Administrative Control


Catalog description: Managerial evaluation of budgeting, cost accounting, and financial analysis techniques; their utilization in control of operations.

PrereqAdmission to the Online MBA program.

Course Instructor

Tim Conn

Please contact your Section instructor through the course space whenever possible. If you must contact the Lead Instructor outside the course space, use the following contact information:

Lead Instructor: Tim Cobb, CMA, MBA

Lead Instructor: Tim Cobb, CMA, MBAThis content will only display when Edit Mode is turned OFF. Do not delete this placeholder text.


Tim Cobb is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and financial professional with over 25 years of cross-functional corporate experience. He has held leadership and senior executive level positions in both the financial and software industries, and has been a consultant to firms ranging in size from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.  Tim began his financial career with a large national investment firm, and progressed to VP/Director roles within the financial industry.  He later accepted a VP position at a start-up financial analytics software firm where he was instrumental in developing corporate strategy and growing the firm's client base to include nearly half of the top 100 investment firms in the country.  The success of the firm led it to ultimately be acquired by a consortium of Goldman Sachs and Blackstone.

Tim currently owns a consulting practice and also serves in several thought leadership roles within the financial community.  He serves as a consultant and Subject Matter Expert to the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which has a global reach of 140 countries. He has been a speaker and panelist at the New York Stock Exchange on the topics of financial analytics and strategic business development. Additionally, Tim serves as a question writer for financial certification exams in North America, Europe, and Asia. He also serves as an instructor in financial and MBA disciplines. Tim earned a BS in Accounting from the University of Akron and an MBA in Management and Strategy from Western Governors University. In addition to holding the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) credential, he is certified in Financial & Valuation Modeling, and has completed an Executive Program in Strategy at the MIT Sloan School of Management.  He has also earned a Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and Internal Controls from the IMA, and earned Gold Level status in the IMA Leadership Academy (IMALA).

Tim enjoys his work as an instructor, and believes strongly in linking academic material to real world business scenarios.  He believes true understanding and comprehension is derived from practical application of concepts.

Meet Your Section Instructors

You have been assigned to a numbered section, led by a section instructor, who is responsible for day-to-day management of your course experience.

  • Go to the My Groups panel below the course menu. This provides a direct link to the group space for the section you have been assigned to.
  • Click here for photos and a short bio of each section instructor.

Course Materials

Required Textbook and Other Resources:


Managerial Accounting: An Introduction to Concepts, Methods and Uses, 11th edition, by Maher, Stickney, and Weil, ISBN-13: 978-1-111-57126-9


  • Any online readings and videos will be posted or linked in the course space.

Recommended Software:

  • Refer to ?Technical Support? page which can be found in the Course Information page on the Course Menu to the left for complete information about supported web browsers. We recommend that you follow all suggestions listed to update and use a current version of the selected browser.
  • To view PDF files (if provided by your instructor), download the latest version of Adobe Reader.
  • To fulfill assignments in this course, you may need to submit work using word processing, spreadsheet, or presentation applications. Access to a recent version of Microsoft Office Suite, or using comparable programs, is recommended.

Harvard Business Review Cases

  • Making Balanced Scorecard Work: The Worldclass Lighting Experience
  • Just Us! Community-Based Tourism
  • Accounting Fraud at WorldCom
  • China Resources Corporation (A): 6S Management

You are responsible for purchasing these Harvard Business Review cases. Please copy and paste the following link into your browser to register and buy your cases:

Course Overview

This course focuses on accounting information used for decision making and resource control, i.e., for administrative control purposes.  Fundamental managerial accounting topics are presented through the lens of strategic planning and performance.  These include basic cost measurement concepts and techniques, cost behavior and cost-volume-profit analysis, budgeting, and performance evaluation.

Accounting information is the product of a measurement process.  To provide useful measures, the process must address what will be measured, how the measurement will be performed, and what will happen as a result of the measurement.  Decision makers, in turn, must be able to recognize the weaknesses and strengths of information produced by measurement systems and utilized for decision making purposes.  Good decision making incorporates identification and evaluation of alternatives and recognition of necessary tradeoffs.  Successful managers are good decision makers.

This course adopts a user perspective. It is geared toward the MBA who will be using, rather than producing, accounting information. Because of this focus on using accounting information, we spend a minimum amount of time reviewing foundation material covered in the prerequisite financial and managerial accounting classes and move quickly into application and problem solving.  Students are best prepared by having a solid understanding of basic financial and managerial accounting concepts.

Course Goals and Objectives

The objectives for the course are to enable students to:

  • Apply basic cost concepts and develop cost allocation schemes.
  • Use financial data to analyze decision alternatives and identify profitability outcomes.
  • Evaluate a measurement system that is linked to strategic performance.
  • Utilize budgetary information for strategic and operational decision making.
  • Identify motivational and incentive factors that impact performance.
  • Identify and manage the risks that can endanger information reliability and quality.

This course focuses on application ? on the use of various accounting measurements for decision making purposes.  Application requires practice.  Your assignments will provide an opportunity for application to problem situations individually and in teams via homework problems and cases.  Mastery of quantitative analytical skills will be tested. 

Time Commitment

This course is delivered during a short 7-week window. It is imperative that you keep up with the pace of the course because tools and theories learned early on are quickly built upon and utilized throughout the rest of the course. The best way to fully understand the quantitative concepts, strengths, and weaknesses incorporated into commonly used analyses is a hands-on approach ? you must do them yourself! 

Participation in online discussions is an important component of this course as it enables you to move beyond simple technical knowledge (e.g., knowing how something is calculated) to application of that knowledge and a deeper comprehension.  You are encouraged to ask questions and share insights. Failure to participate will not exempt you from being responsible for any missed course content, assignments, or announcements.

You are also expected to behave professionally online. Please be polite, courteous, and respectful towards your peers, and your professor, even if you do not agree with them.

Guidelines for Effective Communication

The essence of education is exposure to diverse viewpoints. In your threaded discussion posts you will meet students with vastly different opinions and backgrounds. When you do not agree with their views, pause a moment. Weigh their words. You are encouraged to disagree with the substance of others? ideas and opinions, but to do so with an active sense of respect for one another, and without losing focus on the topic at hand. Personal attacks, inflammatory statements, flaming, trolling, and disruption of the discussion do not have a place in academic discourse.

Your instructors will promote high-quality academic discussions by removing any posts they view as disruptive of the educational process and alerting students whose posts have been removed that they have violated course expectations. Students who continue to misuse the discussion boards after a warning may be subject to removal of access rights, course failure, and referral to the Office of Student Conduct.

Postings must comply with University policy on use of computing resources, including those regarding harassment and discrimination, as well as conform to the Standards of Conduct for Students. Students are encouraged to review the Standards, particularly WAC 504-26-218, 504-26-220, and 504-26-222.

In certain courses, assessment of discussion posts is part of the final grade. Criteria for evaluating your discussion participation will be explained elsewhere in the course space, if applicable.

Course Work

Assessment will occur from four categories of student activities: homework, exams, mini-case projects, and online discussions.

Sharing vs. Cheating

Work assigned on an individual basis or on a team basis is to be completed on that basis. While sharing insights and offering suggestions to your peers is encouraged, sharing spreadsheets or solutions is not.  Multiple copies of the same spreadsheet or solution turned in for an assignment are considered to be a violation of the academic integrity code and will be treated accordingly.

Grading Rubrics

Evaluation rubrics will be provided for assignments. Please ask if you have questions about what or how to present your assignment solutions.

Homework and Short Case

There are assigned homework problems for Week 1 and 2, and a short individual case study for Week 1.  The homework will help to ensure that you understand the differences between fixed and variable costs and are able to perform break-even and other cost-volume-profit analyses.  The problems are to be completed on an individual basis and submitted in the "Assignments" section.

Practice problems and solutions are provided at the end of chapters in the textbook.  You are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these practice problems.


There is one midterm exam addressing cost behavior and decision making concepts and application. The exam is worth 100 points and will be administered through the course space via the " Assessments " section.

A practice exam has been provided in the ? Assessments ? section. Solutions will be posted by the instructor.

You will have a maximum of 3 hours to complete the exam. You will need to complete the exam using the Excel spreadsheet provided. You are permitted to use the textbook, notes, examples, and other study aids that you think will be helpful. You are not allowed to consult fellow students or to utilize external answer providers. You need to do your own work and you are expected to maintain confidentiality regarding the contents of the exam until the submission period is ended. Violation of these requirements will be considered a violation of academic integrity.

The midterm exam link becomes visible and available at 12:05AM on the date listed on the Course Schedule. It will not appear before that date and time. To access it, go to the " Assessments " folder and find the folder for your section. Select the link labeled "Take the Midterm Exam." Follow the instructions to download, rename, and save the exam file to your computer. The Excel spreadsheet includes tabs at the bottom containing instructions and the midterm problems. You may need to expand the window to full size to see the tabs. Work the problems and enter answers as explained in the instructions, then submit your completed midterm exam to the drop box labeled "Turn in the Midterm Exam".

You must submit your completed exam by no later than 11:55PM Pacific on the due date listed in the Course Schedule, so be sure to begin the exam with enough time to finish before that final time deadline. The drop box will not accept any submissions after the stated 11:55PM deadline.

Team Cases

There will be four case assignments to be completed in teams. 

Three shorter cases are worth 50 points each.  They are intended to show that you are assimilating the concepts and critically analyzing all ideas raised by the course materials.  For each case, the analyses should be no more than two to four double-spaced pages with 12-inch Times New Roman font and one-inch margins (top, sides, and bottom).  Appendices may be attached with computations and other supplementary information.  They will be submitted through this course space in the "Assignments" section.

The final case is a comprehensive analysis incorporating multiple topics covered in the class.  It is worth 150 points.

Discussion Board

There are three different types of Discussion Board assignments with differing amounts of points assigned to each: Self-introduction, article posting, article responses.

The Self-Introduction is posted in Week 1 following the guidelines provided.

Article posting requires finding a current news article or scholarly article that incorporates or demonstrates the managerial accounting issues discussed in that week.  For example, the topics for Week 2 are CVP Analysis and Profitability Analysis.  You will post an article to share with the class providing a thoughtful commentary to start the discussion.  During week 1, you will sign up for the week in which you will post your article.

The sign-up is done by course section. No more than five people are allowed to sign up for the same week. Week 1 is not available. Your section facilitator will provide a link to an internet-based scheduling tool called Doodle. This service is free, easy-to-use, and does not require any registration. When you select the link provided by your section facilitator, the Doodle site displays a table-formatted "poll" with columns displaying the Monday for each week of this course, beginning in week 2. To sign up for the week during which you will post your article, follow these steps:

  1. Use the link provided by your section's instructor to access the Doodle site.
  2. Enter your full name in the box.
  3. Select the radio button for the Monday that begins the week during which you will post your article.
  4. Select the Save button to submit your choice.

Please remember that no more than five students can sign up for the same week, so if the radio button is deactivated it's because five others have already selected that week.

During Week 1 and for any week in which you are not signed up to post an article, you will need to reply to two article posts.  In Week 1, the posted articles will be provided by the course instructor under "Other Reading"; the articles will be ?The Use ? and Misuse ? of Statistics: How and Why Numbers Are So Easily Manipulated? and "GE Cuts Corporate Jets as CEO Pushes $2 Billion Cost Savings Plan". During the remaining weeks, you are free to select from any of the other students? article posts in your section.  Comments should be substantive and incorporate concepts and ideas from the course readings as well as your personal viewpoint and critical analysis.

You may comment on more than two articles, and may comment multiple times on an article. However, please keep each week's articles and posts separate and identify the article in your response title.

Your participation in these discussion assignments will be awarded points as follows:

  • Initial introduction
  • Article post
  • Replies - 2 per week x 6 weeks @ 5 points each
10 points
10 points
60 points

The grading of the article posts and weekly response postings will be performed separately. The article posts are manually graded and entered by the section instructor. The weekly response postings will be graded at various times throughout the week. Be aware that each of the two required posts is graded and entered separately even though the total appears as a single number. If only the first post has been graded, the grade that you will see is your score out of 5. After the second post is graded, you will see your grade for both posts (your score out of 10).

Live Synchronous Web Conferencing Sessions

The lead instructor and your section instructor will each conduct a weekly web conferencing session. Please refer to the Course Schedule for the specific dates and times when each of these webinars will be held. These sessions provide an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions, get more details about specific topics or assignments, as well as give you a chance to interact directly with your instructor and fellow class members. Although attendance is not required, it is strongly recommended that you participate in each webinar. Sessions will be recorded so that you can access them at a later time, if needed.

The web conferencing tool, Blackboard Collaborate, is accessible from the "Course Tools" link. Please refer to these helpful Blackboard Collaborate resources for more information,

  • Please use a headset or noise-cancelling microphone for audio access. If you do not have a microphone or headset, you will be able to interact in writing only, via the chat box.
  • Use this link to confirm your computer hardware and software meet minimum requirements before participation in your first session. Select "First Time Users > Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing."
    First Time Users Icon

How to Join the Web Conferencing Sessions Bb Collaborate Logo

  1. The first time you join a Collaborate room you will have to download the Launcher. Follow the instructions on the screen. This can take several minutes. Allow a minimum of 10 minutes before the start of a webinar to complete this. Future uses will only take 2-3 minutes to log in.
  2. To participate in the live, synchronous web conferencing sessions:
    1. Go to Course Tools.
    2. Select the link for Blackboard Collaborate.
    3. Follow the appropriate steps in the table below, depending on whether you are joining the lead instructor's webinar or the section instructor's session.

Join the LEAD instructor's Webinar

  • Select the red Join Room button from the icon in the upper left, labeled with the course name.
Collaborate Main Room Icon

  • Select OK from the pop-up window to open the Collaborate room.
  • Go to Tools > Audio > Audio Wizard to make sure the speakers and microphone are set up.

Join the SECTION instructor's Webinar

  • Find the scheduled sessions listed below the Search area. Locate the session for your assigned section.
  • Select the small purple icon in the Available column for that session. 
  • Select the red Join Room button.
  • Select OK from the pop-up window to open the Collaborate room.
  • Go to Tools > Audio > Audio Wizard to make sure the speakers and microphone are set up.

How to Find the Section Instructors' Sessions

If the section instructor's scheduled sessions are not visible, confirm that the proper dates are entered in the Start and End date fields.

  1. In Start, enter the first day of the course.
  2. In End, enter the last day of the course.
  3. Select Go. All scheduled sessions are displayed. Select the View Recording Icon   icon for the appropriate session.

How to Find and Watch Recorded Sessions

If you want to watch a recorded web conferencing session - for either the lead or section instructor - follow these steps to find and view the recording:

  1. Go to Course Tools. Select the link for Blackboard Collaborate.
  2. Select Recordings.

    Recording Link

  3. In the Start Date calendar, select the first day of the course.
  4. Select Go. All recorded sessions to date are displayed. Use the date and time notation to identify the desired recording.
  5. Select the   icon for the session you want to view.

Blackboard Collaborate Technical Support

Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you encounter technical issues, contact Blackboard Collaborate Technical Support for assistance.

Course Schedule

For course work due dates, please view the Course Schedule. Expand the Content folder in the Map menu on the left by clicking the plus sign (+), then select Course Schedule.



Week-by-Week Graded Assignments Matrix
Assignment Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7
Discussion post X X X X X X X
HW problem and short case (Individual)  X X          
Case (team)       X X X  
Exam     X        
Final group project             X
Course Work Points Percentage
Homework  and short case (2 @ 60 points) 120 20.0%
Team cases (3 @ 50 points) 150 25.0%
Exam 100 16.7%
Comprehensive team case 150 25.0%
Discussion Forums (8 @ 10 points) 80 13.3%
TOTAL 600 100%


Letter Grade Distribution
Letter Grade Final Total %
A 92% ? 100%
A- 90% ? 91.9%
B+ 88% ? 89.9%
B 82% ? 87.9%
B- 80% ? 81.9%
C+ 78% ? 79.9%
C 72% ? 77.9%
C- 70% ? 71.9%
D+ 65% ? 69.9%
D 60% ? 64.9%
F below 60%

Instructor Interaction

Questions for Instructors

This course has a lead instructor as well as section instructors. Your day-to-day communication is to be directed to your section instructor.

If you have a question about course content or an assignment, begin by reviewing the "Questions for Your Section Instructor" and "Questions for the Lead Instructor" discussion board forums to see if someone else has asked the same (or similar) question. If not, post your question to the "Questions for Your Section Instructor" forum.

Sometimes another student will know the answer and might respond before the instructor. If the student has provided an accurate reply, your instructor may not add further input to the already correctly answered question. In addition, it is common for several students to ask the same question. In those cases, the instructor may only respond to one student, operating under the assumption that students are reading all responses in the ?Questions for Instructor? area. If for some reason you have a private question that must be kept confidential, you may send your query to the instructor via the e-mail.

Grading Feedback

For discussions, exam, and mini-cases, the turn-around time is 72 hours.

Late Work Policy

Homework and cases are assigned to enable students to understand and apply the concepts covered in class. Without application, the learning gained is much less.

In order to provide the best and most timely feedback, submission deadlines are established.  The best grading occurs when an assignment is graded for everyone at one time. This provides fair treatment and further allows identification of common misunderstandings related to specific problems.

It is unfair for one student to be allowed extra time to finish an assignment when the same extra time is not allowed for everyone.  It gives the student an unfair advantage as most students, especially in this program, could use some extra time.  Late assignments should thus receive a penalty if they are accepted at all.  Late work will be allowed only for truly exceptional circumstances that must be communicated with the instructor in a timely manner and will be subject to a 20% penalty.

The system will NOT accept submissions past 11:55 PM on the listed due date. Because Murphy's law dictates that things will go wrong, you will need to allow for glitches (e.g., slow connection, getting kicked off, unable to connect) when planning to submit your assignments. Plan to submit well before the 11:55 PM deadline.

Incomplete Policy

Incompletes are granted only with permission of the Instructor and are subject to the following guidelines: 

  • Students must request an incomplete in writing or by e-mail from the Instructor before the end of the semester. Such requests should be signed and dated by the student and must explain the reasons behind the request for the incomplete. Typically, reasons will involve extraordinary circumstances (e.g., family emergency, serious illness).
  • In order to be considered for an incomplete, a student must be receiving a passing grade at the time of the request.
  • If an incomplete is granted, then the standard WSU policy applies (i.e., all work must be completed within one full year from the end of the enrollment semester at issue. Otherwise, an automatic grade of F, or failing, will be entered on the student's transcript).

The MBA Oath

The MBA Oath was created to make a real impact on the meaning of the MBA degree and on the role people expect business to play in society. While other professions have certain guiding principles/pledges that are administered at graduation or after passing certain professional examinations, this does not presently exist for business school students. The students who designed the MBA Oath believe the purpose of the Oath is to set a new standard for how people conduct business in the future.

Please visit the following website to learn more about this initiative from a number of MBA alumni:

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NOTE: When contacting a Disability Specialist please indicate you are an OMBA student so they can provide you with the appropriate information.

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WSU OnlineMBA Student Support

Your Online MBA Student Services Advisor has all the non-content and administrative-related information you need to be a successful online learner. Please do not hesitate to contact your Advisor at or 1-877-960-2032. This support includes questions surrounding purchasing course materials, registration, billing, financial aid, and graduation.

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