Business owners and executives who choose to merge with or acquire a new business face daunting challenges. Mergers and acquisitions present tremendous amounts of information and numerous inflection points that can adversely affect the outcome of the deal. While it’s tempting for executives used to taking decisive action to forgo outside assistance or counsel, M&A professionals like Cary Kochman advise executives and business owners to enroll in an intensive educational program. Before diving into the M&A process without adequate preparation, consider signing up for a program designed to set you up for success.

5)  Insead M&As and Corporate Strategy Programme

Insead’s program is a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of the M&A process. Insead’s expert instructors provide candidates with a host of new skills and resources that help them tackle the M&A process with aplomb and implement post-M&A integration processes tailored to their firm’s financial and organizational needs. In addition to M&A, Insead’s programming focuses on business portfolio assessment and active employee engagement tactics.

4)  London Business School Mergers & Acquisition Program

This comprehensive end-to-end program gives executives access to modern-day research from first-class faculty and experienced guest lecturers. By exchanging complex ideas with leaders on the ground in the trenches of the business world, attendees learn how to pursue and secure a successful deals while anticipating and avoiding failure. Naturally, London Business School’s program offers attendees the opportunity to live in London, arguably the epicenter of international business and a sublime cultural melting pot. The experience is a great way for executives to gain fresh insight into their own M&A practices — and to get a sense of how M&A works far from home.

3)  Wharton Mergers and Acquisition Program

The Wharton M&A faculty is fond of saying that more than half of all corporate mergers fail to create value. They’re committed to ensuring that their attendees’ M&A projects don’t suffer the same fate. The Wharton M&A program helps executives develop expertise on how to “determine a rationale, select and value acquisition targets, [how to] evaluate the long-term potential of the partnership.” With interactive discussions, case studies and computer simulations, Wharton gives executive attendees tools to effectively manage the myriad of complexities abound in the merger process. In the end, Wharton’s interdisciplinary team at Wharton has one overarching goal: to give attendees a focused view of the entire M&A process and enable them to “identify acquisition strategies, execute and close deals, and integrate acquisitions successfully.”

2)  Northwestern Kellogg Executive Education

Taught by accomplished business scholars and practitioners, Northwestern University’s Kellogg Executive Education program approaches M&A transactions from a holistic perspective. Special focus is assessing strategic fit…considering market trends…making financial decisions and forming strategic alliances”. Kellogg’s comprehensive learning experience is taught by experts from all fields of business. The goal: to make attending executives veritable experts in “the search process, valuation techniques, negotiations, tax-free versus taxable transactions, [and] joint ventures.”

1)  International Executives Cross-Borders Mergers and Acquisitions Program

This 3-day program focuses on “successful target selection, valuation, and effective deal negotiation” from an international perspective. Executive attendees benefit from lively discussions and workshops with global colleagues. They also learn how to maximize shareholder value, how to use financial valuation algorithms to list at the perfect price, and how to master the art of deal negotiation. This executive program is designed for those leaders who are either on the brink of or are already involved in an M&A transaction. These executives are also expected to arrive equipped with experience in reading financial statements.

There are pros and cons to each of these programs. Before settling on one, prospective attendees need to carry out their own research into each program and find the solution that meets their specific requirements. M&A is often a tough nut to crack, so sound preparation and execution is essential — but executives who successfully complete a top-notch M&A program dramatically increase their chances of success.