UCLA Classroom Module Oct 9-20th: Strategy, Marketing, Leadership, Corporate Finance, M&A

In these modules, you will learn subjects like strategy, leadership, corporate finance etc. from some of the eminent professors.

Professor Sanjay Sood will cover topics like Brand strategy and marketing in depth, whereas Professor Ian Larkin will teach strategy building and implementation. Professor Robert McCann will help you understand the Birkman Report and will also teach about communicating for impact. Professor Mark Garmaise will cover various topics on Corporate Finance and Professor George Geis will cover mergers and acquisitions. He will also be your guide for the case competition. Professor Iris Firstenberg will cover leadership and strategies and you will learn Customer Analytics from Brett Hollenbeck. 



Prof. Sanjay Sood

Prof. Sanjay Sood


Sanjay Sood’s research and teaching expertise lies in the area of brand equity and consumer decision making. Using psychological principles, Sanjay examines how firms can best build, manage, and leverage strong brand names. This includes investigating what brand names mean to consumers, how to manage brand portfolios, how to use brand naming strategies to launch new products, and how to protect brand names from becoming diluted over time and across geographical boundaries. His research has been published in leading marketing and psychology journals including the Journal of Consumer ResearchJournal of Marketing, and Cognitive Psychology.

Dr. Sood is an associate editor at the Journal of Marketing, and he is on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Consumer ResearchJournal of Consumer Psychology and the Journal of Marketing Research.

Dr. Sood obtained his PhD in marketing from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. His MBA degree is from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, in marketing and strategy. He gained industry experience in product marketing at Centel Corporation, now a division of Sprint. Before joining Centel, he completed a BS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Sood has won several awards for excellence in teaching and student mentoring, including the Neidorf Decade Teaching Award at UCLA. Actively involved with industry, Sanjay has worked with several leading marketing companies, including Intel, Starbucks, Disney, Levi-Strauss, Microsoft, and Kaiser Permanente.


Ph.D. in marketing, Graduate School of Business, 1999, Stanford University
M.B.A. in marketing and strategy, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, 1992, Northwestern University
B.S. in electrical engineering with honors, 1987, University of Illinois


Marketing management, brand management, advertising, consumer behavior


Prof. George Geis

Prof. George Geis


George T. Geis, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor of Information Systems at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Geis teaches at UCLA Anderson in the areas of mergers & acquisitions, financial modeling, entrepreneurship, and accounting.  He has been voted Outstanding Teacher of the Year at UCLA Anderson four times and has received a number of other teaching awards. Geis has also served as Associate Dean and Faculty Director of UCLA Anderson’s Executive MBA program. He is currently Faculty Director of Anderson’s Mergers and Acquisitions Executive program. Geis has also taught mergers and acquisitions at the Haas School, UC Berkeley and has been a visiting professor at Bocconi University (Milan) and at Darden School of Business (University of Virginia).

Dr. Geis is an expert on M&A activity in technology, communications and media markets. His most recent book, Digital Deals, provides a blueprint for planning and executing sound corporate business development strategies. Geis’ research interests include market modeling for M&A-related strategies as well as venture initiation and growth processes.

A National Science Foundation and Woodrow Wilson Honorary Fellow, Dr. Geis has extensive consulting experience and has published dozens of professional articles and six books. He is the recipient of the Financial Executives Institute Award for outstanding achievement in finance.

Dr. Geis taught in the LEAD Summer Institute for minority youth for more than 10 years. He has provided management education for directors of Head Start programs nationwide as well as for Iraq veterans in UCLA’s Entrepreneurs’ Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities. His 16- tape lecture series on “Statistical Analysis in Business” appeared as part of the Teaching Company’s Super Star Teacher series.

Geis is editor of a web site that provides a visual analysis of M&A deals in technology, media and communications markets at http://www.trivergence.com. Geis also writes an M&A blog at http://maprofessor.blogspot.com.

Geis received a B.S. “summa cum laude” and with “honors in mathematics” from Purdue University , an M.B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. from University of Southern California.

Prof. Iris Firstenberg

Prof. Iris Firstenberg


Iris Firstenberg (B.A. ’78, M.A. ’81, Ph.D. ’83) joined the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 2004. She specializes in strategies for creative problem solving and innovative thinking. She conducts custom on-site courses and seminars for organizations on the topics of creativity and innovation. Her sessions provide exciting, thought-provoking and practical strategies to help turn creative ideas into innovative business solutions.

Firstenberg is the recipient of the 2002 UCLA Department of Psychology Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award and the 2011 UCLA Extension Distinguished Teaching Award.



Ph.D. Cognitive Psychology, 1983, UCLA

M.A. Cognitive Psychology, 1981, UCLA

B.A. Linguistics and Psychology, 1978, UCLA

Brett Hollenbeck

Brett Hollenbeck


Brett Hollenbeck’s research focuses on empirical industrial organization and quantitative marketing. His recent studies have looked at economies of scale in retail and service industries, the relationship between mergers and innovation, the economics of online reviews and ratings on online platforms, the regulation of rating manipulation on these platforms, and the role of imperfect competition in optimizing taxation and regulation of the growing legal cannabis industry.

Before pursuing his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Texas at Austin, Hollenbeck worked as an economist in the Office of Tax Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and as a research fellow at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He teaches Customer Assessment and Analytics at Anderson, equipping his MBA students with quantitative tools to measure customer preferences and use models to analyze data.

Originally from Missouri, Hollenbeck is a film buff (foreign and Western), an avid traveler and a big supporter of Texas Longhorns football.

Ph.D. Economics, University of Texas at Austin

M.S. Economics, University of Texas at Austin

B.S. Economics, George Washington University

B.A. Political Science, George Washington University

Bob McCann

Bob McCann


Robert M. (Bob) McCann has been creating, directing and teaching Leadership and Management Communication courses across virtually all of UCLA Anderson’s MBA degree programs since coming to UCLA in 2010. He also teaches courses that include: Entrepreneurship; Global Leadership; Persuasion & Leadership; Leading & Doing Business in Thailand; and Doing Business in Southeast Asia in Anderson’s EMBA, FEMBA and full-time MBA programs.

Dr. McCann holds his primary faculty appointment at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and a secondary appointment at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Concurrently he is deeply engaged in many of UCLA Anderson’s executive education programs and annually teaches undergraduate classes in communication, global leadership and entrepreneurship at the University of Hong Kong. He is also the Faculty Director and/or Learning Director for multiple programs at UCLA Anderson Executive Education, including Anderson’s PGPX and PGP Pro programs in India and the USA, the Executive Program in Advanced Leadership and Management, and the Geffen School of Medicine Executive Leadership Program.

Head of an active consulting business, McCann specializes in the training of executives and professionals in persuasion, leadership, workplace diversity and all aspects of the strategic use of communication in business settings. Some of the companies for which he has provided service include: Jet Propulsion Laboratories, Fox Entertainment Group, Marriott International, Johnson & Johnson Health Care, MTR (Hong Kong), CUHK (Hong Kong), UCLA Hospital, College Board, Pfizer, Novartis, Nestlé and Schering-Plough.

McCann’s research interests, which include workplace ageism, leadership, intergroup communication, cross-cultural communication and age diversity, can be traced back to his father, who at age 94 continues to put in 40-hour weeks as an executive in the printing industry. “My father is not alone,” McCann says. “Either by choice or necessity, older individuals around the world are working well into their so-called retirement years in numbers greater than ever before. And they are thriving. My dad and other such workers are the inspiration for my research on older workers.”

The research McCann conducts is relevant to pressing societal issues and has strong practical implications. Some of his recent work on the communicative dimensions of age biases was recently utilized in a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on age discrimination. He has also served as principal investigator on UCLA’s multiyear Center for International Business and Education Research (CIBER) grant.

McCann’s work has been published in several major refereed communication journals and has won numerous research awards. For more than a decade, he has served on the executive editorial board of the Journal of Asian Pacific Communication. His latest book, titled Ageism at Work: The Role of Communication in a Changing Workplace, is available in Spanish, Catalan and English.

A frequent media consultant in the areas of management communication, leadership, workplace ageism and age diversified workplaces, McCann has appeared on National Public Radio and in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, US News and World Report, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, GQ, Esquire, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Capital Times and International Herald Tribune.

McCann lived in Asia for nearly 20 years, most of which were spent in Thailand, where he worked both in academia (at the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University) and in the private sector, where he helped spearhead Diageo’s relationship marketing efforts in Asia for the Johnnie Walker line of products. He also worked in international banking in Karachi, Pakistan, and London, England.

At present McCann holds the chair of the UCLA Thailand Executive Committee and serves on the faculty advisory committee of UCLA’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies. He is the former associate dean for global initiatives at UCLA Anderson.

McCann has received several teaching awards and dean’s commendations around the globe, including the prestigious “Golden Apple” Teaching Award.

Ph.D. Communications, UC Santa Barbara

M.A. Applied Linguistics, UCLA

B.A. International Studies, Emory University

Mark Garmaise

Mark Garmaise


Mark Garmaise graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an A.B. in mathematics and philosophy before receiving his Ph.D. in finance from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1998. He was appointed assistant professor at Chicago Booth and later joined UCLA Anderson as a visiting assistant professor in finance in 2001. He was promoted to associate professor of finance with tenure in 2008 and to full professor in 2015 year. He also served as dean of the full-time MBA program between 2014 and 2015.

As a corporate finance scholar, Garmaise has focused his research on using empirical data to investigate the effects of asymmetric information and incomplete contracting as they relate to real estate markets and entrepreneurial firms. Although the theory of asymmetric information and incomplete contracting is well-developed, there has been little research into the empirical identification of cause and effect in markets. With careful and ingenious data analysis, his papers have made valuable contributions in these important but neglected areas.

Garmaise’s primary research interests are in the areas of corporate finance, real estate, entrepreneurship and banking. He is an award-winning instructor and highly respected authority on finance, venture capital and private equity. With his co-author Tobias Moskowitz (Ph.D. ’98), he received the 2004 BGI Brennan Award for the best paper published and the 2005 BGI Brennan Runner-Up Award for the best paper published, both in the Review of Financial Studies.

Garmaise teaches the core corporate finance course and an elective on venture capital and private equity. He has been recognized with numerous awards and has published in numerous journals, including the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Finance and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Ph.D. Finance, 1998, Stanford University

A.B. Mathematics and Philosophy, Magna Cum Laude 1994, Harvard College

Ian Larkin

Ian Larkin


An associate professor in the UCLA Anderson strategy group, Ian Larkin’s research is focused on compensation, incentives, employee motivation and human resources. His interest in the discipline comes compliments of his first job, with McKinsey & Company, where he spent four years as an associate and engagement manager in McKinsey’s Hong Kong and Silicon Valley offices, advising senior executives on corporate strategy in the banking and high technology industries.

Larkin began his academic career as an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. He returned to his native California by accepting a position with UCLA Anderson, which he calls “an outstanding school with a top MBA program and a close proximity to Silicon Beach, where so much is going on in the technology space” — his targeted industry of interest. His primary research has ranged from the examination of corporate awards and programs that companies utilize to recognize employee performance and their potential unintended costs to decision-making influenced by various sales tactics and their respective cost outcomes in numerous industries, including technology and medicine. He is currently looking at the effects that workplace wellness programs have on employee motivation and productivity, as well as “gamification” in the workplace, which uses nonmonetary rewards to encourage improvements in employee behavior.

Larkin’s research has been published in a number of professional journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Management Science, Organization Science, Journal of Labor Economics, and Strategic Management Journal, and has been cited by leading media outlets that include The Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesNewsweek, Forbes, Slate, and National Public Radio. He is an Associate Editor of Management Science, a leading academic journal in business management and strategy.

Larkin received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona. He also spent time living in China, Japan and Taiwan, where he learned to speak conversational Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, which may have helped him land his first position with McKinsey. Larkin earned his Ph.D. at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

When not in the classroom or conducting research, Larkin enjoys cooking (having studied the art professionally in France), traveling, writing fiction and supporting the Green Bay Packers, of which he is one of  more than 360,000 individual shareholders.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this module, you should be able to

  • Learn to develop the brand’s positioning, character, and purpose and evaluate the brand health using different approaches.
  • Understand what value capture and creation mean and examine strategies to identify the same.
  • Gain an understanding of the core concepts and tools to help you better understand and excel in marketing.
  • Understand the sound theoretical principles of corporate finance, as well as the practical environment in which financial decisions are made.
  • Learn how to connect and communicate more effectively and confidently to drive better business results.
  • Equip yourself with skills, tools and frameworks to formulate and implement competitive strategies.
  • Learn to become a leader who guides organizations through any and every challenge.
  • Examine the key aspects of a merger.

Classroom Approach

The sessions will be interactive and participants will be encouraged to ask questions. Hands-on exercises, examples and case studies will be used from a wide range of industries and markets.  Extensive lecture slides will be provided for all topics in addition to the readings and case studies assigned.  


Please email [email protected] for any support required with respect to the program, course or platform.