This course addresses numerous concepts, tools, and techniques related to business strategy formulation and execution for both the multidivisional corporation and the focused business. The class studies businesses with varying degrees of diversification classified as focused, diversified within an industry, or diversified across industries. In multidivisional companies, corporate strategies primarily revolve around the appropriateness of various divisions and potential acquisitions for inclusion in the corporate portfolio of businesses. Strategies for divisions or focused businesses require extensive understanding of competitors and realistic product/marketing/pricing strategies. For the focused business within a corporate portfolio, strategy must also take into account the divisionís role within the parent company. The course begins with an overview of corporate and divisional strategies followed by an introduction to industry analysis and a number of additional analytical tools and concepts. These include labor productivity, economies of scale and growth, and cash flow and its relationship to growth. Students will analyze a number of generic, focused strategic problems and opportunities, followed by decisions regarding tradeoffs among feasible sets of corporate goals in the multidivisional corporate setting. Finally, we analyze a debt-laden corporation composed of 10 operating units and examine the performance of both the parent company and the individual operating units. This analysis culminates in each student deciding on the most effective portfolio of businesses for ongoing operations.


Academic course objectives:


         Provide students with an understanding of the most prevalent notions of strategies relevant to focused or diversified companies

         Provide a hands-on atmosphere within which students learn by presenting topics to the class, downloading data and analyses from available databases, and exercising a rich array of simulation models that provide for rapid evaluation of strategic alternatives

         Provide an opportunity for students to interact closely with a successful group of Darden alumni who are CEOs of major U.S. corporations


Elements of the course grade:


Class contribution       40%

Final project                40%

Group presentation     20%