JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Strategic Management"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020

INSTRUCTOR: Silvia Pulino
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 4:40-6:00 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisites: Senior Standing and completion of all other Business core courses
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

This capstone course focuses on the roles and skills of the General Manager and on diagnosing and finding realistic solutions to complex strategic and organizational problems. Business situations will be analyzed from the point of view of the General Manager to identify the particular tasks related to his/her unique role, which calls for leadership, integration across the functional areas, organizational development, strategy formulation and implementation. Prerequisites: Completion of all Core Business Courses. In particular, case discussion will require a good understanding of Finance (performance evaluation, forecasting, budgeting), Marketing principles, Organizational structure and Management.
The course builds on previous course work by providing an opportunity to integrate various functional areas and by providing a total business perspective.
Foundation Concepts. Understanding Industry Structure. Creating Competitive Advantage. Dynamic Competition. The Corporate Dimension – Growth by Acquisition, International Strategy, Strategic Alliances, Corporate Governance. Entrepreneurial Strategy. Vision, Mission and Leadership.

Students who complete the course successfully should be able to:

 1. Analyze the key competitive forces of an industry

 2. Assess the overall attractiveness of an industry from the perspective of both the existing participants and potential new entrants

 3. Identify key areas that require a strategic response

 4. Assess the skills and capabilities of a firm, including the qualities of its leadership

 5. Evaluate a company’s strategic health

 6. Formulate a sustainable generic strategy

 In addition, the course introduces or reinforces many transferable skills, including:

 -          Oral presentation

 -          Team work

 -          Project management

 -          Business writing

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
Crafting and Executing StrategyThompson, Peteraf, Gamble, StricklandMcGraw-Hill Education International Edition978-1-259-92199-5 , , , ISBN    

Class participationThe class participation grade will reflect preparation, attendance and quality and frequency of participation. Class preparation will require students to read all the assigned material and to explore the guiding questions provided in Moodle. Class participation will help students understand the material better and build confidence in public speaking. In each class, I will ask a student to make a brief presentation of the material s/he prepared, but all students are encouraged to participate in almost every class at least once and if possible more than once, actively engaging in the debate. The instructor may also indicate university open lectures that are relevant to the course; students are expected to attend such lectures (unless there is a scheduling clash with another course) as part of their class participation activities. Participation to these activities will enhance the class participation grade. Assignments and deadlines will be posted on Moodle. Students are required to sign up and keep up to date with all Moodle postings for the course. 10%
Group Project (paper)Students will organize themselves into groups and conduct an in-depth analysis of a real company, providing a description of the company’s strategy and achievements and an assessment of how suitable the current strategy is to meet future challenges. Students are required to submit a written paper (15-20 pages plus Bibliography and Attachments) and to make a brief (15 minutes) presentation of their findings. Specific Guidelines for the report will be provided on Moodle.30%
Group Project (Presentation)Students will present their work in lieu of a final exam. Presentations will be graded on the basis of style, delivery, research, content and visual aids. While the grade for the presentation is individual, it will inevitably be enhanced by strong team work in the preparation of the report and the presentation visuals. Specific Guidelines for the presentation will be posted on Moodle.20%
Term paperStudents will submit a term paper (7-10 pages plus Bibliography and Attachments) that will test their understanding and mastery of industry analysis. Guidelines for the Term Paper will be provided on Moodle.35%
Elevator Pitch Competition An Elevator Pitch is a quick way of putting across the fundamental elements of a project, a business idea, a social cause or even one's professional qualifications and capturing the other person's attention to prompt him/her to action. The JCU Elevator Pitch Competition is intended as a vehicle to encourage students to develop this specific skill and test it in a competitive environment. ALL students are expected to participate. A panel of three JCU professors will evaluate and judge the pitches. The pitches will be evaluated on the basis of: • Substance: clarity and persuasiveness of the argument presented • Delivery: attention to tone, volume, pronunciation and pace • Non-verbal communication, including attire and background • Timing: pitches will be cut off after 60 seconds 5%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cour
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Students are expected to come to class and to arrive on time.

Absences: students are allowed up to 3 absences during the semester.

Tardiness: students arriving more than 5 minutes late for class will be marked as absence (though they may stay and follow the lesson).

Persistent absence or tardiness usually precludes satisfactory performance in the course, and will result in a lower class participation grade. In any case, students are responsible for all material covered by the syllabus and/or discussed in class, whether or not they are actually present.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


 NOTE: This table is merely indicative. The definitive schedule is the one on MOODLE.



Class/ Date

Topic /

In-class activities


Introduction: Class Roadmap. Strategic Management and Strategic Competitiveness

Identifying a company’s strategy. Basic competitive approaches. Strategy and the business model. The three tests of a winning strategy. 


Introduction to the course

Strategic Management

The Strategic Management Process



Temporary group selection


Vision and Mission

The strategic management process. Vision, mission and company values. Setting objectives. 


Student presentation on chapter 1

Lecture and discussion

What is Strategy?

Student presentation on Starbucks


Evaluating a Company’s  External Environment

External Environment. PESTEL analysis.

The five forces framework.


Lecture and discussion

Student presentation on vision/mission

Group and industry selection


Student presentation of PESTEL and 5-force analysis  applied to  their industry


5-force analysis (continued) 

Forces Driving Change. Complementors and Value Net. 


Finish Industry Analysis discussion


Competitor analysis. Strategic Group Analysis. Key success factors. Industry outlook for profitability.


Student presentation - strategic group analysis


In class work on competitor analysis


- Collect Vision / Mission statement assessment


Evaluating a Company’s Resources, capabilities, Competitiveness. Evaluating the company’s present strategy. Resources, capabilities and sustainable competitive advantage. VRIN Test.


SWOT analysis. Value Chain Analysis, cost structure and value proposition. Competitive strengths assessment.


Student presentation of company performance evaluation

In class work on SWOT


Student presentation of VRIN test and SWOT analysis

In-class work on value chain, value proposition and competitive strengths assessment


COSTCO Videos 1 and 2

Discussion of COSTCO case study


In class work on project


The Generic Competitive Strategies

Low-cost provider. Broad differentiation. Focused. Best-cost provider. Cost driver, value drivers and the value chain.


Collect Capabilities and SWOT analysis


Strengthening a Company’s Competitive Position. Launching strategic offensives. Blue Ocean strategy. Timing of strategic moves.


Discussion of illustration capsules


Strengthening market positioning through scope of operations. Mergers and acquisitions. Vertical integration. Outsourcing. Strategic alliances.


Toms Videos 1 and 2

In-class work on strategic competitive moves.


Competing in International Markets. Complexity of international competition. Strategic options for entering international markets. Cross-border strategic moves. Competing in developing countries. Defending against global giants.


Case discussion: Fitbit


[L’Oreal exercise]


Ch. 8 - Corporate Strategies Approaches to diversification. Related versus unrelated businesses. Evaluating the strategy of a diversified company.




Case discussion -  Under Armour


People, Capabilities and Structure. A framework for executing strategy. Staffing the organization. Developing and building critical resources and capabilities. Matching organizational structure to the strategy.


Guest Speaker: Ruggero Frisina, Business Development, Microsoft


Group Project


Group Project (continued)


Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Sustainability and Strategy. Ethical standards. Impact of ethics on strategy. Drivers of unethical business strategies and behaviour. SRC and sustainability



Case discussion: Lululemon


Video 1

Video 2


Corporate culture and leadership. Identifying the key features of a company’s corporate culture. Changing a problem culture. Leading the strategy execution process. 


Group Project


Group Project


FINAL PRESENTATIONS (in lieu of final exam)