Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When and where will these courses be offered? How much do they cost?
Q: Are these courses only for senior management and any others who focus specifically on strategy?
A: No, it is beneficial for everyone in an organization to understand the strategic implications of specific choices/activities and to be aware of strategically relevant events and triggers that may require individual or group action. For those who seek (or have) product line or partner relations/business development responsibility, strategic understanding is not beneficial; it is essential: You are driving blind if you do not understand strategy. Want to test your understanding? Try these questions. You are welcome to email responses to popquiz at strategytmt dot com for feedback.
Q: How do these courses differ from traditional business school courses?
A: Some courses teach functional skills: accounting, marketing, finance, operations, etc. Other courses present theoretical tools and frameworks: economics, strategy, entrepreneurship, etc. These courses apply concepts from many of the above courses as well as introducing potentially novel/unfamiliar concepts to a specific context, the global TMT industry: past, present, and future. Our objective is to gain an in-depth understanding of this industry such that when presented with a specific case, you will be able to analyze the situation with the same (if not, more) rigor and depth as the general manager/CEO in the case. While other courses may, on occasion, introduce cases from this industry, these discussions will be inherently limited (and superficial from our perspective) as there is rarely sufficient time available to do a deep dive into any specific industry while also serving the primary purpose of an industry-agnostic course.
Q: I already have a MBA degree and/or I have already taken strategy courses through executive education programs. What do I gain from these courses that is not covered in traditional offerings? Should I take a traditional business school strategy course before taking this course?
A: No, you are actually better off not taking business school strategy courses as you will need to unlearn some of the misconceptions and bad habits (superficial analysis, improper use of scientific method) pervasive in traditional strategy courses. Most business schools do not have an academic group focused on strategy so teaching strategy is rarely the primary focus of the faculty responsible for the strategy curriculum. In addition, most business school faculty have no actual operating experience and suffer from a poor understanding of industry context and technological/operational underpinnings. These issues reveal themselves through the many outdated, superficial, and just plain incorrect discussions in these courses. While adjunct faculty with industry experience can help address some of these issues, they almost always have other priorities beyond teaching so the quality of the curriculum and the methodology still suffers.
Q: I already have years of experience in the industry. Are these courses useful for me?
A: Yes, you are one of the core constituencies for these courses. You will gain much broader and deeper insight into how the industry functions, the perspectives of key participants, how key participants interact with one another, and the strategic issues & dilemmas facing management. You will also view your prior experience with a new perspective.
Q: I am starting my own company in the industry. Are these courses useful for me?
A: Yes, you are another one of the core constituencies for these courses. You will gain new insights into how to build those critical first relationships with key industry participants, how to anticipate how various participants will react to an innovative new product or service, and how to build a large-scale sustainable business around this innovation.
Q: How technical are these courses? I am not an engineer. Will I be able to keep up?
A: In many cases, yes. Although we will cover many technologies used in the industry, these courses are not intended to serve as technology or engineering courses. We will delve into the technology only to the extent necessary to understand the choices facing the general manager. Supplementary technology tutorials will be provided for reference.
Q: Are the cases historical or do they reflect current issues?
A: Each module covers significant (and relevant) historical developments in the respective industry segment and builds up to one or more current (and future) strategic choices faced by specific industry participants (whether established companies or startups). Since the objective is to map out the full spectrum of strategic options and respective consequences going forward, many circumstances may take years to play out in real life. It is not unusual for past students to revisit class discussions years later as the actual scenarios discussed in class unfold.
Q: Which companies/cases are covered in these courses?
A: Examples are provided to illustrate the variety of companies discussed in each course. Cases are chosen from the full spectrum of available companies (startup to Fortune 50, technology to content, producer to distributor, infrastructure to application, and developing country to developed country) to highlight issues of broader significance to the industry. Feel free to propose companies or cases of interest to the instructor.