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            This course develops concepts and analytical techniques for creating sustainable advantage in difficult competitive environments.  The perspective adopted is that of the general manager who has overall responsibility for the performance of the firm or of a business unit within the firm.  Such a manager needs to understand the basis for the current performance of the firm and to identify those changes (inside or outside the firm) that are most likely to affect future performance adversely or that provide opportunities for the firm to improve its performance.  The manager must then use the firm’s resources to formulate and implement strategies to compete successfully in its new environment.  The strategy must define the scope of the firm’s activities, the logic through which the activities result in better performance, and what it is about the firm that allows it to carry out those activities better than its competitors.


            The complexity of today’s (and tomorrow’s) competitive environment dictates that strategy cannot be the domain of top managers alone.  In particular, functional specialists and mid-level managers will be challenged increasingly to think strategically when confronting day-to-day issues, and to ground strategic contributions in the operational realities of the business.  One of the broader objectives of this course is to increase your ability to take the initiative and assume a leadership role in your company, no matter what your formal position might be.  One way to do this is through cultivating the ability to make well-grounded and uncommonly insightful recommendations as to how the business actually is or should be competing. Having a deep understanding of corporate strategy is not only important for internal effectiveness and efficiency, it is also important for external consultants, auditors, financial analysts, and bankers trying to understand and value other firms.


            In order to capture the pragmatic, action-oriented nature of the general manager’s job and the complexity of the general manager’s milieu, this course is taught through the case method.  We will supplement case discussions with readings, lectures, and conceptual analyses.  A central goal is for you to develop your own personal synthesis and approach for identifying and solving key strategic problems facing a business.  The class also should help you see relationships between the various functional area courses (production, marketing, accounting, finance).

Sharif University of Technology, Aerospace Department
Last Update:04 March 2013
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