„That skillset is gold”

„That skillset is gold”
Interview with Duc V. Trang, instructor of the The Architecture of Deals course.

– What is „The Architecture of Deals” course about?

As a long-time deal practitioner, I can say that the „Architecture of Deals” is different from most courses - it gives you a real framework to understand how deals actually get done (Deals Framework). We take an interdisciplinary approach that blends business strategy, transactional economics, legal know-how, and commercial savviness to architect transactions. It offers both theoretical and practical skills to be a player in the real world of dealmaking.

– What practical skills will students gain?

This course is applied deal design at its core. You’ll learn how to actually structure complex deals, identify the key commercial deal points, and assess the economic implications of legal decisions. We’re talking practical skills to navigate the messy realities of transactions, based on tested theories. My goal is to arm you properly when it comes to crafting deals that achieve real business objectives while managing risk.

– How will this benefit future careers?

Simple - it gives you a huge leg up. Most students have no clue how deals actually come together in the real world. This course pulls back the curtain with mental models that show you what’s really driving successful transactions. You’ll understand the commercial, economic and legal levers at play. That skillset is gold, whether you end up in corporate finance, investment banking, M&A, consulting, strategy, entrepreneurship - any field where designing good deals is critical. The strategic thinking and deal architecture abilities you develop make you incredibly valuable.

– How does the course facilitate learning?

We use a blend of lectures, real-world cases, and interactive design exercises. It’s interdisciplinary - combining transactional economics, business strategy, and legal concepts in one applied approach. There’s individual work to apply the Deals Framework, but also group projects because few major deals happen in a vacuum. The hands-on nature means you’ll be experiencing first-hand how to analyze and architect different types of transactions by the end.

– Can you give an example of the impact?

In past courses, students had to analyze and structure several complex deal agreements under time pressure. I was blown away by their level of commercial sophistication - it was on par with many experienced deal professionals I’ve worked with, just showing how effectively this interdisciplinary, design-based approach can accelerate practical deal skills that usually take years to develop.

– How did you end up teaching this course?

After 25 years as a dealmaking lawyer and business leader, I wrote a book capturing my „Deals Framework” for understanding transactions. Working on all those deals, I was surprised by the uneven skillsets of smart professionals when it came to deal design and architecture. I wanted to see if we could revamp how these skills get taught using an interdisciplinary approach. So I started testing the framework in both university and corporate training environments - and the results have been impressive so far.