Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1998


Course syllabus for MGMT 469A Business Policy

Course description: This course is designed to introduce you to the subjects of strategic planning and strategy implementation. These topics are generally thought of as falling in the province of top management. Because of that, some of you may feel that these topics are not especially relevant for undergraduate students - most of you aren't expecting to become CEOs in the next six months. Nevertheless, knowledge of these topics is important to your near-term future for two main reasons. First, even lower level managers need to understand a firm's strategy and the resulting implementation issues even if they don't have much (any?) say in formulating that strategy. Many of the day-to-day decisions that you will make in lower- or middle-management can be made more effectively if you are fully conversant with the basic logic underlying your firm's strategy. Second, many of you will work at smaller firms after graduation. This means that even at the beginning of your professional careers you will be interacting closely with top management and may be able to have some real impact on corporate strategy. You will at the very least be expected to have a major role in strategy implementation. There is a dangerous tendency among students to think that strategic thinking is something that happens only at large corporations such a Ford, Motorola or Microsoft. Not true. A restaurant in Homewood, a south suburban bank with three branch offices, and a 30-employee manufacturing firm in University Park need strategic planning followed by effective implementation at least as much as the major corporations do. And within six months one of you will be managing the restaurant in Homewood, one of you will be the assistant manager of one of the branches of the south suburban bank, and one of you will be in charge of purchasing for the manufacturing firm in University Park.

Along with introducing new concepts, the course will require that you apply expertise that you have gained from your previous business coursework. You will have to use a little finance, a little accounting, a little operations management, etc., in order to successfully complete this course. Business students must take this course in their last trimester because this is the course where you "put all of the pieces together." This is the course where you will see how the various business functions work together to accomplish the firm's goals (and discover the problems that result if they fail to work together).