Rotman School of Management

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Integrative Thinking

Business Problem Solving: An Integrated Approach


Mihnea Moldoveanu

Target Audience

This course will be of particular interest to future consultants, investment bankers and general managers.

Course Scope and Mission

This course aims to make you a better framer and solver of any business problem. It will do so by getting you to build an observer and a controller for your own mind, or to improve the observer and controller that you currently possess. You will be introduced to a basic language for describing problems and the mental processes involved in solving them, and a discipline for using this language. The basic elements of this language form the basic building blocks of the course, which will highlight the application and use of each element of the language to problem solving behavior.

The course is open to anyone wishing to improve his or her basic problem solving skill. It will be particularly useful to those contemplating careers in management consulting, investment banking and entrepreneurship.

GettingItDone® Intensive


Brendan Calder and Dr. John O’Dwyer

Target Audience

Soon to be MBA graduates who want to effectively implement their strategies when in leadership and management positions.

This is a course about GettingItDone®; ‘It’ being your vision (and related strategy, operating results, change initiatives, and employee involvement and commitment). “This is a doing course and not a memorizing course.”

Course Mission

  1. Students learn an annual planning and management process that incorporates and links the practices of strategic planning, business planning, managing for results, and continuous improvement. Graduates will be able to effectively implement their vision and strategies when in leadership and management positions.
  2. Students get proven tools and methods to achieve organizational results.
  3. Students get proven tools that will improve their personal effectiveness.

Course Scope

The course delivers proven models and tools that have been continuously refined over 35 years based on the works of Peter Drucker, Mike Kami and Bill Reddin (e.g., see

The course is built around four integrative frameworks: Strategic Planning, Strategy Deployment, Managing for Results, and Continuous Improvement.  Classes will include a number of sessions with real leaders who are GettingItDone® in real time and the course Faculty have managed many organizations using these tools and methods.

Course Website

Leadership from the Inside Out: Building Relationship Skills That Work


Melanie Carr

Target Audience

Business is all about people. Those with the deepest understanding of human interaction and the ability to harness that understanding will more often get what they want, achieve more and make a bigger impact on the world and on those around them. This course is for students who want to develop their own interpersonal effectiveness to reach their career goals.

Course Mission

The main objective of this course is to provide participants with a lively, interactive opportunity to reflect on their own stance towards themselves, others and their leadership role and to develop and practice tools which will assist in the design of more productive interactions, particularly in new or complex situations. The ultimate goal is to look at how “managing from the inside out” increases your effectiveness in the workplace.

Course Scope

The managers who are most successful appreciate that the ability to build novel, creative and more effective business solutions is intimately tied to the ability to work productively with other people -- motivating them, nurturing them, persuading them, understanding them and working collaboratively with them. Using a combination of learning methods, this course is designed to provide a deeper understanding of, and increased effectiveness with, some of the Integrative Thinking tools that are related to interpersonal understanding, self-awareness and communication.

The ability to communicate well, a key skill of great business leaders, involves a sophisticated understanding of interpersonal dynamics, self-awareness and empathy. For some this ability is largely intuitive; for all, these abilities can be improved upon through a rigorous examination of underlying patterns of interaction and engagement in exercises designed to practice advanced communication skills. Sessions 1 and 2 will focus on developing active listening and empathic inquiry tools through the use of the video camera and providing feedback in “real-time” in a small group setting. These essential communication tools form the building blocks for the development of productive work relationships.

Once students become comfortable with the process of understanding the other person through enhanced communication skills, the focus will shift to an exploration of professionalism and leadership in a managerial context. (Session 3)

Personal effectiveness and learning depend on the ability to move from automatic, repetitive thought and behaviour patterns which may have outgrown their usefulness to you to a more reflective, flexible position that allows for the possibility of change. Session 4 is devoted to the concept of mindfulness as a useful tool to increase self-awareness and to help cultivate a mindset which promotes more productive interactions with others.

Session 5 then moves into the key area of understanding difficult interpersonal interactions in a business context using the strategy of re-framing the conflict. As business success is more likely to be the result of interpersonal effectiveness than it is about having the “right idea”, developing and practicing strategies to deal with interpersonal conflict is essential. Case studies and exercises adapted from cognitive/behavioural theory will be employed to work through this important concept.

The course will finish (Session 6) with the presentation of group projects designed to translate the course concepts to a business environment in an effective and practical way.

Top Manager’s Perspective


David Beatty
Richard Powers

Target Audience

The course should be of interest to future consultants, general managers, investment analysts and entrepreneurs. The course demands a lot of work outside the boundaries of text books and lectures so it is not for everyone.

Course Mission

The objectives of this course are to make you a better decision maker by:

  • Making you think logically and teaching you to communicate in a clear, memorable and compelling way.
  • Developing your understanding of the theory and concepts of strategic management in large complex business organizations.
  • Providing you with a set of practical analytical tools to enhance your strategic skills.
  • Building your self-confidence as a decision maker at the most senior managerial level.

Course Scope

This is a course designed to make you a better strategic decision maker and to integrate all the skills you have acquired in your career and at RSM.

The course is built on some high level frameworks, such as LogicWorks, that enhance your capacity to reason logically, to identify effective solutions and to learn continuously from your own experiences.

The course works with practical tools and techniques such as momentum analysis, Porter’s 5 forces, core competence, the GE/McKinsey 9-box and others. These tools and the exercises designed to make them useful will assist you in making real world, real time decisions in complex business environments.

The course perspective is that of the CEO of large, global businesses such as Four Seasons, Gildan, CAE or Inmet Mining as well as a more local business, Loblaws.

Students will be required to develop insights from the provided readings (Annual Reports and analysts’ reports) and from their own independent investigations. There are no boundaries. Each day’s newspapers may add further dimensions to the course.

If you are prepared for hard work, aggressive thinking and insightful reflection about yourself this course may well transform your career trajectory.

The Opposable Mind


Roger Martin
Jennifer Riel

Target Audience

This course is for students interested in developing their own integrative thinking and decision-making skills. It will be of particular interest to those planning to go into professional services and general management.

Course Mission

This course aims to give you the tools to tackle big, complex and wicked business problems. You will gain practice applying integrative thinking to difficult business problems, looking at both personal and interpersonal strategies to work towards creative resolution. 

Course Scope

What do you do when you feel forced to choose between two mutually exclusive, yet sub-optimal options? How do you react when dealing with a colleague whose understanding of the world seems to be fundamentally at odds with your own?  How can you resolve the kinds of problems that seem to change as you attempt to solve them and seem to have no good answers? These clashes are the wicked problems you will almost certainly face in your managerial career. And how you deal with them can make the difference between a good career and a transformative one.

Business Intelligence


Filippo Passerini

Target Audience

The course is open to anyone wishing to improve his or her basic knowledge on Business Intelligence and Analytic and who wants to learn how to turn digital technology into competitive advantage. Students pursuing careers in general management, investment banking, consulting, financial services and entrepreneurship in big data niches should find the course of particular interest.

Course Mission & Scope

In a world ever more complex and fast-paced, detecting and anticipating the need for business change is becoming increasingly critical. Speed of decision making is often the key differentiator in the success and failure of an Enterprise. At the same time the amount of data available to us, both structured and unstructured (Big Data), is becoming a new “force”. In order to turn all of that into a competitive advantage – as opposed to overwhelming entropy – new tools and ways of using data to make decisions and solve problems are necessary.

This course aims at providing the context in which Analytics and Business Intelligence plays a strategic role in the business, as well as the content to turn data into information, then into knowledge, and finally into insights and business action predicated on new information.  The course illustrates the importance of rapidly moving beyond “what” is happening in the business, to invest time on “why” it is happening, and better understand the options available for “how” to react.  All of that based on case studies, highly interactive sessions, and several business cases.  The course also touches several “personal skill” areas fundamental to succeed in today’s business world, as well as the importance of Visualization to bring to life complex analytical models and distill down actionable insights.

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