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Fisher Graduate Business Admissions Blog

Course Spotlight: Negotiations (BUSMHR)

Posted by Tony Reed on Nov 1, 2016 10:46:55 AM

It may be the most popular course for grad students at the Fisher College of Business and it's one of the most talked about: Negotiations with Associate Professor Robert Lount.  Professor Lount is nationally-regarded as an expert in negotiation and organizational behavior-- and he sat down with us to share more about his background, the course outline, and why he thinks the course resonates so strongly with students in all graduate programs at Fisher.


Professor Lount, you teach a very popular and well-liked course at Fisher called "Negotiations." Tell us about your academic journey that led you to the Fisher College of Business and this course-- and share with us your teaching style.

While I was earning my PhD at The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, I was given the time and opportunity to research and read about effective negotiation practices. After a few years of studying the topic, I taught my first course on negotiations. My approach to teaching negotiations has always been largely experiential. Students in my class will engage in many negotiations throughout the course. I use lecture and discussion in class to supplement and enrich the experiential part of my class. Once we start to master basic concepts, I move onto more advanced and challenging negotiation situations where students need to push themselves to find an agreement at the table.

Any graduate student can choose to take this course as an elective. What's the purpose of the course? What sort of topics do you tackle?

The course has several purposes. First, I want to make students into better negotiators. We negotiate all the time, and I want to equip students with the skills they need to reach the best possible outcomes. Second, I put an emphasis on teaching students to understand the science behind effective negotiation strategies. I want students to understand why certain strategies are more effective than others. When they understand why a strategy works, it gives them more power to be able to apply and adjust the strategy into the different situations in which they may find themselves.  Lastly, I want students to be able to see themselves improving as negotiators throughout the semester.   

Why do you think this course resonates so strongly with students? What is it that makes them feel it's so relevant and impactful?

 I think one of the main reasons the course is popular is because many aspects of our day-to-day lives have the opportunity to be enriched by the use of negotiation. My course helps students realize when there is an opportunity to improve outcomes through using effective negotiation approaches.  Moreover, I put an emphasis on understanding how to reach win-win agreements (when they are possible) and ways to help improve satisfaction on both sides of the table. 

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