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Program Overview

Business Essentials

Business Essentials Certificate Program

The Business Essentials certificate program is designed for those who are new to a business environment or who lack an academic background in business. This program offers foundational courses in accounting, finance, marketing, and organization behavior, providing students with an understanding of essential business principles and practices.  Individuals who come from a liberal arts background may be especially interested in this program, which will enable them to learn about the basic principles of business in a real-world context. 

As most courses in the curriculum are available online, the certificate may be completed entirely online through selection of those courses.

This program was formerly titled Business Practices.

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About the Business Essentials Certificate Program

Business Essentials Goals and Courses

Business Essentials Tuition

Post-baccalaureate students at Northwestern's School of Professional Studies pay per course. For more information about financial obligations and tuition, please visit the Tuition page.

Admission for the Business Essentials Certificate

In addition to completing an online application, you'll also need to submit a few supplemental materials. A list of requirements for admission including application deadlines and tips on how to apply can be found at the Admission page.

Business Essentials Registration Information

Whether you're a first-time registrant or current and returning student, all students register using our online student registration and records systems. Important information about registering for courses at SPS, including registration timelines and adding or dropping courses in which you are already enrolled, can be found on the Registration Information page.

Find out more about the Business Essentials Certificate

Program Courses:Course Detail
Intro to Financial Accounting <> ACCOUNT 201-CN

The content of this course is designed to provide students with a firm understanding of the financial accounting process, to include identifying, recording and communicating accounting information to external users. The course will discuss Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and explain how their framework fosters the relevance and reliability of financial statements. Students can expect an introduction to the techniques of accounting and the accounting profession with an emphasis on organizing information for decision making and the information needs of creditors and equity holders. Topics include financial statements, transaction analysis, accrual accounting, cash management, inventories, receivables, long-term and intangible assets, liabilities, stockholders' equity, cash flow statements, and financial statement analysis.


View ACCOUNT 201-CN Sections
Intro to Financial Accounting <> ACCOUNT 201-DL

The content of the course is designed to provide students with a firm understanding of the financial accounting process, and to include identifying, recording and communicating accounting information to external users. The course will discuss Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and explain how their framework fosters the relevance and reliability of financial statements. Students can expect an introduction to the techniques of accounting and the accounting profession with an emphasis on organizing information for decision making and the information needs of creditors and equity holders. Topics include financial statements, transaction analysis, accrual accounting, cash management, inventories, receivables, long-term and intangible assets, liabilities, stockholders' equity, cash flow statements, and financial statement analysis.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 201-DL Sections
Intro to Managerial Accounting <> ACCOUNT 202-DL

A continuation of the introduction to accounting, with emphasis on providing relevant and timely accounting information and analysis to managers for use in planning, decision making, and controlling strategic operational objectives. Topics include the classifications of costs and different ways of reporting and analyzing those costs; the operating budgeting process; capital budgeting; and job-order, standard, process, and activity-based costing systems. Prerequisite: ACCOUNT 201.

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View ACCOUNT 202-DL Sections
Strategic Information Systems <> CIS 350-DL

This course examines current issues, themes, and research related to the strategic use of information systems in organizations at a high level. It focuses on the use of information and information technology for competitive advantage in businesses, organizations, and nonprofits. The management of information as a resource and information systems planning and its relationship to strategic planning are discussed. Cases are used to illustrate the use of information systems to gain a competitive edge. Both successful and failed IT systems and projects, past and present, are studied. Topics include the use of strategic information systems for competition, business-IT alignment, global IT issues and outsourcing, knowledge management, and strategic information systems investment and evaluation. This course is part of the Business Leadership year two cohort.

 

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.


View CIS 350-DL Sections
Introduction to Macroeconomics <> ECON 201-CN

This course is an introduction to economics with emphasis on macroeconomics. The course covers aspects of general economics that everyone should know, including how the market system works, how prices are determined, why shortages and surpluses occur, and why some people earn high incomes and others earn low incomes. Topics include: supply and demand, competition vs. monopoly, inflation, unemployment, recessions, booms, fiscal and monetary policy, budget deficits, international trade, and exchange rates. Prerequisite: two years of high school mathematics or MATH 101.


View ECON 201-CN Sections
Introduction to Macroeconomics <> ECON 201-CN

This course familiarizes students with the basic principles of macroeconomics including the role of the government, the role of banks, the importance of interest rates, and the effects of policies involving trade, tax, and other concepts. A variety of economic topics will be covered, including why auction markets are so common, why countries would desire to trade with one another, how currencies are valued and traded, why shortages and surpluses occur, and why some people earn high incomes while others earn low incomes. Also discussed will be classificatory and taxonomical concepts and the role of classifications and rankings. Topics include: supply and demand, competition vs. monopoly, inflation, unemployment, recessions, booms and recessions, fiscal and monetary policy, budget deficits, international trade, and exchange rates. A basic understanding of descriptive statistics, while helpful, is not required.


View ECON 201-CN Sections
Introduction to Finance <> FINANCE 202-CN

An introductory course covering the basic concepts and models used in finance. Explores the mathematics and spreadsheet modeling techniques used in evaluating various financial assets, including stocks and bonds. Also surveys the risk-return tradeoff in financial markets and how investors gauge risk, as well as the basic concepts of Markowitz's mean-variance portfolio theory. The nature and impact of interest-rate risk on financial institutions is considered, and the duration of a financial asset is introduced in this context. Introduces the efficient market hypothesis and its implications for personal investing and corporate finance. Prerequisite: MATH 101, STAT 202, or college algebra, statistics, financial accounting, microeconomics, and macroeconomics, or equivalents. Carries business credit.


View FINANCE 202-CN Sections
Principles of Marketing <> MKTG 201-DL

Marketing structure and processes whereby products proceed from the place of production to final use or consumption. Sales management, retailing, foreign trade, advertising, channels of distribution for marketing different types of products, activities of wholesale and retail middlemen and other important marketing institutions, cooperative marketing, market risk, sources of marketing information, price determination, governmental activity related to marketing, cost of marketing, and general critique of market structure.

 

This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.

 

 


View MKTG 201-DL Sections
Organization Behavior <> ORG_BEH 301-CN

Organizations are a part of our everyday lives. Whether at work, school, church etc., similar interpersonal and group behaviors and dynamics apply. The focus of this course is to examine several aspects of organizations from an integrated perspective, including how the formal organization, culture, people and work can all connect to transform inputs to outputs. Emphasis will be placed on understanding individual differences as the foundation of our interpersonal and managerial effectiveness. Case studies, classroom and online discussions, team assignments and presentations will all be part of the learning. At the end of the class, it is anticipated that students will have a better understanding of today's complex organizations and more equipped to navigate the workplace.

This course combines classroom lecture and discussion with an online component. For the lecture and discussion components, this course is paired with an afternoon session of ORG BEH 311-CN, and the in-class meetings are on alternate Saturdays: 1/12, 1/26, 2/9, 2/23, and 3/9.


View ORG_BEH 301-CN Sections
Organization Behavior <> ORG_BEH 301-CN

The interaction of individuals in formal organizations; theory and research integrated with cases and exercises to develop an understanding of the dynamics of motivation, communication, group decision making, leadership, intergroup relations, power, and conflict. Students are encouraged to apply this knowledge to managing relationships with superiors, subordinates, and colleagues in their own work settings.


View ORG_BEH 301-CN Sections
Strategic Planning & Management <> ORG_BEH 367-DL

This course applies the concepts of strategic planning to various types of organizations. Initial discussions will provide a basic framework for preparing a strategic plan for corporations, non-profits and government agencies. Practical applications will be developed from case studies and the experiences of the instructor and students. Since we can learn from wide range of situational discussions, we will consider entrepreneurial and established operations, as well as success stories and failures. This course is conducted completely online. A technology fee will be added to tuition.

See Northwestern Summer Session schedule to view available sections of this course.



There is no available section.
Entrepreneurship & Technology <> ORG_BEH 369-CN

This course focuses on early-stage companies (including, but not only, startups) and how they are structured, financed, managed, scaled, and sold. It is an example-driven course that requires research outside class. While the course focuses on technology companies, this is interpreted broadly to include telecommunications, financial technology, medical technology, hardware innovation, and other topics; this is not a sector-specific course focused on "pure tech" (e.g. social media startups, ad tech, etc.). This is a case-driven, highly-collaborative course with a Socratic, conversational classroom environment, and it includes a midterm exam and a final project.


View ORG_BEH 369-CN Sections
Business Ethics PHIL 390-DL

This course examines, from a philosophical perspective, a variety of ethical issues relating to contemporary business. Types of questions asked in the course include: Should corporations be viewed solely as profit-making entities? What is the appropriate regulatory response to recent corporate scandals? What obligations do corporations have when they market their products? How should corporations be evaluated when it comes to broader issues of social and economic justice, such as CEO compensation, health care coverage, and income disparities? What is the impact of the increasing globalization of corporations on these topics? This course is part of the Business Leadership year two cohort.


View PHIL 390-DL Sections
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