Budgeting, accounting, and financial management are central to the successful operation of government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. MLD offers a sequence of three courses for students seeking to boost their understanding how “FAB” concepts and techniques can be powerful management tools.
MLD-401M: Financial Analysis of Public and Nonprofit Organizations
taught by Brian Iammartino
is an introductory, general-audience course intended for students with no background in accounting or financial analysis. By the end of the course, students will be able to: 1) Understand commonly-used accounting and financial analysis terminology, concepts, tools and processes; 2) Evaluate financial statements in order to ask probing questions, identify risks and/or opportunities, and think critically about financial performance; and 3) Recommend and justify courses of action based on analyses of accounting and other financial data. Specific topics covered include an overview of the financial reporting landscape and governance; accounting principles and concepts; a detailed review of the major financial statements; and the analysis of major financial topics such as organizational liquidity, solvency, operations, funding, and benchmarking. Main focus will be on features of public and nonprofit accounting, but many of the topics covered are applicable to all types of organizations. Harvard students can view a course preview video
with Iammartino. Students completing MLD-401M will be well prepared to take the the following course.
MLD-411M: Introduction to Budgeting and Financial Management
taught by Linda Bilmes
is a rigorous introductory course aims to demystify FAB topics for a general audience of students, even those lacking any related background. Bilmes will, step-by-step, help students understand the entire budgeting process, including budget formulation and execution, variance analysis, budget strategies such as activity-based costing, revenue forecasting, and capital budgeting. Accounting topics include an overview of the financial reporting and governance landscape, accounting principles and concepts, and a detailed review of the major financial statements.
The course will build on these budgeting and accounting principles to progress to financial management techniques such as the Balanced Scorecard
, financial benchmarking, and the analysis of organizational liquidity, solvency, operations and funding. Harvard students can view Linda Bilmes’s video introduction
to this course.
Students successfully completing MLD-411M may apply Linda Bilmes’s spring course MLD-412: The Greater Boston Applied Field Lab, an advanced, field-based, experiential learning course in which students work on challenging urban management and financial projects. A comprehensive video about the course is available here.
Of MLD-412 , Mid-Career MPA (’20) and recent program fellow Will Eden says, “No course at the Kennedy School I’ve taken has been as thoughtfully composed, incorporated as much feedback, or offered such a valuable hands-on learning experience.” Real world course projects in the past year included a detailed estimate on the financial viability of plans for building a performing arts center in Gloucester, MA; an analysis for the town of Hingham, MA about funding federally mandated stormwater runoff infrastructure; rethinking energy supply and demand options related to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority‘s (MBTA) the South Boston Power Station; and, for the Massachusetts Port Authority (MassPort), an assessment of threats/opportunities for the Boston seafood cluster in the global supply chain. Past projects have included a number of meaningful collaborations with the City of Somerville, MA, documented on video here. For more details, read the AY20 Report on the Applied Field Lab.
MLD-401M and MLD-411M will be offered at the Harvard Kennedy School in Fall semster. MLD-412 will be offered in the spring semester. For questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator. You may also contact Greater Boston Advanced Field Lab Program Director Susan Krusell (firstname.lastname@example.org)