Mergers and Acquisitions (Online): Strategize and Execute Successful Deals

Dec 9, 2021–Feb 17, 2022 $3,500

Questions? Contact Us:

+1 315-982-5094
+1 315-277-2746
[email protected]

Duration: 8 Weeks
Time Commitment: 4–6 hours/week
Certificate Credit: 2
Learn more.

Delivered in collaboration with

“Change is inevitable and today’s fast-paced deal market is no exception. Please join me as we explore an undeniable force of change-M&A. Whether you are interested in due diligence, valuation, acquisitions, divestitures, private market deals, large public company deals or leveraged buyouts, we will lay down a strong foundation for you to be equipped to deal with the fast moving deal world.”
– The program's Faculty Director Donna Hitscherich

Mergers and Acquisitions (Online)

The decision to make or buy is at the core of any growth strategy. As leaders evaluate options to achieve their growth goals, they are faced with a myriad of factors to consider. With more than one million Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) deals completed globally over the last 35 years, many decision makers find value in them. In fact, since 2000, worldwide M&A transactions have a known value of over US$57 trillion.

In a post-pandemic climate, growth is on the minds of executives across the globe. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) offers a myriad of opportunities, but it also brings threats to those on the receiving end of a takeover. As a participant in the Mergers and Acquisitions (Online) program, you'll learn a proven offensive and defensive framework, and gain an understanding of the strategy, execution, legal components, and risks involved in M&A.

Please Contact Us

Please contact our partners at Emeritus at [email protected], +1 315-982-5094, or +1 315-277-2746 for a personal conversation about this program and how it may benefit you.


As a participant in the Columbia Business School Mergers & Acquisitions (Online) program, you'll gain an understanding of the strategy, execution, legal components, and risks involved in M&A.

You’ll leave the program being able to:

  • Describe the M&A process from deal sourcing through transaction closing
  • Analyze the strategic rationale for and against an M&A transaction
  • Describe the role of valuation in the M&A process and examine different valuation methods and the math behind the deal
  • Explain how to capture value through M&A and create synergies of revenue and cost
  • Examine the best practices of due diligence, deal documentation, and transaction structuring in M&A transactions
  • Evaluate the M&A process of a real-world merger and determine whether the parties involved derived the "benefit of the bargain"

Upon completion of this program, you will earn two credits towards a Certificate with select alumni and tuition benefits. Learn more.


Module 1: Introduction to M&A
Review the key terminology of the M&A landscape and learn a five-point framework for remaining disciplined during the M&A process.

Module 2: Strategic and Practical Considerations
Examine the six key topics to be addressed in the M&A process: strategic alternatives; screening candidates; valuation, synergies, and pro-forma analysis; interloper analysis; form of consideration; and tactical approach issues and Plan B.

Module 3: Valuation
Explore the role that valuation plays in the M&A process and evaluate whether an M&A transaction will add value.

Module 4: Deal Math
Review the most common 'deal math' calculations for an M&A transaction including: premium; fully diluted shares outstanding (FDSO); transaction values; transaction multiples; transaction exchange ratio and pro forma ownership (only in stock deals) and contribution analysis (only in stock deals).

Module 5: Due Diligence
Explain the due diligence process— including financial, legal, and commercial—and its role in ensuring that both parties can protect their benefit of the bargain.

Module 6: Merger Agreements and Sell-Side
Describe the principles and mechanics of deal documentation and learn about various transaction structures, including direct mergers, triangular mergers, consolidations, and asset sales.

Module 7: Takeover Defense and Financial Perspectives
Discuss some key questions that both parties must address throughout the M&A process and some guidelines for friendly versus hostile deals. Gain insight into the roles of the involved stakeholders.

Module 8: Final Project
The final project brings together all of the concepts taught in this program and consists of two parts. Part one includes general questions about merger agreements, valuation, and due diligence. Part two relates specifically to the Kenneth Cole Productions case and includes reference documents (e.g., Schedule 14A) and presentations from the financial advisor.


This program is intended for those who have experience in corporate finance, capital markets, or investment management. It is highly recommended that participants have prior knowledge of topics such as discounted cash flow models; risk and return; capital asset pricing model; dividend policy; asset valuation; fixed income; and behavioral finance.

The program is ideal for:

  • Senior executives who set the strategic course for growth and oversee the firm’s investment portfolio
  • Mid-level managers who serve in finance or investment functions and play a key role in the financial matters of the organization
  • Consultants, Legal Counsel, and Advisors who serve in a role of sourcing, executing, managing, or integrating M&A transactions, or who hold relationships with investment banks and private investors

Columbia Business School Alumni and up to four of their colleagues are eligible for a 25 percent tuition benefit for this program. More on the Alumni Tuition Benefit.


Donna M. Hitscherich, Faculty Director
Senior Lecturer, Business, Finance, and Economics
Director, Private Equity Program
Columbia Business School

Donna Hitscherich serves as director of the Private Equity Program and is a Bernstein Faculty Leader at the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics. She teaches Corporate Finance, Business Law, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Advanced Corporate Finance. Prior to her academic career, she was an investment banker and mergers and acquisition specialist, working with CS First Boston, JP Morgan &Co Inc., and Banc of America Securities. Prior to those roles, she was a corporate lawyer, specializing in mergers and acquisitions. She holds a BS and JD from St. John’s University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Hitscherich is also a certified paramedic in the State of New York.