STRATEGY I (COMPETITIVE STRATEGY)
2013 WINTER INTENSIVE (B01.2013.W6)
_____________________________________________________________________________ Professor: Deepak Hegde
Office: Tisch 722
Office Hours: By appointment
Classroom Location: KMC 3-65
Teaching Fellow: Dongil Keum
TF email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TF Office Hours: By appointment
_______________________________________________________________ COURSE OBJECTIVES AND OVERVIEW
The fundamental question of strategy is: “How can a firm make long-run profits?” “Raise revenues and reduce costs” is the obvious answer, but it avoids the difficult part of the question. Namely, given that a firm has specific customers, locations, and legal/regulatory constraints, what can it do to raise revenues? And, given that the firm has specific technologies, processes, and organization, what can it do to reduce costs? And finally, what can the firm do on either of these fronts that will not be eroded by the actions of its competitors, imitators, or new entrants? These are the difficult questions, particularly when one asks them in the context of a specific company. The objective of this course is to develop an analytical toolkit to tackle these questions. The course aims to teach you to be a better—meaning a more systematic, logical, complete, critical—thinker about strategy. This involves honing three primary skills.
Diagnosis. Can you identify the salient details of a situation and understand their significance to strategy? We will learn to use various economics frameworks to isolate the details that matter for firm profitability from among the facts.
Creativity. One theme of the course is you can’t outperform your competitors by doing the same things they are doing. Constantly finding new approaches and new ways to do things is often the key to a successful strategy. Judgment. You should not expect to gain from this course a body of business-related facts but rather the skills to evaluate, and act upon, the facts you face.
This is a “big picture” course. The emphasis of the course is not on understanding conceptually difficult material, but on applying simple ideas to think about how a firm achieves its goal of generating and sustaining profits. Accordingly, we will use cases and in-class exercises inspired by the real-world to exemplify the theoretical frameworks introduced in class. This process facilitates experiential absorption of the links between academic theory and managerial practice. To be successful in this course, you must spend time actively and rigorously thinking about the details of the given case and relate your thoughts to the big picture. Not preparing for class or expecting to passively absorb the material will do you about as much good as watching an exercise class from the sidelines.
B01.2103.W6 Syllabus –January 05, 2013
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DRAFT SYLLABUS – SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Each session will focus on specific concepts related to a firm’s profitability. Sessions will rely on conceptual readings, in-class exercises, and business cases. The conceptual readings will provide depth and perspective to the discussion of business cases, and the in-class exercises will illustrate the strategy-related concepts at play in the cases. The course is organized into two sections. The first section, covered in the first three sessions, focuses on assessing the nature of markets that firms compete in and how these markets affect firms’ ability to generate and sustain profits.
I. Market and competitive analysis (Strategy Assessment)
Session 1: Value Creation/Capture Framework – How can a firm create value for customers, and how can it retain some of that value as profit?
Session 2: Industry Profitability – How do the circumstances of a firm’s industry affect its profits? Session 3: Competitive advantage and...