Strategic Analysis and Decision-Making

  • When major value plays are at stake, many leaders feel paralyzed by the complexity of their choices. Too often, they project false confidence and take decisive but uninformed action. Fortunately, a solution exists to remove the guesswork entirely.

  • At a Glance

    Every leader must make complex decisions, analyze risk and map out clear plans of action. In Strategic Analysis and Decision-Making, you'll learn methods to map out risks, rewards and varying outcomes so you can logically assess the consequences of your choices and make more confident, profitable decisions.

    The Program

    Make wiser and more valuable decisions in every circumstance. In this program, you'll break down the elements of decision-making and use predictive models and forecasting tools to reduce uncertainty from high-stakes situations. A team of experts in quantitative analysis, data optimization, consumption preferences, and bargaining and negotiation will lay out the method by which you can frame nearly every major decision you'll face in your executive career. You'll study the psychological and cognitive influences that affect both individual and team decisions and learn ways to circumvent your biases and minimize distractions from the task at hand. Through peer group workshops, case studies, and personal development exercises, you'll evolve your awareness of which elements truly matter to the bottom line and shift from intuitive to data-driven thinking.

    Where You'll Excel

    • Practice Darden's decision-making process on real-life examples of high-stakes business choices.
    • Learn which data points you must gather to make the most common decisions facing executives.
    • Forecast probable outcomes, including quantified risks and rewards, of various choices in unstable environments.
    • Get in tune with your unconscious preferences and practice using logic instead of gut feel to make smarter, healthier and more profitable decisions.    

    Schedule & Topics

    • Making Good Decisions
    • Harnessing Uncertainty
    • Thinking Strategically
    • Handling Wrenching Decisions
    • Creating Value Through Better Decision-Making


    After Strategic Analysis and Decision-Making, you'll walk away with:

    • A template you can use to model your options when you need to make tough decisions alone or in teams
    • The skills to drill down and fully articulate the full suite of available options, including their consequences and your response
    • Meaningful definitions of risk and value so you can map out your action plan
    • Confidence in your own ability to allay cognitive biases, decision traps and groupthink


    This program is designed for leaders who need to make strong decisions amidst uncertainty and risk. It will benefit those who seek quantitative proof of the substance and merit of their choices, particularly those responsible for the wellbeing of teams, departments and whole organizations.


    Robert L. Carraway

    Associate Professor of Business Administration
    Carraway teaches managerial quantitative analysis to all levels of business students. He has taught Executive Education courses across four continents on topics ranging from decision analysis to risk management to strategy and leadership. Carraway has authored teaching materials on managerial judgment, analyzing uncertainty, forecasting and optimization. He came to Darden in 1984 and formerly served as associate dean for degree programs, as well as faculty director and community liaison of the Batten Institute. Carraway holds an MBA from East Carolina University and a Ph.D. in management from Purdue University.

    Yael Grushka-Cockayne

    Assistant Professor of Business Administration
    Yael Grushka-Cockayne's research and teaching activities focus on forecasting, project management, strategic and behavioral decision making. Her research is published in numerous academic and professional journals, and she is a regular speaker at international conferences in the area of decision analysis, project management and management science. She is also an award-winning teacher, winning the Darden Morton Leadership Faculty Award in 2011, the University of Virginia's Mead-Colley Award in 2012 and the Darden Outstanding faculty award in 2013.  Yael teaches the core Decision Analysis course and an elective she designed on Project Management.  Before starting her academic career, she worked in San Francisco as a marketing director of an Israeli ERP company. As an expert in the areas of project management, she has served as a consultant to international firms in the aerospace and petroleum industries. She is a UVA Excellence in Diversity fellow and a member of INFORMS, the Decision Analysis Society, the Operational Research Society and the Project Management Institute (PMI). She is also currently the Secretary/Treasurer of the INFORMS Decision Analysis Society.

    Kenneth C. Lichtendahl Jr.

    Associate Professor of Business Administration
    An award-winning scholar and teacher, Lichtendahl began his career in the beverage industry, co-founding a company in 1992 that was recently acquired by Nestlé Waters North America. He began teaching at Darden in 2006. His expertise encompasses multiple aspects of strategic decision-making - including decision analysis, quantitative analysis, probability forecasting, modeling consumption preferences, and data analysis and optimization. Lichtendahl's advanced degrees include a Ph.D. from Duke University, a master's in statistics and management science from Stanford University and an MBA from Darden.

    Location & Accommodations

    Darden School of Business
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    As a participant, you'll stay in a private room at the  Inn at Darden, our highly rated hotel adjacent to the classroom buildings and dining center. Accommodations are included in your tuition.

    Tuition & Certificates

    $7,750 covers materials, meals and accommodations at the  Inn at Darden.

    By taking this course, you will earn one week of credit toward a  Certificate of Specialization.