Required Curriculum for MBA Students

Fall Courses

WHCP 6110: Management Communication

In this seminar-style course, students will develop and demonstrate effective business communication skills, regardless of their skill level upon entry to the course. Through individualized feedback from their instructor, TA, and peers, students will discover their personal communication style and hone their persuasive skills. Topics covered in all sections include the following: structure and content, strategies for persuasive communication, responding to challenging Q&A, and delivery. Students may select a section designed specifically for non-native English speakers.

WHCP 6210: Clear and Persuasive Business Writing

Students who are determined by the Communication Program to need additional writing support will be required to complete WHCP 6210: Clear and Persuasive Business Writing in the fall of their first year. This 0cu, pass/fail, course is designed to help students become effective business writers.

To support students’ diverse needs, we will offer separate sections of WHCP 6210 for native English speakers and for students who are less confident in their mastery of English. For the latter group, the Communication Program has partnered with Penn’s English Language Programs, the university’s experts in ESL education, to better support students as they hone their business writing skills in English. Please note that the content for the native English speaker and ESL sections of this course is fundamentally the same; the ESL sections simply offer more support tailored to the needs of writers for whom English is a second, third, or seventh language.


Spring Courses

WHCP 6120: Advanced Persuasion: Impromptu Speaking (and Elements of Story for Business)

In this course, students will learn strategies for persuading in impromptu speaking situations and examine how impromptu speaking, and other types of persuasion, can be strengthened by stories. Students will practice these techniques in various speaking situations, including Question and Answer sessions. Through a simulation, students will gain experience in one of the toughest types of impromptu speaking: a TV interview with a hostile reporter.

WHCP 6120: Advanced Persuasion: Crisis Communication

This course focuses on persuasive speaking challenges when organizations are under crisis. Through the study of current and recent business crises, students will learn how leaders can communicate ethically, transparently, and strategically to key stakeholder audiences. Students will also gain proficiency in handling difficult questions through a simulated media interview conducted by professional media trainers.

WHCP 6120: Advanced Persuasion: Fundamentals for Prospective Entrepreneurs

NOTE: This course is for students who are not actively working on a startup. If you are currently pursuing your own startup, please see WHCP 6150 below.

In this course, students will learn communication frameworks and best practices for pitching innovative ideas in a way that persuades others to appreciate their value. Students will practice developing clear, concise, and compelling startup stories, from pitches to pivots. Practice contexts will include pitching a startup to potential investors and pitching a new idea to an internal leadership team. Students will use provided business ideas and will have the option of using a self-generated idea for some assignments.

WHCP 6150: Communication Challenges for Entrepreneurs: “Pitching Your Business”

NOTE: Pre-approval required. Startups can be early stage and operate in either the for-profit or nonprofit space, but founders must be able to present a basic business model. Please refer to communications from Academic Affairs.

Designed for students who are actively working on a startup while at Wharton, this course focuses on persuasively communicating the startup story from inception to launch, including communicating the founder’s story and the business opportunity. There will be multiple opportunities for robust feedback on pitch decks. Students will also receive coaching from a successful entrepreneur and will be given the opportunity to pitch their business idea to local investors during an end-of-year capstone event.

WHCP 6240: Persuasive Writing for Business Leaders

Students in WHCP 6240 will learn advanced persuasive writing skills that can be adapted to a range of industries and situations. In the first half of the course, students will be introduced to a series of advanced persuasive writing techniques; in the second half of the course, students will be asked to apply those techniques to a series of increasingly challenging business scenarios. Among other skills, students will learn to harness the power of metaphor, tell a compelling story using data, and communicate change. Throughout the course, students will
receive detailed feedback on their writing.