BUS404: Risk Management

Course Syllabus for "BUS404: Risk Management"

Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site.

The Business Administration major is designed to prepare you for a leadership role in today’s highly competitive, global business environment.  This elective course will allow you to incorporate risk management principles into your individual management style.  Risk management refers to the process of identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks.  This course will teach you how to accurately assess the consequences of uncertain events; the ultimate goal for risk managers is to reduce and control the likelihood of such occurrences.  Personal attitudes toward risk vary widely (for example, attitudes can range from risk-averse to risk-seeking).  You are advised to approach this course from the perspective of a business manager (i.e., as a decision maker). Unforeseen circumstances can occur in various contexts, including natural disaster, collapses in financial markets, and accidents.  As a business manager, you will need to use risk management tools to minimize and control the probability and impact of unfortunate events.  Global events from the past few years provide ample evidence of the challenges associated with managing risk. In this course, you will engage with case studies that address the catastrophes of the first decade of the new millennium, including the credit crisis of 2008–2009.  These cases illustrate the importance of risk management and demonstrate how missed opportunities in effective risk management can and have led to monumental negative consequences.  You will learn how and why risk management is a primary strategy for sustainability and success in our uncertain and complex world.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Identify and discuss various types of risks.
  • Define risk as a consequence of uncertainty and within a continuum of decision-making roles.
  • Perform quantitative risk analysis using risk measurement techniques to assess the severity and consequences of a given risk as well as its overall threat.
  • Identify the most common risk management mistakes by considering how Utility Theory impacts attitudes toward risk.
  • Explain and use techniques to manage risk in a holistic, global, and integrated manner.
  • Use tools such as predictive analytics, modeling, and simulation to improve risk management.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Have competency in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√   Have completed the following courses from “The Core Program” of the Business major: BUS204 and BUS208.  Completion of the following elective courses are recommended but not required: BUS300 and BUS303.

Course Information

Welcome to BUS404: Risk Management.  Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements. 
Course Designers: Rick Gibson, Ph.D. and Ha Nguyen, Ph.D., MBA
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a variety of free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of:

  • MIT Open Courseware: Professor John Parsons’ Practice of Finance: Advanced Corporate Risk Management: Course Notes

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of the assigned materials.  The “Risk Management Reference Sheet” provided in Unit 1, along with the templates and checklists provided throughout the course, will come in handy as you apply the concepts introduced in each unit.  It may serve you well to print or download these items for quick reference.  You will also need to complete:

  • Unit 1 Assessment
  • Unit 3 Assessment
  • Unit 4 Assessment
  • Unit 5 Assessment
  • Unit 5 Activity
  • Unit 6 Assessment
  • The Final Exam 

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through all of the resources in the course as well as the assessments and activity listed above.
In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 74.5 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  These should help you plan your time accordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.  For example, the readings for Unit 1 should take 5 hours to complete.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunits 1.1 through 1.3 (a total of 3 hours) on Monday night; subunits 1.4 and 1.5 (a total of 2 hours) on Tuesday night; etc.
Tips/Suggestions: If you are taking this elective, ideally you will have completed all of the courses in the Core Program of the Business Major, which consists of a selection of courses that focus on cross-functional business competencies but do not cover risk management.

The companion textbook, Risk Management for Enterprises and Individuals, uses “links” in each chapter to tie each concept and objective in the chapter to the realm of global or holistic management of risk.  The solutions to risk problems require a compilation of techniques and perspectives, often fitting together like puzzle pieces.  Each chapter begins with a connection section to show relationships between personal risk and holistic enterprise risk.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.