Dr. Jade Yu-Chieh Lo
(Teaching Assistant: Yangyu Ao: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gerri C. Lebow Hall 628
Email email@example.com Class Meetings
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 am - 11:50 am
Tuesdays 4-5pm, or by appointment
Course Site Blackboard (Bb) Learn
Why do some firms perform better than others? This course seeks to answer this fundamental question. Strategy and Competitive Advantage is the capstone class that focuses on the role that strategic managers play in creating the future. This course is designed to integrate the knowledge across the business curriculum, and equip you with a holistic view of business management. The skills and perspective that you gain from this course will help you in whatever job you take after graduation, and are especially critical if you desire to pursue careers associated with general management, consulting, product planning, market research, industry analysis, new venture creation or management, venture capital, or investment banking.
In order to formulate proper strategies, there are two types of strategic inputs – external analysis (assessing opportunities and threats in the company’s environment) and internal analysis (assessing the company’s own unique resources, capabilities and core competencies). Based on external and internal analysis, a company then should consider at least two levels of strategy – business-level strategy (how a company should compete in a particular industry or line of business) and corporate-level strategy (how a company should decide what industries or lines of business to compete in). Of course, there is function-level strategy, but the focus of this course is on business- and corporate-level strategy. Within each of these major topic areas, we will discuss several sub-topics.
Accordingly, the overall organization of the course topics can be shown hierarchically, as follows. If you are ever confused about where we are in the course or how the current topic is connected to the overall scheme of the course, please refer back to this chart.
Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes:
This course is intended to help you develop skills for analyzing both the external and internal environments of a firm. Specifically, by the end of the term, you should be able to:
1. Think analytically about the factors affecting firm performance: industry conditions, firms’ resources and capabilities, and opportunities for securing sustainable competitive advantage. [Related to DSLP #3: Information Literacy]
2. Integrate knowledge gained in other management courses, understanding how the various pieces of a business fit together, and why the different parts of a business need to be managed in strategic consistency for a firm to operate in a winning fashion. [Related to DSLP #2: Creative and Critical Thinking]
Moreover, the various assignments and class exercises should equip you with:
Oral and written communication skills that are useful in business setting [Related to DSLP #1 & 9: Communication & Professional Practice]
Research skills in collaborative setting [Related to DSLP #10: Research, Scholarship, and Creative Expression]
The skills you acquire in this course will be relevant to:
Entrepreneurs and senior executives, because they make “big picture” decisions about a company’s overall strategy and mission.
Front-line and middle managers, because they need to know how to make daily decisions that are consistent with the company’s overall strategy.
Consultants, because they need to help their clients make better strategic decisions.
Investors and investment analysts, because they need to forecast future performance in order to know where to invest.
Teaching and Learning Methods
This course emphasizes active and interactive learning which has been used in many advanced undergraduate courses as well as MBA programs. They key features of this