to tackle a business challenge. You will be able to identify concrete opportunities to enhance the strategy, improve organisational alignment and ultimately drive financial performance.

Typically the ALP involves a variation on one of the following:

  • You will apply the concepts from the programme to a strategic initiative that you are currently working on. You will be able to understand how it relates to your organisation’s strategic direction, and subsequently design a strategic plan for this initiative, to drive superior performance.
  • You will use the tools and frameworks from the programme to understand a client’s strategic agenda and propose how your organisation’s offerings will further enhance the value proposition and drive financial performance.

Working with the learning coach, you will design an ALP that is right for your personal learning objectives. For those attending the programme with colleagues from the same organisation, the learning coach can help you structure a more ambitious team ALP to collaborate and work on together.


Daniel Bens

Daniel Bens is a Professor of Accounting and Control at INSEAD, which he joined in August 2012. He has served as Area Chair for the department since 2015. He was a member of the University of Arizona faculty from 2005 to 2012, serving as Associate Dean of MBA programs for the last three years. Da...

Peter Zemsky

Professor Zemsky has been a faculty member at INSEAD since 1994 and a member of the school’s leadership team since 2010. As Deputy Dean, he is responsible for external relations including fundraising, alumni relations and communications. As Dean of Innovation he is responsible for the school’s di...

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Business Strategy and Financial Performance at INSEAD Business School

From  EUR 1 950$2,329
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