UCL School of Management

Module Fact Sheet

MSIN0121: Strategy

Taught by
Masters, level 7
MBA students only
Delivery method
For full-time students 8 x 3 hour sessions over two weeks. Part-time students 8 x 3 hour sessions over two weekends.
In-class test UCL SOM 50%
Group Work PKU NSD 15%
Take home test PKU NSD 15%
Coursework PKU NSD 15%
Class participation PKU NSD 5%
Previous Module Code

Course overview

This module explores how  Strategic Management creates persistent superior performance for organizations in general and business firms in particular. It considers in particular the themes of competitive advantage and strategy, set in the contexts of both the determination of the strategic direction and the management of the strategic process. The view adopted is that of a general manager whose ultimate responsibility is the long-term health of an entire organization or a major division within an organization. This perspective enables us to view the organization in an overall fashion in the context of its external environment.  In that context, the focus is on companies, be they large or small, which are not single businesses but groups, comprising a portfolio of more or less separate business units and one or more levels of corporate management. The module examines how the CEO of a multi-business company, an advisor to the CEO, or a business unit manager who wants to collaborate with another business unit, identifies and applies which corporate strategies can be used to compete as a collection of multiple businesses. Associated corporate strategy challenges which arise are: i) portfolio composition -  which businesses should a company be in, and how can a company enter these businesses and exit from others? + portfolio organisation - how should a company be organised to create value across the different businesses?     To aid the mdoules considerations,  concept and frameworks are introduced that are rooted in the theory of strategy and management, which have proved valuable in practice. Key concepts relating to strategy, competition, competencies and customers are combined with analyses of choices firms make to achieve their objectives. This reflects what managers often describe as their greatest challenge as being implementing strategy. This is discussed. Overall, the module sets a focus on the thinking, skills and actions required of the manager for the development, communication and implementation of strategic organizational choices towards organizational success.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this module for students include the following:

  • Understanding the difference between business and corporate strategy
  • Selecting among alternative diversification moves
  • Selecting among alternative divestiture moves
  • Recommending an organizational structure for a company
  • Recommending an appropriate role for corporate headquarters
  • Developing a general management perspective: thinking strategically
  • Developing a working knowledge of fundamental strategic management concepts and issues
  • Developing basic skills of analyzing strategic issues facing your current or future organisation and your professional career

Topics covered

  • Introduction: Strategy and Strategic Management
  • External Analysis: Industry Structure and Competitor Analysis
  • Internal Analysis: Organizational Resources, Capabilities & Structure
  • Business Strategy: Competitive Posture and Positioning
  • Corporate Strategy: Vertical Integration & Diversification
  • Business Model Innovation

Assessment summary

In-class test UCL SOM 50% Group Work PKU NSD 15%

Take home test PKU NSD 15%

Coursework PKU NSD 15%

Class participation PKU NSD 5%

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

Essential reading

Robert M. Grant. 2017. Contemporary Strategy Analysis: Concepts. (9th Ed.), Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publisher.

Past versions of this module

MSIN0121 18/19

MSINGC07 17/18

Last updated Thursday, 27 June 2019