The course aims to introduce the student to core problems in corporate strategy. The fundamental questions around which it is designed are as follows:
1. What is the overarching goal of a firm and what is the contribution of strategy to its achievement?
2. How do the different businesses owned by a firm fit together and how does this contributes to its performance? What can firms do about it?
3. What are important challenges for firms in today’s society?
The first question is key to understand what corporate strategy is about as the notion of strategy generally assumes some goals to be achieved. However, what constitutes the goals of an organization remains an open question and we will study different ways of answering it. The aim of the class is that students gain a better understanding of how to define firms’ goals which may enlighten their future activities as managers.
The second question lies at the heart of corporate strategy, which is concerned with the overall performance of a firm and its relationship to all the activities a firm is involved in rather than the performance of any specific activity carried on by the firm. We will study various ways in which firms may develop their activities, acquire new ones, divest from others and create synergies with other organizations and how this in turn may impact their performance.
The last question is an opportunity to introduce students to more advanced topics in corporate strategy related to current changes in many societies. The course will consider how the call for ‘purposeful’ businesses and for a stronger involvement of firms with societies leads to new problems for corporate strategy.
The course is the continuation of the business strategy class. After reviewing the overarching goal of a firm as well as tools for strategic analysis, it focuses on the core topics of corporate strategy: diversification, vertical integration, internationalization and mergers and acquisitions. It then introduces more advanced topics in corporate strategy, focusing on the role of the CEO in corporate strategy and corporate social responsibility and its impact on performance.
Classes will alternate between the introduction of theoretical material, in-class exercises and case discussions. The course is taught exclusively in English.
Student’s final grade will be computed as follows:
80% final exam
20% final report
10% class participation during cases (bonus points)