MBA Update: Managing the Multi-Business Firm

I finished my latest two classes in the MBA program in December. One class was on Managing the Multi-Business Firm. (Two classes left to go until graduation February 25!)

Course Description

The course is designed to foster your strategic thinking and help you become a better strategic thinker and winner in all aspects of life, professional or personal. In strategic management courses, you are placed in the position of the CEO or key executives to make decisions to develop or maintain a company’s competitive advantage. The strategic management courses provide you with the tools and frameworks to help you better analyze strategic issues, and most importantly, apply these to make strategic decisions in the real world.

Goals

Specifically, the topics in this course help you better think about critical strategic management issues such as:

  • How can your company continue to grow?
  • How do you decide which activities to manage internally and which to source from other companies?
  • How can your company quickly acquire the capabilities it needs to succeed in existing and new areas?
  • How can your company renew your capabilities to succeed in a fast-changing business environment?
  • What are the opportunities and pitfalls of expanding globally?

Books

Strategic Management – Concepts and Tools for Creating Real World Strategy by Dyer, Godfrey, Jensen, Bryce

A Few Lessons

  • An introduction to corporate strategy. What is corporate strategy (also called corporate-level strategy)? Why is it important? What is the difference between business-level strategy (as studied in an earlier course) and corporate-level strategy?
  • Diversification as a key corporate strategy. What is diversification? When should companies diversify and when should they not? What are the different types of diversification and how do we choose among them?
  • Vertical integration. You will learn to use the 3 C’s framework to make the decision of whether or not to vertically integrate. Using the strategy tool Make vs. Buy can provide important guidance to managers whether to outsource an activity to a supplier or develop the resources and capabilities to conduct the activity in house.
  • The role of strategic alliances in corporate strategy and its power. Alliances are a vehicle for accessing the resources and capabilities of another firm that will help a company lower costs or differentiate an offering. Situated somewhere between vertical integration and arms-length relationships, alliances has its particular strengths but also carry risks.
  • The power of innovative strategies. In today’s fast-changing and hypercompetitive business environment, innovation is essential to business success. You will also learn to differentiate between an incremental versus radical innovation and various types of innovative strategies and think about how to craft your own innovation strategies.
  • Business model innovation. We will focus on Internet platforms as a powerful business model in today’s Information Age and use these as examples to study business model innovation.

The final project was an in-depth analysis about the future growth possibilities of a company, and my group chose the finance technology company, Square.

I started an online MBA at Montclair State University in January 2017 and will graduate in February 2019.

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