About the CBE℠

The Comprehensive Business Exam℠ was developed as a joint venture of Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc., Pitsco, Inc., and Technological Fluency Institute, Inc.


The CBE includes questions that cover 28 objectives within the following eight content domains: Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, Economic Environment, Social Environment, Legal Environment, and International Business.

  1. Accounting
    • Identify the basic financial statements and their purposes, and explain their interrelationships. [4]
    • List the effects of transactions on the elements of the accounting equations and transaction analysis. [4]
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the content, concepts, structure, and meaning of reporting for organizational operations for external use. [3]
    • Identify and utilize sources of financial statement information of publicly traded companies. [4]
    • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of accounting terminology. [4]
  2. Finance
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the valuation effects of each financial decision. [3]
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the risk-return relationship and its effects on decision making. [3]
    • Demonstrate the ability to access and use basic tools to calculate and measure financial outcomes. [3]
    • Identify the major financial statements of a corporation and indicators of good performance. [3]
  3. Management
    • Select the appropriate management action in a business scenario involving employee supervision/evaluation. [3]
    • Demonstrate an understanding of management and leadership and their differences. [3]
    • Describe and explain the manner in which all of the functional areas in business operate, emphasizing business management. [3]
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the other managers and the human resource management process. [3]
    • Identify how to make changes and organizational changes. [3]
  4. Marketing
    • Identify components of the marketing mix. [3]
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the social/cultural; legal, political, and regulatory; economic; technological; and competitive environments on marketing products and services in a global society. [3]
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the synergistic effects of combining product, promotion (communication), price, and distribution decisions relevant to market opportunities and applying this understanding to the development of a marketing plan. [3]
    • Explain how consumers purchase and evaluate services. [3]
  5. Economic Environment
    • Define terminology associated with economic environments in business (e.g., deficit, surplus, debt, market economy). [3]
    • Demonstrate an appreciation for basic economics issues, such as limitations of resources and the global impact of economic issues on business. [3]
    • Identify factors responsible for economic growth and the policies that impact long-run growth. [3]
  6. Social Environment
    • Identify ethical issues and choose the most ethical action. [3]
    • Demonstrate ethical and social responsibility in given business scenarios. [3]
  7. Legal Environment
    • Identify legal issues and legal risks in business decision making, including the substantive areas of torts, contracts, and sales law. [3]
    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts of the legal system such as the elements of a contract. [3]
  8. International Business
    • Demonstrate an understanding of current global business and future global business challenges. [3]
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the environments of global business and the importance of global business strategies. [3]
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the influences of political, economic, and cultural factors on the development of global business strategies. [3]

Online Assessment

The CBE℠ is delivered through E-SESS™, the TFI online assessment engine.

E-SESS™ is used to deliver competitive events for student organizations such as FBLA and PBL, state end-of-course assessments, state and national organization certification programs, and in business employee assessments.


The eight business content domains and 28 objectives that serve as the foundation for the items included in the Comprehensive Business Exam resulted from a nine-month process that included business faculty throughout the United States.

The process began with a review of business course objectives obtained from course syllabi submitted by business faculty at seven colleges (Goldey-Beacom College, International College, Nichols College, Oakland City University, University of the Ozarks, Urbana University, and Wayne State College). A panel of 24 business school experts then reviewed and ranked the relevancy of these objectives, using a standardized judgment form. Objectives with the highest ranking of relevancy were then submitted to a panel of seven additional business school experts for final review. This review process yielded 28 objectives divided into eight content domains.

Volunteer professors with expertise in specific content domains prepared multiple-choice items designed to measure the 28 objectives. Each of these potential items was then field-tested by college students within an online assessment environment.

Psychometric analyses of discrimination and difficulty indices were run on the field-testing results using Lertap5 software. The 88 items with the best difficulty and discrimination were then selected for inclusion in the Comprehensive Business Exam℠ 4.0 (and later versions).


The Comprehensive Business Exam provides the sponsoring higher education with the following standard reports: Individual Student Report (disaggregated), Comparison Report to Business Seniors at Peer Institutions, and Overall Proficiency Report (disaggregated).

All reports are distributed via e-mail at no charge to the institution. If the institution requires a written report, additional fees will apply.

Sponsoring institutions may request, at no additional charge, the following additional reports:

  • Summary of Assessment Statistics: descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode, standard deviation, interquartile range, and range) for the institution group’s total score on the Exam.
  • Aggregated Proficiency: percentage of students who score at each of the proficiency levels (Mastery, Proficient, Basic, Not Proficient) within each of the eight domains.
  • Objective Percentage: percentage of students who get each objective correct.
  • Comparison Report to Total Population: compares students’ performance to that of the total testing population.
  • Testing Roster: student name, testing date and raw score.