Negotiation - Harvard Business School MBA Program


Course Number 2240

Senior Lecturer Kevin P. Mohan
Assistant Professor Julian J. Zlatev
Fall; Q1Q2; 3 credits
28 sessions

Senior Lecturer Kevin P. Mohan
Visiting Lecturer Kym Lew Nelson
Associate Professor Joshua R. Schwartzstein
Professor James K. Sebenius
Spring; Q3Q4; 3 credits
28 sessions


Enrollment: Limited to 60 students per section

Career Focus & Educational Objectives

Managerial success requires the ability to negotiate. Whether you are forging an agreement with your suppliers, trying to ink a deal with potential customers, raising money from investors, managing a conflict inside your firm, or resolving a dispute that is headed towards litigation, your ability to negotiate will determine how well you perform.

Because others do not have the same interests, perspectives, and values as you, negotiation skill is critical-professionally and personally. This course will enable you to become a more effective negotiator by enhancing your abilities to:

  • Identify (often-overlooked) value-creating potential in different situations;
  • Design and execute agreements that unlock maximum value on a sustainable basis;
  • End up with an appropriate share of the value that is negotiated;
  • Understand the vital role of ethics in negotiation, even where the parties' ethical standards vary dramatically;
  • Work with people whose backgrounds, expectations, perspectives, values, and ethical standards differ from your own; and
  • Reflect on-and learn from-your experience.

This course will teach you how to analyze, prepare for, and execute negotiations at a sophisticated level-through actions both at and away from the bargaining table. It will give you the opportunity to enhance your strengths as a negotiator and to shore up your weaknesses.

Course Content

Moving from simple (two-party, one-shot, price deals) to complex (multiple parties and issues, internal divisions, long time-frames, cross-border deals), the course integrates three complementary perspectives: analytic, behavioral, and contextual. While we will analyze a number of traditional case studies, the heart of the course is a series of interactive negotiation exercises. These exercises will give you hands-on negotiating experience. You will learn first by actually negotiating, and then by stepping back to compare your approach and results with others. You will be able to test your analytic ability and tactical skill, and to experiment with new approaches.

The course is a laboratory in which you will be both experimenter and subject. Sometimes the most important learning comes from apparent "failure"-and so the course is designed to let you fail in the safe setting of a classroom, and thus help you avoid costly real mistakes.

All of the sections of EC Negotiation will cover the foregoing in considerable depth, though individual faculty members may vary in their emphases, case material, and sequencing.

Grading & Course Requirements

Grading will be based on class participation and the final exam (or paper if permitted by instructor). The exact weighting may vary from section to section. In all instances, however, diligent completion of the negotiation exercises is essential.