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Formulating, or contributing to the formulation of, the business strategy of the firm is one of the key roles of a General Manager or Chief Executive. It involves not only integrating and coordinating the activities of different functional areas, such as marketing, operations management, accounting, human resource management and finance, but also a conscious building and sustaining of the firm’s competitive advantage (s), and making critical choices as to which products, markets and segments the firm should compete in. As a result, the manager needs to have a clear understanding of the factors and forces which shape the success (or failure) of the firm and the industry. This subject provides an introduction to the frameworks and tools commonly used in developing and assessing business strategies. It is also intended to develop the student’s decision-making skills from the perspective of top management.
Intended learning outcomes
Desired outcomes right after taking Business Strategy:
- The student should be able to competently analyse a firm's competitive strategy: articulating the firm's competitive environment, how the firm is positioned relative to competitors/collaborators in the market and along the value chain, how the firm creates and sustains competitive advantage (or fails to do so), how the firm develops and/or acquires new resources and capabilities in order to remain competitive.
- Example outcome: If given a case study (e.g., from HBS) or an article about a company (e.g., from HBR or The Economist), the student should be able to use concepts and frameworks from Business Strategy to conduct a critical analysis of the firm's strategy, covering the scope stated above.
- Based on the analysis, the student should be able to offer recommendations for how the firm could be strategically positioned/repositioned if necessary, as well as to propose ways in which it might need to change internal resources/capabilities and external linkages in order to fit with the proposed strategy.
Desired outcomes after completing the MBA:
- In addition to the above, the student should be able to link strategy to other areas of management, including marketing, operations, finance, managing people, and innovation.
- This could be reflected in the student having a whole-firm view of strategy, both at the business unit level (business strategy) as well as at the corporate level (corporate strategy).
- One application of this outcome is that the student should be able to demonstrate familiarity when using the relevant concepts/frameworks from Business Strategy to the analysis of cases such as those used for recruitment by consulting firms and other potential employers.
Last updated: 18 December 2020