New Class: Finance for New Managers and Career Changers. Q&A with instructor Don Thompson


What are the 3 main learning outcomes for students?

  1. Set a baseline understanding of financial terms, tools and practices for managers and employees new to this aspect of business administration.
  2. Understand how business transactions are managed and tracked across the three primary financial instruments – the Balance Sheet, The Income Statement and the Statement of Cash Flows.
  3. Use ratio analysis to measure the effectiveness of business operations and decisions made by management to ensure business success.


Who should take this class?

Students who are seeking opportunities in business management in the private sector and those who may have recently moved into people management and have a role in the decisions and strategies for corporate financial assets.


Why do you want to teach this?

Having been in the situation where financial acumen was expected but not yet acquired, my career trajectory found me often seeking plain and practical ways to converse and excel in this area of my management skill portfolio. I created this class to model those concepts and strategies in using methods that allow others to quickly enhance their skills and adopt them to their current role.


How did you get started with this topic?

I spent 5 years assisting new managers and interns seeking leadership positions after college preparing for the challenges of their career path. One of the most common areas of weakness was with the operational aspects of business finance. I wanted to develop a course that would get candidates to be able to speak fluently and cohesively with senior management on financial topics within days or weeks instead of months of years – in ways that they can recall and apply without further research.


How do you apply these skills in your job (if applicable)?

Currently, I help students who are just graduating college with technical or engineering degrees bridge the gap to understand the business side of their world. One in which they must understand the financial aspects of their trade. In past job roles, this material helped me make better decisions about cost control and management to reduce waste and optimize resources.


If you could tell students one thing about this class what would it be?

If you have no financial background at all, and you want to manage a business someday -this class is for you. If you have no aspirations of doing so -then this class will still help you understand the business world and why finance permeates our economy.


What have you learned from teaching?

No matter how often I teach this class, or any class, I learn that I didn’t know it all and that my students contribute to my learning every time. Students come from all industries, backgrounds and cultures and there is always something unique that I can take away.




Last Updated May 18, 2018