Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning

Syllabus for MBA studies

  • Study module name: Strategic Planning 
  • Lecturer: Bc. Alvaro Aznar, MBA
  • Final check of studies: Written assignment 

Aim of the MBA study module:​ The subject will smoothly integrate its academic and practice objectives allowing the students to have a strong academic knowledge and, as well, clear guidelines and processes to put the content in practice in their existing or future companies. The tools strategic tools analysed will be presented as tools for thinking. The emphasis is focused on understanding when and how to use them. The students will not only learn a collection of strategic tools but, more importantly, how to integrate them in a corporate presentation to reinforce the strategic thinking of the student-manager and how to integrate in the strategic management process of the company.

Content of the MBA study module: 
This MBA study module will cover the main schools of thought in strategic planning, the general objectives and stages of strategic management, the main strategic planning tools, and the challenges in the strategic implementation. Methodologically, pre-readings, slides and business cases will be provided to enable the students to gain a solid understanding of the subject and be able to actively participate on the active online sessions focused on connecting and discussing the material provided.

  • Chapter 1: General objectives, stages and schools of thought
    Historic review of strategic planning making references to Taylor´s scientific management and to Ansoff adaptation to Strategic Planning. Main schools of thought on strategic planning will be explained and supported by two pre-readings: Mintzberg, 1990; and Mc Kiernan, 1997. Explanation of the strategic planning definition and orientation supported by pre-reading and videos on Porter, M, 1996, What is strategic planning? Stages of strategic planning and keys for integration among them. The stages covered will be: market analysis, internal analysis, strategic formulation, deployment, communication, implementation, control and update.
  • Chapter 2: Strategic planning tools and frameworks - Introduction and the external analysis
    Each student will be urged to select a company, individually or in groups, to illustrate and practice the following tools that will be explained in the slides and reviewed and commented on the session:
    The following tools will be presented as to make a basic analysis of the selected company:
    - SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threads of the company will be stated,      and an analysis of how to operationalize them in strategic actions will be done.
    - 5 forces: This analysis emphasizing how it serves to analyse the potential of a target market, explaining how the market profits are distributed and what strategy could be taken as a result.
    - Pest analysis: Analysis of the external environment of the company.
  • Chapter 3: Strategic planning tools and frameworks - The portfolio analysis on the internal analysis 
    Each student will be urged to select a company, individually or in groups, to illustrate and practice the following tools that will be explained in the slides and reviewed and commented on the session:
    The following tools will be presented as to make a basic analysis of the selected company:
    - Growth-Share (BCG) matrix
    - Directional Policy (or Mc Kinsey)  Matrix
    - Parental (Ashridge) Matrix:
    For the sessions the students will have to review the slides. On the session the tools will be reviewed developing an open discussion on their use and how to integrate them. 
  • Chapter 4: Strategic planning tools and frameworks - The internal analysis
    The same structure of the previous session will be followed including on this session more advanced tools as:
    - Value chain: Analysis of how the processes of the company support the value proposition strategy.
    - 3 generic strategies: Analysis of the basic 3 generic strategies: cost leadership, differentiation and niche or specialization. Discussion about how valid is still this analysis in today complex environment.
    - Life cycle: Analysis of how the strategy should be adapted if approaching a new strategic stage.
    - Ansoff matrix: Analysis of the combination of portfolio analysis and geographic expansion strategy.
    - 7-s: Analysis of the complexity of the strategy by incorporating other elements not previously considered on the other tools as: systems, style, structure, shared vision and values etc.
  • Chapter 5: Innovation on Strategic Planning
    The Blue Ocean Strategy tools will be analysed to increase the strategic creativity to develop new value propositions for customers. The Canvas Business Model will be used to develop a complete Business Model from the value proposition developed with the Blue Ocean tools. The ASP Model will finally be explained as a tool to develop, operationalize and control the strategic business model. The theoretical analyses with the tools analysed will be followed by a case study to put the knowledge into practice.
  • Chapter 6: The strategic management process. Overall review and practice
    The last session will be a review of the whole module to achieve the maximum level of integration between the tools and between the tools and the strategic management stages. A final case study will be followed by a final wrap-up analyses and discussion with the students.

Mandatory literature:​ Online study materials prepared by the lecturer.
Recommended literature and other sources: 
De Wit, B., & Meyer, R. (2010). Strategy: Process, Content, Context. UK: Cengage learning.
Kim, W. C., & Mauborgne, R. (2005). Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant. Cambridge: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
Johnson, G., Scholes, K., & Whittington, R. (2008). Exploring Corporate Strategy. New Jersey: FT Prentice Hall.
Lynch, R. (2006). Corporate Strategy. New Jersey: FT Prentice Hall.
McKiernan, P. (1997). Strategy past; Strategy futures. Long Range Planning, 30 (5), 790-798.
Porter, M. E. (1996). What Is Strategy?. Harvard Business Review, 74 (6), 61–78.
Osterwalder, A., &  Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. New Jersey: Wiley & Sons.
Mintzberg, H. (1990). Strategy formation: Schools of thought. Perspectives on strategic management, 1968, 105-235.


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