Making Better Commercial Decisions

The Client

A major international investment bank seeking to grow profitability and shareholder value

Key Takeaways

Focused on two-prong approach to increase commercial and financial success.

Developed an effective strategy that addressed financial implications of decisions.

Applied role-playing scenarios to test return on profitability, interact with stakeholders, and improve interpersonal skills.

The Challenge

In previous economic times, the approach for this investment bank would have been revenue focused. However, a leaner economy meant there was a more urgent need to control costs.

The client believed there were two key drivers for success: commercially and financially astute decision-making (based on a proper understanding of how the bank made and lost money); and the team members’ ability to work together in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

The Solution

Working closely with their client, Kaplan co-developed a 5-day residential program aimed at those in back and middle office roles that covered the following key themes:

  • Developed a successful and flexible strategy.
  • Appreciated the financial implications of all decisions.
  • Implemented continuous improvement and innovation.
  • Identified, anticipated, and beat the competition.
  • Understood client needs and how to build and foster client relationships.
  • Added or decreased value through the quality of talent management processes and programs.
  • Maximized team effectiveness.

At the core of the solution was the Kaplan Business Challenge (KBC), a business simulation. Participants were split into teams, and each team acted as board of directors who had taken over an ailing company.

The teams competed in a defined market to determine who could best deliver a return to profitability and position the company for continued future growth. Participants developed their strategy, put it into effect, and amended it as necessary. Throughout the exercise, they interacted with various stakeholders—customers, suppliers, the workforce, banks (all role-played by the facilitators)—emphasizing that successful businesses are not operated in a vacuum.

In addition, the more they developed their interpersonal skills, the more they learned, and ultimately, the more successful they were. At the end of the program, each team presented their strategy to the facilitators, fellow delegates, and senior managers from their department.

The Result

The program highlighted that those working in the back and middle office roles made a significant contribution to the success of the bank through their commercial decision-making, effective interpersonal skills, and drive for continuous improvement and innovation.

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Key Takeaways

Identified gaps in both technical competence and behavioral confidence in financial knowledge and application

Collaborated and implemented effective program in key departments

Conducted post-event evaluation and confirmed training contributed to better
working practices

Key Takeaways

Assisted client to develop and deliver classroom-based workshops.

Updated courses as needed to match global adoption.

Developed capability framework for technical capabilities and competencies.

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