Course Descriptions

Course catalog descriptions for courses offered in all currently published terms.


Department Chairperson: Westphal, James (Jim)
Department Website:
STRATEGY 502 Corporate Strategy
  2.25 hours Core Terms Offered: F15(A), F16(A)
  Course Prerequisites: No credit in STRATEGY 601 
  Corporate Strategy --- This course focuses on the job, perspective, and skills of the general manager in diagnosing what is critical in complex business situations and finding realistic solutions to strategic and organizational problems. The course provides a total business perspective, and thus serves as a foundation on which to build expertise in various functional areas.
STRATEGY 503 Competing in the Global Business Environment
  1.5 hours Core Terms Offered: W15(A), W15(B), F15(A), F15(B), W16(A), F16(A), F16(B)
  Competing in the Global Business Environment --- This MBA core course provides students with the concepts, tools, and institutional knowledge necessary to conduct in-depth analyses of the global competitive landscape. The goal is to understand the underlying mechanisms that drive globalization, shape the international business environment, and influence the capabilities and strategies of individual businesses.
-- We focus on how companies firm-specific international competitiveness and strategic options are influenced by: exchange rate movements, risk and volatility; location-specific market-based comparative and competitive advantage and non-market institutions; government fiscal, monetary, trade and investment policies, domestic politics, culture, and international organizations.
-- Given the challenges and opportunities of operating across borders, how do companies make sourcing, production and distribution decisions in a global context, and how do these business decisions themselves shape globalization, its domestic socio-economic-political impacts, and companies' own competitiveness?
STRATEGY 525 Erb Institute Seminar
  1.5 hours Elective Terms Offered: F15(B), F16(B)
  Cross-listed with: NRE 526 
  Erb Institute Seminar ---This Seminar surveys the integration of natural and human systems and addresses ways in which science and business can move towards a sustainable human future. It is designed to enable new and prospective Erb MS/MBA students to 1) discover what each believes about sustainable development and enterprise; 2) pinpoint what each wants to know and endeavor to learn while in the program; and 3) facilitate careful reflection about each student's future path through life and work, after they graduate. The Seminar is oriented around the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), a four year study, completed in 2005, that brought together nearly 1,400 experts from 95 countries to conduct a global inventory of the state of our ecosystems, quantify the effect that human activities are having on them and make suggestions for the future. In exploring the results of the MA, students will be introduced to a range of U of M faculty members, external practitioners, and the newly emerging theory and practice of sustainability. In addition to its cirricular objectives, the Seminar aims to collectively bond the entering Erb Institute class, both intellectually and socially.
STRATEGY 557 Strategy
  2.25 hours Core Terms Offered: F15(A), F16(A)
  Strategy --- Adopting the perspective of the firm's leader, this course focuses on how to create and sustain superior organizational performance. Competitor and market assessment, capability analyses, growth and innovation are all addressed. This integrative course builds on prior MM courses in order to learn how to think, act and lead strategically.
STRATEGY 558 World Economy
  1.5 hours Core Terms Offered: W15(B), W16(B)
  The World Economy --- This course examines how firms' strategic options and competitiveness are influenced by features of the global competitive landscape, including exchange rate movements, location-specific competitive advantage, and non-market institutions. It further addresses how companies make sourcing, production and distribution decisions in a global context, and how these decisions themselves shape globalization.
STRATEGY 562 Innovation in Global Health Delivery
  1.5 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15(A), W16(A)
  Advisory Prerequisites: TO 551 or 552 or 605 or equivalent 
  Cross-listed with: TO 563 
  Innovation in Global Health Delivery: Strategies for Enhancing Growth and Improving Access in Emerging Markets --- New business models built around operational efficiency offer tremendous potential to improve people's health worldwide. This course will examine how innovations in business models, operations, financing and supply chains are allowing far more people to access better quality healthcare. The course draws extensively on real-world case studies and latest research in this field. Class sessions will feature thought leaders from the field of global health delivery and involve lively debates on important topics. Concepts and approaches from strategy, operations, finance, and supply chain management will be used to understand what determines success and failure of businesses that seek to provide healthcare to low income populations. While there will be a strong emphasis on global health, some of the concepts will be applicable more generally to product and service delivery in emerging markets.
This course is divided into two modules: The first part of the course will focus on design of systems that ensure access to medicines, vaccines and other health technologies. The second part of the course will focus on design of systems for health service delivery.
Specific learning objectives for this course are:
- Develop an in-depth understanding of the key issues in designing and managing healthcare delivery (products and services) in emerging markets.
- Understand the important role of operations and supply chain management in improving effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare delivery in emerging markets.
- Ability to formulate strategies for market entry in the healthcare/life sciences sector in emerging markets.
- Understand the role of product and process innovation in global health delivery (through practical examples and cases).
- Understand factors that influence the adoption of new health technologies in emerging markets and operational strategies to speed up adoption.
- Understand the roles played by different agencies in the provision of healthcare in emerging markets and understand the critical value of inter-agency coordination in this context.
- Discover and understand high impact opportunities for social entrepreneurship and operational innovation to improve global health delivery.
STRATEGY 563 Leading Creativity and Innovation
  1.5 hours Elective Terms Offered: F15(A), F16(A)
  Advisory Prerequisites: MO 501 or 503 or permission of instructor 
  Cross-listed with: MO 563 
  Leading Creativity and Innovation --- This course is designed to introduce students to the practices necessary to stimulate and manage innovation in a business. You will be given frameworks and methods for designing, developing and implementing innovation in real work situations. The aim of the course is to provide you with the perspective and skill base necessary to manage innovation-focused projects, people and ventures.
STRATEGY 564 Strategies for Sustainable Development I: Competitive Environmental Strategy
  1.5 hours Elective Terms Offered: F15(A), F16(A)
  Advisory Prerequisites: STRATEGY 502 
  Strategies for Sustainable Development I: Competitive Environmental Strategy --- This course deals with environmental issues from a strategic perspective. It focuses on how environmental pressures (e.g. sustainable development) and environmental problems (e.g. global warming, air pollution, waste-disposal), impact corporate mission, competitive strategy, technology choices, product development decisions, and production processes. Basic concepts of ecology and environmental science are discussed and contrasted to those associated with the traditional economic paradigm.
STRATEGY 565 Strategies for Sustainable Development II: Managing Social Issues
  1.5 hours Elective Terms Offered: F15(B), F16(B)
  Advisory Prerequisites: STRATEGY 564 
  Strategies for Sustainable Development II: Managing Social Issues --- The pressure for sustainable development has significant implications for firms, particularly large multinational corporations. With free trade on the rise, long-term opportunities exist for firms able to identify, develop, and deploy technologies, products, and services that contribute to sustainable practices and resource use in the developing world. This course examines how long-term competitive positioning can be secured through strategies such as positioning can be secured through strategies such a environmental partnerships, technology cooperation, and collaborative planning.
STRATEGY 566 Systems Thinking for Sustainable Development and Enterprise
  3 hours Elective Terms Offered: W16
  Cross-listed with: NRE 550 
  Systems Thinking for Sustainable Development and Enterprise --- Challenges to a sustainable human future such as climate change, population growth, biodiversity loss and persistent poverty are characterized by extraordinary detail and dynamic complexity. This course fosters the skills of systems thinking and systems dynamics modeling necessary for understanding global environmental and social change. This holistic and dynamic understanding is employed to chart pathways for sustainable human development and business.
STRATEGY 584 Business in Asia
  2.25 hours Elective Terms Offered: F15, F16(B)
  Course Prerequisites: STRATEGY 503 or 510 or 593 
  Advisory Prerequisites: STRATEGY 503 
  Business in Asia --- The 14-week elective deals with the business environment in, and business strategies for, Northeast Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong), Southeast Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma/Myanmar) and India, and the inter-linkages among them.
-- The course focuses on specific aspects of the Asian institutional environment( economics, politics, culture) and Asian Business models (state and family enterprises, conglomerates) which make business in Asia different from the West, such that standard 'Western' business methodologies and firm capabilities may not be readily or effectively applied without adaptation.
-- A regional and comparative perspective is emphasized. The course highlights business issues, and ways of dealing with them, that are common to many Asian countries. Analyses and lessons from studying particular country cases should be applicable to other countries as well. At the same time, students would gain an understanding of specific country contexts that affect business decisions and outcomes.
STRATEGY 586 Entrepreneurial Strategy
  1.5 hours Core Terms Offered: W15(B)
  Entrepreneurial Strategy --- This class examines the fundamentals of entrepreneurial strategy. It exposes students interested in entrepreneurship to core concepts in strategy. This course provides a framework and toolkit for students to identify and assess opportunities in the context of the market and competition to prepare them as future entrepreneurs. Students learn how strategy fits into their business models, the sources of value creation in business, and the opportunities and impediments to value capture. Through case studies, lectures, and projects that cover high-growth ventures in information technology, electronics, life sciences, green technology and other industries, this course provides the student with the tools necessary to successfully identify a true business opportunity and to start, grow and maintain a technology enterprise. As part of the course, students will apply the concepts learned in class to their ongoing MsE projects. The topics covered will help students to formulate and develop their business proposition in the context of identified market and technological uncertainty.
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. Select a target market and buyer domain consistent with the product offering and value proposition.
2. Evaluate market structure and profit potential for alternative product market possibilities .
3. Conduct competitive analysis.
4. Design strategies to competing against established incumbents.
5. Develop a viable commercialization strategy (recognizing the key complementary assets, protecting from imitation and substitution, the role of standards).
STRATEGY 591 Corporate Strategy
  2.25 hours Core Terms Offered: P15, P16
  Advisory Prerequisites: Global MBA students only 
  Corporate Strategy --- This course focuses on the job, perspective, and skills of the general manager in diagnosing what is critical in complex business situations and finding realistic solutions to strategic and organizational problems. It is designed to provide a "total business" perspective, and thus serve as a foundation on which to build expertise in various functional areas. Since the focus in on pragmatic, action-oriented, general management skills, the course will be taught primarily through the case method.
STRATEGY 623 Global Strategy
  2.25 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15(B), W16(A)
  Advisory Prerequisites: 1ST YR CORE 
  Global Strategy --- Global strategy is a course designed to enable you to make better strategic decisions in a world in which global competition is growing rapidly. The foundational idea in the course is that even in a rapidly globalizing world there remain significant institutional, social, and economic differences across nations. Instead of viewing these differences as an obstacle to profiting from global business, in this course we will take the perspective that these differences provide the central opportunity in global strategy. Firms that are able to identify and implement mechanisms for bridging these differences will be the winners in the global strategy game. The course encompasses three modules. In the first module, we develop frameworks for understanding differences across countries and mechanisms for evaluating global strategic alternatives. In the second module, we proceed to focus in depth on three generic global strategies - adaptation, aggregation, and arbitrage. We finish with a final module on special topics, including an examination of global strategies for entrepreneurial firms. The cases in the course cover a wide variety of national contexts, including developed (Australia, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, UK, USA) and developing (Brazil, China, India) countries.
STRATEGY 624 Co-Creation of Value
  3 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15, S15, W16, S16
  Cross-listed with: MKT 624 
  Co-Creation of Value --- Interactions are the new locus of value creation, propelled by internetworking and the forces of digitization, ubiquitous connectivity, globalization, social media, and new communications and information technologies. The future of value creation in enterprise, economy and society lies in a co-creation of value through interactions. The goal of this course is to expose you to a co-creation paradigm of interactional value creation, whose practice will be discussed through numerous examples in the course, spanning a wide range of situations, sectors, and industries globally. In this paradigm, co-creation of value is seen as interactional value creation enacted through platforms of engagements, emergent from ecosystems of capabilities, and embodied in domains of experiences. Co-creational thinking and practice expands value creation through a "win more -- win more" approach. Co-creational enterprises organize value creational activities and interactional offerings together with stakeholding individuals as experiential value co-creators, to expand wealth-welfare-wellbeing in enterprise, economy and society.
STRATEGY 630 New Age of Innovation
  2.25 hours Elective Terms Offered: F15(A), F16(A)
  Cross-listed with: TO 630 
  New Age of Innovation --- This course introduces students to the emerging nature of competition and the critical capabilities that firms need to build to thrive in this environment. Based on the contents in a book co-authored by professors C.K. Prahalad and M.S. Krishnan, the course presents a different perspective on business innovation focusing on co-creating customer experience and global resource leverage with the social and technical architecture in the firm as the two key enablers. The specific implications for various business functions in this new approach to compete will be discussed. Students interested in functional roles or consulting will find this course useful.
STRATEGY 659 Global Field Project II
  3 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15, W16
  Advisory Prerequisites: 1YR CORE/P.I. 
  Global Field Project II --- Teams of MBAs apply knowledge from core to international projects such as market entry, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. Spending time during the week of spring break in-country, student teams work to produce valuable results for corporate sponsors and meet high academic standards with respect to data and knowledge acquisition, performance standards, and analysis.
STRATEGY 662 Global Corporate Social Responsibility
  1.5 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15(B), W16(B)
  Cross-listed with: PUBPOL 662 
  Global Corporate Social Responsibility --- Course will examine the origins of the concept of CSR its meaning and motivations, and the shareholder-stakeholder controversy, where the latter include employees, communities (now defined globally) and, most recently, the global environment. The expansion of the concept to include suppliers and host governments, and its connection to the changing nature of the multinational corporation.
STRATEGY 669 Advanced Competitive Analysis
  1.5 - 3 hours Elective Terms Offered: W16
  Course Prerequisites: STRATEGY 502 or CSIB 502 or CS 502 or STRATEGY 591 or CSIB 591 or CS 591 or STRATEGY 601 or CSIB 601 or CS 601 
  Advanced Competitive Analysis --- This course seeks to deepen and broaden your understanding of competitive strategy. As such, it is a natural follow up to the cores strategy class that you have already taken. The course deepens your understanding of several of the concepts that you were introduced to in the core class, such as industry analysis, by exploring their use, utility and limitations in different kinds of strategic environments. This course also broadens your strategic analysis abilities by introducing you to new tools and frameworks, not covered earlier. Additionally, a key instructional objective of the course to help you develop a rigorous approach for addressing complex business problems.
STRATEGY 672 Strategies for Growth
  3 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15, F15, W16, F16
  Course Prerequisites: STRATEGY 502 or CSIB 502 or CS 502 or STRATEGY 591 or CSIB 591 or CS 591 or STRATEGY 601 or CSIB 601 or CS 601 
  Strategies for Growth --- A major challenge facing most companies (and business units) is how to grow the organization. This course will develop a framework for determining the direction of growth: market penetration, globalization, vertical integration, related diversification and unrelated diversification, and the mode of growth: organic growth, alliances, and mergers and acquisitions. The organizational challenges in implementing the growth strategy will also be discussed.
STRATEGY 675 New Game Business Models
  2.25 hours Elective Terms Offered: F15(B), F16(B)
  Advisory Prerequisites: STRATEGY 502 or CSIB 502 or CS 502 or STRATEGY 591 or CSIB 591 or CS 591 or STRATEGY 601 or CSIB 601 or CS 601 
  Business Model Innovation --- The course explores new game business models - business models that are rooted in activities that overturn the rules of the game in an industry. It explores questions such as: What is a new game business model? What determines whether one new game strategy is better than another? What types of environments are conducive to new game business models? What is the difference between a new game strategy and a new game business model? Why do some new game business models fail? The course should be of particular interest to those who are interested in positions that have a direct impact on firm profitability or that are going into consulting or venture capital. It should also be of interest of those functional specialists (finance, marketing, HRM, engineering) who must participate in business model-oriented activities.
STRATEGY 680 Business in Society
  1.5 hours Elective Terms Offered: F15(A), F16(A)
  Business in Society --- The world faces many large problems such as climate change, environmental degradation, global poverty, and inequality. This has led many people to argue that business should take the lead in addressing these problems and fulfill its corporate social responsibility (CSR). At the same time, business is under increasing pressure from activist shareholders to maximize shareholder value. The primary goal of this course is to prepare you to deal with this challenge as a top executive in private or public organization by giving you an opportunity to explore competing views in depth and to work out your own position on them.
STRATEGY 681 Strategic Management of Alliances
  2.25 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15(B), W16(B)
  Advisory Prerequisites: STRATEGY 502/601 
  Strategic Management of Alliances --- This course will study the theory and practice of business alliances. Alliances among businesses are a fundamental necessity of corporate strategy. Every student in this school will spend part of her or his working life addressing business activities that span the boundaries of their own corporation and intertwine with the activities of corporate partners and other organizational allies. Although alliances are necessary for every organization, poorly managed alliances often create substantial problems for one or more of the alliance partners. The goal of this course is to understand the benefits and risks that alliances create for the individual partners and to learn how to manage alliances effectively.
STRATEGY 682 Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Development
  2.25 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15(A), W16(B)
  Advisory Prerequisites: STRATEGY 502 or 601 
  Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Development --- Mergers and acquisitions can provide opportunities for value creation, value destruction and value appropriation. This course presents the opportunity to analyze the mechanisms underlying the creation (and destruction) of value in mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring. Three sets of issues will be examined from the point of view of a firm contemplating the use of these corporate strategy tools: (1) Analytical frameworks to decide on the strategy behind the transactions, and whether and what to acquire; (2) Maximization of the share of value creation potential appropriated by the acquiring firm through opportune behavior during the evaluation, negotiation and internal decision-making processes; and (3) Actions to be taken after the acquisition is completed, in order to ensure that the value creation potential is realized.
STRATEGY 735 Topics in Global Sustainable Enterprise
  1.5 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15(A)
  Topics in Global Sustainable Enterprise --- This seminar will be taught by a visting practitioner from the corporate, non-profit or government sector. It will address subject matter related to Global Sustainable Enterprise, drawing on the instructor's specialized area of expertise.
STRATEGY 750 Independent Study Project
  1 - 3 hours Elective Terms Offered: W15, S15, P15, M15, F15, W16, S16, P16, M16, F16
  Independent Study Project --- Independent study projects, supervised by faculty, are available to graduate business students in good academic standing. To select a project, students should consult the appropriate professor about the nature of the project and the number of credit hours the work would earn. Students earn one to three credit hours per project and may elect only one study project in a term. Graduate business students should consult their program bulletins for information
regarding total number of projects and credits that can be applied to their degree. To register for a project students must submit an approved Independent Study Project application, available online.