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About the course
Today, financial rigor and strategic insight must be tightly linked, since strategic financial leadership is in high demand. Increasingly, CFOs are being called on not only to drive cost efficiencies but also to identify profitable sources of revenue growth. They work closely with CEOs to creatively design future growth opportunities. Successful CFO leadership requires a deeper understanding of strategy, increased leadership skills, and an ability to effectively communicate financial acumen and knowledge to nonfinancial colleagues. In The CFO: Becoming a Strategic Partner, you will not only learn and adopt those critical skills, but you also will use them to elevate your leadership role.
The CFO Program Highlights and Benefits
- Expand your leadership skills and increase your capacity as a trusted advisor
- Develop more effective operational strategies for building value in and managing operational risk throughout your organization
- Manage risk and uncertainty using optionality
- Leverage a suite of tools to identify and drive profitable sources of revenue growth
- Think creatively and design opportunities to position your company for the future
Experience & Impact
Increasingly, CFOs are expected to be more strategic decision makers in the business, as noted by the growing trend of promoting chief financial officers to the CEO role, which has occurred at companies like UPS, PepsiCo, and Siemens AG in recent years.
The program elevates your role to one of a “value integrator,” a term coined by IBM in its Global CEO Study to describe the best-performing CFOs. These leaders excel at taking highly unstructured and somewhat ambiguous situations and putting structure around them by integrating information from numerous internal sources. You enhance your ability to forecast, measure, and monitor business performance; manage risk; and generate predictive insights.
Wharton faculty apply their field-based research and the latest strategic insights to help you broaden your perspective on how to make your organization more competitive.
The program offers a strategic toolbox to help you be a better advisor and decision maker to your company. Wharton creates a live lab where you and your peers, also seasoned CFOs, learn from real-life case examples and apply frameworks to different situations that go beyond the Profit and Loss statement — enabling you to drive strategic investments for the future. You will leave the program better equipped to handle internal and external pressures, including the growing role of activist shareholders.
In sum, this program enables you to focus more externally on the fast-paced changes that are redefining your business and be viewed as key member of the executive leadership team.
Session topics include:
- Link Between Corporate Strategy and Value Creation
- Driving Organic Growth
- Measuring Performance
- Critical Thinking
- Creating and Sustaining Competitive Advantage
- Strategy Audit and Connected Strategy
- Managing Flexibility Using Real Options
- Strategic Persuasion
- Designing the Corporate Portfolio
Through highly interactive lectures, exercises, and case studies, both in the classroom and in smaller work groups, this deep dive into strategy will examine how CFOs have created competitive advantage in a global context.
Overall, you will learn how to:
- Enhance your strategic thinking skills outside traditional areas such as accounting and finance
- Bolster your leadership skills to better communicate with nonfinancial colleagues
- Be a better decision maker who can assess disparate data from many areas of your company and help the CEO, board, and other leaders create a long-term path forward
This program is also eligible to be part of the Wharton General Management Program. The General Management Program (GMP) is a unique opportunity for successful executives to accelerate their potential by infusing new knowledge and to prepare for new challenges ahead. With the help of our professional executive coaches, the program allows you to tailor your learning journey to your specific needs. The General Management Program consists of six open-enrollment programs, including two electives. GMP is designed to be completed over two years, but you may complete it in only two trips to Wharton's Philadelphia campus by enrolling in multiple programs. At the completion of your program, you will receive a certificate to acknowledge your distinguished accomplishment as well as Wharton alumni status.
Who should attend
The CFO: Becoming a Strategic Partner is designed for senior financial executives responsible for developing and implementing strategy as part of their leadership roles. Participants may include chief financial officers, vice presidents, controllers, and other senior financial executives with strategic and financial responsibilities.
Participants in this program are a diverse group of finance leaders from varied industries, backgrounds, and geographies who share their biggest challenges with the class. Faculty tailor the program content to address these issues, so participants enjoy a learning experience that truly resonates with them and meets their learning needs.
Participants leave the program with an expanded peer network, plus specific tools and frameworks they can use to make a meaningful strategic impact within their companies or organizations.
Trust the experts
David Wessels is an Adjunct Professor of Finance, and a Director of Executive Education at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. David teaches courses on corporate valuation, venture capital, and performance management to undergraduates and MBA’s in Philadelphia and San Francisco,...
Nicolaj Siggelkow is the David M. Knott Professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is a CoDirector of the Mack Institute for Innovation Management at Wharton. He studied Economics at Stanford University and earned an M.A. in Economics from Harvard University. He received a Ph...
Itay is a Professor of Finance at the Wharton School. He is also the coordinator of the PhD program in Finance. He has been on Wharton’s faculty since 2004. He is an expert in the areas of corporate finance, financial institutions, and financial markets, focusing on financial fragility and crises...
Emilie R. Feldman is an Associate Professor of Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where she studied Economics and French Literature, and she received her MBA and DBA in Strategy from the Harvard Business School. ...