MLD-411 - Introduction to Budgeting and Financial Management

Budget concepts and techniques are central to the successful operation of government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. This rigorous introductory course aims to demystify the budget process for those who are new to the world of budgeting. It covers the entire budget process, including budget formulation and execution, program development, cost and revenue estimation, budget strategies and tactics, and budget evaluation. The course will include performance-based budgets, performance measurement, variance analysis, activity-based costing, cost accounting, capital budgeting, and finance. The course will use case discussions, problem sets, online tutorials, and individual and group exercises. Students taking this course may enroll in MLD-412M, a follow-on course in "applied budgeting" in the spring. Students who complete the course successfully may participate in the MLD-411 alumni program. Prerequisite: Students should be familiar with Microsoft Excel.

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MLD-412m - Advanced Applied Management, Operations, and Budgeting

Permission of instructor required. This course will enable students to work on the actual budgets and financial operations of local municipalities and school districts in the areas of cost accounting, activity budgeting, and performance budgeting. Prerequisite: Basic financial knowledge (demonstrated through course work such as MLD-411, 411M, 417M, API-401, or similar) or MBA program; and permission of the instructor. Applicants will be required to submit a short statement of interest. 

Professor Linda Bilmes was profiled by the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching due to the success of MLD-412 that provides students with engaging educational instruction while serving communities at the same time: "Into Practice"

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MLD-417m - Complex Budgeting and Financial Management

This module will cover the same ground as MLD-411, but it is designed for intermediate students who already have basic knowledge of accounting and finance. The material will move quickly through core budgeting topics including activity-based budgets, cost accounting, capital budgeting, revenue forecasting, balanced scorecard, and performance budgeting. We will also focus on budget development issues (such as transparency) and execution. Students must already be comfortable with basic Excel functions, and the course will introduce advanced skills such as pivot tables and management of financial databases.

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