UCL School of Management

Module Fact Sheet

MSIN0072: Business Strategy

Taught by
Masters, level 7
MM Route A, SOM MRes, SOM PGT affiliates only
Term 2
Delivery method
3-hour lecture (x 10 weeks)
50% case analyses; 40% take-home test; 10% class participation
Previous Module Code

Course overview

This module exposes students to fundamental issues in business strategy with the aim of analysing business situations from the point of view of the general manager. General managers are responsible for making strategic decisions that ensure the long-term success of the firm. This module teaches students how to identify opportunities and threats in the competitive environment, develop and allocate resources, and engage in competitive interactions with competitors.

The main thesis of this module is that the firm’s bargaining position and the value and rarity of its resources and capabilities are essential to its competitive advantage. This advantage derives from the fit between the firm’s internal resources and capabilities and the external environment. To sustain this advantage the firm leverages early mover position, barriers to entry and isolating mechanisms, yet in dynamic environments, adaptation becomes critical. The module also considers the implications of global expansion and the process of formulating and implementing business strategy.The module also considers the implications of digitization of industries and the process of formulating and implementing business strategy.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module, a student will be able to:

  • Develop and reinforce a general management point of view – the capacity to view the firm from an overall perspective, in the context of its environment.

  • Develop an understanding of fundamental concepts in business strategy, such as the roles of industry analysis, resource-based analysis, and competitive advantage.

  • Develop an understanding of the inner workings of large and/or complex organizations – allowing students to better understand their work environment.

  • Develop an awareness of the impact of external environmental forces and internal conditions on business strategy.

  • Learn to distinguish between basic causes of business problems and attendant symptoms.

  • Practice in working out business strategies and implementation plans.

  • Develop habits of orderly, analytical thinking and skill in reporting conclusions effectively in written and oral form.

  • Familiarity with some of the practical realities of running different types of businesses.

Topics covered

  • Industry analysis
  • Coopetition
  • Cost advantage
  • Differentiation advantage
  • Firm resources and capabilities
  • Sustainability of competitive advantage
  • Competitive dynamics
  • Global strategy
  • Strategy formulation
  • Strategy implementation

Assessment summary

50% is awarded on the basis of written team-based (25%) & individual (25%) case analyses. 40% is awarded for a take-home final test, and the remaining 10% are based on contribution to class discussion.

Current students should refer to Moodle for specific details of the current year’s assessment.

Essential reading

Contemporary Strategy Analysis” by Robert M. Grant; Wiley Textbooks, 2016; 9th Edition ISBN-13: 978-1119120834


Contemporary Strategy Analysis” by Robert M. Grant; Wiley Textbooks, 2013; 8th Edition ISBN-13: 978-1119941880 [Overall compatible, but note some differences in page numbers]

Journal articles will also form part of the essential reading

Past versions of this module

MSIN0072 18/19

MSING015 17/18

MSING015 16/17

Last updated Friday, 12 July 2019