Chief Financial Officer Program

Take Your Career as a Finance Leader to the Next Level

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Course Dates


September 16, 2024

Course Duration


9 to 12 Months
Online and In Person

Course Fee



US$200 application fee

Driving Financial Excellence

The Chief Financial Officer Program from Columbia Business School Executive Education will help financial leaders take the next step in their careers. Through a comprehensive curriculum driven by world-class faculty and the latest industry research and insights, senior leaders will develop the knowledge and skills to seamlessly transition into a CFO role. This program will help participants drive financial frameworks that embrace global business strategies while preparing them to manage investors, analysts, and the boards to optimize business efficiency.

It tackles various themes during the multimodal learning journey of 9 to 12 months structured around value creation, capital markets, risk management, leadership, and relevant skill development for the CFO role. At the end of this program, participants will emerge equipped with the skills, tools, and frameworks needed to lead financial transformation and handle increasingly complex challenges being faced by their organizations.


of CFOs believe that evaluating finance strategy, scope, and design is their top priority.



of CFOs say the speed of their decision making has increased due to the need for reinvention.


What You Will Learn

The Chief Financial Officer Program will enable you to:

  • Establish a long-term vision that balances fiscal outcomes with performance goals, ensuring alignment with overarching business strategies and objectives
  • Identify and drive the implementation of strategic choices that lead to sustainable value creation and organizational growth
  • Acquire and utilize effective strategies to improve communication, increase influence, and exert a more significant personal impact on both internal and external stakeholders
  • Lead change and transformation efforts that create lasting value for the finance function and the wider organization
  • Transform culture across the organization to ensure it is risk aware and financially aligned

Program Highlights

Core Curriculum

Kick-start your program journey with 18 weeks of core online learning, imparting essential skills for the CFO role

Weekly Live Sessions

Experience live online sessions with a success coach as well as periodic guest lectures by faculty, industry leaders, and career advisors

World-Renowned Faculty

Learn from Columbia Business School faculty, thought leaders, and financial industry experts

Peer Learning

Learn from high-achieving peers from around the globe, and build your network

Success Coach

Craft your learning journey in line with your career goals with a success coach assigned to your cohort

Networking Event

Interact with faculty, peers, and global industry leaders at an optional two-day on-campus networking event

CIBE Holder Benefits

Receive Certificate in Business Excellence benefits upon completion and become part of a distinguished global community

Capstone Project

Work on a capstone project to refine your skills by applying program learnings to a challenge and drive immediate on-the-job impact in your organization

Flexible Learning Journey

Balance learning with your busy work schedule by dedicating just three to five hours each week toward program sessions and learning activities

Comprehensive Curriculum

The Chief Financial Officer Program is a flexible learning journey designed for senior leaders in finance. You will learn through online and interactive sessions, fireside chats, and guest lectures led by Columbia Business School faculty, and global industry leaders. The program offers an expertly developed curriculum that spans three key phases that will equip you with the necessary tools to drive financial strategy and lead digital transformation at your organization.

  • The Chief Financial Officer Program will enhance your financial leadership and sharpen your decision-making skills through these carefully curated module topics:

    Strategic Leadership

    The modern CFO is expected to drive an organization's direction and growth through strategic decision making. This program looks at a CFO’s leadership and its role within the C-suite, drawing on the insights of top CFOs. 

    • Measuring strategy
    • Qualities of a financial leader
    • CFO as strategic partner to the CEO
    • Raising capital and managing investors
    • Regulatory compliance

    Leveraging Financial Data and Analytics

    To maximize an organization's financial performance, CFOs must utilize a growing volume of data and include analytics within their decision-making process. This program provides a framework for understanding and forecasting a business and its potential value. 

    • Operating cycle and value drivers
    • Defining good stewardship of capital
    • Macro revenue factors, materials, and supply chains
    • Capacity and capital expenditure
    • Capital structure
    • A global market: foreign currency
    • Bringing it all together: valuation

    Driving Innovation and Transformation

    To create long-term value for their organizations, CFOs need to forecast risks and uncertainties. This program covers key factors and complex challenges that impact long-range planning, providing the tools needed for a CFO to lead transformational change at their organization. 

    • Financial sustainability
    • Capital allocation
    • Mergers, acquisitions, and integration
    • Labor, talent, and compensation
    • Managing performance and compensation
    • Information systems and tomorrow's CFO
  • During the Chief Financial Officer Program, you will be able to choose two electives from relevant areas of specialization. These electives are designed to supplement the core learning process, enhance your skill sets, and explore practical strategies that help advance your career. Each elective is taught over approximately six weeks. The choice of electives includes:

    • Corporate Governance: Understand the responsibilities of corporate boards and their various committees in regulating organizations and creating long-term business value
    • ESG Investing: Build and manage a global portfolio that focuses on the ESG factors of sustainability, starting with investment principles and ending with financial valuation
    • Foundations of Venture Capital: Examine the early-stage VC landscape, understand the risks and rewards, and develop a systematic approach to evaluating opportunities
    • Mergers and Acquisitions: Learn a proven offensive and defensive framework, and understand the strategy, execution, legal components, and risks involved in M&A
    • Value Investing: Learn about the most successful investment strategy, practiced by famous investors including Warren Buffett, while developing critical thinking about growth and profitability

    Note: Electives are subject to change.

  • Select one program in person from relevant specializations that are designed to help you lead growth and drive change in a dynamic business environment. Participants can work with their success coach to identify the best fit for them based on their goals. Some of the examples include:

    •  Developing and Leading High-Performance Teams
    •  Driving Strategic Impact
    •  Financial Analysis and Valuation
    •  Leading in a Data-Driven World: Developing Quantitative Intuition™
    •  Real Estate Investing
    •  Venture Capital

    Note: While Columbia Business School Executive Education will attempt to accommodate participant preference selections, we cannot guarantee that all preferences will be granted due to the high demand for our open-enrollment programs. Electives are subject to change.

  • Meet your cohort peers and faculty in person on the Columbia Business School campus in New York City during an optional two-day networking event. This event provides you an opportunity to network with your peers as well as professionals from other cohorts to create a lifelong community of global executives.

Note: Session topics and networking event duration are subject to change.

Capstone Project

In the capstone project, you will develop a CFO challenge handbook that applies the key insights of the program within the context of your own organization. Each of the last eight modules in the program provides a different set of challenges and strategic questions to address. You will document your responses to those challenges as part of weekly submissions to put together the full document. Upon completion, the handbook will provide you with a guide to implementing what you have learned in the program to advance and lead your own organization. Challenges addressed in the handbook include:

  • Leadership as a CFO
  • Conflict with the CEO
  • Creating a strategic allocation plan
  • Evaluating a transformational deal
  • Addressing current trends in compensation
  • Balancing stakeholders’ needs
  • Reducing compliance risk
  • Driving organizational innovation

Meet the Faculty

Roy Bernard Kester and T.W. Byrnes Professor of Accounting and Auditing, Faculty Director of the Chief Financial Officer Program

Shivaram Rajgopal is the Kester and Byrnes Professor of Accounting and Auditing at Columbia Business School. He has also been a faculty member at Duke University, Emory University, and the University of Washington. Rajgopal’s research interests span financial reporting, earnings quality, fraud, executive compensation, and corporate culture. His research is frequently cited in the popular press, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, The Financial Times, Business Week, and The Economist.

Contributing Faculty

Profile picture of professor Karim Bennis

Karim Bennis

Group CFO, Etisalat

Profile picture of professor John V. Faraci

John V. Faraci

Executive in Residence, Columbia Business School

Profile picture of professor Jesse Greene

Jesse Greene

Executive in Residence, Columbia Business School

Profile picture of professor Douglas Maine

Douglas Maine

Executive in Residence, Columbia Business School

Profile picture of professor Ravi Mallela

Ravi Mallela

CFO, First Hawaiian Bank

Profile picture of professor Paul Shoukry

Paul Shoukry

CFO of Raymond James Financial, Inc.

Meet Your Success Coaches

Success Coach Melissa Graham

Melissa Graham

Success Coach

Melissa Graham is a professional, dynamic business leader with over 20 years of experience in executive leadership. The bulk of her career has been in executive finance and management. She has worked in a spectrum of industries from not-for-profit to large C-corporations, tribal and local governments, manufacturing, and more. She had served in executive leadership and board roles, including CEO, COO, and CFO roles, in different business sectors and higher education. Graham has earned an Executive MBA and a Master of Finance degrees and is currently completing her PhD in business administration.

Success Coach John Dion

John Dion

Success Coach

John Dion has 35 years of experience as an industry executive in life sciences, medical diagnostics, product identification, petroleum forecourt, aerospace, and industrial businesses. Currently, he is the vice president of ESAB Corporation. Prior to retiring from the Danaher Corporation in 2021, Dion successfully led the corporation’s three largest acquisitions, held two board roles, and led and taught the Danaher business system at its two largest operating companies. He has degrees in electrical engineering and business administration from the University of Connecticut.

CIBE Holder Benefits

  • Access to Columbia Business School Alumni Career Services resources, including unique career content, a job board, an online networking platform, the alumni directory, and more​
  • Invitations to alumni events and programs around the world​
  • Eligibility to join Columbia Business School alumni clubs​
  • Global networking opportunities​
  • Lifetime Columbia Business School forwarding email address​
  • Subscription to our alumni publication Columbia Business

Executive Peer Learning and Networking Event

The enriching environment of the networking event provides participants with the invaluable opportunity to build a robust network with global executives who bring diverse experiences, cultures, and perspectives. Engaging in thoughtful discussions, they can exchange cutting-edge insights and knowledge that are integral in staying abreast of industry trends. The networking event showcases the vibrant community that participants of the Chief Financial Officer Program become an invaluable part of.

Certificate in Business Excellence

Example image of certificate that will be awarded after successful completion of this program

Certificate in Business Excellence

Upon completion of the Chief Financial Officer Program, participants are awarded the Certificate in Business Excellence from Columbia Business School Executive Education. The certificate is a recognition of their achievement and the investment they and their organization have made in their education and development.

As a Certificate in Business Excellence holder, you will receive a 25 percent tuition benefit for full-price Executive Education in-person programs lasting three and four days and all full-price online programs. Exclusions apply**

Certificate holders will also be awarded select Columbia Business School Alumni benefits.

Download Brochure

Your digitally verified certificate will be issued in your legal name and emailed to you, at no additional cost, upon completion of the program, including all modules of the program (online, in person, or live online, inter-module). All certificate images are for illustrative purposes only and may be subject to change at the discretion of Columbia Business School Executive Education.

Who Is It For?

The Chief Financial Officer Program is uniquely designed to suit professionals with a strong financial background from diverse industries. Individuals new to the CFO role or stepping into a financial leadership role will benefit from the in-depth curriculum, expert faculty, and invaluable networking opportunities.

Participants should have:

  • A minimum of ten years of work experience in finance
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • International exposure (preferred)

Hear from Our Participants

The core curriculum touched on many aspects of being a CFO and provided me with valuable insights into topics not accessible daily in my current role.

— Toshiko Zeidler, General Manager, Global Finance Department, MISUMI

Profile Image for Madhuri Kumari

Listening to the experiences of various CFOs has been so knowledgeable and provided a great learning opportunity.

— Madhuri Kumari, President/CFO, Mamsys

Completing the program boosted my confidence that I was ready to lead as CFO. Within two months of looking for opportunities, I accepted a CFO role. The Columbia [Business School] brand and the quality of the Chief Financial Officer Program are easily recognizable in the marketplace. The program helped me to focus more on big-picture strategic issues, leadership skills, soft skills, and C-suite dynamics, including relationship management with the board, shareholders, and other stakeholders. Knowing that I also have a network of diverse peers I can leverage is reassuring.

— Foluso Adigun, Chief Financial Officer

Past Participant Profile

Past participants of the Chief Financial Officer Program come from diverse backgrounds, industries, and experiences. The cohort’s diversity ensures that you interact with like-minded peers and gain new perspectives for your organization’s unique challenges.

Average years of work experience:

  • 10 to 15 years: 15%
  • 16 to 20 years: 27%
  • More than 20 years: 57%

Top industries:

  • Banking
  • Consumer Products/Retail
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Technology

Top functions:

  • Administration
  • Business Development/Sales
  • Consulting
  • Finance Accounting
  • General Management
  • Strategic Planning

Top countries:

  • United States
  • United Arab Emirates
  • India
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Mexico

Note: Data from across previous cohorts

Application Details

Round 1

Deadline: July 18, 2024
Application fee: US$200

Round 2

Deadline: August 08, 2024
Application fee: US$200

Round 3

Deadline: August 29, 2024
Application fee: US$300

Round 4

Deadline: September 10, 2024
Application fee: US$300

The program fee covers teaching fees, all academic material, and access to online coursework. The fee does not include accommodations for the two-day annual in-person reunion and networking event, travel expenses (domestic, international, visa fee, and more), and other expenses not specifically mentioned in the program fee.


  • The Chief Financial Officer Program has been designed with your busy schedule in mind. You will be required to commit no more than three to five hours per week, enabling you to benefit from this transformative program while fulfilling your day-to-day work responsibilities. The impactful program offers a blend of self-paced modules and live interactions.

  • The 9- to 12-month learning journey includes live online and video online sessions with renowned faculty, industry experts, and global peers. You can take advantage of weekly live sessions and the Slack channel to ask questions and discuss ideas with your cohort participants. Real-world examples and a debrief of the program learnings are delivered through a combination of recorded video and live online lectures. The program concludes with an optional two-day on-campus networking event on the Columbia Business School campus in New York City.

  • The program fee covers teaching fees, all academic materials, and access to online coursework. The fee does not include accommodation for the two-day in-person networking event, travel expenses (domestic, international, visa fee, etc.), or other expenses not specifically mentioned in the fees.

  • You can pay the full program fee up front or pay in easy installments. If you would like to approach your organization with a sponsorship request for this program, here is a customizable template that you can use.

  • Unfortunately, it is not possible to take any more electives than the specified number. The electives are designed to help you gain specialized skills in areas that are aligned with your career so that you can dedicate focused time for learning and honing those

  • Yes. There is closed captioning and transcripts for all prerecorded videos, and closed captioning for recordings of live sessions is also available.

  • Emeritus collects all program payments, provides learner enrollment and program support, and manages learning platform services.

  • For the program refund and deferral policy, please click the link here.

  • Program fees for Emeritus programs with Columbia Business School Executive Education may not be paid for with Title IV financial aid funds. Participants may be able to pay the program fee with funds from the GI Bill, the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Act of 2008, or similar types of military education funding benefits. Participants must contact the Columbia University’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs to determine benefit eligibility.

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