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 (2 hours) PKU NSD 20%
In-class test UCL SOM 50%
Group case assignment PKU NSD 15%
Class participation PKU NSD 15%
Previous Module Code

Course overview

Most large companies, and many quite small ones, are not single businesses but groups, comprising a portfolio of more or less separate business units and one or more levels of corporate management. Suppose, you are 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, which corporate strategies can you use to compete as a collection of multiple businesses?

In particular, in the first part of the module, we focus on the following two corporate strategy questions:

  • Portfolio composition: Which businesses should we be in as a company, and how can we enter these businesses and exit from others?
  • Portfolio organisation: How should we organize the company to create value across the different businesses?

Strategic Management is about creating persistent superior performance for organizations in general and business firms in particular. The thematic focus of this course is competitive advantage and the pervasive concept is strategy. This course is concerned with both the determination of the strategic direction and the management of the strategic process. Our perspective in this course will be 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.

We will introduce concept and frameworks 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 will be combined with analyses of choices firms make to achieve their objectives. We will also discuss what managers often describe as their greatest challenge – implementing strategy. We will focus on the thinking, skills and actions required of 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 (2 hours) PKU NSD 20% In-class test UCL SOM 50% Group case assignment PKU NSD 15%

Class participation PKU NSD 15%

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

MSINGC07 17/18

Last updated Friday, 17 August 2018