Spring 2015, Module 3
Professor Aleksandra Rebeka firstname.lastname@example.org Office Hours: Friday 3-5pm or by appointment; Location: McColl 5250
MW: Section 1: 2:00-3:15pm|Section 2: 3:30-4:45pm; location: McColl 3000
TA: Deepak Jena | email@example.com | office hours: on request
Course Overview. Why are some firms more successful than others? In this course, we will analyze the sources of success and profitability among firms in order to answer this question. Over the course of eight weeks, we will focus on the three building blocks of a good strategy design. The first building block concerns industry analysis. You will learn to think carefully about how the nature of production, characteristics of demand, and features of the business environment predict whether a line of business is likely to be profitable. The second building block focuses on the understanding of competitive advantage. Even within particular industry groups, some firms are vastly more profitable than others – what explains these performance differences? We will learn to analyze firm strategy in order to understand how firms create a unique position of advantage. We will also discuss competitive response, innovation, and the sustainability of company’s performance over time. And the final building block is dedicated to defining firms’ corporate and global scope – the boundaries of the firm – in order to assess how the firm’s mix of product, services, and location decisions affect performance. Within this block, we will also touch upon corporate social responsibility and explore questions of why firms exist.
Course Structure: Instead of going a traditional way of studying the three building blocks in a sequence, we will dive into major concepts early on and then apply them throughout the course via case studies. The advantage of this approach is that it not only illuminates concepts from different angles, but also helps identify connections between the building blocks when thinking of a firm strategy. I believe this approach to be more instrumental and more conducive of systems thinking.
Learning Objectives. The goal of the course is to provide you with the knowledge necessary to understand, evaluate, and craft business strategies. In addition, we will focus on developing the judgment and practical skills necessary to apply these concepts in a business context. Over the course of the semester, you will develop business research skills by understanding what kind of data you need to answer a particular strategic question or design a particular strategic solution, and by learning how to source good data and how to present these data to stakeholders. You will also work on your analytical reasoning skills by applying the concepts we will study to business problems through case analysis. You will consistently be pushed to be
Syllabus last updated on January 6, 2015, and is subject to revision at instructor’s discretion.
rigorously logical in your arguments: state your assumptions, provide evidence for your beliefs, and articulate your decision criteria. You will also be expected to develop your communication skills by learning to present ideas concisely and persuasively to the class. For each case, you should be prepared to articulate well-reasoned positions and advocate a point of view using evidence from the reading. Be it a homework assignment or a team project, you will be required to integrate the aforementioned skills through independent research and analysis, collaboration and a presentation. The skills that you develop in this course will be vital to those pursuing careers as consultants and managers as well as to those pursuing careers in finance, marketing, or entrepreneurship.
Prerequisites. Strategic Management is a requirement for all BSBA undergraduates. The materials and assignments are appropriate for students who have taken microeconomics and have basic skills analyzing